My first visit to see a Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) game started off without a hitch. I decided to take the LA Metro to get to the new Banc of California Stadium as parking on site is $35.00. My journey began at the Wilshire and Western Metro Station where I took the Purple Line to the Wilshire and 7th Street Station and then transferred to the Blue Line. Four stops later, I arrived at my destination at Exposition/USC. It took me about 30 minutes to get to the stadium.
For those of you taking the Metro, make sure you have an activated TAP Card and load up some dollars as transfer fees apply. A TAP Card has a one time activation fee of $2.00 and rides are $1.75. Or, you can opt for a day pass which is $7.00 and includes all Metro services. Once you arrive at the Exposition/USC Metro stop, cut through the Rose Garden at Exposition Park and the California Science Center and follow the street around the Coliseum that leads directly to the Banc of California Stadium.
Another option for getting to the stadium is utilizing a ride-share service such as Uber or Lyft. There is a drop off and pick-up section on the southeast side of the stadium. However, ride-share options on site can be more expensive, especially during peak hours. I decided to take an Uber home, and initially the cost appeared as a $14.60 fare (during the game when I was hanging out at my seat), but after the game, it shot up to over $23.00. I ended up walking outside of the stadium and picked up my Uber at the regular $14.60 fare on Figueroa Avenue. My driver mentioned that it is best for Uber and Lyft customers to wait awhile before leaving the stadium to avoid the rush of fans getting to their ride-shares.
HISTORY OF LAFC
The Los Angeles Football Club came to life in 2014, after the dissolution of the Major League Soccer team, Chivas USA, a subsidiary of Mexican club C.D. Guadalajara. To promote the team, the LAFC management made one of its objectives to market the club toward Millennials. This strategy was an indication that this demographic was going to be a significant part of the team’s fan base, especially with its home, the Banc of California Stadium being located on the cusp of Downtown Los Angeles and right across the street from USC. The stadium, is a new 22,000 seat venue that was built in less than two years, after the demolition of the old Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
The LAFC is coached by Bob Bradley, the former United States men’s national team head coach. Since day one, Bradley has embraced his role as a Club and team builder. According to an article on the LAFC website, on the day he was presented as head coach, Bradley outlined the challenge he was undertaking in succinct fashion. “What I look forward to most of all is trying to make sure we can put a team that connects with the people and the diversity. A team that excites and represents,” Bradley said. “That is what it is all about.”
The ownership of the LAFC has its roots in the Entertainment Industry. Peter Guber, the head of Mandalay Entertainment Group and producer of such hits as Rain Man, Batman (1989) and The Witches of Eastwick, is executive chairman of the LAFC and venture capitalist Henry Nguyen is vice-chairman. Magic Johnson is one of multiple distinguished investors that also includes USC alumnus, Will Ferrell; former Dodger, Nomar Garciaparra; and soccer great, Mia Hamm-Garciaparra.
The Banc Of California Stadium was a collaborative effort between the team, fans and Gensler, the architectural firm responsible for designing this state of the art stadium. The LAFC management wanted a European open air style stadium that offered fans a more intimate experience with the team while it was playing. Instead of a fanned out seating arrangement, the stadium was constructed with seating much steeper (at 34 degrees) and closer to the field than any other stadium in the MLS.
The front row seats are 12 feet from the pitch (playing field), and all seats are within 135 feet of the field. This closer seating arrangement allows fans to be more part of the game. There is literally not a bad seat in the house. In addition, the stadium is positioned in such a way that it gives most fans a fantastic view of the L.A. downtown skyline. Finally, ETFE, a fluorine based hard plastic canopy covers most of the seating portion of the stadium protecting fans from rain and shielding them from the heat of the sun. This innovative, lightweight awning gives the stadium a striking look both inside and out and is made of recyclable materials.
THE FIELDS LA
Get to the Banc of California Stadium early and make a stop at The Fields LA, the stadium’s gourmet food venue. The venue consists of nine different vendors, serving a variety of cuisine. There is also an outdoor patio for beer and cocktails.
Curated by Cast Iron Partners, a Los Angeles-based restaurant investment and management firm, The Fields culinary team consists of a diverse group of chefs, who have created menus that are a great representation of the diversity of our city. This stylized urban food hall spotlights the likes of Ms. Chi, from Top Chef runner-up, Shirley Chung, which features her passion for Chinese-American cuisine. Ms. Chi’s menu roster includes: house made dumplings, noodle and rice dishes and specialty tea drinks such as Jasmine green tea with fresh fruit. I highly recommend the steamed chicken Jiaozi dumplings. They are absolutely delicious.
The other chefs are an eclectic mix of up and comers and well established restaurant owners. Akko Port’s, Roy Ner, is an Israeli chef, who hails from Australia. His Middle Eastern specialties of dips, salads and shawarma are fantastic. The smoked hummus, Turkish salsa and babaganoush are some of the Middle Eastern dips I’ve had in Los Angeles. Jason Fullilove of Barbara Jean serves market inspired, elevated American soul food dishes with a Cajun-Creole twist. The jambalaya is tops and the soul food bowl is an added plus in a city filled with poke and grain bowls.
As the fried chicken scene in Los Angeles continues to soar, C.J. Boyd’s take on this classic Americana food includes a variety of fried chicken sandwiches such as the “K-Town,” a fried chicken sandwich with chili, ginger, cabbage, daikon and sesame mayo and the “Malibu,” a fried chicken sandwich served with tomato, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese and mayo. The Lil-Birdie chicken strips and waffle fries look delish, and who can pass up Banana Puddin’? Certainly, not me.
Mexican food is well represented at The Fields LA. Alberto Banuelos’s Burritos La Palma serves homemade flour tortillas filled with beef burria (a spicy shredded beef stew), tinga (shredded chicken in a tomato, potato, onion and chipotle chilis sauce), beans and cheese and chicharron (spicy stew pork rinds) in green salsa that have become essential Los Angeles cuisine. Other food items include quesadillas, nachos and frijol con queso. Also, on site is Al Pastor, a traditional Mexican-style taqueria, featuring street-style tacos alongside Palo Perez’s signature alhambra and gringa tacos and esquites (which are the off-the-cob version of elotes—grilled Mexican street corn slathered with creamy, cheesy, lime-scented, chili-flecked sauce. Finally, there is Coni’ Seafood offering chef Coni Cossio’s Nayarit-style seafood including: ceviches, coctels and tacos de peccado. Nayarit is a state on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
For the local Hancock Park and Larchmont Village community, Chef Chad Colby will be opening his first solo restaurant, Antico in our neighborhood soon. In the meantime, locals should stop by The Fields LA where Chad is serving up Roman-style pizza and focaccia sandwiches at Piccolo Antico Pizzeria Focacceria to get a taste of his food.
The Fields LA is open 7 days a week from 11am to 9pm. However, hours are subject to change on event days. Check the LAFC event calendar for the game schedule. For non-game days (soccer and football – The LA Rams play at the Coliseum), The Fields LA offers validated parking. Parking is offered in the Gold Lot/VIP Entry. Enter the lot off of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and S. Hoover Street. For additional information about The Fields LA visit, the fieldsla.com.
It’s all about The 3252 fan support section, which stands for the number of seats in the north section of the stadium. According to its mission statement, The vision of The 3252 is to unite all LAFC supporters by creating a dynamic and diverse in-stadium active support environment. This section features the first safe standing rail seats in North America and offers tickets at a $20.00 price point. The 3252 is completely supportive of the LAFC and makes its presence felt even before entering the stadium. Lead by a drum orchestra, this is a rowdy (in a positive way) group of fans that chant, fist pump and turn out a fine rendition of the National Anthem at all home games. The 3252 seems to have endless amounts of energy and keeps it up for the entire game. The 3252 encompasses a number of affiliated support groups including: the Black Army 1850, District 9 Ultras, Expo Originals, LAFC Cuervos, Lucky Boys and several others. For more information about The 3252, visit lafc.com/supporters.
In its inaugural season, the Los Angeles Football Club is having a terrific run. As of September 15th, it is sitting in third place out of 12 teams in the Western Conference of the MLS. Its record stands at 13-7-8.
On this particular night, the New England Revolution was in town and played to a 1-1 tie against the LAFC. Marco Urena scored the lone goal for the L.A. Football Club with an assist from Diego Rossi. The talented team has a lot of speed, determination and a MVP Goalie in Tyler Miller. Tyler was continuously challenged by the Revolution, and was unstoppable until a header snuck by him late in the second half.
The LAFC is a multi-cultural team that features players from 15 different countries such as: Portugal, Croatia, Uruguay and Brazil, to name a few. The team also includes MLS all-stars, forward Carlos Vela and defender Laurent Crisman. Vela leads the team with 11 goals and seven assists, followed by Rossi with nine goals and seven assists and Adams Diomande with nine goals and four assists. The LAFC is exciting to watch, and the fans are fully supportive from start to finish. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game, especially with seating being so close to the field.
The Los Angeles Football Club has six regular season games (3 of which are home) before the playoffs. The remaining schedule is:
Saturday - Sept. 22 vs San Jose Earthquakes (Home) - 12:30 PM
Saturday - Sept. 29 vs Chicago Fire (Away) - 12:30 PM
Saturday - Oct. 6 vs Colorado Rapids (Away) - 6:00 PM
Thursday - Oct. 18 vs Houston Dynamo (Home) - 7:00 PM
Sunday - Oct. 21 vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Home) - TBD
Sunday - Oct. 28 vs Sporting Kansas City (Away) - 1:30 PM
If you are looking for a great time with your family or friends, join the LAFC at the Banc of California Stadium for a high-octane sports and dining experience. For more information about the Los Angeles Football Club and to purchase tickets visit, LAFC.com