I don't get to do a whole lot of traveling as a freelancer. I have to pay my own expenses so its difficult to invest money in traveling expenses. But the Union Ultras were gracious enough to save a seat for me and I was able to visit Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time.
Now, I have only been to three other soccer-specific stadiums: Pizza Hut Park, Dick's Sporting Goods Park and Home Depot Center. I'm probably biased in thinking HDC is still the top soccer stadium in MLS but beyond that its easy to pick the stadium of the other three I have visited that I would rank number two:
Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Now don't get me wrong. Rio Tinto Stadium is very nice. It has a great background and setting as the mountains are, well "picturesque" is the word I used for my PE story. The grass was pristine and just gorgeous and the outside of the stadium and concourse were nice and spacious. But overall I felt that the stadium was a bit small. The one end opened up to a parking lot and only one side had an upper deck. I felt like the stadium could have used a bit more seating to round it out. Of course it did not seem small when Yura Movsisyan scored and the place went nuts. Then, it felt like any other stadium.
I liked DSG Park a lot. I liked the feel of the venue, how close you were to the field while walking around on the concourse and the way the stadium looked while driving up to it.
Still, I'm nitpicking. Rio Tinto must be a fantastic venue for RSL fans after playing at Rice Eccles for three-plus seasons. For soccer, Rio Tinto is a great venue. It blows Titan Stadium and San Jose State's stadium completely out of the water.
And as for pictures, in my haste to prepare I left my camera at home. Argh. Hence, no pictures.