There is a Portuguese word, saudade, which is something akin to sadness over a lost love with an appreciation that that love had existed. Ironically, I learned it from an ex who left me in such a state for a while. It is also used for what are often called Gardens of Remembrance in English.
It is the aposite word for how I feel tonight, seeing a Dakota Fusion team led into the NPSL playoffs by a core of players who were products of local high schools or youth soccer clubs in the Red River Valley, or initially invited to play soccer at this level by the ambitious creation of FC Fargo having attended school either here or at Jamestown. These players have their commutes but they also have their roots.
The creation of Dakota Fusion largely as an outlet for Tri-City Storm youth/rec club presented FC Fargo with a vastly better resourced local rival which basically finished us off, but after the coup de grace had been delivered, the Fusion offered those players and any fans a continuing opportunity to play/support and so it is the Fusion who become the first team in Fargo-Moorhead and (arguably) North Dakota to reach the playoff stage of a nationally recognised amateur league.
As a founding investor in and former communication director of FC Fargo I feel saudade. I'm extremely happy that there will be someone carrying Fargo-Moorhead's pride onto the national stage in a sport with none of the local colleges offer that. The Fusion ownership have been very friendly to this refugee from FC Fargo, but I still feel sadness that the only FCF shirt in the NPSL Playoffs will be fine, at home.
The ludicrous seeding situation in said playoffs does mean that Fargo and the state of North Dakota will not be hosting a national level game any time soon. That situation penalises teams from more competitive conferences because seeding across the region is set by points per game. Fusion even face the raucous, infamous Detroit City home atmosphere in their first ever playoff game. Saturday 22nd July at 7:30pm local (6:30pm CT)
If they don't like swearing they should stay clear of Keyworth.
However, NPSL playoffs often serve as de-facto qualifiers for the league's guaranteed spots in the US Open Cup and the resources available to the Fusion could bridge the hosting cost gap from Moorhead High to Fargo Shanley and make history as the first team in that tournament's 100 year history to host a game in North Dakota. By the way, the best place to find out if that happens is Josh Hakala's comprehensive site www.thecup.us
In the mean time, NPSL playoff games are usually well streamed and I can watch the games live, for as long as the run lasts. Wherever they wander, a Fargo-Moorhead team deserves my support against the ranks of the Midwest region and then hopefully the nation. Full details at www.npsl.com/playoffs
Let's Go Fusion.