Soccer fans thrilled by rare Manchester United game with San Jose Quakes

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - It was a soccer fan's dream Tuesday night, as 18,000 people poured into the new Avaya Stadium in San Jose to see the match-up between the legendary Manchester United and home team San Jose Earthquakes.

Man U won 3-1, but the game was about much more than the final score. It was a night full of firsts for the fans, for the teams, and for San Jose.

The last time Manchester United played in the Bay Area was 1970, and for some of their fans, the game was the first time to see their stars in person.

The team's bright red buses rolled in to the parking lot like a caravan of rock stars. Fans crowded around cheering and shouting for the players' as they came off the bus.

"It's like amazing, can't wait," said Leslie Ng of Sunnyvale who sported the Manchester United red colors.

"It's first time to see them in person and we're very excited," said Linh Tran, a longtime Man U fan who was visiting from Hanoi, Vietnam.

Before the game started, the teams held a moment of silence for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse, many of whom were Irish.

The San Jose Earthquakes went toe-to-toe with the visitors and Fatai Alashe made history, scoring the Quakes first ever goal against the Manchester United.

The Quakes president says the evening was historic.

"Historic not only for the Earthquakes but the entire BAY area soccer community," said Dave Kaval, the President of the San Jose Earthquakes, "We're really in a renaissance, our new stadium, 18,000 seats, every game is sold out.'

Manchester United's captain Wayne Rooney dazzled fans, even giving two young soccer players from Lafayette the thrill of a lifetime, posing for a photo.

"Oh my God he's just an awesome player," said Drake DeBiasse, 10, of Lafayette after getting his photo taken.

"Very skilled, grew up in a great town, just a great player all around," added his friend Ethan Torres, 10, who is also from Lafayette.

In the sea of red, there were true blue Quakes fans.

"I'm a Bay Area native, I have been here all my life, Manchester United? No thank you," said Linnea Quai Hoi of San Jose.

"I can't really choose cause they're both one of my favorite teams in the leagues," said Skyler Figueroa, who was sporting a Quakes hat and a Manchester United jersey.

Even as the Quakes hoped to shake things up, the game was also a little bit about nostalgia and honoring the best bond the two clubs share.

"It's really exciting that one of our most famous players George Best was a hero for Manchester United as well so I think the fact that the clubs are playing in this friendly tonight to bring back the memories of all those great games with George Best," said Quakes President Kaval.

And whether you call it soccer or football, the night was about love of a sport that reaches hearts around the world.