This was a game to remember forever. It was incredible! So much so, they even wrote an article about my experience.
"How Captain America rescued the Red Bulls’ Supporters’ Shield celebration"
Lenny Lefebvre isn't a super hero—he just plays one at Red Bull Arena
It almost didn’t happen. On his way into the stadium, Lenny LeFebvre was stopped by security. The former season ticket holder and member of the Viking Army was dressed in his Halloween costume as Captain America, and the security guard told him that the shield he was carrying wasn’t allowed in.
“I had to butter her up,” LeFebvre said. “I had to tell her it was a sign. She finally let me in.”
It was a decision that, a couple hours later, would play an iconic part in an historic day for the Red Bulls.
When the team celebrated their third Supporters’ Shield following a 1-0 home win over Orlando City, the festivities were a bit muted at first. It isn’t that clinching the best record in the league has become ho-hum around these parts, or that the team is focused solely on the pursuit of the organization’s first-ever MLS Cup. There was simply no Supporters’ Shield in the building for the players to gather around and hoist.
With the Red Bulls entering the final matchday one point behind Atlanta United, the Independent Supporters Council, the organization that administers the trophy given to the team with the best regular-season record in MLS, decided to send the shield north, to Atlanta’s game against Toronto, according to a Red Bulls spokesperson.
It was a decision in keeping with protocol, but it meant that when Atlanta lost 4-1 to Toronto and the Red Bulls beat Orlando City by a 1-0 scoreline to claim the shield for the third time in six seasons, the celebrating Red Bulls had no symbol of their accomplishment to show the crowd… until the crowd provided one.
Along with a number of his fellow Viking Army members, LeFebvre had come to the game in costume. The United States Army veteran is now a civilian working at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, and he says he regularly dresses as the superhero for the holiday.
This time, however he ditched his usual shield in favor of something larger. With his team playing for a chance to win the Supporters’ Shield, Lefebvre decided to incorporate the Red Bulls’ hunt for the prize into his costume.
(Courtesy Lenny Lefebvre)
“Normally I roll with a smaller shield but I was sitting around a couple days earlier and I got the idea to transform my shield into a version of the Supporters’ Shield,” LeFebvre told The Athletic. “I remember thinking that it looked like a Captain America shield. Then the idea just took off. I purchased a larger shield at a Halloween store and got to work.”
LeFebvre first attended a Red Bulls match in 2015 through Vet Tix, a program that supplies tickets to members of the military and veterans. He was hooked after his first experience and became a season ticket holder the following season. When the Red Bulls last clinched the Supporters’ Shield, in 2015, it was in Chicago. On Sunday, Lefebvre was excited that he might get to see them do it again—and in person.
He took some liberties in his interpretation of the Supporters’ Shield, using a Viking Army sticker where a star appears on the real version. And he used the red, white, and blue colors of Captain America’s shield instead of the sterling silver of the actual award.
When the final whistle blew, the Red Bulls celebrated their regular season title, knowing Atlanta had lost their match in Toronto. But with nothing to hold or hoist, it was an odd celebration—certainly not the way goalkeeper Luis Robles, in his first year as captain, envisioned a trophy celebration with his teammates.
“The Supporters’ Shield is singular and (the supporters council) has to hedge their bets,” Robles said after the match. “Atlanta was in front of us by a point so the shield has to be somewhere. We thought maybe they’d hang out by the border with a helicopter.”
With no shield, the players celebrated with each other, embracing and dancing and applauding the fans. But it looked like there would be no iconic moment, as there was in 2013 in Red Bull Arena when head coach Mike Petke, a former player, lifted the shield with tears in his eyes, or in 2015 when, on the road, then-captain Dax McCarty hugged the trophy.
That is when a Red Bulls employee stepped in. No one is certain who spotted LeFebvre in the stands. But LeFebvre, standing in the second row of the supporters section, was asked by the employee if he could spare his shield. Lefebvre gladly surrendered it even though he was uncertain about why the team might need it.
The shield then ended up in the arms of Red Bulls midfielder Sean Davis, who jogged it out into the middle of the field where his teammates were celebrating. Robles smirked when he saw Davis with the stand-in.
Robles took the shield and, surrounded by his teammates, lifted it to the cheers of those still inside the stadium. The plastic quivered a bit in Robles’ hands, but as the players cheered and chanted around their captain, his arms still holding LeFebvre’s homemade shield high, it really didn’t matter that the real thing was in Toronto. (It should arrive in New Jersey sometime this week.)
“It was a little weird when Luis lifted that plastic trophy or whatever it was,” midfielder Daniel Royer said. “That doesn’t matter. We know what we did, we know what we’ve achieved. It is a great accomplishment, a great achievement for the team. We can’t wait to get the real shield, of course, take some nice pictures and keep it as a memory forever. On the other hand we know that we’re not done yet.”
United States Army
2004 - 2007
Posted by Lenn on Nov 3rd 2018
Event Attended: New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City SC - MLS
Event Location: Harrison, NJ
Event Date: Oct 28th 2018
Tickets Donated By: AARP, James from NY, Vincent from NJ, Vance from NJ, Gordon, Karen from PA, Gregory from NY, Mark from NJ