By Jeff Wagner

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Sunday night, thousands headed into St. Paul for the Minnesota United’s first MLS playoff game. The team lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

WCCO’s Jeff Wagner looked back at what the first season at Allianz Field has meant for St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.

The colors of the season — and pretty much year round at Trend Bar in St. Paul — are sky blue and black. It’s a more than obvious change from it’s original look in order to better embrace its new neighbor, the Minnesota United.

“The fan base is unbelievable,” said co-owner Jacob Fleming. “And if I can get more Loon fans into my bar, the happier I am, the happier my employees are. They’re great customers, great loyal fans.”

It’s why Fleming was thankful for at least one home playoff game, meaning one more chance to pack the place with customers who normally don’t visit this part of town.

“I never really came over here to partake or give anyone business over here,” said customer Tom Byrnes. “But now that the stadium’s here it’s kind of fun to explore the neighborhood, and there’s a few little restaurants and bars in the area that I go to and have a good time.”

With thousands flooding the area for each game, free parking hasn’t always been easy to find.

“There’s a couple sneaky spots to park if you can find one,” Byrnes said.

Just don’t try some blocks south of the stadium, where signs highlight other signs reminding people it’s parking by permit only. The change happened after homeowners complained to the city how soccer fans packed their streets.

it did get very busy, especially with the 7:00 game times,” said Justin Seifert, who lives in the neighborhood. “It seems like [cars] would get here around the five to six mark, so even, you couldn’t really even beat them here after work.”

Since the change, he says drivers have adjusted.

“You don’t even notice there’s a game going on other than for the people walking up and down the streets,” Seifert said.

The people: a colorful and impactful presence that’s now a fixture in this part of town.

The 2020 MLS season starts next February, but because of Minnesota’s weather, a home match at Allianz Field will likely happen sometime in the spring.

Jeff Wagner