Let me first state I am a USA fan. It matters when they lose and I have followed them through 7 World Cups. My wife and kids are also USA fans, Men’s and Women’s of course.
Equally though, I am a soccer fan and want to see the sport grow in the USA. For that to happen we have to applaud, recognize and support the Mexican team and their incredible fans.
Mexico is without doubt the USA’s biggest rival, both on and off the field. In fairness, they gave us a good spanking last year (despite the 3-2 score line) and if we don’t improve we may have to get used to it.
There could be a new Sheriff in the region and, my friends, it is not the USA.
So why Viva Mexico?
Because like a constant thorn in the side, losing to Mexico is instantly painful and until reversed, continually festering. It’s the one game you just have to win and as such the better Mexico becomes the less complacent the US can be.
I have to admit though that I love watching Mexico play, and admire their passion, their commitment and their skill.
Their fans also always amaze me. Sure, you might get some beer tossed your way but they bleed the green, live every kick, and every sense of their cultural identity is wrapped up in the team wearing the jersey. You get a true sense the players know they are playing for their country and their fans. It shows in every extra run, every last minute tackle and of course every last minute winner.
I am not saying the USA team do not individually feel the same and that Red White and Blue does not run through their veins, I am sure it does. So we were either technically not good enough or had a “bad day at the office”. I’m no coach so I will leave it the “experts” to dissect and in reality we have had Mexico’s number for the past few years.
Unfortunately, the US team did not perform anywhere nearly as well as their fans.
Sure, in an incredible crowd of 93,000 it was still probably 70% Mexican but the packed throngs of the “America-end” were fantastic. A seething cauldron of “USA USA” every bit as passionate and intense. In all my 25 years of watching the USA this was most fanatical and inspiring fan support against Mexico I have ever witnessed. This in a stadium in LA that basically represented home territory for the boys in green.
Mexico is indeed our arch nemesis on the soccer field, with a rivalry every bit as vitriolic and passionate as you would want. They are also an amazing part of the USA soccer fabric and have played and continue to play, an incredible role in soccer’s past , present and future.: they also represent a constant barometer to the skill and heart of the USA Team and the passion of its fans.
A great Mexico Team is exactly what soccer in the USA needs.
Note to Trump.
Come to a USA v Mexico game and see Mexican families wearing both the El Tri and the Stars and Stripes. Witness the respect for their own and the USA national anthem. Enjoy the tailgating parties where you will see both USA and Mexican flags billowing alongside each other , with both burgers and burritos aplenty !
This is Soccer in America and it represents the very best of a multicultural inclusive United States.