Monday, June 27, 2011

Gold Cup Final - USA vs. Mexico A.K.A. I Can't Hear You USA

I've been going to and photographing the fans of the USA Men's National Team for 11 years, and I've never been as embarrassed by the American fans as I was on Saturday for the Gold Cup Final. My first USMNT mach was World Cup Qualifying: USA vs. Guatemala in 2000 in RFK, followed by USA vs. Honduras in 2001. At those games the American fans were just as outnumbered 9-1, just as they were at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, but they never stopped cheering for their team the whole 90 minutes. In all the years since the supporters section has always cheered the full 90 no matter what the result. On Saturday, the fans quit on the US Men's team. When Mexico scored their second goal they crossed their arms, and didn't cheer, and stood silent in the most important match for the team this year. Its an absolute disgrace, and every American fan at the game should be ashamed of themselves.
Although a lot of people compared the Gold Cup Final like playing in Azteca; The Azteca Norte if you will. But compared to the reception the US fans that went to support the US team in 2009 for the World Cup Qualifier, the atmosphere was not that hostile during the pre-game. In-fact a bunch of Mexican and USA fans ended up kicking a ball around playing an impromptu match between parked cars.
But the crowd outside the Rose Bowl was definitely pro-Mexican. Probably around 90 percent Mexican fans, 10 percent USA fans.
When the US Supporters walked into the stadium they received a ton of jeers from the Mexican crowd.
Some fingers thrown in their faces...
And some pushing and shoving between the USA and Mexican fans, even the female fans.
The supporters group was afraid of the heckling...

and tried to enter through a locked gate but were turned away by security and the police officers.
Finally they made their way through the gates into the stadium.

And into the supporters section which was patrolled by security to make sure only ticketed US supporters made it into the section.
Before the match it was easy to see the USA fans were vastly outnumbered by the Mexican fans.
But that's to be expected in Los Angeles.
While some fans were supporting the USA...

...plenty of Mexican-Americans have still close ties to their homeland sports team.

And the Rose Bowl was majority green.
Even though the Mexican team attacked from the start, the USA got a surprise goal to go up 1-0.
A few minutes later the USA was up 2-0 and it looked like it would be the USA's day.
But just as quickly, Mexico scored a goal and the jeers turned into cheers....
Some scuffles broke out between the Mexican and US fans in separate sections and but once Mexico tied the match up, the American supporters essentially shut up.

The USA team marched out in the second half...
But hardly a cheer was heard from the US fans, especially after Mexico scored their third goal.
USA fans had their hands in their mouths...
Looking on quiet...
Not doing anything...
When your team is down that's when they need to hear you. That's when the USA fans should have been at their loudest. But except for one American Outlaws fan and a few of his friends from Orange County the supporters section remained silent.
And Bob Bradley had the deer-in-headlights look as he watch his strategy for the match fall apart and the USA lose 4-2.

Afterwards the US fans looked stunned by their loss.
And some good natured cheering for each side ensued.
both ways...
But I was shocked at the poor support for the USA team. How can you not go to a match like that and cheer the whole 90 minutes???

As the Mexican Coach said after the game:

""The supporters get my respect," Mexico coach Jose Manuel De La Torre said. "I don't know what it was, maybe 90 or 95 percent of the fans were Mexicans and that means something. When we went down 2-0, they were still cheering, still supporting. The team gave everything they had."
In all honesty, can the USA fans at the match say the same thing? Did they give everything they had??


  1. They actually went to the game, which is more than a lot of supposed 'hardcore' fans can say.

  2. When I travel, I travel with my kids, and from the sounds of it, I would never bring my kids into Rose Bowl. I have over 30 caps, and my 8 year old has over a dozen, but getting mystery liquid and glass bottles thrown at you makes it kinda tough to stay psyched to support full 90 when you're worried for your own safety. I've been to Azteca in 05, but what I heard about this game, Rose Bowl fell down. Keep the fans safe and the fans will go full 90, as they should.

  3. I was at this game and even though the section was "silent" I know and saw that there were people singing the entire 90. It doesnt mean the whole section was silent only a few were going the whole 90 to root for the USA. We came from Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, Cali, Florida, and a bunch of other states and we werent leaving without a fight

  4. As an AOLA member, I tried to get everyone to sing. I was with company from our Chivas USA supporters group Black Army 1850, and when our club goes down, we get louder. The same can be said when we are at Dillions Irish Pub. (the official pub where we AOLA watches USMNT games) I don't know what the deal was with lots of the people there, they must have bought their tickets on ticketmaster without ever having been part of a supporters group or something, cause they were not participating at all. I'd say there was about 15 of us gathered around the drum trying to sing at all times, people were just not following along. It's not like they are complicated or hard songs. We tried to go as basic as possible. But nothing. Disappointing as hell.

  5. I think you forget that the Mexico fans went silent after the second USA goal. USA kept fairly silent simply holding our breaths that this might actually be happening. Rather than throw items at Mexican supporters or chant racial obscenities, we simply rooted the team on as we stood 2-0 over El Tri. Consider it a little class shown in an otherwise classless and ruthless display of sporting pride. Then they struck back and their crowd lit up. Along with their energy came cup after cup and bottle after bottle of liquids being thrown at the US supporters. The USA supporters were left crossing our fingers for a US response to their constant counter attacks. I think you over exaggerate the "quiet" USA crowd. It'd difficult to be heard in such an embarrassing outnumbering. If you want to write about how the Americans didn't "show up," write about how the Rose Bowl didn't allot more seats for supporters. Or that more emphasis wasn't put out to American Supporters to get packages to the game. Write about poor media coverage of the event and the lack of call to action to get US supporters to the game. But don't ridicule the 400+ American Outlaw supporters who sat through that shit storm while you looked on with your media pass from the sidelines. Your pictures show the bias fairly well actually. You can see liquids flying from the Mexico crowd in one or more. You see the fingers we walked through and the harassment from Mexico supporters. I commend each and every USA supporter who had the balls to show up and wear their country's colors proudly and support a team that wasn't expected to win in the first place. I can attest to the 12 people I attended the game with that each and every one of us lost our voices after singing and chanting the entire 90 minutes.

  6. The section was mostly silent in Houston too...the dirty secret of AO is that for how good they are at pre-game hookup parties, most of them don't know shit for how to lead a section.

  7. It pisses me off that all of those fans are amerIcans... But, they fly the flag of the country they left. If you wanna be an AmerIcan than be an American.

  8. Correction to the post that said they are all Americans. It is more likely that they are all Illegal Immigrants as opposed to legal Americans.

  9. Where are the pics of the beer and other mystery fluids, the flying bottles and other projectiles that were hurled at US fans? What about the groping of females and physical violence that took place against US fans. Your camera conveniently failed to capture that. God bless the Mexican-AMERICANS that support the Stars and Stripes, that assimilate to the culture, that appreciate and love this great land.

  10. Fuck assimilation. Assimilation is for sissies. We Mexicans are taking over this country, just like yall took it from the Indians. Assimilate to our culture, u'll enjoy life more

  11. I was in the supporter section and the all day drinking in the heat kicked my ass once the game started. There was the usual heckling throughout the day. The worst thing that happened to me was I kept getting beer thrown at me throughout the game but I was already expecting that. The USA supporter section was way too crowded so that didn't help the situation, people kept sneaking in and there was not enough room for everyone.

    The Rose Bowl also ran out of water by half time! what the hell is that? I was severely dehydrated, I didn't have the energy to cheer the full 90.

    I gotta say this was the most poorly organized game I've ever been to. I've seen more security and cops at a Galaxy v. Chivas USA game.

  12. "Assimilate to our culture" what? drug wars, poverty, and border crossings?

  13. You forgot teenage pregnancy.

  14. My question is where was ICE? We should have had ICE buses ready to take anyone who didn't have their paper straight to TJ, so all 80,000 of them could party in the country they love so much. And stay out of ours.