Wednesday, March 27, 2013

US Men's National Team vs. Mexico at Azteca

I can't imagine a better place to experience being a US Soccer fan then spending a night in Azteca for a USA vs. Mexico World Cup Qualifier. Throwing in a tie for a result just makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
 I traveled 4 years ago to cover the USA fans in Mexico and this time a record number of around 500 USA fans were expected to make the trip.  As they waited for buses to take them to the game the USA and Mexico fans engaged in a little friendly exchange.
 The ride to Azteca was pretty smooth for the bus I was on.  And when the stadium appeared in the distance you could feel the energy level rise for everyone on board.
A Fox Sports Mexico reporter came on the bus to interview some USA fans...
 ...I think he received a little bit more atmosphere than he imagined.

When the bus parked it was surrounded by a police security detail to protect the USA fans entering the stadium.
 Several of the other USA buses were much later in arriving so some USA fans, having time to kill,  decided to venture outside the police lines and, well, through them.
Finally the authorities decided to have our bus enter the stadium. So, with one last drink to finish off the tequila, the fans were off.
 With a police cordon in place, the Mexican fans got a chance to say hello to the USA fans.
And the USA fans were also able to say hello to the Mexican fans as well. 

Once inside Azteca, the USA fans were place well up in the corner section.
 The Mexican fans were trying to create a "home" atmosphere for their team in the daunting 110,000 seat stadium.
 But the USA fans, especially a group that had already been to Azteca for several World Cup Qualifiers, were not impressed.

Just in case the police put double lines between the Mexican and USA fans so nothing bad happened.
 The teams entered the stadium and the rest of the USA fans arrived in time for the national anthem.

 And it was an impressively large section of USA fans. Ready to sing for a full 90 minutes.
 During the game the much larger crowd of Mexican fans continued to turn their attention to the USA fans from behind the lines.

While some of the younger USA fans looked nervous...
 ...most of the USA fans cheered and chanted right back at the Mexican chants.
 In the second half the fans were rapt with attention as the USA team, with a stellar defensive display, was keeping Mexico at bay.  A result was looking more and more in the cards.
 There were several close calls...
...but the USA fans kept cheering...

...and when the final whistle blew it was pandemonium for the USA fans in attendance.
 As the cheers continued the Mexico fans, who unlike 4 years ago showered the USA fans with beer for the full 90 minutes of the game, only started to throw their beers at the USA fans after the final whistle.
 They were quite vocal about expressing their displeasure at the result.
Although most of the items thrown were just beer, one unlucky USA fan (far left) was hit with something much heavier causing him to bleed on the forehead.

The Mexican police made sure to get the USA fans out of the stadium as quickly as possible.

And the celebration continued all the way back to the buses...

...and on the buses.
 And with a police escort the whole way back to the hotels it was an incredibly quick and smooth trip back.
Once off the bus a bunch of the USA fans from New York signed a Mexico flag to remember the moment when they were there to see the USA record a hard earned point. And took away two points from the Mexican team.
 Smiles were all around...
...and shots of tequila were the perfect way to celebrate the moment.  A draw, and a result in Mexico,  never tasted so sweet.

For more photos of soccer fanatics around the world "like' my facebook page: 12th Man Photos

To view more images of the USA Fans, please visit ISI Photos.


  1. Great photos! Thanks a lot for representing!

  2. Very nicely done. Really enjoyed it. Thanks!

  3. Wonderful photos. Thank you.

  4. Wow,amazing moments captured here!

  5. Very Cool, Way to support the National Team!

  6. So near the US team held them back. Such a super high no drinks were really needed. Thanks for the Blog, I got to see my son in 2 or 3 pictures. A forever moment.

  7. Awesome--glad you got outta there alive (and the team with a point!)

  8. I was also at the game. But not with the US group. I took pictures too (including a pic with klinsmann). They are on my instagram if anyone is interested at i_am_martincito.

  9. Awesome pictures. Not only the team, but you supporters also made us proud Tuesday night.

  10. i love football, but i'm not sure that looks very safe. I've been to plenty of matches in europe and you have to be marshalled in by police or armed security.

  11. Wow, some great shots. Had to be an interesting, if somewhat nerve wracking experience.