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USMNT ready for pro-Mexico atmosphere at CONCACAF Cup

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Photo by Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports


The U.S. Men’s National Team has taken on Mexico exactly 64 times in the team’s history, but Saturday’s clash will be unlike any that came before it.

Facing off in the inaugural CONCACAF Cup, the USMNT collides with Mexico Saturday with a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup up for grabs. The two teams face off in a one-off final, one that could set the tone ahead of November’s World Cup qualifying run.

CONCACAF announced Monday that the event was sold out, as 90,000 spectators will be on hand in Pasadena. The federation took precautions in working to create a split fan group, but it’s not unlikely that the atmosphere shifts into the favor of Mexico once again.

Prior to Saturday’s meeting, the Rose Bowl previously played host to the 2011 Gold Cup final, a 4-2 El Tri victory in front of a largely pro-Mexico crowd. Yet, Bedoya says that he and his teammates are more than willing to take things head on, whether Saturday’s game was at the Rose Bowl, the Azteca or an empty lot somewhere in between.

“One can try and control ticket distribution and all that,” Bedoya said, “but in the end we know there’s a lot of Mexicans and Hispanics in California and that will always have an impact on the crowd that attends. We also know this is a dream for CONCACAF, to have this game again in front of 90,000 people at the Rose Bowl.

“In this country a lot of us are from different backgrounds. Here we have a lot of Hispanics and there’s lots of Mexicans in all of the U.S., especially here in Southern California. I was part of that game in the Rose Bowl in 2011 and some other players as well, and we know how that game went. It should be better this time around, soccer has grown here, but there will probably be more Mexican fans than American fans. For us, that’s not a big deal.”

Bedoya’s midfield partner, Michael Bradley, has also seen his fair share of Mexico games. Out of his 15 international goals, three have come against the USMNT’s southern rivals.

For Bradley, the idea of playing in front of a divided crowd is part of the allure of the rivalry. For one, it speaks to the passion of the two sides, while also revealing a bit about the cultures of all involved.

“Certainly when you talk about the U.S. in a bigger way,” Bradley added, “one of the beautiful things about our country is the ability for people from all over the world to come here and live and work and, in some ways, make new lives for themselves. That’s something that I’m personally very proud of. When it means, in a footballing sense, that every now and then we play with a few less fans. We deal with it.”

The thousands of screaming fans are not the only difficulty facing the U.S., as the team must also contend with several missteps of their own doing. Games with stakes like Saturday’s obviously yield pressure, something Bradley is well aware of.

The U.S. cracked under that pressure this summer, falling to an underdog Jamaica team to set up the current situation. The U.S. must now avoid a repeat performance Saturday if they are to call 2015 any sort of success.

Saturday’s meeting was made possible by the USMNT’s summer struggles that yielded an all too disappointing fourth-place finish at the Gold Cup. That experience, Bedoya says, is one that will prove vital heading into the CONCACAF Cup, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.

“I don’t know if revenge is the right word,” Bedoya said, “but I can speak for myself and watching Mexico win that game in the way that they did and watching them celebrate was not a good feeling. I don’t want to repeat that.”

“Everything that has happened in the months leading up to it, what you’ve achieved, what’s been written, what’s been said, it means nothing,” Bradley added. “When that whistle blows it’s about 90 minutes, maybe 120, and which team is able to make more plays and which team is going to deal with the pressure the best.”


  1. check tickets as well as green cards, work visas ect at the gate…then we’d get a half empty stadium that is mostly USA… at least we’d be able to take corner kicks without having to worry about getting hit by debris.

  2. I bought my allotment of six tickets, thinking I could get a bunch of my son’s teammates to go. So far three different parents have said “no way, I’m not letting my kid near a Mexican soccer crowd.” And the good part? Two of these folks are Mexican American. The other is the coach of the team, a former pro. So… I’ve got extra tickets! Scalpers, hello!

    • the environment at the 2011 game was totally safe. I was wearing my red, white and blue and had been tailgating for hours, but didn’t feel a hint of danger.

      • +1 I agree. There was plenty of mostly good-natured trash talk, but I never felt the least bit unsafe, even amidst a sea of Mexico supporters who gave me plenty of grief when things went wrong in the second half (admittedly we had been pretty noisy when we were up 2-0).

        Nobody at these games would ever condone endangering kids. Say what you want about Mexico fans (and they deserve plenty of it), but family is a big deal with most of the Mexican-Americans I have ever known and I don’t think you’d feel unsafe

  3. Stupid jingoistic Mexican fans. I came here as an immigrant and I do not root for my country of birth, I root for USA. The Mexicans come here for the good life economically, but have no nationalistic pride or loyalty for the nation that gave them the better life, rather their loyalty is to a corrupt laden, drug cartel laden, crime ridden, Mexico. It is disgusting to me!!! And this is not about states rivalries and college football. This is about national loyalty and pride! I am sick and tired of people coming here for all the benefits this nation offers them, then turn around and dump on that nation. I have had enough of that.

    • Dan:

      Ding….Ding…we have a winner, well said.

      Coached top level youth club soccer in California’s Central Coast and Central Valleys for 10+ years. 65% of the kids were of Mexican decent, were born here and most couldn’t give a rats ass about the USMNT. They were ALL Mexico, ALL the time. Parents came here legally, or illegally, work here, enjoy the benefits of our great country – schools, healthcare, employment (income mobility)… were born here, schooled here coached here….and then go piss on the good old USA (USMNT). Go figure!.

    • going with a bunch of Mex americans rooting for the US

      and a dutch guy flying in from Holland to root for Mexico???

      …… so yeah not gonna sit here and whine on a soccer board you want change start showing up.

  4. Well then, we’ll see who is louder! I love the silence when I am at an away game and my team scores. That silence is the most amazing thing, and I use it to cheer my heart out.

  5. I always fill pissed off when we play Mexico and I see a lot of Mexican-Americans that haven’t lived one day in Mexico show up and sing another country’s anthem with their hand across their heart and cheer against their fellow Americans. What is ironic is that real Mexicans just see them as pochos anyway.

  6. One can try and control ticket distribution and all that,” Bedoya said, “but in the end we know there’s a lot of Mexicans and Hispanics in California and that will always have an impact on the crowd that attends –

    Bedoya gets it. I’m not sure why many USMNT fans really believe that it will be 60-40. Still to 75-80% Mexico fans.

    • Yeah I guess we’ll all find out on Saturday, but I’m inclined to share your opinion. I think 60/40 is WAY aggressive compared to every other experience I’ve ever had watching soccer at the Rose Bowl. But I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

      • it all depends on the reports. we know the USSF sold out their allotment while FMF did not. the question is what is the distribution for tickets CONCACAF sold. we know FMF out-sold USSF there, but by how much? and of course the other kicker is StubHub tickets.

      • Yeah I think it ultimately comes down to the latter (i.e. secondary market ticket transfers). At the 2011 GC Final, I sat in a pre-allocated “US Supporters Section” (even said so on the ticket stub) but the reality was there wasn’t another US fan with 15 seats of us in any direction.

        This game was guaranteed to sell out from the moment it was announced. The ticket merchants have been all over it because it’s an easy markup. I do believe that US Soccer and CONCACAF have likely done a more comprehensive job this time, but I just don’t trust that the person they think they sold the ticket to will be the one who shows up.

        There is also the problem that many Mexico supporters living in the US might very well have found it easier to simply buy their tix through US Soccer. It def isn’t hard.

  7. I love how players try to speak the truth but still air on the side of not being too critical of diversity and Mexican immigration in the US.

    It does not matter how many mexican fans are in the match but it does feel off putting so many US citizens might root for Mexico only because their parents are from there.

    • Yes, but how many people root for the same teams as their fathers or grandfathers even though they no longer live anywhere near that location. Living in Colorado you see more Kansas, Kansas St, and Nebraska stickers on cars than CU.

      • Interesting observation. I have been living in Denver for 2 months now and I have actually noticed the same thing but thought it was just in my head. Where are all the CU fans hiding? Boulder? Or are they just ashamed to advertise it after a decade of terrible football teams….

    • Obviously US Soccer sold their allotment, but I guess you don’t know how many went to ticket brokers that can sell to anyone. US usually plays Mexico in predominantly Hispanic areas (Houston, Phoenix, etc…) so not sure why this would be any different.

    • I’ll be there, but I really don’t suspect US fans to be any more than 25% (which would still be a considerable improvement over the 2011 Gold Cup).

      • I predict something like 65-35 or 60-40 split in favor of Mexico. 65-35 is the conservative pick. Pretty safe guess. The official concacaf ticket split was 30 usa, 30 mex, 30 lottery and 10 sponsors. So let’s assume usa keeps their 30 percent. Mexico keeps their 30 percent. That leaves 40 percent. Usa fans would just need to get 5 percent from that 40. Very doable. So minimum 65-35 split, hopefully better than that.

        I personaly have mexico fan tiks in Pancho Villas Army right behind the goal even though obviously i am a Usa fan. The friends I am going with are Mexico fans so they outvoted me. So if you have ever wondered who I am, and see someone in waldo usa jersey among the mexico fans right behind the goal, that’s me. I might be visible on tv if there is a goal scored on that side and they show replays. I am just hoping the fans behave themselves somewhat and only yell atme but not throw stuff at me.

      • there was a report on this that broke it down. USSF and FMF were given 25k each.

        the US out-sold Mexico here by a lot (assume all 25k were sold). FMF then hands their unsold tickets back to CONCACAF. then CONCACAF had a sell where fans chose which team they support. Mexico out-sold the US here which makes sense.

        then there were 2,000 tickets left which went on sale to the general public and we don’t really know the distribution there. but it’s not enough to make a difference.

        that said, and what you alluded to, are the people who bought tickets and are re-selling them via a site like StubHub. no way to track that.

        so the report, i believe Goff from WaPo, estimated around 65/35 split with potential of that being even more balanced.

      • Except there are probably lots of people who are “USA fans” that goth there tickets through USSF that will then put on the green and go for El TRI. I just don’t understand immigrants that are american in every way except they still support mexico over the us in soccer.

      • Clover 362,

        The great thing about America is tolerance for others and freedom of choice.

        This is not Stalinist Russia or Cambodia under Pol Pot.

        We are supposed to be free to express ourselves in matters of art,culture and sport, etc.w/o fear that people with guns will break down the doors and arrest you..

        And the fact is soccer is just a game.

        Supporting Mexico or Poland or Argentina vs the USMNT when you are an American
        immigrant is not treason punishable by death.

        It’s not like being a Russian immigrant and spying for Russia during the Cold War.

        Or being a cyber spy and selling industrial and military secrets to China.

        After all we all haven’t arrested Monica Gonzales, a Texan who captained Mexico’s team in the Olympics for treason. In fact she still makes a living as a soccer pundit for Fox and others.

        And we let Becky Hammond, a nice midwestener who was a WNBA great, represent Russia in the Olympics. We even let her work for the San Antonio Spurs without arresting her.

        I love the USMNT but it is a long way from being the same thing as the US Marines.

      • Well, I definitely admire your spirit UCLAB. Sitting in the heart of the Mexico section is a big boy move — love that you are doubling down with the hoops, as well.

        Your buddies better be buying the beer.

      • Maybe I can tip a cop/security guard a few bucks and have him stand by ready to throw out anyone that throws something at me. Unlikely but that would be great.

      • Security at the Rose Bowl consists of a modest cadre of 16 year old high school kids from the neighborhood who get hired on the 10-15 days a year that the stadium is actually used for a major event. Count on them to use you as a human shield, at best.

      • I saw a US-Mexico game in CA back in the last century. It was hard to spot the roughly 100 Sams-Army supporters among the throng of 90,000 Mexican supporters and impossible to see any other US supporters. It is hard to imagine the US fans will be that badly outnumbered this time.
        BTW we lost.

      • I am planning on going dressed as the Donald… finding his hair was supremely tough though… apparently a big shortage…

    • I’ll be there with my 6 tix as well. Some tailgating then a stop to US fan central. I don’t recall the crowd being “that” bad in 2011. We were out numbered, but there were US fans like me shouting to the roof tops when we went up 2-0.

  8. And Its on, these rivalry games (especially a one-off)are a different bread, throw current form out the window as this will be a tight game. I expect MB and deuce to come up big.

      • Well, don’t feel any shame. I was confused after just the second word … I was wondering what the “its” were that he was talking about until I realized he meant “it’s” (it is). That said, considering it is a one-off game, how is there any real current form to consider in the first place?

        I was thinking, the US doesn’t have any real good solo strikers, so they need 2 forwards. They also do best with a 5-man midfield, and can’t risk using a 3-man back line. So, can they go with a 4-5-2 formation with Guzan playing the part of a CD when the US has the ball?

  9. Not sure if it means anything, but here were the partial teams yesterday during practice according to US twitter

    Red: Dwill, Jozy, MB, JJ, Besler
    Yellow: Bedoya, Spector, Zusi, Wondo, Alvarado

    And no I’m not giving away state secrets here, if Mexico is trolling SBI for state secrets they probably checked US Soccer’s official twitter feed.

  10. Two weeks ago, it looked like Mexico would be short-handed, now looks like USA will be out with 2 GC key players…Brooks and Johannsson. and no Woods or Morris speed for the super sub role.


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