*Mexican fans make their feelings known with a beer bombardment
“Don’t wear USA gear.”
Those were the last words in an email from the person who was hooking up some friends and me with tickets to the USA-Mexico match at Estadio Azteca. That sentence, along with another phrase I kept hearing, “flying urine,” prompted me to dress in a neutral grey and black get-up to yesterday’s game. Being a Chilangabacha, I was already conflicted on who to root for, so dressing Switzerland seemed logical.
(On a related note: I love you my fellow Mexico-based Gabachos, but I wanted to wring some of your necks outside Estadio Azteca. The next time an event like this takes place and you’re worried for your safety just wear something boring – you know like a black and pink trenchcoat or a yellow unitard – or get creative like my pal Mija who along with her husband wore red, white and blue Chivas jerseys. Just don’t go around wearing a giant sombrero and a Pancho Villa moustache and assume that your khaki shorts, Tevas and loud shouting in English won’t give you away as a big ole Landon Donovan-loving gringo. )
When my friends and I finally reached the nosebleed of all nosebleeds section, I charged ahead to go to the bathroom. When I emerged, an angry policewoman greeted me:
“And just where do you think you’re going?”
Uh, I pointed to my friends who were holding our tickets. She had been deceived by my Chilangabacha brown undertones. I hadn’t realized that the entire section was cordoned off by DF cops in full riot gear. Our USA soccer hookup had gotten us tickets in the Gringolandia section.
We continued on to find an entire section of peeps dressed in Old Glory from head to toe. Turns out they were hard-core members of Sam’s Army, a group of ballz-out USA soccer fans who have been banding together to dodge beer cups since 1995.
When I noticed the entire section was surrounded by a barbed wire fence and the aforementioned riot police, I knew we were in for some fun. Sure enough, the first US goal brought our entire section to our feet, making us targets for a shower of beer cups and whatever else the fans of El Tri could get their hands on. Luckily, we were sitting toward the middle of the pack so none of the Corona bombs were able to reach us.
I was surprised when the first score for Mexico brought even more taunting. There was really only one point when I felt a slight fear for my life. When a US player was injured and wheeled out of the stadium, it seemed like the entire crowd turned toward our little 100-people section in order let us know about the unscrupulous habits of our mothers.
None of this craziness put a damper on Sam’s Army. They kept up with their folk song-themed chants throughout the match and screamed back at the Mexican fans to “Bring it on!” even though their odds in such a potential situation were about 10,000 to 1.
After Mexico’s impressive 2-1 win, the national security team continued to hold the rabid fans at bay by forming a human barricade around the United Statesians. We declined to enter and instead chose to walk out of the stadium with our boring black and grey outfits for security, watching from afar as Sam’s Army held up cameras and iPhones to film the madness from within the fortress of riot gear.
We continued along in the rush hour subway-style crush, thankful we made it through the whole experience without getting beered on.