Estadio Azteca Game Report - Easter Sunday, 27 Mar 2005 - Mexico 2 - USA 1
I went to the game with Tom, a gringo who is kind of a naturalized Mexican, having lived in Mexico for 12 years, married a Mexican, cheering for Mexico, and his wife Blanca. We took the metro to near the end of the line, then hopped on a pesero bus to the stadium. I got some suspicious looks from various other Mexican fans on the way. We got off the bus, walked through the entry gate, got frisked, and headed towards our seats. There was a substantial police presence at the game, supposedly over 5000 of them. The walkway around the stadium was ringed with them, many on horseback.
By chance, our seats were very near Sam's Army. We were just to the left of the Army, on the other side of a chain link fence, and 40 feet or so behind them, and a little above. We had seats labeled row 2, seat 50, but the rows at the stadium were not numbered. (Of course.) If the count had started from the bottom, as I am used to, then these seats would have put us right in the midst of a group of Mexican fans, several wearing Rafe Marquez jerseys, just across the fence (and the row of Mexican police with riot shields) from Sam's Army. I couldn't hear what these guys were saying to SA, but I doubt it was too friendly! We would have got to tell them to get out of our seats, which would have been interesting. Fortunately, the count started from the top, so we were at the top of the section and a little further from trouble.
I had considered wearing my Sam's Army t-shirt, but decided instead to be a little more low-key, so instead I had on a solid red shirt and blue jeans. (Ok, I wimped out.) Before the game, the crowd wasn't too hostile, there was a little "Osama" chanting and middle finger pointing in response to "Dos a cero!" chants from the Army, but not too bad. You could actually hear the Star Spangled Banner before the game (unlike in 1997), partially this was because the home crowd was too nervous to whistle over it but mainly because the volume was way too loud. Other than the Army and myself, I didn't see a whole lot of (as in none) other USA fans.
Our seats (expensive ones at 350 pesos) had kind of an obstructed view, with the fence between us and the Army covering over half of the field. It was chain link, so you could see through it, but it was distracting. We did, however, have an outstanding view of the part of the field where the goals developed, so it worked out great in the end. As the game started, the crowd seemed too nervous to get too riled up. I didn't fully appreciate this beforehand, but if the USA had managed a win, the home fans would have been really, really, pissed off. After the two quick goals for Mexico, this mood changed to delight. During the halftime break, as members of Sam's Army headed out for more beer etc., Tom (who had heard enough of "Dos a cero!") was giving them a "Two to zero!" chant back, getting some pained laughs from SA and happier laughs from the Mexican police.
Midway through the second half was my favorite moment, of course. As the shot from Eddie Lewis went into the net, I gave it my best "GOOOOOOOLLLLL!!!" yell, and at that moment the shit started flying. A rain of beer cups were tossed at the Army, both from our section and from decks above. The "Osama" chants came out in force, as well as energetic obscene gesturing, all directed at Sam's Army. Pretty soon I decided it was a better idea to sit down and shut up, instead of cheering real loud! The Army hurried to get the Big Ass Flag up, which provided cover as beer cups splattered off of it. (NOW I know why you want to have a Big Ass Flag, and why you want to be able to get it up FAST!) The police with their riot shields were protecting themselves, and nobody else, of course. I caught a few splashes of beer, but I don't think that any of this was aimed at me. We saw five or so Mexican fans thrown out after all of this.
I should emphasize that almost all of the Mexican fans were totally cool, and not obnoxious. Soon after the game ended, as the fans were clearing out, a beer missile did land six feet away, one that may have been aimed at me. It was 3/4 full, but landed so cleanly that it didn't even spill, so I didn't even get splashed. Ha ha ha. The Army didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave, we waited 20 or 30 minutes after the game ourselves, until most of the seats had emptied, and they still remained, ringed by the riot shield wielding police. I some of the USA and Mexico fans exchanging flags and such across the fence after the game.
Nothing is quite like going to Estadio Azteca and rooting for the USA, and even though we lost, the goal definitely made this a fun and memorable experience. So I can summarize:
Airfare to Mexico City : 310 dollars
Tickets to the game : 350 pesos
Taking advantage of the first chance in 21 years to yell "GOOOOLLLL!!" at Estadio Azteca : Priceless
P.S. I did get some good photos of the fans, both the Mexicans and Sam's Army (albeit through the fence), which I will post soon, as soon as I get them edited. (In a few days).
Trip Report for Cerro Ajusco, Distrito Federal (Mexico) Highpoint
Go Texas Soccer!!