Have you seen the video clip of Mexican sportscasters going crazy when the U.S. men’s national team scored a goal on Tuesday night?
“I thought it was unbelievable,” said Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman, who played all 90 minutes in the USMNT’s 3-2 win over Panama. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
It isn’t often you’ll hear Mexican announcers cheering Team USA. But these were unusual circumstances.
A Panama win would have eliminated Team Mexico -- which lost 2-1 to Costa Rica -- from World Cup contention. The U.S. win (or a tie) sends Mexico into a November playoff with New Zealand for a spot in Brazil next year.
So while it’s understandable that the Mexican announcer is screaming, “God bless America!” and “We love you forever and ever,” this is still the same place where the fans chanted Osama bin Laden’s name when the USMNT traveled to Mexico City after 9/11.
Beckerman confirmed that Panamanian players were asking American players to take it easy on them -- Team USA had already clinched a berth in the World Cup. And, according to Beckerman, his RSL teammate, Alvaro Saborio, said the Mexican players were sayng the same sort of thing to Team Costa Rica, which beat them 2-1.
“But none of them would do it for us,” Beckerman said. “It wasn’t about Mexico. It wasn’t about Panama. It was about us trying to win a game. That’s all it was.”