I know. I know. It’s been almost a week since Mexico faced the US in a friendly that left El Triat a 2-0 or #DosACero (as US fans have started to grow used to chanting) loss in San Antonio.
But even though it has been over a week and with my slow impending graduation slowly approaching (yikes!), there has been a lot of things that have kept my attention on it.
For one, when I was watching the game, I was in no way thinking that I should even try to write a post-game recap of it.
Let’s be honest, that game should not in any way have been taken seriously.
The field was a joke, neither side had its really important players (with exception of Michael Bradley and DeAndre Yedlin on the US side), and the level of play was that similar to a Sunday league team that has men in their 30’s still trying to live out their dream.
Disclosure: There is nothing wrong with men in their 30’s still trying to live out their dream.
Then came all this post-game publications and tweets and anything else that allows people to chime in their two cents. I include myself in this category.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
My first encounter with a Mexico vs. USA competition was during the 2002 World Cup when the US beat Mexico 2-0 and knocked them out in the Round of 16. There were tears throughout my house and I did not understand why. Back then, my love for the sport was not quite what it is today. Specifically for the Mexican National Soccer Team.
I learned that Landon Donovan was the enemy.
People who were American/US fans would mockingly do the “gooooool” yell when I mentioned I went for Mexico. Or thought it was funny that I pronounced it “Meh-hee-co.” Even more so, that when I first heard the word “football,” I didn’t know people weren’t talking about soccer.
It was a very interesting time for me and as many Mexican-Americans feel, it becomes an interesting relationship you have with yourself about the situation. I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic community so eating raspados and making jokes about the lady who sold food out of shopping cart was an every day thing. Everyone I knew spoke Spanish and we all had the same customary upbringing.
It was not until I reached college that I really felt my heritage making me an outsider. Even if my college was in the heart of Los Angeles, my journalism major had me in classes where I was the only Hispanic… or at least, the only Hispanic that looked like a Hispanic. And being in a college where football is pretty much worshipped, liking soccer was so foreign to everyone around me. Nobody even knew about the latest soccer matches coming up. All you really saw were Real Madrid or Manchester United jerseys.
Then in my junior year of college, the 2014 qualifiers and the World Cup was going to take place and the US/Mexico rivalry (and my confusing search for self-identity as a Mexican-American) went into full affect.
Long story short: it was just as confusing. When the games were on, I’d prefer watching Mexico games to the US games. I wouldn’t go for the US during the games. I continued getting the same questions I’d been getting since I was small, “Why do you go for Mexico? Weren’t you born in the United States?”
Yes, I was born in the United States. But I was raised in a Mexican household. And that lives within me. And like most Mexican-American people, it has allowed me to see both sides of my life. I can speak Spanish and English. I pay attention to both the Mexican team and the American team. And I love the Mexican team.
Sorry you guys always have to go through a story for me to get to the point…
Which is why after the most recent US vs. Mexico game, I can say this:
This game was not serious. Will both coaches take into account the second-string players they played on the field? Yes. Is this what we expect to see in the tournaments coming up? No. Maybe partially in the Copa America, but no, this is not what we expect to see. At all.
The Mexico/US rivalry is long-winded and with the rise of social media, allows for people that don’t really watch the games or focus on the big picture (not really pointing fingers here, but “I believe that we” can decide which group of people that is) to make assumptions off games like this.
Which only means that when we finally have a competition where both teams face each other with their best players and in my opinion, during their best times with two really good coaches, the amount of discussion will get very interesting.
As Herrera said, “We will let the games during the Gold Cup decide.”