This past Wednesday, the U.S. national soccer team played Mexico’s national team in front of a sell-out crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The game was an international friendly match, and the U.S. walked away with a 2-0 victory.
The first half of play was overall uneventful as both teams matched each other stride for stride. That quickly changed when the teams returned from halftime as U.S. forward and Stanford sophomore Jordan Morris scored his first international goal on the senior level (49th minute). Twenty-three minutes later, forward Juan Agudelo scored a second goal for the U.S., sealing the 2-0 victory.
“I honestly don’t think we [U.S.] looked as dominant as we should have been,” said sophomore soccer player Daylon Gordon. “But in the end, we got the result.”
This was the ninth time the U.S. men’s national team beat Mexico 2-0, bringing about the slogan “dos a cero” for many U.S. fans.
“It’s always a huge rivalry and I am always happy when the U.S. beats Mexico, especially since we have consistently been beating them for our past six games against them,” said sophomore Austin Haas.
The match between Mexico and the United States represents the growth of soccer in our society, which is shaped by the increased blending of both nations’ cultures.
“The hunger of both teams on winning this game is huge, and we know that there are no “˜friendly’ games between us,” said sophomore soccer player Francisco Vasquez. “Having this game in San Antonio increases the passion for this match due to the high number of Mexicans that live here.”
The number of Hispanics living in America is rapidly growing, and with this trend the popularity of soccer in the U.S. is rising as well. Historically, the U.S. has been in the shadows of La Liga/Liga MX and the EPL when it comes to attracting viewers for soccer games. However, according to Nielsen’s 2014 Year in Sports Report, Major League Soccer (MLS) in America was changing this dynamic.
Last year, the MLS Cup between the L.A. Galaxy and the New England Revolution attracted 1.6 million viewers, which rivaled the English Premier League (EPL) matchup between Chelsea and Manchester United, which also drew 1.6 million viewers, showing MLS is gaining popularity and growing in the US.
Currently MLS has 20 teams in the league with three more franchises slated to be added by 2018.
Overall the professional soccer system in the U.S. has three tiers of play with MLS being the highest, then the North American Soccer League (NASL) and then the United Soccer League (USL)
Soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world, and as seen in the World Cup, it transcends cultural boundaries.
In the case of the U.S. versus. Mexico matchup, it doesn’t matter if your native language is Spanish or English, there is a passion and appreciation for the game on both sides and the growing importance of soccer in North American society cannot be denied.