Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Night Futbol

This tackle by a security guard -- who hit a wayward Mexican spectator who wildly ran onto the field just before the second half began -- was one of the highlights of the night. (Photo courtesy of Steven Limentani).

I just watched Mexico and Iceland play to a scoreless tie in an exhibition soccer game in Charlotte. Sounds mundane, doesn't it? But it wasn't -- because more than 63,000 people showed up to watch it, turning the game into quite a fiesta.

I've written a full column about the game that you can find here and is also in Thursday's Charlotte Observer, but a few quick notes about Wednesday Night Futbol at Bank of America Stadium:

-- When Mexico's national team came out for warmups for the first time, I was sitting in the stands. In terms of sheer decibel level, the roar surpassed what you hear for 95 percent of Carolina Panther touchdowns ever scored in this stadium.

-- Best tackle of the night came via an alert security guard who was on the sideline at halftime. A Mexican fan jumped onto the field just before the second half began and started running around wildly, waving the Mexican flag. He touched at least one player, juked away from a couple of officials... and then got pulverized by this tall, lanky security guard, who executed a textbook tackle and got up smiling (a picture of the hit is above). It reminded me of those "Office Linebacker" commercials.

-- Iceland couldn't qualify for the 2010 World Cup (Mexico did), but it gave "El Tri" quite a fight. In the frenzied final minutes, Iceland held off Mexican charges again and again and was obviously playing for the tie late -- kicking the ball out of bounds, etc.

-- Too bad Mexico couldn't score at least one goal -- I would have liked to have heard the roar that set off in the stands, just for curiosity's sake.

-- I'm not sure I've ever smelled better tailgate food than I did on the way to the game.

-- The announced attendance was 63,227. As I guessed in the column, I think that broke down about like this in terms of fan support: 7 for Iceland, 63,220 for Mexico.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

How do you have a competition that ends Zero to Zero? Futbol is just not that interesting.

Anonymous said...

I'm a maniac sports fan and readily admit to it. Some of the happiest memorable moments in my life have been as a fan, Passionate about the Giants, Mets, Rangers and in general I'm a sports junkie. I am however not one millionth the fan the hispanic community is for their Mexican National Soccer team. And what I now understand about the rest of the world and their Futbol. I have never brought a full marching band sized drum to a stadium, or a horn, or chanted singing songs. We cheer and route - soccer fans live to see their teams play. We wanted Mexico to score soooo badly just to see and hear it.. close calls were astounding reactions.

An amazing experience. Every sports owner in this country should go to an international soccer match at a home stadium. Maybe the blaring music would stop and ticket prices come down a bit and we could just enjoy the sport without being bombarded every second with sensory overload and we COULD create the sensory overload. No mascots or dogs with frisbees or T-shirt guns..and no one cared!! 0-0 and not a dull moment in the entire game!

The other aspect I will take from this was being a minority for a short time for the first time in my life. Not a single announcement over the loud speakers at the stadium was in english, 99% of the people there spoke spanish and yet we managed to communicate-some telling me they hated the soccer jersey I was wearing others saying they loved it. It was humbling on some level and yet very cool to experience. Leaving the stadium the company BIMBO (equivalent of Sara Lee here in the usa) was handing out full loaves of bread to everyone leaving....the importance of the event to the fans was only further emphasized to me by being given a free loaf of bread.

Anonymous said...

Awesome experience for someone who does not like soccer.

The tackle by the security guard was the hardest hit in Bank of America Stadium in the past 12 months. Panthers should sign that guy.

Derek said...

agree with the comments above. It's pretty impressive when a 0-0 tie in what was basically a pre-season scrimmage can generate a more electric environment by way of lound chants, smiling faces, and comradery among those in attendance than the most important of football games NFL or college that Iv'e EVER attended. BCS bowl game, playoff game, you name it I've seen em and the crowds there don't come close to enjoying an event the way these people do.

prestonsc said...

........really really yawning.......ZZZ

Anonymous said...

I'm a Basketball fan, but World Cup Foot Ball Soccer is a very unique experience. The level of energy involved in this kind of match is undescribable. You don't need to analize the game. You just need to let yourself go, go with the feeling and love it! It is good energy. That is why makes you feel good and energizes you.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible atmosphere and a fun time. I enjoyed myself more at the game last night than I ever have at a Panthers game. And I consider professional American football my favorite sport. Everyone needs to experience this.... I also liked the fact that 1 1/2 hours of playing time was completed in 2 hours... game was done by 10. Don't know if this is typical or not but I liked it.

I agree with ANON 9:29 and Derek... just an incredible experience.

Anonymous said...

It was an Ok game. They made about 13 million dollars so I guess it was an ok night for Mexico and Iceland. Bautista is about to retire and the rest of the line up are being scouted by Coach Javier Aguirre. Only two players from last night team have their ticket to South Africa. Pablo Barrera #13 and Guillermo Ochoa Who did not play last night. Pablo Barrera was the player of the game for me. He was unstoppable and he always had two or three defenders on him. If they would of sub Bautista for some one else it wouldn’t be a tide. The half time show was decent, it could have been better. The real have time show started when that guy jump into the field and was tackle.

Perez Gavilan said...

As a Mexican I have seen the US team play many times.
I also have kids playing soccer in the California premier leagues.
The US has a depth of quality young players that is unbelievable, soon to have an impact nationwide.
If a the same time the US changes their style of play; more midfield ball control, more attacking, you will see similar crowds watching your national team (well maybe not as big..)

bfbowers said...

unbelievably depressed I wasn't able to make this game. I'm extremely excited to hear there was such a good crowd on hand though - the north carolina soccer community should be thrilled. We need to host more games like this here in Charlotte - I can only imagine what the game would have been like had Mexico been playing someone more relevant.

Soccer is growing here in the states and I wish we could get in on it. It would be great to see Charlotte host a permanent MLS team (or even Raleigh for that matter) - I think it would be somewhat of an investment initially but extremely profitable in the long run. NC has more soccer fans than one would think, and if it we created more of a culture at the next level it could really take off.

Note: I also used to think soccer was boring. It took watching crowds like the one I missed yesterday on TV during the world cup 4 years ago to spark an interest. After watching a few matches for the fun of it I started to learn the rules - needless to say I understand now why it is affectionately referred to as "the worlds game"

cheap viagra said...

yeah... those guys were fun once but now everyone made that... so it's no funny it's sad because that people just like to call attention.

Moleskin said...

I wanted to write a quick note to express my thanks. I'm really impressed by a blog unique and perfectly chosen and organized.

dissertation help said...

The information provided in this blog is really very interesting and easy to understand. It is nice to see this blog and it's really informative for the readers.
Thank you.