As I'm sure all of you know, the US National Team pulled off a very important comeback Saturday night, defeating Honduras 2-1 at Chicago's very own Soldier Field.
I was at the match (as a fan) and I couldn't have hoped for a better one. Both sets of fans were great, the game was very entertaining and the US took all three points (which made the el ride back home a lot quicker...). But most importantly, I made a new friend!
Now, I normally try to keep my personal life out of the blog, but tonight's match presented me with an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. A few friends and I had seats in the 200 level of the North End Zone, which apparently turns into Tegucigalpa North on Saturday nights. Who knew? I mean, my friends and I were literally the only American fans in our section. The place was completely packed with Honduran supporters.
So, in an effort completely motivated by my desire to not get into a fight, I decided to make friends with some Honduran fans. Everything was going great at first, I exchanged some small talk with my seat neighbors and all signs pointed towards a peaceful evening.
Then the match started. Then Honduras scored. Then all hell broke loose.
All of the Honduran fans went nuts. I swear that the guy waving his Honduran flag in front of me hit me in the face with it at least a dozen times. I wanted to scream. It was awful.
After what seemed like a half hour, the Honduran faithful finally calmed down. But not the woman sitting behind me. As soon as the noise level returned to normal, she tapped me on the shoulder and shouted her final score prediction in my ear, "Honduras 5 -- USA 3 -- Mexico -- 3."
Now I couldn't let that prediction sit, I mean it was crazy. So I quickly corrected her. "No," I said, "Honduras 5 -- USA 3 -- Mexico 0." She thought that was kind of funny (at least I think she did...) and so my plan to make friends with a Honduran fan was back on the fast track to success.
As the match went on, I could see my plan coming to fruition. Despite the fact that I could understand practically nothing that she said (a problem that wasn't helped by her yelling every word at the top of her lungs) we definitely bonded. Mainly over the "crappy" calls of the ref (I actually thought he was fine) and our mutual...distaste for the Mexican National team.
In fact, by the end of the game my friends and I couldn't even tell which team she was rooting for. The only things we knew for sure were that: a) she wouldn't be picking a fight with us due to our rowdy cheering and b) that she really doesn't like the Mexican National team.
So, in the end, I guess I succeeded in my quest to not get in a fight with a Honduran fan. It probably had nothing to do with the fact that I made friends with that lady, and more to do with the fact that all the Honduran fans were very nice, but in the end that doesn't really matter.
What does matter is that Saturday night's match was still a great result for the US, a great atmosphere for the fans, and I even got the added bonus of a making new friend.
Let me know if you were at the match and what you thought of the atmosphere/game (I really
do want to know...). And be on the lookout for some player ratings tomorrow.