Turns Out It Is The Most Dangerous Lead…For The Other Team

The US bucked the norm, but not the cliche....

This column by TSG’s Nick Sindt with support from: John Nyen, Jose Ceniceros, Nathan Gower, Luke Sandblom & Matthew Connors.

The piece was originally conceived due to our Soccer Cliches piece thanks to the contribution of Matt Mathai.

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Soccer is a wonderful sport for many reasons; the skill on display, watching 11 men or women playing as if one, the momentum shifts that can turn a lost cause into a great day, and so on.

It is the ability for one pass, one shot, one tackle to completely change the momentum and course of a match that is likely at the heart of one of the most tired clichés in all of soccer broadcasting: “a two-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer.”

Sir Alex sees the way to victory as having a two-goal lead...

Back in January during a Manchester United-Birmingham game, the commentator made a statement about 10 minutes into the game about United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wanting a “second goal” which would’ve made the score 2-0.

Surely one of the most decorated managers of all time wouldn’t wish his team to score another goal and thus entering themselves into the Bermuda triangle of leads.

United went on to win that game 5-0 and, it should be noted that nary a comment was made about 2-0 being the most dangerous lead.

Then you take a Blackpool-United game on the evening of January 25th and 2-0 takes on a completely different meaning; this time United were down and managed to come back to win 3-2.  During the entire match I heard nothing about Blackpool holding onto the most dangerous lead.

In the two examples above, the two-goal lead led to an insurmountable victory and a narrow defeat which begs the question ‘what makes a two-goal lead so dangerous and what are the criteria surrounding this two-goal lead that make it so perilous?’

First, let’s address the most important elephant in the room for this often- and ill-used limerick, the data.

THE DATA

There were 380 games in La Liga this year. Of those 380 matches, 167 of them reached a 2-0 lead.

In 95.2% of them (159) the team that had rippled the nets twice went on to win. Six teams relinquished the lead and ended up “earning” a draw. Only two, TWO, of those teams lost.

But wait, is it really fair to look at all 2-0 leads? When a team tacks on an insurance goal in the 90th minute–those should be excluded right? Ok, fair point for review.

In La Liga, 78 matches featured a team with a two-goal lead at the half. How many of those teams went on to win?

Well that answer is 96% or 75 wins for the team leading by a couple at the break. Two draws and one loss.

Busting pitch myths is not just limited to the Iberian peninsula.

Let’s check out the Barclays.

175 matches featured two goal leads. Win count? 157, or about 90%. Tack on another 8% for those that ended in a draw. A loss? A meager 4 matches, or 2.3%.

Sanity check on time to comeback? 53 matches saw a two goal lead after the 1s 45′. Win percentage for those teams? Almost 87% (46 wins). Three draws, four losses.

A two-goal celebration and lead for Johnny Spector and West Ham was anomalistic in the past campaign...

About the only other interesting point here? Of those four losses, two were by West Ham, and two were by Birmingham–two of the three teams that ended up getting relegated.

And lest, we forget the domestic league count (at the time of this review) this season. The totals?

In MLS, 33 teams have found themselves winning 2-0.  31 of these teams ended up winning, and the other 2 would draw.
Of these 33 teams, 13 were winning 2-0 at halftime.  All 13 of these teams won their games.

MOVING ON…

So the data doesn’t reflect the cliche–then why does it get invoked so ear-bleedingly often?

Most will tell you that momentum is the reason that two-goals are the least safe of leads; if the trailing team scores one they’ll be able to nip another while the leading team is getting itself sorted out.  However, this doesn’t explain games where the trailing team takes longer than five to 10 minutes to complete their comeback.

Also, if momentum were the answer, wouldn’t this cliché be abused in American Football, Rugby, and Aussie Rules Football to name other sports?  [Hockey has been omitted due to their abuse of the cliché, and basketball has been left off the list because of the quickness with which a two score deficit can be made up]

So, what other factors play a role in whether or not a two-goal lead is able to be overcome?

For starters the quality of the commentators will play a role in whether you hear this drivel repeatedly or not, but not necessarily on whether the lead is actually dangerous.  As an example, the two United matches from January mentioned above, had quality commentators and I didn’t hear this utterance once.

However, if John Harkes or Marcello Balboa had been calling the game it can pretty much be guaranteed that it would’ve been heard so often I would’ve had an aneurysm.  I digress, on to the real factors that determine whether a two-goal cushion will stand fast or wilt under the pressure of a goal and the subsequent momentum shifts.

 Quality of the teams – The quality of the teams involved plays a huge role in whether a two-goal lead makes for a comfortable day at the office or is the double edged sword.

How often have you seen United, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid, either of the Milan teams, the Three Lions, the Azzuri, the Germans, Brazil, or Spain take a two-goal advantage over their opponent and been worried or tentative about the outcome of the match?

Though the aforementioned teams account for what most of us would consider the upper echelon of teams in terms of quality, their opponents on the day are just as important.  Any of these top-class teams would only find themselves sweating a two-goal lead against another top team in the context of a match that would be considered a shootout or end-to-end, otherwise Barca fans don’t usually sweat going two goals up against Panathanaikos.

Two is safe with these guys...

In fact, looking back to those La Liga stats, Barcelona had 10 of them at the half and Real Madrid an astounding 14 of them–neither team gave it up. Amazingly for Jose Mourinho’s minions, when they didn’t have a 2-0 lead, they had quite a pedestrian winning percentage, 62.5%. Only 15 wins in 24 matches.

Basically if one of the teams mentioned above is holding the two-goal lead, it’s time to relax.  If the team holding the lead is of a higher stature than their opponent, the lead is pretty certain but some other factors can creep in to change the outcome.  If the team holding the lead is of the same or lesser quality than their opponent (Fulham vs. Stoke and Blackpool vs. United are good examples) the advantage inspires significantly less confidence and most fans begin to start calculating all of the other factors listed below.

Mental toughness of the teams – This attribute can also be viewed within the umbrella of the “Overall quality of the team” but it bears splitting out as there are some teams that are good but don’t quite have the mental toughness to be great.  Arsenal of the last few years is a good example of this; they play well on most days, have shown the ability to hang with the best in the world for 90 minutes or so, but they don’t have that mental edge to do what it takes at all times a la Manchester United this season who may not have been spectacular but they are deserving champions.

It is this extra something in the deep recesses of the mind that makes a champion and gives the players and a team the ability to steal the nerves and put the game to bed when up by two, or to press on when the opponent begins to make their comeback.  Mental toughness is also responsible for a team pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and managing a comeback when faced with the two goal deficit.

Context of the Match – When, where, and why the match is being played has some bearing on whether or not a team will be able to hold onto or come back from this kind of margin.  David vs. Goliath matchups in the domestic cup competitions usually sees the better teams’ lesser players getting a run out leading to less mental fortitude or the Davids of the world playing as if they have nothing to lose.  Raising the stakes to Continental or International competitions often raises the level of concentration, from the leading team, and “fight back” in the trailing teams.  Whereas league matches don’t always have the same fire and intensity.  Bitter rivalries also raise the level of concentration and “fight back” especially when trophies are involved.

Based on the obviously quasi-scientific analysis mentioned above, I’ve come to the conclusion that a two goal lead is not dangerous, as in getting a two goal lead assures that you will, more often than not, NOT concede at least two goals and count yourself lucky to escape with a point.  Initial research bears this out as well; the Premier League and La Liga see 95% of teams that take a two goal lead escape with all three points, and the 2010 World Cup saw 96% of teams (24 of 25) emerge victorious after taking the two goal lead – the only one who earned a draw after going up by two was Slovenia against the US, and we all know they were extremely lucky to even get a point from that match.  And lastly, the 2011 Gold Cup saw 93% of teams emerge victorious – the lone blemish again involving the US, but not in a good way for fans of the USMNT.

However, there is some logic to this dead horse of a sportscaster cliché.  Having a one goal lead keeps you focused as it’ll only take a fluke to level the scores.  Having a three goal lead or more means you’re probably facing off against a team that doesn’t possess the quality to come back from such a deficit, and you’re likely home and dry.  But only being ahead by two goals may relax your team just enough that the opponent can claw their way back into the match and use the momentum to level the match or even take the lead themselves – just ask my men’s league team who snatched a draw from the jaws of victory this past weekend after being up by two on two separate occasions and our “second” team who’s done that on multiple occasions this season.

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Even three wouldn't've been enough...

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Thank you Kyle Martino!  Thank you for not saying it last night and [assumption] thank you for not letting JP Dellacamera say it!

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Let’s put the above ideals to the test in the best Freudian application possible – that is structuring your theories on the fly to fit the results you’re seeing…I jest.  The Gold Cup Final saw a team take a two goal lead and spectacularly lose it, and then some, so let’s put it into the proper context:

Quality of the teams – The 2011 GC Final saw the two teams most expected to be there as they are the biggest fish in the relatively small CONCACAF pond.  Though Mexico had dominated the early days of this matchup (it wasn’t a rivalry until the US showed they could actually beat the Mexicans), the US has caught up to them and now there appears to be more ebb and flow as to who the actual “dominant force” is.  Based on their form in the tournament, the Mexicans were the better team heading into the final with the US reprising its role as good but not quite good enough.

Mental toughness of the teams – Since the US took the 2-0 lead, we’ll examine their mental toughness…Faced with adversity, of their own making, throughout the tournament you would think that the US would have the edge necessary to polish their turd of a tournament and embarrass their rivals in front of the home crowd.  Alas, it was not meant to be and the mental frailties that led to the US digging its holes in the previous matches resurfaced (along with some other factors) to conspire against the US successfully thwarting the Mexican attack.

Mexico must be commended for their attitude and fight in this match; based on all of their hot-headed, ill-tempered arrogance in the 2000 decade which saw the US own El Tri when games were played in neutral* settings.  This newer edition appears to have more respect for the United States, which leads to less stupid red cards and better opportunities to overcome deficits.

*Neutral settings here meaning anywhere outside the borders of Mexico as any game in the US is at least 50-50 pro-Mexican support, and most falling closer to the 70-30 or higher splits.

Context of the Match – The Gold Cup Final was not only the final of a tournament (trophy on the line) but this was yet another installation of this bitter rivalry, which would likely see more concentration from the US and more fightback from the Mexicans.  Only one of those panned out on the night and the score line was an accurate reflection of how each team reacted to the context and gravity of the match.

As you can see the Gold Cup Final ended up being somewhat of an exception to the rule.

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29 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mike on 2011/06/28 at 4:44 PM

    The argument against the 2 goal lead theory would have been better analyzed by comparing it to other leads (e.g., 1 goal leads, 3 goal leads) to see if it led to more or less successful outcomes. Merely looking at the rate of success of 2 goal leads does not tell us whether it’s a more or less dangerous lead than other types of leads.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/28 at 4:46 PM

      Mike — good point in a mathematical sense. We’ll do a follow-up.

      That said, I’m willing to bet a 1-goal lead is more surmountable than a 2-goal lead and that is more surountable than a 3-goal lead.

      Frankly I don’t see the 2-goal lead as being dangerous at all.

      But good point and we’ll do the homework.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/28 at 6:46 PM

        Mental toughness

        We beat Spain 2-0, with goals in the 27th and 74th minute. 2-0 vs Mexico was tough for the US because it came too early, they had too much time to think.

        Mexico were a better overall team than the US, much more comfortable in their own skin. De La Torre only had been at the helm for 11 games but saw the attacking talent and had them play in a style that suited them.

        In contrast the US were more of a Frankenstein monster, part 2010 World Cup, part new edition. This was a team that had yet to develop an acknowledged style.

        Mexico’s strength was in attack and they had better players than the US The US’ strength was in holding midfielders and this is harder to translate into a fluid style.

        So when the US took their lead they weren’t sure how to deal with Mexico’s comeback, do they attack and get another one or do they button it up? Like Brazil did in the Confederations Cup, Mexico came back before the US could make up their mind and by then it was too late.

        Against Spain they had only 16 minutes to go and they knew they just had to defend with their lives.

        So this isn’t so much about mental toughness. Mexico were fine 2-0 down because all they had to do was do what they did best, attack like crazy. Mexico know who they are and played like it.

        The US isn’t at the point yet where they have an identity that they can fall back on when it gets tough. It’s hard to be mentally tough when you don’t really know who you are.

        The US is a limited team with limited players and a very thin talent pool. They win close games only if everything goes right. Until they have better players they will never have any identity other than what they have now, a scrappy bunch that overachieves.

        Reply

        • Posted by Frank on 2011/07/02 at 7:12 PM

          I feel that part of that goes to the manager. Isn’t it his responsibility to “manage” the tactics of the team and to instill the mental discipline into his players? At least it was when I played sports.

          Reply

    • Mike – I would love to have the time to find and crunch all of that data and present you with actual statistics and proper statistical analysis. In lieu of that we did a restricted amount of research and took a more philosophical approach to the piece because while the numbers don’t lie they don’t explain everything that contributes to a 2-0 lead being toppled, thus the banality of this cliche.

      Reply

  2. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/28 at 6:27 PM

    the two goal lead was dangerous for el salvador at home against the usa. did costa rica have a two goal lead, or a one goal lead against the usa in the last qualifing game? two goal leads are dangerous and history shows it to be the case. is a two goal lead dangerous for madrid against most of the rest of spain, of course it is not, but of course it is also not as safe as the three goal lead and teams might be pushing for that third knockout punch and all of a sudden a two goal lead is a one goal lead and it is not just momentum, but it is probably more about team mentality and having to adjust in mid stride, with momentum against you. to say the two goal lead being dangerous is a cliche, come on now, that is being a little oblivious of history.

    blackpool with any lead over united is going to be dangerous, even though the possition is obviously welcomed by blackool, because they would rather be up two nil rather than down 4 nil. this is really about the usa and the dynamics surrounding the style of game they play, isnt it? two nil leads come and go with this team. on both sides of the equation. losing a two goal lead does not excuse anything though, that is for sure. the usa never lost their two nil lead to mexico before, or maybe they did in a friendly several years ago when i think dempsey almost made it three nil before halftime but was offsides.

    all this being said, every team in world football would be happy to take a two nil advantage, right? whats the debate here again?

    Reply

    • Dikranovich – you’re kind of proving the point of this piece. Cost Rica and El Salvador did have a 2 goal lead against the US, but what was it that allowed the US to topple that lead? Was it the timing of when the lead was taken and then reduced? Was it the overall quality of the US at those points during the qualifying cycle (maybe not great but the knew who they were and how to go about their jobs). The Blackpool United example was to prove the point about class/talent of the teams competing.

      I used the USA-Mexico game to simply apply my different criteria to a game that was fresh in everyone’s memory. NOT to call out the US specifically.

      I didn’t go back into the Hex Qualifying results, see the above comment to Mike. If I had the time (keep in mind that everyone at TSG does this for free and we have real jobs that we oftentimes ignore to produce some of this content) I would love to look at every game for the last 50 years and present proper statistical analysis to determine whether it’s a true cliche in that you only hear about it when it comes to bear fruit instead of the majority of the time when a 2 goal lead stands up, OR whether the stats show that 2 goals is actually more dangerous than a one goal lead. Our research (limited as it is) shows that over 93% of the time 2 goal leads hold up, but we aren’t able to take into account all of the numerical information – was the two goal lead achieved after coming back from being a goal down (down 1-0 to up 3-1), or other situations.

      Reply

  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/28 at 7:43 PM

    I think what TSG are getting at re. “2 goal lead being dangerous” is the *alledged* comfort zone the team with the lead can get into, and supposedly take their foot off the gas, thinking the game is over, and get caught cold…

    Reply

    • Also, George, that this statement by announcers is often silly given how often it is or isn’t overcome.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/29 at 11:10 AM

        You’re absolutely right. The more I think about it, the more it cracks me up because it is just silly.

        However, Federer just lost after being two sets up!

        Reply

  4. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/28 at 7:55 PM

    yeah, they can take their foot off the gas, or they can apply more pressure and end up losing that way also, so it is like double indemnity, or whatever. two goal leads equal very specific dangers in very many situations that come up in soccer. for example, say a team scores first, then the other team rings off three unanswered, is that lead more or less dangerous than the game that goes three nil and then three one, which two goal lead is more dangerous?

    usa missed a couple of players in this gold cup, really a lot more than a couple, but who was the biggest miss? holden was pretty tough and chandler would have been real nice, a healthy gooch woulda been cool, but losing b feilhaber right before the event, when he was playing pretty well and maybe he is just to injurt prone, but he is the one player that really is able to unlock defenses with his vision and passing skills. adu aint bad either, just not the same vision as feilhaber.

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/28 at 8:18 PM

      IF Benny was there there would have been no Bedoya.

      Reply

    • The intent behind using the USA-Mexico example wasn’t to harrangue the US for losing, it was merely to use a fresh example to apply the new subjectively philosophical criteria I came up with.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Rich on 2011/06/28 at 8:35 PM

    Was it a mental letup after the two goal lead, or was it more the loss of Dolo? I wouldn’t be in a position to know since I couldn’t see the game…

    Reply

  6. Posted by Chris on 2011/06/28 at 9:40 PM

    I was at the game, and the Mexicans cheered when Cherundolo got injured and then again when Bornstein came on.

    When you say “home crowd,” do you mean for the US or for Mexico? That game was about 20-1 Mexico to US fans, so I think we can call it a Mexican home game.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/29 at 6:04 AM

      Tangential: I know the USSF need a payday, but surely they could have picked a large stadium somewhere other than LA where there would have been a (more) pro-US crowd? Personally, I think it is disgusting that this happens when the US play at home.

      Reply

      • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/06/29 at 6:59 AM

        Once again, ussf did not pick the venues for this tournament. It was a concacaf decision. And a perfectly fair one at that.

        As for the topic at hand, I’d much rather be up 2-0 than down 0-2.

        Reply

  7. Posted by Soccernst on 2011/06/29 at 8:38 AM

    This is not about the teams. 2-0 is the ideal scoreline for the commentator to mention the dangerous lead. If the “2” close out the game, the comment is forgotten and team applauded. If the comeback is on, they can bring you back to their moment of “genius” back when it was 2-0.

    Reply

    • Exactly – well mostly. I still hate hearing the statement even if the team closes out the game because research shows that it’s not as dangerous as the commentors make it sound WHEN they’re actually proven correct. It’s the exception not the rule.

      Reply

      • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/29 at 10:05 AM

        nick, i like you guys at shin guardian, and you do it all for free, that is very nice. it sure does seem like the usa has been involved in the two goal lead senario an awful lot over this past couple of years. is the two goal lead comeback the exception or the rule with our us national team. usa has had a couple of wins where they have won by more than two and of course lost by more than two as well.

        to me, rather than showing stats that disproves the two goal theory, id be more interested in knowing why the two goal lead does evaporate when it does, and what causes it. and is what makes the usa be able to come back from two goals down, how is that related to what makes them give up two goal leads. good open constructive debate should be what this board is all about, right?

        Reply

        • I’m all for constructive debate, and it’s possible that I misunderstood the point you were making in your first comment. The point of the piece was to disprove the cliche of the 2 goal lead being the most dangerous, and to point out some possible reasons why a 2 goal lead stands up or evaporates when it does. Matt’s excellent editing pared down my original verbosity, making it a much more enjoyable read, but there were three other criteria I explored; the Time when the lead was acquired, time when the Anschlusstreffer ( http://doiop.com/Anschlußtreffer-) is scored and the Quality of the Anschlusstreffer.

          Exploring this topic in the realm of the US National Team would be an interesting addendum especially comparing to how often Mexico is involved in games with a 2 goal lead and their stats in those matches.

          Reply

          • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/29 at 11:21 AM

            this debate is prevelant in soccer. it is the stats vs the more intrinsic nature of this sport. the stats may say one thing, but in fact, under the situations which make it occur, a two goal lead can be considered the most dangerous of lead, thats what i think history says.

            Reply

            • That’s where time comes in. I wish I had all of the data available and the time to analyze it appropriately to provide you with the stats overall and situationally, because you’re right. Saying XYZ occurs 95% of the time isn’t relevant without citing sources/situations.

              I fear this would be at least a year-long undertaking…

  8. Posted by Paul on 2011/06/29 at 10:30 AM

    Another tangential point: the vets on the US starting 11 versus the relative inexperience of the Mexican side. Yes, we all knew Boca and his defensive line were a step slow. Look at the places Boca, ‘Dolo,Goodsen, and Lichaj play–respectively, the French, German, and Danish first divisions, and the Championship. All of these leagues feature quality players, including attackers with pace. It seemed as if our starting back four had never seen speedy players against Mexico, yet this is patently untrue given the impressive club experience of our defense. I thought US experience, for club and national sides, would translate to a US victory despite Mexican form.

    Is this another chorus to the “Fire Bradley” chant? I don’t think it would be unwise to consider this as a flaw in Bradley’s planning; certainly, a defense with Spector–or, hell, even Bornstein–should have enough experience to be ready to face pace. In previous years, US national team’s motto could have been “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Now we have better parts, players who are playing in better leagues and finding more playing time, but the whole hasn’t advanced in accord with its improving parts.

    Reply

  9. I have never heard any announcer say this besides Harkes. Now in his defense, it would be better worded if Harkes said a 2-0 lead is the most deceiving lead in soccer. It’s ludicrous to think it is dangerous to up by 2.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Crow on 2011/06/29 at 8:38 PM

    Here is a post I made over on USSOCCER

    First let me start off with a little background. I’m a 25 year old white male from rural central Pennsylvania. The population of the county I live is over 98% white. There are many redneck/xenophobic people in my area. I try very hard to be an open minded individual and have received alot of criticism over the years sticking up for minorities or against prejudiced people.
    With that being said, I have been “scarred” in a sense from my experiences at the Rose Bowl on Saturday in the sense that I am afraid that my views of Mexicans have been tainted. I thought I knew what I was getting into having been to the 2009 qualifier in Columbus and knowing that the atmosphere would be much more hostile due to the setting, but I guess it still surprised me. Alot has already been said in the forums- WOMEN even being violently targeted by Mexican fans; I’m seriously scared to think what would have happened had the USA won. I’ll just tell some stories about what I personally experienced and saw, not heresay.
    When I arrived and shortly before (at a gas station north of Pasadena) I mainly just received dirty looks from some Mexican fans when they saw me in my Clint Dempsey jersey. I briefly went over to the AO tailgate before the game, but saw that trouble could possibly be brewing. Some Mexican fans were going by mouthing off, or attempting to walk through and roughly bump into people. While I was there only a few brief skirmishes broke out, but were quickly dispelled. I hung out with a small group of American fans further away after that. I started experiencing some trouble when I went to enter the stadium. First of all, the Rose Bowl should be ashamed of itself- the lines took forever to let in, yet security was basically letting people just waltz in. It would have been very easy to bring a concealed weapon into the stadium. I was standing in a mass for about 1/2 hour waiting to get into the stadium. During that time, a Mexican man IN HIS 50′S or so began blowing one of those stupid air horns directly into my ear. I put up with it for awhile and then just gave the guy a look after a few minutes. He started up again and I tried to move away from him and his posse but they followed me through the mass. This continued on for awhile longer. By now my ear was starting to actually hurt from the noise (actually it still hurts today and I may have to go to the doctor). Nearby, a small Mexican child was CRYING because of the horn. I asked the man in Spanish to stop at least because of the child at but he wouldn’t. While this was going on I saw a white woman in a Mexican jersey who was apparently married to a Mexican man being harrassed. The husband almost got into a fight with the people harrassing her.
    I only saw one fight break out during the game from the AO section although I heard there were more. However, I was amazed by the extremely vulgar and hateful racist chants (in Spanish and English) of the very young and older Mexican fans. I saw kids as young as 8 or so participating in them gleefully as well as older Mexican men and women. And this was the large majority of the crowd even though I know that not all Mexican fans were participating. After the game ended, many of the American fans in the supporters section left quickly but I stayed with a few others to wait for the USA to walk off the pitch despite alot of Mexican fans pouring into the section and trying to push us away. On my way out of the stadium, I wasn’t able to drive out the way I was supposed to because I was blocked by a bunch of Mexican fans. I asked them to move politely but they would not. I had to drive through a sand trap (we were parked on a golf course) in my rent-a-car or I may have never gotten out of the parking lot. During this time, I had a Mexican man come over to my window and scream obscenities at me in Spanish and English about myself and the team. I thought he was going to try to damage my rent-a-car. By now I had had enough. I almost replied “Big words for such a little man” in Spanish but thankfully caught myself and just told him “I can’t hear you”. Even though it wasn’t as bad as Azteca where you are allowed to throw vomit, feces, and urine on players, it was bad, and it could have been worse if the USA won. I spent the Sunday before in DC and had a wonderful time with the Salvadorians, Panamanians, and Jamaicans. Somebody needs to step up and take responsibility for the Mexican fans continued repulsive behavior- all it does is create more divisions.
    If any Mexican fan reads this who did not act in such a manner or even tried to stop others- thank you.
    I’m still very angry about everything that happened. I shouldn’t be in fear of attending a game in my own country as I support my team. I can’t tell you how much self-control it took to not respond to all the provocations I faced. I can’t tell you how frustrated I was to be ridiculed as a fan as I spent all of my spare money and vacation time to travel cross-country to California by myself to support the team. I cheered as loudly as I could through the entire 2nd half and stayed until the US players walked off the field. The only time I heard the Mexican fans make any noise was when they scored a goal or when they were doing their racist/vulgar chants. I can’t tell you how angry I feel about the US players being disrespected and receiving very little support (I hope they knew how much it took for the few American fans who were there to attend), and then to be blasted for post-game comments. I can’t believe how a news outlet like ESPN can glorify Mexican fans in a magazine article saying they are the best soccer fans in America and then trash the American players on their website (Tim Howard’s comments after the game after he was abused with vulgar/racial comments the whole game on home soil). Can we get one article talking about what US fans have to put up with to support the team? Can we get one article describing the despicable behavior of a LARGE MAJORITY of Mexican fans? Can someone at USSF please stand up and support this team and fans in some way? I’m still shaking with anger when I think about some of these things.

    Reply

  11. Posted by kaya on 2011/07/01 at 1:27 PM

    Just thought I’d mention that once Japan went up against Mexico 2-0, I was again told how dangerous the 2-0 lead is… definitely directed towards Japan. Definitely more dangerous than the final 4-0 tally =)

    Reply

  12. Posted by dth on 2011/07/02 at 10:43 PM

    You know who definitely thought 2-0 was the most dangerous lead? Bob Bradley. Could’ve bunkered, but no…had to chase the 3-0.

    Still bitter about this (especially bitter about the people who seem to think losing that game was inevitable, regardless of tactics. Yeah, right, folks.)

    Reply

  13. [...] and Reina can’t stand on his head all the time when Liverpool comes under siege clinging to “the most dangerous lead in soccer”, 1-0. Hero of the Kop Steven Gerrard battles fitness issues all year and shuts it down a bit [...]

    Reply

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