Coming into Fourth of July weekend, I had nothing to look forward to. Other than my small little day trip to the San Diego County Fair and the United States Men’s National Soccer Team game the following day. At the fair, I was set on finding a jersey, a USMNT jersey. I went to the shop selling jerseys with my sister and mom at my side only to try on a fake jersey. I was very disappointed, but it’s my fault – I should have expected that. A few minutes after that I run into a man wearing a real jersey. Being the curious guy that I am, I politely ask him where he got his jersey. He looks at me and says, “I’m from Ohio bro. I got this thing back there. But you can get them online.” I answer back saying “I wanted to grab a jersey for the game tomorrow, I’m going.”
His eyes lit up and said “ME TOO!” The conversation continued on for good 10-15 minutes. He tells me about the American Outlaws, a die hard support group and how he flies out to games and how willing he is to spend the extra cash for tickets. He invites me to the Outlaw’s tailgate and we go off doing our own thing.
The next day, my sister and I carpool with another buddy of mine down to Qualcomm Stadium, home of the Chargers, and for July 5th – the home of the USMNT. We drive up to the tailgate to find 300 people posted at their cars drinking, eating, and having a good time. Just think of any football tailgate, but with American colors everywhere. It was insane! Chants were cheered and laughs were had, but time came to enter Qualcomm Stadium.
My friends and I left early from the tailgate to find our seats, while the Outlaws marched 1200 strong into Qualcomm. We find our seats eager to see the match. The national anthem of Guatemala plays, and all the Americans just stand and wait on their cell phones. Once the Star Spangled Banner played, the crowed sang in unison. I definitely can say that I have never sang the Star Spangled Banner that loud and with so much passion before. Having this match the day after the 4th of July only helped.
The match starts off slow. Both Guatemala and the U.S. were getting a feel for each other. In the 42nd minute, Hercules Gomez scores a goal off a volley. After halftime, the U.S. dominated. Landon Donovan netted his 50th Career International goal in the 55th minute off a penalty kick. In the 71st minute, Chris Wondolowski scores his first international goal. Shortly after, Donovan scores another goal off a beautiful pass from Stuart Holden. In the 84th and 87th minutes goals were scored by Clarence Goodson and Alejandro Bedjoya. Coming to a final score of 6-0. This was a much needed confidence booster going into the Gold Cup and a great come back by L.A. Galaxy’s own Landon Donovan.
In the stands during this match it was unbelievable. “Merica” oozed in each person’s veins and chants of U.S.A echoed. It reeked of peanuts and beer…and I loved every single minute of it. Every goal scored, a roaring celebration ensued. After the match, everybody carried their enthusiasm for the United States home.
“You’re not American until you’ve attended a baseball game.” To those who say that, I have to disagree. You’re not American until you’ve attended a United States Soccer match. Because NOTHING compares to cheering on your fellow Yanks to victory.