Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gold Cup

On Tuesday, June 12, my buddy and I took in the gold cup double-header in Foxboro, Massachusetts. On the field, we saw some decent action; the U.S. manhandled El Salvador by a score of 4-0. Old friend Clint Dempsy (who used to play for the New England Revolution, the tenant of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro) looked strong, as did fellow New England homeboy Taylor Twellman. Honestly, El Salvador wasn’t much of a test (they played one man up front, packed the midfield and looked like they were praying for a draw) but it was still fun to watch. The nightcap saw Trinidad and Tobago draw Guatemala 1-1. I saw most of this match from the comfort of my couch; as soon as the US game was over I headed home because of a downpour. I know, I’m a baby.

Probably the most fun aspect of the games was not the play, however, but the fans. This was my first international tournament, and it was a pleasure to see the various peoples come out in their national colors and support their teams. It seemed to my eyes that the US had the biggest following (unsurprising, since the game was played in the US) but not by much, and the US fans not in the “singing section” of Gillette tended to be on the quiet side. The Guatemalan fan contingent were nearly as large as the US, and twice as passionate, coming draped in flags and face paint, and carrying drums. Even though Guatemala was not playing the US, they came out to passionately cheer for whoever was playing against the hosts. El Salvador’s fans were not as numerous but were also quite impressive, cheering hard for every tackle and won ball, especially early in the match before the score got out of hand. Only the T&T fan group was small and relatively quiet.

Matches held at Gillette stadium are usually quiet affairs involving ten or eleven thousand people; it often seems even less than that because the stadium is so big. It was good to see a big, enthusiastic crowd there on Tuesday, and I am looking forward to the triple-header on Saturday. On top of a Revs game we also get Canada v. Guatemala and the U.S. v. Panama. It should be fun.

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