It was imperfectly odd. It was strangely unsettling. It was uniquely American.
On a balmy early Saturday summer evening, the U.S soccer team played for a prestigious championship in a U.S. stadium … and was smothered in boos.
Its fans were vastly outnumbered. Its goalkeeper was bathed in a chanted obscenity. Even its national anthem was filled with the blowing of air horns and bouncing of beach balls.
Most of these hostile visitors didn't live in another country. Most, in fact, were not visitors at all, many of them being U.S. residents whose lives are here but whose sporting souls remain elsewhere.
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Goalkeeper Tim Howard was still upset after the U.S. lost the Gold Cup final, but his strongest reaction had nothing to do with the four goals Mexico slotted in his net.
After El Tri's 4-2 victory at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Howard blasted CONCACAF officials for conducting the title ceremony in Spanish.
"CONCACAF should be ashamed of themselves," Howard said. "I think it was a [expletive] disgrace that the entire postmatch ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your ass that if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English.
For a team hosting a Gold Cup final on its soil, there was something awry at the Rose Bowl during Mexico’s 4-2 come-from-behind thrashing of the United States.
No, it wasn’t Jonathan Bornstein’s horrendous marking performance against Mexico’s wingers.
Rather, it was sea of green jerseys that swarmed the 92,000-seat stadium and the fact the trophy presentation was emceed by a famous Mexican television host, Fernando Fiore, who only spoke in English to announce the United States as the players picked up their runner-up medals.
There is nothing wrong with the presentation being in Spanish but since CONCACAF is a governing body that represents both of its English and Spanish speaking finalists, there should have been a concerted effort to have a trophy celebration that was entirely bilingual. It isn’t something out of the ordinary in soccer, as UEFA conducts its games in the languages of both teams competing.