We're all bummed the USMNT didn’t make it to the World Cup. Many Americans are still recovering from the emotional blow suffered last week. There are those who just want to forget about everything soccer until 2022. Others are looking for new national teams to root for next summer.
Here’s a thought. American fans should support Mexico. Am I serious? Yes! Here’s why:
Look, I know the relationship between the USA and Mexico has not always been easy. We have faced each other a thousand times, oftentimes trading the glory and the humiliation.
On occasion, we've even helped each other out. Four years ago, the USMNT bailed Mexico out of World Cup elimination with two stoppage time goals against Panama. And then the USMNT twitter account posted a laconic, in-your-face hashtag stating #YoureWelcomeMexico.
Unfortunately, El Tri did not return the favor last week when they lost to Honduras in San Pedro Sula. And while losing to Los Catrachos didn’t affect Mexico much, it was just one outcome in a crazy series of unfortunate events that led to the USMNT missing the World Cup.
Normally both our national teams participate in the tournament, so everybody is happy and cheers for their own nation. Next year things will be different. The USMNT will be watching the World Cup on TV for the first time since 1986.
So what to do? Who else is there to root for? Iceland? New Zealand?
How about looking south of the border? In doing so you will find a team that, very much like the USMNT, has struggled to make history in the world's greatest soccer competition.
The USA and Mexico have been through so much together. From the USMNT knocking Mexico out of the 2002 World Cup to Mexico beating their northern neighbors in an unforgettable Gold Cup final back in 2011.
I guess Mexico and the USA are kind of like brothers, bullying each other all the time, fighting even, but also knowing they are inseparable. Even Landon “Captain America” Donovan wanted to move down south at some point (if only because he wanted to play Mexican lotto).
I mean, the USA even took half of Mexico’s territory in a couple wars back in the 19th century. No hard feelings, right?
Some say it's in the hardest of times that true friendship is revealed. For one reason or another, the USA and Mexico have literally stood side by side each time something, good or bad, has come our way.
With over 36 million Mexican Americans living in the US, we have more than one reason to stick together and support each other.
Next summer is a good opportunity to show that rather than building walls that separate us, we can build bridges in common interest.