Earthquake rattles Mexico City, World Cup qualifier still on

March 26th, 2013

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Image from @NickRimando

By Leander Schaerlaeckens

Mexico City, Mexico

On the morning of the most tempestuous soccer game in the region between archrivals Mexico and the United States, an earthquake shook the country. The US Geological Survey measured its magnitude at 5.5 while Mexico’s Seismology Service registered it at 5.9.

Buildings reportedly swayed here in the capital city, 227 miles northwest of the quake’s epicenter, while earthquake alarms sent people fleeing into the streets in some parts of the country. No damage was reported anywhere across town, however. In the southern section of Mexico City, where the US is staying a few miles away from the Estadio Azteca, where the game will be played, the earthquake was barely even felt.

It hit at 7.04am local time, followed by a slightly milder aftershock eight minutes later, and most people slept through it. A US Soccer spokesman said only a few team-members even noticed the tremble. Defender Omar Gonzalez took to Twitter and joked about the earthquake to his followers, saying “first a snow storm… Now an earthquake? We’re not messin’ around!”

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As such, the early-morning rumble isn’t expected to have any effect on Tuesday night’s game whatsoever. The US is primed for a tough contest in difficult conditions – altitude, smog, more than 100,000 raucous Mexican fans with a habit of hurling objects and liquids at the Americans – and this blip will barely register.

The US team goes into Tuesday night’s game full of confidence – “110,000? Yes, please,” US forward Herculez Gomez tweeted Monday night. “If this doesn’t get you going then you don’t have a pulse.” – having taken its first ever win at the Azteca in 25 tries last August. And a minor incident like a shudder in their beds will hardly dull their focus and desire.

As Gomez told journalists on the eve of the game, “Anything can happen.” That includes earthquakes, and its impact on the US team will be same as it was on local infrastructure – non-existent.

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