USA midfielder Graham Zusi deemed a saint by Mexican fans


(Image courtesy @SportingKC)

After the United States saved Mexico’s bacon in World Cup qualifying, the response south of the border was incredible.

When American consul Graham Zusi headed his stoppage-time goal into the back of the net, he became an international icon.

Hailed as a hero isn’t much of a surprise, but a saint? It seems like a bit much, but it’s the truth. During training with his club team, Sporting Kansas City, Mexico’s latest religious icon found himself showered with gifts.


(Image courtesy @SportingKC)

That’s right, a group of El Tri supporters anointed “Saint” Zusi on Thursday, complete with a massive sombrero.

The outpouring of gratitude has been an awesome bonus for the USMNT, but we’re still waiting to see if Panama has an opposite but equal reaction.


USA supporters steal the show at Sporting Park


Sporting Park began to fill up an hour before the match started. Just before kickoff, hundreds of American flags were held up, waving magnificently in the breeze as the supporters chanted their admiration for the USA.

The national anthem was a thing to behold. More than 18,000 fans in the stands belted it out at the top of their lungs, holding their scarves in the air, setting a stunning scene for their boys in red, white and blue.


USA fans before the match. (Image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images)

While the United States had already qualified for the 2014 World Cup, and their final two qualifiers are essentially meaningless, it didn’t feel that way on Friday night at Sporting Park when they took on Jamaica.

The atmosphere was electric from the get-go. Even before the match began, the American Outlaws and many other fans filled the stadium, chanting and getting hyped.


Despite a pretty dull game for the first 80 minutes or so, the fans kept bringing the noise despite a lack of any interesting action on the pitch.

When hometown hero Graham Zusi finally broke the deadlock, the crowd at Sporting Park went absolutely bonkers. Not long after, Jozy Altidore kept the party going to score the USA’s second. The USA would go on to win 2-0, clinching first place in the Hex.


Fans at Sporting Park. (Image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images)

After the match, most of the crowd stuck around as Jurgen Klinsmann and the team thanked them for making them feel at home. His players gave Klinsmann a nice cold Gatorade bath, following by the German pumping his fists in the air to Macklemore. It was a moment of pure joy that these fans shared with their team.

The thunderous roars, the chants, jumping up and down, and the sea of stars and stripes in Kansas City won’t soon be forgotten.


American Soccer Magazines: Overlap

MLS and the folks over at Howler have teamed up to bring North American soccer fans a cool (and free!) digital magazine. The inaugural issue of Overlap is out now at the App Store; the next issue will drop around the league’s All-Star game this summer.

The ‘zine combines Howler’s cutting-edge design with several multimedia features, including interviews with players and some interactive graphics. Features include a profile of Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and a history of MLS, relative to other North American sports leagues.

Overlap also contains an unintentional nod towards American soccer magazines of the past.When the editor of this website founded the late Kick! Magazine in the 1990s, he asked George Vecsey to write the lead article. Editors Greg Lalas and George Quaraishi had Vecsey write the lead here. Both articles are classics.


Five things to watch: Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo

By Kyle McCarthy

Sporting Kansas City visits Houston this afternoon to start their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Here are five points to watch when the two sides meet at BBVA Compass Stadium:

1. Traveling a difficult road: No MLS side has entered BBVA Compass Stadium and left with a victory since the venue opened earlier this year. Sporting would like to break that drought, but it must focus first and foremost on securing a decent result to avoid creating a difficult task in the second leg at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Wednesday.

2. Is Roger Espinoza fit?: Espinoza drives Sporting’s high-pressure approach from his usual spot in central midfield. He declared himself available after recovering from an ankle injury and Sporting manager Peter Vermes said he expects him to start. Espinoza must influence the game in his usual manner in order to give the visitors a chance to snatch the points.

Read More