By, Kyle Gibson
Living in West Virginia, big soccer matches don’t come around you often.
That’s why when my dad, brother and I heard the CONCACAF Gold Cup was coming back to Charlotte, we had to go.
There were two matches on tap. The first was Cuba vs Guatemala. It was good in its own right, with Cuba grabbing a late winner and advancing to the Quarterfinals, but the real action came in the late game, with Trinidad and Tobago meeting Mexico.
This was our second Mexico match. We also saw El Tri beat Cuba in Charlotte in 2011. The atmosphere wasn’t great then, with victory assumed.
That being said, Wednesday’s atmosphere was insane. Mexico’s fans are some of the best in the world. Bank of America Stadium was filled with 55,000 plus, all of whom were there to have a great time and make some noise. Charlotte has a high Mexican population and soccer doesn’t always come around for them either, so they have to see their heroes when they can.
I can’t stress enough how great Mexico’s fans are at simply just making noise for their team. At times the game was deafening. That’s also probably because it was one of the best games I have ever seen.
Mexico went up 2-0 early, only to have Trinidad’s Kenwyne Jones and Keron Cummings go off to bring T&T into the lead at 3-2.
At this point all around us, the fans who had been screaming and bouyant all match, suddenly fell very silent. However, they and their team were not to be kept silent for long, scoring two late goals to take the lead.
The fans were so happy with the comeback that there wasn’t even really anger when Trinidad equalized in the 94th minute. Instead, everyone was simply appreciative of a great comeback and a truly sensational contest.
We also have a memory of this game that we will keep forever. On the tying goal, beer and water got thrown everywhere. It was impossible to not be hit by it. It was truly amazing to stand there and soak up the joy and the suds as your ears almost busted from the joyous noise. That’s what sports are for.
Who said a draw can’t be exciting?