American football defeats Mexico in first full capacity sporting event at Allegiant Stadium

Steve marcus

The U.S. players are celebrating after beating Mexico 1-0 in overtime in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Final at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, August 1, 2021.

In the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer final between the United States and Mexico over 20 years ago at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Marcus Cranston was too nervous to wear his red, white and blue clothes because the crowd was mainly made up of Mexican supporters.

That was also the case on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium, where the final of the legendary rivalry was repeated in front of 61,514 fans – an overwhelming number of black and green jerseys from Mexico.

But this time it was hard to miss Cranston and his wife: him in his American eagle costume; she disguised as Wonder Woman. They also had a replica of the Gold Cup trophy and were so popular that supporters of both teams stopped to take photos. He said there was no animosity with the opposing fan base.

“We can’t wait to get in,” he said outside Allegiant before the doors opened. “It’s going to be amazing.”

It was the first full-scale sporting event in the $ 1.9 billion facility built for Raiders and UNLV football, and ended in dramatic fashion when Miles Robinson headed into overtime on one hit. set foot sank to the back of the net for a 1-0 United States win.

The stadium opened last year, but was unable to accommodate large capacity events due to the pandemic. After two music shows last month, this was the first unrestricted sporting event, and it reflected the big-game atmosphere the stadium is expected to bring to the Valley several times a year.

Fans dotted the sidewalks surrounding the stadium more than three hours before kick-off, as vendors sold flags, headbands, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and fake jerseys.

Motorists honked their horns and blanks blew the horns. Powerful foggers sprayed refreshing water on a balmy summer afternoon.

Metro police arrived in force, patrolling the neighborhood and guiding traffic. On the outside, the jokes between opposing fans seemed friendly and the moods didn’t seem to heat up.

Draped in Mexican and American flags sewn together, Jose Zavala said he was torn as to who to cheer on on Sunday: “I am the rivalry, but my heart is divided today.”

His family is a mishmash of Mexican-Americans. Zavala, who is employed by Metro Police, was born in Mexico, but raised here. His US-born siblings were also divided with their fandom.

For him, this important event meant much more than football. His father and his cousins, who work in construction, helped build the facility, and on Sunday he was “proud to see the finished product.”

Zavala was hoping for an entertaining game with many goals.

“I hope it will be fun for the whole fan (base), and everyone will enjoy the same,” he said.

Josh Villalpando was born in the United States, but wore a Mexican jersey. His girlfriend, Brenda Guerrero, was born in Mexico, but wore a “USA” t-shirt.

The Salt Lake City pair are still cheering on both teams, they said. When the two teams face each other, “we get together, we watch the games, we have parties” at home, Villalpando said.

On Sunday, the Raiders season pass holder, who visited the stadium a few weeks ago, said he was eager to enter the crowded stadium, which he called “top of the line. range”.

Esteban and Soledad Oregon immigrated to the United States from Guerrero, Mexico, about 30 years ago. Their children were born here.

“We have been following the Gold Cup since it started,” Esteban said.

The married couple said they were excited about the Las Vegas final. They wore Mexican shirts and American flag ribbons tied around the neck.

“We encourage the United States and Mexico,” Esteban said. “Our children are from here, we live here, so for us, we love them both.”

The match sold out in 90 minutes before the finalists were determined, which was the fastest in tournament history, stadium officials said.

The American fans certainly enjoyed the end of the game, as Robinson scored the only goal of the game in the 117th minute – just three minutes before penalties were used to determine the winner.

American players rejoiced in front of the American Outlaws, their traveling support group as organizers quickly set the stage for the medal ceremony and the trophy presentation accompanied by fireworks and gold confetti.

Robinson, in a post-game interview on Fox Sports, described it as “incredible, crazy emotions.”

Not bad for the first large capacity sporting event at the new stadium in Las Vegas.

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