Before leaving Mexico, seeing the national team play in Estadio Azteca was always on my list and the timing this time was perfect. Jump into packed metro. Follow the see of green jerseys to the platform of the light rail. Doors open, you get lifted and pushed in to the light rail in a flash more so than you walk into the light rail. About an hour after our trip started from the Zocalo, we were in the stadium. A see of smells and activities greeted fans. Tacos, tortas, games, promotions, loud music, lots of loud music. It was louder than any US tailgate. We entered the stadium and it was already roaring 30 minutes before the game as fans entertained themselves with doing the wave and eating and drinking. (The wave gained worldwide attention as a result of its appearance in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.)
When the US headed down to play in Mexico City's foreboding Estadio Azteca for a 2014 World Cup Qualifying game, they had never won a point in Mexico. Mexico's record at Estadio Azteca was 68-1-6. In 75 games, they had only lost once. And tied 6 times.
Fast forward to June 2013. The US left with a tie earlier this year. And earlier this week, Costa Rica wandered in and left with a tie as well. This is the first time that Mexico has tied three games in a row in World Cup Qualifiers in Azteca. Fans alternated between a string of language too foul to print and "Vamos Mexico" in a schizophrenic manner throughout the game. Cue anger in the stadium.
While bottles and cups rained down on the field, I had to put on my rain jacket. Not because it was raining in the upper deck of the stadium which is covered but the frustration began to spread. Beer and soda cups started to rain down on fans as well. It didn't smell like pee at least. And for that, I was grateful. Pee is known to be part of the flying liquids in the stadium. The logic of throwing things at your own fans...not quite sure. As one tweet noted, maybe the fans should have directed their anger at their team's inability to score instead of throwing debris at the other team.
Azteca is an intense and worthwhile experience but it's far from a family friendly venue.