By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
Although fans from Tijuana and San Diego were very lively during the game, Mexico’s sub-23 soccer national team tied to zero with its rival from Paraguay at the Feb. 27 game at Estadio Caliente in Tijuana.
Maybe the most interesting aspect of the game, which was, for the most part boring, was the enthusiasm of the crowds before the game began.
Estadio Caliente was full to capacity when fans from all over the region came to the historical game that was the first time ever Mexico’s national soccer team played in Tijuana.
One could see green shirts and tricolor flags, the people, including many children, were cheering for their team and booed the South American players.
Estadio Caliente began filling up before 3 p.m., time at which the game began. More than 14,000 soccer fans crowded the stadium, which is the home of First Division A team Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente.
Around the stadium there was a variety of food and drink stands, and also stands selling t-shirts, balls, and other souvenirs.
With a great team and great fans, the game started strong, at the 9th minute César Villaluz almost scored.
Paraguay didn’t want to stay behind and at minute 24, Ernesto Cristaldo hit a strong shot from the right, while Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa just saw the ball pass far from its goal.
Local dance troupe Cetis 58 Xochipilli de Tijuana was in charge of offering a very Mexican show for all the fans, which included many people from across the border in San Diego.
For the second half, Coach Hugo Sanchez didn’t make any changes, waiting for his team to play better together, since its the same starting line-up he’ll use for the PreOlympics tournament.
Pablo Barrera almost scored at minute 49, when he sent a center shot to the Guarani area, but his teammate Santiago Fernández couldn’t kick it the right way and the goalkeeper saved the play.
El Tri traveled to the U.S. to play in two more games as preparation for the classification tournament of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The next game will be this Sunday against Australia in Oakland. On March 6 it will face Finland in Dallas.
Estadio Caliente will witness more soccer action this Sunday when Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente go against Dorados de Sinaloa.