Revolution's Burns remembers ’97 draw at Azteca fondly

New England's Brian Bilello, Jay Heaps, Michael Burns

Photo Credit: 
Jason Dalrymple/New England Revolution

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Fourteen US internationals knew what it felt like to claim a result at Estadio Azteca for their country before Wednesday night.

Every single one of them – including Revolution general manager Michael Burns (above, right) – etched their names into history after featuring in the lineup that secured a 0-0 draw on Nov. 2, 1997. 

Now they have some long-awaited company. 

As Burns watched the group expand in stunning fashion in the 1-0 win, he processed the magnitude of the accomplishment as his fellow internationals managed to secure the first US victory in Mexico in 25 attempts.

“For any team in the world to go down to Azteca, it's one of the most difficult places in the world to get a win,” Burns told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “Last night, watching the game, there was certainly a sense of pride for me after playing for the US and being part of the team that got a draw there in 1997. It was great to watch.”

Burns (a substitute on that particular occasion) and his US teammates used that draw in 1997 to help fuel their successful efforts to qualify for the World Cup in 1998. Although the US won't receive any points after emerging from that cauldron with a victory on this occasion, the coaches and players can use this experience as they prepare for a likely return to the venue during the final round of World Cup qualifying next year. 

If the US does return in search of points during the Hexagonal, then they will do so knowing that they have the ability to secure a result. That type of belief can only serve to boost the efforts to add a third success at the Azteca to the list and include even more players in that famous group at some point in the near future, according to Burns.

“The result is fantastic, no doubt about it,” Burns said. “I think it's even more important going forward for the confidence and the mentality now that will hopefully be instilled into these players that they can go anywhere in the world and get a result.”