MEXICO CITY – It would be nothing new for the US national anthem to get roundly booed in Tuesday’s game between Mexico and the United States (10:30 pm ET, ESPN/Univision, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), but El Tri coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre is doing his bit to turn around what some find a disrespectful tradition.
“I ask the fans to respect the national anthem of the away team,” de la Torre said in a press conference on Monday. “It feels very bad to be in an away stadium in another country and not even hear the anthem, so if there is something I can ask, it is to respect the national anthem of the visitors.”
The Mexico coach also asked fans to “unconditionally” support El Tri in the light of the booing that greeted his team when things didn’t go to plan last month. The Estadio Azteca rang out with boos for the home side and "Olés" for the visitors during Jamaica's stunning 0-0 draw to open the Hexagonal.
He added that while the Azteca is a formidable stadium and can a big advantage for the home side, the factor that can really help influence games are the fans.
“The Estadio Azteca weighs [down the opposition] because of the people,” de la Torre said.
How much of a positive that will be for Mexico could depend on how the first hour of the match goes, with the press south of the border speculating that it may not take much for the crowd to turn against the team.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.