Saturday, May 31, 2014

Classic YouTube: 2002 World Cup, USA vs. Mexico

Every Saturday morning at 11am, this post looks at a Classic YouTube video. Enjoy! 

The 2002 World Cup was like a little secret that only a select few were privy to. And I was one of the lucky few.

While soccer has clearly gone mainstream in the past decade, that wasn't the case in 2002. Fox Soccer was in its infancy. There was no Bein Sport. The English Premier League was not featured nationally on ESPN or the NBC Sports Network, which didn't even exist yet. Soccer was certainly growing in the United States but it hadn't really caught on. Following the successful 1994 World Cup, the Americans spectacular flame out in the 1998 World Cup hadn't helped matters.

It didn't help that the 2002 World Cup took place in Korea and Japan, which meant many of the games kicked off overnight, at like 2 or 3 in the morning. It was tough for a casual fan to get caught up. But even though I was a very, very casual fan at that point, I had an advantage.

I had just turned 20 years old. It was the summer before my senior year of college. My summer job was a database internship for a non-profit that paid me $10 per hour, which felt like $100.

The routine was simple and perfect. Party all night until the bars close. Come back to the house I lived in with two friends, invite some friends back, have a keg ready and the after-party would include World Cup soccer. I don't think I've ever enjoyed soccer more in my life.

That is why at 2:30 a.m. on a June morning, 10 days after my birthday, my house was packed with drunken idiots ready to watch the U.S. take on Mexico in the Round of 16. It's still the only knockout stage victory in my lifetime. It was over our main rival. It was the original Dos a Cero. It featured some guy named Landon Donovan scoring a big goal.

What a game. What a moment. What a night. The first video shows the two goals and the second is the whole game from a rebroadcast from ESPN Classic with the immortal Jack Edwards on the call.



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