In making the trip to Columbus on Tuesday to watch the United States men’s national team clobber Guatemala 4-0, getting redemption for last Friday’s 2-0 loss at Guatemala City and putting them back on track in World Cup qualifying — provided for many fascinating sights and sounds.
I’d like to first start off with some additional sound that I caught from probably most scrutinized person in Ohio yesterday — USMNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
FEELS NO PRESSURE
At least that’s what Klinsmann implied last night in his post-game presser.
Klinsmann has been on the sporting world’s biggest stages. He’s played in and won World Cup finals, Champions League and Domestic Leagues like the English Premier League and Bundesliga. He’s no stranger to pressure and criticism.
Earlier in the day, a plane flew over the stadium with a banner that read:
“#FireKlinsmann: He’s a tiny little bit behind.”
After the easy win however, Klinsmann made it clear (often sarcastically) that he was aware of the pressure, but wouldn’t let it get to him or the U.S. players.
“I’m cool with that. I let people say whatever they would like to say. It’s alright with me. Here and there you wish maybe some comments could be a little bit more respectful, but it is what it is,” said Klinsmann following the U.S.’s commanding performance on Tuesday night.
“It’s an emotional game, and emotions go both ways. When things go well, the emotions, in Brazil, they skyrocket suddenly, and then if you lose a game some comments go the other direction.
“As a coach, you have to live with that and you’ve got to keep your balance, which I do. It’s not a big deal.”
And with that – for at least one night – Klinsmann kind of had his “drop the mic” moment, providing us with a few good sound bites.
PATRIOTISM ON DISPLAY
While walking in and around the stadium prior to kickoff, there was Red, White and Blue everywhere (of course!). Along the way, I also ran into some Pittsburgh-area supporters of USMNT.
The press box was situated in the West end of the stadium, right above the supporters section — guaranteeing that the media were able to get to hear the Outlaws full-volume.
One of my first encounters with fans during pregame was with this guy, Matt Paschky, who organizes an American Outlaws chapter in Erie (yes technically that’s Western PA). If you are from or ever in Northwest PA, Paschky said that they have a pub in Downtown Erie they watch games — and have a Facebook page.
Thought his scarf was pretty nice.
The Steel City American Outlaws were represented too.
Apparently the Steel City group must have done a decent job of selling their own shirts, as I ran into this guy (pictured left) with a Steel City Outlaws t-shirt that features Fred Rogers as a patriotic outlaw.
And in a crowd of Red, White and Blue — I couldn’t help but notice a Pirates cap, which led me to this interview with two members of Steel City American Outlaws, James Eash and Brian Short, both from Pittsburgh who made the trek to Columbus.
From my vantage point, the quietest the American Outlaws may have been the entire night was when Pitbull (yeah the mainstream South Florida hip-hop artist) took the mic to perform and play some hip-hop tunes to get the players (and the crowd) pumped.
While I suppose it was kind of cool to see the “Bad Man” on the field, it seemed kind of forced and fans really weren’t that into it. Maybe that’s because his “We Are One” World Cup song, with Jennifer Lopez never really caught on. For my money, the 2010 World Cup song “Wavin’ Flag” is so much better.
But the Outlaws provided a lot of fun serenading — mostly G/PG rated stuff as you would expect at an International match here in the U.S. And yes, there were some Guatemalan fans in attendance — like these two ‘Azul y Blanco’ supporters …
There were some large chunks of sections filled with Guatemala fans so it was a slightly divided house.
The Outlaws were loud and here’s their pre game rendition of “When the Yanks Go Marching in…” that I caught on video…
Here are a few more photos from the day — at the home, MAPFRE Stadium, of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds affiliate Columbus Crew …