WATCH: Chilean Fans Sing National Anthem at the Linc
Fans and players, apparently, wanted to sing a longer version of the anthem. And as they continued to sing Chile’s opener in the tournament, they were interrupted by a Pitbull song. At Chile’s second match, and last night at Lincoln Financial Field, the players and fans got together and sang the anthem after the music stopped. They were not interrupted by Pitbull.
I don’t speak Spanish, but it was pretty cool. A lot of cool things happened at Lincoln Financial Field the past week in the Copa Americá Centenario. Uruguayan fans dominated the crowd of 23,002 at the first game, only to see Venezuela eliminate them from the tournament with a 1-0 win. The smaller contingent of Venezuelan fans hung around to celebrate in the stands for a long time afterward.
Last night, the upper levels were closed off and 27,260 fans crowded into the lower bowl. Panama fans went wild when Miguel Camargo scored in the fifth minute. Alas, Panama could not pull off the upset — and the game was sealed for Chile when Alexis Sanchez volleyed a shot into the back of the net in the 50th minute. Needing just a draw to advance, Chile wasn’t giving up three goals in the second half. The Chileans ended up winning, 4-2.
And, on Saturday night, the United States played the role of soccer powerhouse. Needing just a draw to advance into the knockout stages, the U.S. didn’t play all that well. DeAndre Yedlin picked up two yellow cards a minute apart early in the second half, and the U.S. played a man down for the final 42 minutes of the game.
Paraguay had 60 percent of the possessions. The U.S. had just three shots on goal, and only eight shot attempts to Paraguay’s 16. It didn’t matter. Paraguay barely threatened, and Clint Dempsey‘s first-half goal held up. The U.S. won, 1-0, in what was maybe the most consequential men’s soccer game in Lincoln Financial Field history. When Costa Rica beat Colombia later in the night, the U.S. ended up winning its group.
The U.S. not playing all that well in a tournament game is not new. Them coasting to victory shows that, perhaps, Jurgen Klinsmann’s team is starting to shake some of its bad habits. They play Ecuador tomorrow night in the quarterfinals.
Soccer has a history at the Linc that’s as old as the stadium. The Linc’s first event was a friendly between Manchester United and FC Barcelona, and it also hosted U.S. friendlies against Turkey in 2010 (a World Cup send-off and Mexico in 2014 (Klinsmann’s first match as U.S. manager). It also hosted four matches in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, including the United States’ 5-0 thrashing of Nigeria.
In addition to being the most consequential, Saturday night was the probably also the chippiest soccer game in stadium history, too. The U.S. picked up six yellow cards, all in the second half, and committed 20 fouls. Paraguay committed 15, and the second half featured multiple shoving matches. It also featured what appeared to be a calf injury to referee Julio Bascunan midway through the second half; the crowd of 51,041 booed him.
See? Fun stuff. Despite some spotty attendance, the atmosphere at the tournament was incredible over the three games. Fans from all over North and South America made it a week to remember. We should do it again sometime.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.