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El Army del Tri enjoys big USA-Mexico match

By - Jun 11, 2017

By Aaron Fischer/For The Sporting Nation

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Soccer fans filled Salt: Tacos y Tequila restaurant as Pancho Villa's Army hosted a watch party for the World Cup qualifier match between Mexico and the United States on Sunday.
 
Passion and love filled the air as the game began with everyone signing along with Mexico’s national anthem. The broadcast was also changed to Spanish.
 
Pancho Villa's Army is a very organized group of diehard Mexico national football team ("El Tri) fans. They not only love their team but also their heritage and culture. The group has a rank system in place as well as different army chapters around the U.S.
 
During the game, chants rang out just like at actual soccer matches. The family-like atmosphere was embraced by all; it didn’t matter which team you cheered for. 
 
“Everyone is welcome, it doesn’t matter who you root for,” said Kevyn Miranda, who works as a photographer for Phoenix Rising FC and Mexico’s national team.
 
While the majority of the restaurant was packed with Mexico fans, there were a handful of people who were cheering for the United States. 
 
“Home team for me is USA and they’re playing behind enemy lines so I wanted to watch the game in the same environment,” said Fernando Delatorre, who was invited by PVA to watch the game.
 
Even though PVA supports the Mexican national team, many still root for the United States as long as they aren’t playing Mexico.
 
Jesse Ruiz, a PVA soldier, was born in Phoenix but grew up watching Mexican soccer. Mexico is his favorite national team though he does cheer for the United States and other countries.
 
“I like to root for the Americas when it comes to the World Cup. If Mexico gets eliminated, I root for the United States then continue down the list,” Ruiz said.
 
Phoenix Rising FC along with Major League Soccer as a whole also generates a lot of interest within the PVA. 
 
“I think the MLS is a great league. It is young and still needs to grow but has great potential,” said Richard Guel, captain of the Phoenix PVA chapter.
 
Many fans of Phoenix Rising FC said they would love it if the team joined the MLS someday. 
 
“Phoenix has a large Hispanic population and there is no MLS team within 300 miles, so I think an MLS team will thrive here and I’d like to see Phoenix Rising FC be that team,” Ramon Chavez said.
 
The compelling match ended in a draw and even though there wasn’t an outright winner, the game did not disappoint. The rivalry between the two clubs is still fierce.

“In my opinion, Mexico versus the United States is the best rivalry in all of fútbol, and I’m not just talking about fútbol like f-ú-t-b-o-l, I’m talking football in general. American football, Mexican football and European football,” said Adrian M. Zarate, PVA’s “La Voz.”

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