The final score of 33-6 said all anyone needed to know about the importance of the moment for football in Mexico. If the scoreline wasn’t enough, the reactionary photos certainly rammed home the point.
For the first time ever, a team of Mexican players had beaten their American counterparts at the most American of games: football. No, not fútbol football. American football.
The Mexican rout of the U.S. came in the semifinals of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) U19 World Championships, which are being competed in Mexico. The tricolor triumph took place at Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium in front of a crowd of 15,000.
Perhaps most surprising about the loss was the sheer ease with which Mexico pulled it off. Team USA had never fallen in a U-19 tournament game before … ever. It’s two previous games in this 2018 tournament finished with scorelines of 55-0 and 49-14.
And then, the Americans looked up at the scoreboard as they trudged off for halftime and found themselves on the wrong side of a 23-0 score. They never recovered, scoring just six points en route to the 33-6 final score. It was 30-0 before the U.S. squad could get on the board. Treshaun Ward, a three-star running back for Tampa Bay Tech, scored the lone American touchdown, per AmericanFootballInternational.com.
This is not a death knell for American football, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is still a shocking turn of events. The Americans will play for third place in a game against Sweden, a throw-on double-billing to the championship game between America’s two neighbors, Canada to the north and Mexico to the south.
Football may never have been so robust, but it’s also a moment of true doubt for the game’s depth and development in its home nation. No, this Team USA squad wasn’t comprised of athletes recently competing at Nike’s The Opening, but it still had plenty enough bona fide collegiate talent to win. Until it didn’t.