Mexico Faces Ecuador in Soccer Exhibition A soccer exhibition match drew thousands of fans to the Oakland Coliseum last night. This audio postcard captures the hype surrounding the game.
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Mexico Faces Ecuador in Soccer Exhibition

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Mexico Faces Ecuador in Soccer Exhibition

Mexico Faces Ecuador in Soccer Exhibition

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Sports viewed last night in Oakland, California - a soccer match with no home team. It was loud, though.

Ben Adler of member station KAZU watched Mexico take on Ecuador.

(Soundbite of crowd noise)

BEN ADLER: The Oakland Coliseum has hosted World Series and NFL playoff games and many famous concert acts, and perhaps never has it been as loud and crazy as it has been here tonight. It holds more than 25,000 fans here screaming, yelling, blowing their horns, shaking their (unintelligible), swinging their noisemakers and waving their flags. But they're not here to see baseball or football, they're here to see a soccer game.

Mr. NORTH NINO(ph): I come from Ecuador and I'm here to root my team.

ADLER: North Nino is an Ecuadorian native who now lives in nearby Berkeley, but he's definitely in the minority. The crowd is about 90 percent Mexican fans wearing green, white and red. Of course, Nino is no slouch himself. He's clad in his team's bright yellow jersey and holds a large Ecuadorian flag. To top it off, he's wearing a bright blue Mexican wrestler's mask you might recognize him from the movie "Nacho Libre".

Mr. NINO: Believe it or not, this "Nacho Libre" man, as you see, is from Mexico. But it has an Ecuadorian colors, so I had to buy it.

ADLER: Is there anyone giving you a hard time about that yet?

Mr. NINO: Oh, everyone's giving me a hard time, but you've got to represent.

ADLER: Nino got his ticket at a discount, just $30 for a face value of $60. But others weren't so lucky. The match sold out a week and a half ago, when tickets reportedly went for as high as a couple hundred dollars (unintelligible) and other Web sites. Mexico fan Jose Garcia(ph) of Oakland didn't pay that much but he would have.

Mr. JOSE GARCIA: Watching this kind of games, you know, match, it doesn't matter, it's worth it. It's worth it to pay $200. Why not?

ADLER: The game may have only been an exhibition, but it sure seemed to be worth the price of admission. Mexico came in the clear favorite and scored just 29 seconds into the match. But Ecuador fought back, going up 2-1 early in the second half. In the end, though, Mexico was just too strong, scoring the last three goals to win 4-2.

(Soundbite of crowd noise)

ADLER: The atmosphere was electric led by Mexico fans. Chants of Mexico (Spanish spoken) filled the air with drumbeats and horn blasts. And each time their team scored, a section of fans unfurled a gigantic flag over about 20 rows of seats. Jose Garcia loved it all.

Mr. GARCIA: We need this (unintelligible) teams more often, you know, because Oakland, you know, we have all kinds of brown. But in these situations, it makes me feel good, it really gives us a (unintelligible) to keep on doing.

ADLER: Oh, and one last thing about the fans here Wednesday, almost no one came late and almost no one left early.

For NPR News, I'm Ben Adler at the Oakland Coliseum.

(Soundbite of crowd noise)

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And I'm Madeleine Brand.

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