Watching the U.S.-Chile last night, I couldn’t help feeling that we’ve finally entered the era of bilingualism in U.S. football. The game was a showcase of new players from both sides, pitting two teams in the midst of promising and exciting development. (You can read a great analysis the debates and controversies surrounding Chile’s team, and it’s coach, by Jeffrey Richey here). It was fast, open, and especially in its second half thoroughly entertaining. The fans were, it seemed, pretty evenly split Chile and U.S., and both sides had good chants, decorations, and flags. Like a real game, someplace in the world.
The first goal, by Chile’s Esteban Paredes, was a true beauty, incredibly set up and finished, impossible to stop by entering goalie (a dual citizen of Jamaica and the U.S.) In the second half, U.S. newbies Juan Agudelo (born in Colombia, he moved to the U.S. when he was eight) and Teal Bunbury (son of Canadian footballler Alex Bunbury) proved electric, and managed to squeeze out a goal thanks to a penalty kick. To top it all off, there was the hilarious Spanglish commentary on Telefutura, complete with a spontaneous song to Bunbury.
Is the era of truly American fùtbol, hemispheric in scope, within reach?