The pounding of drums echoes through Bobby Dodd as thousands of soccer fans dance, scream and sing at the top of their lungs. Everyone is on their feet roaring with excitement, even though the game doesn’t even start for another half hour. At most other sporting events, this frenzy would be reserved for a game-winning shot or an incredible comeback, but at the Súper Clásico, it’s just the standard.
As one of the biggest rivalries in Mexican soccer, this battle between Club América and Guadalajara is obviously something people get excited for, but it’s difficult to really express what the energy in that stadium was like. Dozens of giant flags swept back and forth through the stands, wielded by fans whose arms somehow never get tired. Massive plumes of colored smoke rose from both sides of the stadium, punctuated by flares that rocketed up like fireworks. Bobby Dodd was electric, and it was a completely different kind of event than the typical experience.
After the opening ceremonies came to a close, the real event began. From the second the whistle blew, it was obvious that everyone was in for a treat. The speed and skill at which both teams played was unbelievable as offense and defense danced back and forth trying to set up and score.
The first goal came about nine minutes in, when Club América launched a blistering attack that Guadalajara just couldn’t stop. The América fan section exploded into song, and streamers and cups rained down onto the field. 14 minutes later, Guadalajara responded with a goal of their own off of a corner kick header, tying the score in style, and their fans unfurled a flag that covered an entire section of the stadium. A few minutes later they attempted a goal via bicycle kick that narrowly missed the mark, and for the rest of the half, both teams were able to keep the other in check.
After a short halftime break, Club América came back with a vengeance, scoring on a breakaway a few minutes in. Jürgen Damm, the player who scored, couldn’t stop grinning as his whole team sprinted over and hugged him while the crowd roared their approval. Guadalajara tried to stabilize, but the momentum had swung the opposite direction. A few minutes later their goal keeper could only watch as a striker placed the ball beautifully into the top left corner of the net.
Guadalajara’s team never let up, and their fans never lost hope, but in the end, América dominated the second half, holding the score at 3-1 for the rest of the match, and when the final whistle sounded, the fans were deafening. As the players walked off the field, signing jerseys and posing for photos, they really did seem to be on top of the world.
In a fitting conclusion for the wild match, everyone in the stadium watched with glee as around a dozen fans, one after another, jumped from the stands onto the field and ran around triumphantly, cheered on by both sides, before getting tackled by security.
Súper Clásico is a perfect example of sports at their best: passionate crowds, incredibly skilled players and a rivalry for the ages. Thousands of people from different cities, states and countries were all brought together, united by their common love for the game. The passion of the players and fans was inspiring, and it was an unbelievable thing to experience in person. Hopefully one day, Súper Clásico will return to Bobby Dodd, and if it does, give it a shot, because there’s nothing else quite like it.