This year’s World Cup is being held in Russia and since the team from the United States did not qualify, many U.S.-based fans are fervently following Mexico’s national team.
And because of the time difference between Russia and the U.S., games are at odd hours for local sports bars.
In Somerton, 85350 Bar and Pizzaria patrons wore the green and white jerseys of the team fans call El Tri, and filled both the front and back sections of the restaurant as early as 8 a.m. for the game this past Saturday between Mexico and South Korea.
Jake Joanicot, 85350’s general manager, said the bar typically opens at 11 a.m. and that they have only had customers asking if they would be open for the Mexico matches.
“We usually open at 11 but we’ve been doing this, especially for the Mexico World Cup games,” Joanicot said. “We haven’t had much request for the other games but definitely the Mexico ones- (you’ve) got to support.”
There were fans of all ages, with beer flowing for those of age and guests enjoying Mexican dishes like menudo and birria. One fan ordered a stack of pancakes.
Fans said they like the family atmosphere, which they said is a reflection of Somerton. Veronica Agramont said she was there with her sisters, parents and her children.
“Oh I love it,” Agramont said. “I am so happy that we have a place now here in Somerton where we can do this, where we can all get together, because, I guess, we always watch Mexico but we never watch it all together like this.”
85350 opened earlier this year and has been a success with local residents, who stop by for a beer or two and bring their families and friends for nights out, including a monthly Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts watch party.
“We needed a location like this here in Somerton,” said Gema Felix Anaya. “In the summer, with the World Cup games, it’s a great setting. “
Throughout the game, fans were on the edge of their seats. Mexico defeated South Korea 2-1, with the second goal coming from fan favorite Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
Mexico’s next match is Wednesday at 7 a.m. versus Sweden. El Tri appears likely to advance to the round of 16 following an earlier 1-0 defeat of defending World Cup champion Germany.
“For the first time, (Mexico) is meeting expectations,” said fan Jose “Pepe” Moreno. “I’ll be here as long as they’re playing.”