Day 3: The Massacre at Florence, US vs Czechoslovakia in ITALIA '90

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Day 3: The Massacre at Florence, US vs Czechoslovakia in ITALIA '90
Ken Levine/Getty Images

June 9th, 1990. I was 10 years old and had been in the country for just a little over one year, and even though my English was limited, my time in Mexico gave me a deeper understanding of what being an American in a foreign land was like.  I did not have many friends growing up in Mexico, for some reason, the kids in the neighborhood had the misconception that my family was well off. They also knew that I was born in the US and they hated the fact that my father played soccer for a living. To top it off I liked Club America and rooted for Hugo Sanchez & Real Madrid whenever they came on TV, growing up in Guadalajara either one of the two was highly looked down upon.

It was like no other Saturday morning I could remember, instead of settling for continuous hours of Cal-Worthington infomercials playing on every other channel (there was something like 5 channels back than), the US was playing Czechoslovakia on Univision. I was still recovering over the 1-0 loss of Argentina and my childhood hero Maradona to Cameroon. The week before the tournament started I had picked up a bracket sheet at the local Mexican supermarket and had filled out what I thought the scores would be, so far my Argentina  4, Cameroon 0 score prediction was not working out.

But I did have the US winning 1-0, and to say I was a bit too optimistic on my prediction is an understatement. As you all may know we took a beating that day, so bad that I think Adidas wanted us to stop wearing their jerseys by the end of the game. But there was one highlight, Paul Caligiuri scored what had to be one of the best goals of the tournament, and when it happened all I could do is celebrate like we had just won the World Cup and hoped that one day we would be the ones handing out the ass whooping.

 

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