COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mexico captain Rafa Marquez insisted on Friday that his team’s dramatic victory over the United States in World Cup qualifying would help soothe his nation’s "pain" at Donald Trump’s triumph in the presidential election.
Marquez scored the winning goal in the 89th minute as Mexico prevailed 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium, then spoke of his hope that the result would provide a boost to Mexican national pride at the end of a difficult week.
"Maybe now there (has been) a bad time," Marquez said. "I don’t know about bad time, but a time of intolerance.
"But now, with this win they can forget a little bit about what happened here in the United States."
Trump’s comments about Mexico and Mexicans, especially on the subject of immigration, were seen as highly offensive south of the border, as was his election promise to build a giant wall between the countries and "make Mexico pay for it."
Some Mexico fans at the stadium on Friday wore costumes mocking Trump, while it was reported that one U.S. fan was ejected for chanting offensively about hoping Trump "nukes Mexico."
Regardless of the political subplots, Mexico’s win was a welcome respite for its soccer team, which had lost 2-0 in Columbus in each of the previous four World Cup qualifying cycles, setting off the now infamous "dos a cero" chant from American supporters.
"It was the best opportunity to change this story," Marquez added. "It was what we were thinking about the last couple of days.
"There were a lot of times we didn’t have a good game here and right now we are very happy. It is very important for us."
Mexico now joins Costa Rica and Panama with three points at the top of the six-team final CONCACAF qualifying group that will send three teams automatically to the World Cup.
The U.S. is level at zero points with Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago, and faces a tough challenge on the road in Costa Rica on Tuesday.