The Mexican and United States national men’s soccer teams played out a scoreless draw in their FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Mexico City on Thursday night.
The 0-0 tie in front of 40,000 spectators at Aztec Stadium left El Tri, as Mexico’s national team is commonly known, in third place with 22 points in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) standings.
The United States is also at 22 points but has a superior goal differential. Canada leads the eight countries competing in the final round of Concacaf, qualifying with seven wins, four ties and just one loss for a total of 25 points.
Costa Rica is fourth with 19 points after defeating Canada 1-0 in San José Thursday night, while Panama is fifth with 18 points after a 1-1 tie with Honduras in Panama City.
The top three Concacaf teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in November and December, while the fourth-placed team has a chance to qualify through an inter-confederation playoff match. Each of the Concacaf teams has two qualifying matches left.
Sports newspaper Récord described El Tri’s performance against the United States as poor, reporting that it was outplayed by its archrival and created very few goal-scoring opportunities.
Unhappy with the team’s performance, Mexican fans called for manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, an Argentine, to be dismissed, chanting “¡Fuera Tata!” or “Tata Out!”
Some fans also shouted the homophobic slur “Eh, puto!” as the U.S. goalkeeper took goal kicks.
In an effort to police fans’ chanting, the Mexico Soccer Federation (FMF) said it would implement a new system to track spectators in the stadium and try to identify those who shout the slur. Guilty parties were to be ejected and face a five-year ban on attending El Tri matches.
However, the plan to identify those using the slur didn’t come to fruition due to the large number of spectators, Récord reported.
One soccer fan said on Twitter that television stations “colluded” with the FMF so that the chant wasn’t audible to people watching the match at home. “As always the press lies,” @Ozwaldini wrote.
Mexico’s next World Cup qualifier is against Honduras this Sunday in San Pedro Sula. El Tri will face El Salvador at Aztec Stadium in its final qualifying match next Wednesday.
With reports from Récord