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Nicolais: I’m setting aside tolerance and inclusion today to chant: ‘Dos a Cero!’

The U.S. and Mexican soccer teams bring their heated rivalry to Denver

Dos a Cero! Dos a Cero!

After writing about tolerance and inclusion in many of my columns, I will spend Sunday night taunting my Mexican friends. The U.S. Men’s National Team will resume its bitter rivalry against Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League Final at Mile High Stadium (or Empower Field if we are being proper).

Sure, the Nuggets just dispatched Portland in their first-round playoff and the Avalanche are halfway to dismantling the second-best team in the NHL. The Rockies are somehow not the worst team in the National League West, much less all of baseball. I get that it is a busy time for Denver sports fans.

Mario Nicolais

But I guarantee the best experience will be at the soccer pitch Sunday night.

To begin, the fanbases are loud and crazed and vocal. The American Outlaws — of which I have been a member for more than a decade — support the USMNT (and USWNT) with an exuberance that is unmatched in American sports. Not only are they lose-your-voice loud, but highly organized. 

Beating drums and singing songs and chanting in unison is par for the course. While Broncos fans have learned how to string three syllables together to taunt opposing quarterbacks, and the University of Colorado student body has its own unfit for print chant, the AOs put together entire song lists.

The most beloved is reserved for our neighbors to the south. For nearly two decades, American supporters have appropriated the Spanish language to ensure nothing would be lost in translation. “Dos a cero” means “two to zero” and represents the final score line in several important American victories in the rivalry, including eliminating Mexico from the 2002 World Cup.

There is little doubt that “Dos a Cero!” will ring loudly, and frequently, around the stadium on Sunday.

Not to be outdone, the fans of El Tri, the Mexican national team’s nickname derived from the colors of its flag, will show up in droves. Showing up with painted faces, luchador masks and mariachi outfits, the fans are as colorful as they are loud in their support.

Ten years ago, I saw Mexico play New Zealand at Mile High (then Invesco Field) thanks to the generosity of my fellow Reapportionment Commissioner, Mario Carrera, who was an executive at Entravision at the time. The stream of red, white and green flowing into the stadium easily equaled the orange I had been more accustomed to seeing on Sundays in the fall.

The Mexican fans sang and chanted and cheered their national team on to an easy 3-0 victory and I left thoroughly impressed by the widespread support in a foreign country. Maybe that helps explain why they have played four times as many friendlies in the U.S. as their own country. 

And both sides will have their own superstars to cheer, one from each of my two favorite European clubs.

Napoli winger Hirving “Chucky” Lozano will lead the line for Mexico, and Christian Pulisic, fresh off becoming the first American Champions League winner with Chelsea, will be a focal point for the Yanks. Throw in several players for top European clubs from either side and you have the making of a classic encounter. 

Furthermore, it could be a great preview for the Gold Cup, which crowns the continental champion and kicks off a little later this summer. The two teams have dominated that competition, splitting the title five a side over the past 20 years.


While Sunday does not carry the same ramifications as Snowmaggedon did when the USMNT came to Denver eight years ago, it will surely carry bragging rights for one fanbase or the other.

As loud and long as both sing, that is sure to be worth something by the end of Sunday night.

Mario Nicolais is an attorney and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the legal system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq

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