Mexico beat El Salvador 3-1 and Jamaica beat Curacao 2-0 in two Gold Cup soccer matches on a warm summer evening at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday, but fans started partying hours before any goals were scored.
The doors opened about 1 p.m. and since then it’s been nonstop music, food and friendly competition.
Mexico fans out-number those cheering for El Salvador, but the underdogs didn't seem threatened.
“We’ve always been the underdog,” El Salvador fan Brian Henriquez tells NBC 7. “We’re a smaller country; we always give it our best, our all.”
Yanin Walle, who came all the way from Arizona for the match, has practically her whole family with her.
“I have my nephews, my husband, my son, my friend over there from high school,” she says. In total, there’s 14 people in their cheering section.
Police officers and security were on high alert during the matches that attracted a total of 55,000 people.
"Because they got to start drinking at noon and the second game wasn't until 6:30, so there was a longer time with the hot humid Sunday afternoon," one officer told NBC 7. And aside from the four arrests, "we've had a very low incidents or any problems."
Twelve teams are in the running to win the Gold Cup and crown themselves the continental champions of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
When it comes to turning Qualcomm into a Major League Soccer stadium, public support may sway back and forth, but not surprisingly here, the answer is clear.
“I think it would be a good change from football to soccer, it would bring more fans to the stadium,” fan Romulo Contreras says.
The Gold Cup will run until July 26th, with California venues that include Pasadena and Santa Clara.
Mexico and Jamaica will face each other next.