Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno played host to Liga MX giants Chivas of Guadalajara and Léon F.C. on Friday night. The sellout crowd saw as Léon F.C. were able to overcome a 2-1 deficit at halftime and ultimately win the game 3-2.
The night was engulfed with the sounds of fans cheering, chanting, blowing horns, playing instruments and immersed with the smell of food creating the atmosphere under the lights of the home of the Fresno Grizzlies.
Chivas midfielder Carlos “Gullit” Peña (#27) and Léon midfielder Leonel López (#20) during a game at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 12, 21016. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)
Fans young and old wore their team’s colors proudly and did not shy away from letting their voices be heard.
Doors for the sporting event opened at 4 p.m. and it did not take long for fans to file in and fill the stadium.
The players came out onto the field and the crowd’s applause and cheers were almost deafening. They walked to the middle of the field and had a moment of silence to remember those who have lost their lives while serving in the military.
After paying their respects for those who have served, the Mexican National Anthem was played and again the voices of everyone in attendance sang along to the words of many people’s beloved country of origin. The Star-Spangled Banner was played afterwards and the match was ready to begin.
Léon F.C.midfielder Fernando Navarro dribbles past a Chivas defender in a game at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)
The Chivas wasted no time as Marco Bueno was able to find the back of the net in the second minute to make it 1-0. Léon F.C. forward Mauro Boselli was able to tie the game 1-1 in the sixth minute shooting the ball past Chivas goalkeeper José Antonio Rodríguez. Carlos “Gullit” Peña was able to weave his way through Léon defenders just five minutes after allowing the Chivas to go to the locker room at halftime with a 2-1 lead.
Léon F.C. came out of halftime and were able to seize momentum despite the majority of the fans cheering for the Chivas. Carlos Guzman and Juan Ezequiel Cuevas scored for “Las Panzas Verdes” sealing a 3-2 win and sending fans of “La Fiera” into a frenzy.
Despite cheering for each other’s teams throughout the entire match, the overall passion of the night was captured when the fans met each other in the lobby area and together chanted “Viva México” in a beautiful display of unity.