Six year-old Nathan Zamora is mad at his dad. Both are soccer fans. Nathan cheered for Mexico. His father, Juan Zamora, rooted for the U.S. saying it played more cohesively as a team, not as a group of individual, prima donna soccer stars.

Juan wants me to know he's not a Malinchista, the reference to the ultimate traitor in Mexican culture: La Malinche, the indigenous woman who translated for Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes and became his lover. He's from Mexico City, Juan adds, a metropolis with four (Right? America, Pumas, Cruz Azul and Atlante) professional soccer teams.

The Zamoras: Juan, his wife, and four kids took in the game at Guelaguetza restaurant in L.A.'s Koreatown. The kids did a good job of keeping the mole off their clothes, Nintendos, and cel phones. And Juan stayed cool as Mexico shut out top U.S. forward (and L.A. Galaxy star) Landon Donovan and beat the U.S. two goals to one.

Guelaguetza is huge. For nine years it has occupied a former Chinese restaurant near the corner of Olympic and Normandie. The high end mezcal and the michelada beers were flowing and the tacos de chapulines crackled in the molars.

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I was there filing some stories for the KPCC newscasts. I interviewed Cal State Northridge economics student Eder (rhymes with header, really) Soriano as he chowed on some clayudas. He was born in the U.S. to Mexican parents and screamed with everyone else after Mexico's two goals. Fernando Lopez's kids were a hoot. He's the founder and owner of Guelaguetza. The "kids" are in their mid to late 20s and grew up in the restaurant's postage stamp-size first location on 8th Street. Paulina, 28, roots for Mexico. Bricia, 24, roots for Mexico. And Fernando Jr., 22, you guessed it, roots for Mexico. But, I counter, you've spent at least half of your lives in the U.S. ¿Qué les pasa?


Bricia jokes that she sees Mexico as her mom and the U.S. as her dad. Father can bring home the bacon and loundly proclaim he wears the pants in the family but when the go head to head, Bricia will always back up her mom. She delves into the cultural with a self-described Pacific Palisades accent (that's where she went to high school while growing up in Culver City) that she quickly abandons when switching to Spanish to talk about Oaxacan food.

Fernando, her brother and a recent U.C. Santa Cruz graduate, snickers that I'm reading too much into what the U.S.-Mexico soccer match means to Mexican Americans (as he describes himself). In Los Angeles, Fernando and Bricia tell me, the game is far from an international match, it's a home game, since so many people here cheer for both sides, think of it as a Cubs-White Sox or Mets-Yankees match up. And you know what, all I have to do is look at six year-old Nathan Zamora and his dad to realize they're probably right.

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