The U.S. national soccer team, having already qualified for World Cup 2014, was less than three minutes from losing to Panama on Oct. 15 when midfielder Graham Zusi scored the first of two U.S. goals in stoppage time, eliminating the Panamanians and saving Mexico's World Cup hopes. (Mexico now needs to beat New Zealand in a two-game playoff next month.) The outpouring of gratitude from south of the border that followed was unexpected. Mexican fans hailed San Zusi (Saint Zusi), and a Spanish-language TV channel dressed Zusi in a sombrero and Mexican clothing and presented him with a gift from Mexico fans. "I've gotten thousands upon thousands of tweets from Mexican supporters thanking me," Zusi says. "For a team that's our biggest rival, it's kind of surreal to see them being so supportive."
THAD BELL (ZUSI)