Local fans turn their focus to Kansas City’s hosting of 2026 event





FIFA World Cup soccer fans at the Power and Light District are still talking about Mexico’s lost to Argentina last Saturday. Many fans had reasons to cheer, while others were heartbroken about the final score, Argentina 2 – Mexico 0. On Tuesday, USA beat Iran by a score of 1-0.





At Teocali Mexican Restaurant, fans joined owner Enrique Gutierrez for the FIFA World Cup watch party. Gutierrez is a die heart fan of Mexico teams, and in his younger days he played his fair share of soccer.







BY JOE ARCE AND COREY CRABLE

Despite the sadness in faces of World Cup fans in the Power and Light District on Nov. 26 following Mexico’s 2-0 loss to Argentina, many fans say they still have hope for victory. Others yet are already placing that optimism in 2026, when Kansas City is slated to be one of the host cities for that year’s World Cup.


Local soccer coach Ricky Olivares said the Mexican team simply didn’t meet expectations and that it was apparent that Argentina brought a better, more robust game to the field.


“In the second half, it did not look like Mexico was in sync,” Olivares said. “When they tied Poland, they died out and looked tired, and that’s what we saw against Argentina.” Mexico still has one more game to go on Wednesday, but Olivares said he sees their victory as a long shot.


“They’re at the bottom of the barrel,” he said. “Now they need Argentina to beat Poland, and Mexico needs to beat Saudi Arabia.”


Olivares, who has coached soccer for more than 20 years, said the Mexican team didn’t display the unified front to which their fans are accustomed.


“Mexico hasn’t been the Mexico of tradition, the Mexico of old. They went into the World Cup, and they had a fighting chance. You were facing a powerhouse that could hurt you, and we cannot say that right now,” Olivares observed. “…The fans are there. Mexican fans know their soccer, so when there are problems like we’re facing right now, they’re the team’s biggest critics.”


Local La Mega podcaster owner Yvan Duin-Obregon, who took photos of the crowds in Power and Light district, said he holds out hope for Mexico as its final game approaches.


“Even though (fans) were sad, they know they have another opportunity to advance to the next round,” he said. “It was sad, but we still have hope.”


The numbers show that Mexico’s fans aren’t just in the stands, but worldwide. According to a Nov. 28 article from The Associated Press, the Mexico-Argentina matchup drew 8.9 million viewers on the streaming services of Telemundo and Peacock.


Olivares said those numbers reflect the growing popularity of soccer not just globally, but locally as well.


“When the Wizards first came around, there were 5,000 or 6000 people attending games. If there was a ticket being bought, it was football or baseball,” he recalled. “But those kids are now choosing soccer, and you can see that in Children’s Mercy Park when it’s sold out. They’re going to a soccer game, not a football or baseball game. It’s grown and continues to grow. We definitely see it here in Kansas City.” That excitement will reach a fevered pitch four years from now, when Kansas City brings the 2026 World Cup to town – and that’s enough to take the focus off of last weekend’s loss to Argentina, according to other local fans. “I’m a season ticket holder at Arrowhead, so I’m hoping they’ll give us preference,” Steven Reyes said of 2026 ticket sales. His father, Jimmy Reyes, said he’s already excited at what 2026 will bring. “It’s going to be an exciting time to be a Kansas Citian, but it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said. “It’s like having the Super Bowl here, only magnified 10 times.” And local small business owner Enrique Gutierrez of Teocali Mexican restaurant, which hosted a watch party for the Nov. 26 game, said that no matter who wins, he’s amazed at soccer’s ability to bring people together. “It gives people the opportunity to hang out and be with each other, you just forget about politics and what’s going on in the world and just focus on the game,” Gutierrez said. “It’s cheesy, but that’s the best part about futbol.” Gutierrez is looking forward to 2026 when the World Cup comes to Kansas City. “It will be great for our city and for area businesses but most importantly it will be great for Kansas City.”



La Mega owners, Ann and Yvan Nubia, along with Telemundo of Kansas City, hosted a FIFA World Cup watch party at KC Power and Light District. They were proud to present KC Mayor Quinton Lucas a personal T-Shirt during the watch party of FIFA World Cup playoffs.