SANDWICH — Thursday evening on Quimby Field in Center Sandwich, the latest installment of the annual USA vs Mexico soccer game was contested (c between Gillette Show (carnival) workers, who mostly hail from Vera Cruz, Mexico, and the adult Sandwich soccer team. Stemming spontaneously between Sandwich players and the visiting workers eight years ago, the game has since grown into a fun community event with a potluck dinner and barbecue after the game. Attendance from the town and fair workers and visitors has grown quickly.
With both teams decked out in orange and blue jerseys provided by Calico Graphics and Olde Orchard Inn, the action was underway after the usual introductions and negotiations by liaisons Ashley Bullard and Jeff Hussman, who eight years ago first invited the international guests to play. This year the match started out at a wild pace with Parker Hanson tallying in the 10th minute to give Sandwich the lead. The Mexican contingent was not discouraged as they pressed hard and worked for several chances at goal, lead by their captain, former Mexican semi-professional, Ali Morales only to be thwarted by Sandwich goalkeeper, and MVP, Mark Brunell. A hand ball gave Mexico a chance in the 30th minute with a penalty kick only for Brunell to make a stunning save.
With no half time due to impending darkness, the teams played on at a feverish pace as Mexican goalkeeper Charlie "the Fisherman" held strong as Sandwich attacked again and again. Mike Lemein broke through with an impressive dribbling effort and slotted the ball near post in the 50th minute and 10 minutes later Sandwich Parks and Recreation Director, Leo Greene, clinically finished a cross from Jeff Hussman to ice the game.
With time winding down Mexico fired in a goal off the foot of Morales and darkness deemed it full time. The pot luck afterwards was well attended and delicious. Organizers expressed thanks to Calico Graphics for jerseys, Aubuchon Hardware of Moultonborough and manager Mark Tuckerman for donating use of the grill.