Israel Is Pitch Perfect


Sunday was a day of pride in Israel, along Fifth Avenue in the annual Celebrate Israel parade, and in Central Park in a concert that complements the parade each year.

The pride was a little less evident, however, at Citi Field.

Some 26,000 soccer fans attended an exhibition match there between the Israeli and Honduran national teams, and Honduran supporters, by most accounts, outnumbered the Israeli fans 10-to-1.

At least Israel won on the field, 2-0.

The match marked the Israeli squad’s return to the United States after a 35-year absence.

As at any sporting event in which Israelis are playing, fans in the stands waved Israeli flags and cheered in Hebrew.

One of the Israeli team’s top players, midfielder Yossi Benayoun, told the website that he enjoyed playing in the United States. “It’s one of my favorite places.”

Pierre Mevy, the Israeli-born sports promoter who brought the Israeli and Honduran teams here as his initial soccer foray into the U.S. market, may stage a similar exhibition match later this year in Los Angeles, which, like the New York area, is home to a large expatriate Israeli community.

He’ll want a bigger crowd in L.A.

Israeli coach Eli Guttman said he was satisfied with the turnout at Citi Field. “I saw 30,000 people [wearing ] blue and white,” the colors of the Israeli flag, told (It’s also the color scheme for the Honduran team.) “For me, it’s OK.”