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Police to step up presence during Mexico's World Cup game Sunday

MexicoSoccerFIFA World CupLos Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Police, sheriff to increase patrols during Sunday's World Cup match between Mexico and the Netherlands
Pacific Boulevard in Huntington Park to be closed during Sunday's World Cup match

Police and sheriff's deputies will increase patrols Sunday in Huntington Park during Mexico's World Cup match against the Netherlands after unruly behavior erupted during Mexico's previous game.

In addition, a three-block stretch along Pacific Boulevard--Huntington Park's main business corridor--will be closed to traffic between Florence and Gage avenues at 9 a.m., the start time for the Round 16 match.

The closure was ordered out of concern for public safety because officials do not want anyone to get hurt or any businesses to be damaged by "exuberant” behavior, said Michael Chee, a spokesman for the Huntington Park Police Department.

Additional police and emergency response teams will be on call throughout Los Angeles County should crowds become unruly, said Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, in a statement.

Mounted deputies also will be on patrol.

"We are urging fans to have fun watching the games but to celebrate safely and responsibly," Nishida said.

Large crowds are anticipated given the size of the Latino population in Huntington Park, Chee said.

"We know that there's a lot of local excitement just based on the resident population," Chee said.

Businesses will operate and streets will remain open to foot traffic during the street closure, said Police Department officials.

Police will reopen Pacific Boulevard as necessary, depending on crowd size and activity after the game, officials said. The department will be on unified command with the Sheriff's Department.

Several arrests were made Monday night in Huntington Park after Mexico's World Cup win over Croatia. Soccer fans flooded the streets of several communities and harassed motorists, taunted police and, in one instance, threw a bottle at a police horse.

Los Angeles police detained seven people, but they were not arrested, officials said after Monday's match.

The California Highway Patrol was forced to issue a SigAlert for the eastbound 118 Freeway at the Laurel Canyon offramp as police tried to control crowds at Laurel Canyon and Van Nuys boulevards.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and the Southland, follow @debbietruong or email her at debbie.truong@latimes.com.  

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