San Antonio, TX – So the numbers came in for attendance at the Mexico vs. South Korea friendly World Cup warm up played at the Alamodome, Wednesday night.
According to reports the match drew a record 54,313 fans.
There were actually some South Korean supporters in attendance as well. They were the small clusters of folks wearing red shirts and their inflatable rally sticks they banged together anytime S. Korea had a corner or free kick. I think they might win the award for the cutest supporters in Brazil …. we will see!
One huge aspect of the game, I had thought would be an issue from the start, was the condition of the natural turf in the dome. While I am not against playing soccer in a dome, I would expect that it would be on a natural surface where it involves two World Cup bound teams. Soccer, deserves to be played on a natural grass surface, regardless.
Thankfully, San Antonio did the right thing by having natural grass installed for the match.
However, the way the commentator’s on ESPN made it seem, it was by the behest of the Mexican Federation representatives. Sadly, this argument is still necessary in America and I’m not surprised it had to be requested for the Alamodome. I’m sure the prospect of Mexico losing Oribe Peralta to some fake grass in San Antonio, Texas – was not too appealing to the federation.
The pitch, however, was in terrible conditions, again a point the ESPN commentators managed to spend quite a bit of time commenting about. They used terms like, ‘rock solid’ and ‘bumpy’ to describe the field conditions. The worst part was the visible seems from the newly laid turf on the field which can be as dangerous as playing on synthetic grass at times. This was also expressed by Mexico manager, Miguel Herrera, before the game.
So although natural grass was laid, the issue of the field conditions wasn’t addressed properly. I’d have to say, that was a fail, on the part of San Antonio and the Alamodome.
Also, with the attendance being over 50,000, I only question what that means for San Antonio. While there is quite enough evidence to suggest San Antonio is a destination for Mexico supporters, I’d like to see the numbers of US born citizens who were in attendance.
From what I understand, there were quite a few.
Of course this is purely anecdotal, but from what I can tell through different social media outlets and comments on local news stories, quite a few San Antonio and Texas natives joined in the festivities. You may not have been able to notice them, but they were there.
Courtesy Julian Castro via Facebook
This is positive for San Antonio, but more importantly, positive for the mayor who continues to court MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
I think it needs to be restated, that people in San Antonio desire soccer and even for the casual fan, are interested in witnessing the spectacle. I’d say good work on earning a World Cup friendly, but your next project will be to lure the MLS.