The Mexican national team kicks off against Ecuador at Bank of America Stadium at 9pm tonight.
Why it matters: Not only is it a match between two international teams with loyal followings, it’s a dress rehearsal, of sorts, for Charlotte FC.
- It’s the first soccer match at full-capacity at Bank of America Stadium since Charlotte was awarded a franchise in December 2019.
- Tickets are $30-$275.
What they’re saying: “It’s a nice opportunity to truly see where we’re at, what we’ve got right and what we need to work on before March,” Charlotte FC president Nick Kelly told Axios.
State of play: Mexico has played in Charlotte four times, in both an exhibition and CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, but this will be the first time a soccer team tests out the stadium’s synthetic turf.
- Bank of America Stadium transitioned to FieldTurf, an artificial surface, ahead of the current Carolina Panthers season.
- Synthetic turf is easier to maintain, with the addition of up to 30 MLS matches there next year.
- “We get excited when we start looking at the table currently in MLS, you see how other teams with artificial surface are performing,” Kelly said. “This will be the first time anybody’s seen soccer on an artificial surface at Bank of America. Hopefully it’s a great match.”
What we’re watching: Ticket sales for a Wednesday night match kicking off at 9 pm may not the best indicator of what’s to come for Charlotte FC, but standing north of 30,000 tickets sold is solid.
- Charlotte FC confirmed last week they surpassed 15,000 season ticket holders, as first reported by WFNZ’s Will Palaszczuk.
- The club’s goal is 30,000 in average attendance.
- “We will have every opportunity to remind fans during and after the event, that if you enjoyed this 9 pm kickoff on a Wednesday, feel free to come back next year when we have two-three Wednesday night games at 7pm,” Kelly said. “This is also going to be an interesting test for us as a whole. How do we manage a weeknight event at the stadium for 30,000-plus people, with the shutting down roads and those types of things impacting the business community on workday?”
Worthy of your time: COVID-19 vaccines will be available at Fútbol Fiesta, a pregame festival in Romare Bearden Park from 3:30-7:30 pm, Axios’ Katie Peralta reports.
- NCDHHS will use a mobile unit at the event and work with local groups to promote COVID-19 vaccination among Hispanic communities.
- NCDHHS reported 221 COVID-19 cases during the week of Oct. 17.
Bonus: El Tri, as the Mexican national team is called, has never lost at Bank of America Stadium, scoring 12 goals.
- 2019: 59,283 vs. Martinique 3-2
- 2015: 55,823 Trinidad & Tobago 4-4
- 2011: 46,000 Cuba 5-0
- 2010: Over 63,000 Iceland 0-0