Estadio Tecnológico makes an impression on RSL
MONTERREY, Mexico —First impressions are everything, and on Tuesday, when Real Salt Lake stepped onto the pitch of Monterrey’s Estadio Tecnológico, the site of the first leg of the Champions League final made a pretty good one.
“It looks great,” said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman of one of the oldest stadiums in Mexico. “It looks like it has a lot of history. It will be pretty cool to play in.”
The “Tec,” as the stadium is commonly called, can hold 32,864 fans. Though it surpasses some of MLS’ stadiums in size, one feature reminded RSL head coach Jason Kreis something primarily from MLS of days gone by.
“I was surprised to see football lines on it,” Kreis said. “But still the ball was rolling pretty well.”
The venue, which was one of the stadiums used in the 1986 World Cup, was originally built to house the Tec de Monterrey’s collegiate football team, which still plays there to this day. Despite the lines, the condition of the field remains optimal, unlike some of the conditions they had to deal with in some stadiums in Central America.
“The field’s nice,” assessed Beckerman. “It’s real spongy and doesn’t seem to get torn up.”
Despite Tecnológico’s impressive size, Kreis expects a slightly different atmosphere than the one they encountered in the tight confines of Estadio Saprissa, where RSL sealed their ticket to the Champions League finals.
“[Estadio Tecnológico] seems to be a pretty big stadium,” said Kreis. “It holds 33,000, so it could be a few more people there than were at the Saprissa game, and I’m sure they’ll be very vocal and supportive of their team.
“The thing that’s nice for us is that there’s a track [around the field]. I don’t think we should expect an atmosphere that’s exactly like Saprissa, because I don’t think fans are going to be close enough to influence things the way Saprissa’s fans did.”
As of Monday, ticket sales for the match were at about 18,000. Because it’s Semana Santa in Mexico (the equivalent of Spring Break), many residents are vacationing outside of the city. However, it’s expected that the void will be filled between now and game time.
At least one RSL player, Tony Beltran, is expecting it to be full for Wednesday night’s game.
“We were training and I was looking around trying to imagine the stadium full like it will be tomorrow night," he said. "If anything, the fans make it a great atmosphere to play. We don’t know when we’re going to be here again, so we’ll just enjoy it.”