CHICAGO, Ill. - Finally, a half hour before the United States took on Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals, fans started entering Soldier Field.
In their defense, they weren’t allowed down to the seats
until the lightning cleared the area. And it was rush hour in Chicago,
with accidents, buses that weren’t running and the usual Thursday
afternoon drama. And the fact that President Barack Obama was in town
didn’t help things move any faster.
When fans arrived to the stadium, they were met by a $40.00 parking fee
and large walk-up lines. While 50,000 tickets had been sold prior to
the match, it wasn’t sold out just yet. And those who made arrangements
to pick up their tickets at will call, stood in line with the rest of
A group of three men posed in front of Soldier Field, wearing their
sombreros and asked a tow truck driver to take their picture. The smell
of soccer was in the air from the fan zone outside, to those tailgating
in the parking lot, to the fans huddled on the concourse.
Once game time drew near, the fans donning national team jerseys,
carrying flags and wearing the occasional sombrero, filed into their
As the game kicked off, the crowd got nosier and nosier, despite the
rain. It was a lot of noise for a stadium that was obviously about half
full. But regardless both teams took the pitch and started the match.
The rain subsided about 25 minutes into the match, while the sun
started peeking through the clouds. Fans who had been hiding on the
concourse made their way to the seats. And then the noise went up a few
Both teams struggled to find the net in the first half, but it wasn’t
for a lack of chances. Cheers and jeers from the crowd surprisingly
just wanted a goal. And amazingly, the mostly international crowd
didn’t boo every time an American touched the ball. Although they did
cheer a bit louder when Honduras made a run.
In the 45th minute, Stuart Holden sent a corner kick into the box.
Clarence Goodson jumped up and headed it in for a 1-0 U.S. lead.
An energetic crowd ended the USA match, with waves and chants, awaiting
the second game of the night. A nearly sold-out crowd of 55,173
welcomed Mexico and Costa Rica with loud cheers.
As the night wore on, the fans showed all kinds of emotion. A crowd
that was once cheerful, turned a bit bitter when Mexico’s Miguel Sabah
missed a penalty kick in the 57th minute. Fans started throwing items
on the field, including pelting Costa Rican players on a corner kick.
Chants of USA also filled the stands, surprising many people.
Fans started to file out of the stadium, but the faithful stayed to
watch Mexico and Costa Rica battle through 120 minutes of play. They
stayed to celebrate for a few minutes after Mexico topped Costa Rica in
penalty kicks. After that, the last of the 55,000 fans headed for home. Soldier Field
emptied out, while the sprinklers turned on. The lights dimmed, with the
skyline as bright as ever. And another soccer adventure at Soldier
Field came to an end.
Visit Goal.com for more coverage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.