New York, NY (June 7, 2011)—Citi Field will not be home to “America's pastime” this Tuesday evening. Rather, the baseball stadium will be the home to “the world's game” when the national teams of Ecuador and Greece take the field at a soccer-converted Citi Field, the home the New York Mets.
The Mets expect a sell-out crowd of approximately 50,000 fans to enthusiastically and passionately cheer on their respective teams. It will be a night of exuberance and celebration, full of international flair, like only international futbol can deliver.
Bottom line: The event will be a tremendous sporting and financial success.
The Mets ownership will look at another example of what the “New America” looks like. It is multicultural, multiracial, and a bulk of the community speaks Espanol and—yes, it is absolutely wild about futbol/soccer.
This will be another vivid example of what the soccer market in NYC can deliver. The Mets ownership may not recognize many things, but it surely recognizes U.S. American dollars, regardless of whose pockets they come from.
This soccer match, and another international game expected to be played this summer, may be the last tidbits of hard-marketing data that the Mets ownership groups needs to digest, before they decide to invest close to a $100 million to be part of Major League Soccer.
MLS has publicly communicated its interest in having its next expansion team come from New York City, specifically Queens. The next expansion fee is said to be between $75 to $100 million. Moreover, a potential partnership between the Mets ownership and the group that owns the branding rights to the New York Cosmos, appears to be very likely.
Having all these elements in mind, it will not be absurd to say that NY Mets are getting ready to exchange bats and helmets, for soccer balls and shin guards.
As ESPN reports, the Mets' previous home Shea Stadium had considerable soccer history.
Nine-team club tournament in 1965
One Cosmos match with Pelé
Shea Stadium became a potential soccer site as part of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics.
Shea Stadium was also a potential new or temporary home for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls).
Ecuador comes into the match after tying with Mexico 1-1 and Canada, 2-2. Ecuador's head coach Reinaldo Rueda said the team is “committed to winning” and will come out hungry for a win against the Greeks.
On the bright side, striker Michael Arroyo has scored a goal on two consecutive games, both of them brilliant long-distance shots that mesmerized the Ecuadorian fans and all soccer fans that were fortunate enough to watch them. Arroyo will surely look to extend his goal-scoring streak against the European team.
Manchester United forward Antonio Valencia will not play in tonight's match. He did not travel with the team in its North American tour.
Greece will look to build on last week's win over Malta as they prepare for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.