MONTERREY, Mexico — Kyle Beckerman said training at Estadio Tecnologico this afternoon had him reminiscing about the early days of Major League Soccer.
"It's like we're in the early MLS days with the football lines," said RSL's captain after his team wrapped up an hour practice in the stadium in 100 degree heat today.
Beckerman said the field was in good shape despite the lines, and he's itching to get the first leg of the Champions League final underway Wednesday.
"(Stadium) looks like it has a lot of history. It's just pretty cool to play in," said Beckerman.
The "Tec," as it's known around here, was built in 1950, and really lacks most modern conveniences outside of bathrooms and drinking fountains. The capacity is 32,864, and as of today reports are that the team has sold roughly 18,000 tickets.
Javier Morales admits that the bowl-shape stadium reminds him of some of the stadiums back in Argentina.
Will Johnson said it's definitely a unique stadium. "If it's packed, it will be loud. It will be electric, it will be fun."
"It feels like a classic stadium, it's got some neat features to it. Obviously, it would be better if it didn't have a track around it, but maybe that will help us keep the fans a little farther away," said Johnson.
The presence of a track could actually be a good thing for Real Salt Lake.
At Saprissa's stadium in Costa Rica, the fans are in very close proximity to the field, making it very easy to shout and throw things at the players. Nick Rimando said he had numerous things thrown at him against Saprissa, including mini flashlights.
At the "Tec" the fans are at last 40 feet from the playing surface.
"I don't think we should expect an atmosphere that's exactly like Saprissa because I don't think the fans will be close to influence the way Saprissa's did," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "Having said that, it holds 33,000 so there could be a few more people there than were at the Saprissa game."
A sell-out seems unlikely though.
It's Semana Santa down here in Mexico, the holy week leading up to Easter. Schools are out, and many government businesses shut down as well with thousands of Mexicans heading out to more tropical destinations. It's basically spring break, but people don't really flock to Monterrey for spring break.