Atlanta will host largest pandemic soccer crowd in world Saturday

Mexico fans cheer their team to victory.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Mexico fans cheer their team to victory. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

70,000 expected for Mexico vs. Honduras at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

On Friday afternoon, a few hundred tickets remained for Saturday’s soccer game between Mexico and Honduras at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. On Saturday, organizers announced it was sold out.

Because the stadium has a capacity of more than 70,000 for soccer, Atlanta will host what is believed to be the largest soccer crowd in the world since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The game is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. Television coverage will start at 7:30 p.m. on Univision/TUDN. Parking lots will open at 3 p.m., and the gates will open at 6 p.m.

The announced attendance record for a soccer crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is 73,019, set in December 2018 when Atlanta United hosted Portland in the MLS Cup.

ExploreMexico vs. Honduras in Atlanta is sold out

Mexico is led by former Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino. Though he received a red card against the United States in the Nations League tournament championship game, the subsequent one-game suspension won’t be served until the Gold Cup later this summer. Therefore, Martino will be on the sideline coaching Mexico on Saturday.

The lower bowl of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with a capacity of approximately 50,000, was the original “soft” capacity for the game. Ticket sales escalated, and the upper bowl was open June 3.

Atlanta has a history of hosting large crowds for soccer events.

Atlanta United, which plays at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, holds numerous MLS single-game and season announced attendance records, as well as marks for the U.S. Open Cup and MLS All-Star game. Those were set at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Before Atlanta United, a game featuring Mexico held the record for the largest announced attendance for a soccer game in the city when it was part of a doubleheader of semifinal games for the Gold Cup in the Georgia Dome. Those games had an announced attendance of 70,511.

Those who attend Saturday’s game are being asked by the Mexican Football Federation to refrain from engaging in a certain chant. There are actions that will be taken by the referee should the chant be heard. Last week’s game between the United States and Mexico was paused because the chant could be heard.

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