SANTA CLARA — Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was built to provide the San Francisco 49ers with a new home, but it might also prove to be a popular venue for a different sort of football match.
The Mexican football federation announced Tuesday that the Mexican and Chilean national teams will face each other at Levi’s on Saturday, September 6 for a tune-up match that will be the first international soccer match the stadium’s young history.
This is great news for a couple reasons.
Firstly, it gives Bay Area soccer fans a chance to see the profound insanity of Mexican coach Miguel Hererra, whose explosions of both joy and anger during the World Cup made him easily the most entertaining individual of the entire tournament.
Secondly, the stadium gives the Bay Area another large soccer venue — the others currently are Stanford and Cal — that could potentially host high profile international matches, increasing the possibility for visits from the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams.
The San Jose Earthquakes’ new 18,000-seat stadium — just 20 minutes south of Levi’s — could also serve after it is completed before the 2015 MLS season.
Both Mexico and Chile had standout performances — and crushing Round of 16 exits — at the 2014 World Cup. Mexico lost in controversial fashion to eventual semi-finalists Netherlands on penalty in stoppage time, while Chile lost in a penalty shootout to hosts Brazil.
Neither team will play a competitive fixture until the summer, when both the Gold Cup and Copa America — which will be held in Chile — take place. Both will use the exhibitions to solidify their rosters leading up to those tournaments.
Mexico will play a second match three days later against another South American foe, Bolivia, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
The San Jose Earthquakes will play the first soccer match and first sporting event ever at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara this Saturday when they host Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders at 7:30 p.m.