Rumors are swirling that Mexico may have no choice but to play outside of Azteca for their upcoming qualifiers vs Honduras and the US. Nothing is official yet, but if we compare Chile’s ongoing schedule of fines and punishments, the next judgement against Mexico will be a stadium ban. In this case, it would be Azteca.
FIFA is set to announce their monthly list of bans and suspensions shortly, so Mexico waits with baded breath.
Let’s say that the ban does come down, and the Azteca is removed from consideration for staging the next two qualifiers. What are the options?
The Media likes to call the Bancomer el “Gigante de Acero”because of its outer shell. The locals call it “la tamalera” because of the fact that the stadium design does not allow for any kind of ventilation and it gets, well, steamy.
Pros – Fantastic crowd support, modern conveniences for fans and ultra-sensitive media types. At 2,000 ft above sea level, the most sea-level player friendly venue in Mexico.
Cons – The heat, the humidity, the smaller crowd. And if anyone has ever been to Monterrey during the warmer months, it is not the most pleasant climate. It gets hot.. Houston hot… Laredo hot. Friggin’ hot.
Estadio Chivas would be another solid option for Mexico. It has been many, many moons since Mexico played any kind of official match in la Perla Tapatia.
Pros – Chicharito would be playing en su tierra. He might have decent fan support, and he loves his tortas ahogadas. At a little over a mile up, the altitude won’t be much of a concern.
Cons – The tapatíos have the reputation to be a fickle bunch as well. It is also a major pain in the @$# to get to the stadium, so crowd support may not be as strong in the first part of the match.
The crowds at Estadio León are terrific. León’s return to the top flight has been a Welcome addition to Liga MX, and they rewarded their fans with a couple of titles to boot. The stadium has plenty of history as well. Maybe too much.
Pros – Excellent fan support for an intimate setting. Elevation not too much of a concern.
Cons – The stadium could use some work. Yes, it has staged 2 World Cups, but it could really use an upgrade, or demolition, depending on whom you ask. But atmosphere should trump infrastructure in deciding between venues for a world cup qualifier. And atmosphere is what León has in spades.
I could not think of better place for Mexico to play a qualifier than the Caliente. Except for one tenny weenie little wrinkle.
Pros—The name itself. Think of how easy all the headline writers would have it if Mexico played a match there. The crowd would be fantastic, the atmosphere intimidating, the weather and elevation would all be perfect.
Cons – The field. It is plastic. Until the Caliente folks swap out the carpet for the sod, this stadium, unfortunately, is out of the running.
Estadio Corona was the last Stadium besides Azteca to host a qualifier.
Pros – It is modern, can attract a fearsome crowd, and Torreón is not the easiest place to get to.
Cons – It is June, which means it would be very, very, hot. There is a reason Jared Borgetti was called the desert fox. Torreón is in a desert.
Whaaa? You must be high, Jagou! Well, no. It just so happens that the 2nd largest stadium in Mexico is only 4 miles away from the Azteca. Just exit the Peri and head North on Insurgentes.
Of course, I am talking about the
No manchen. I would never do that to el Tri, no matter how angry I would be.
Estadio Olímpico Univesitario, Mexico 68, CU, however you want to name it, would be the ideal place for Mexico to play if it wanted to stay in CDMX.
Pros—The biggest crowd outside of the Azteca. The Mexico City intangibles would all still be in play.
Cons—It is not the most modern stadium (and it wasn’t even built for soccer), and the Mexico City Intangibles would all still be in play.
Although they are not listed here, we cannot discount Pachuca because of the amount of pull the ownership group has. But the Hidalgo just does not have the stadium capacity.
If Mexico players have issues with playing in CDMX’s thin air, they would have a pentacostal fit if they were made to play in Toluca. The owners have some sway, but not as much as the Pachuca group.