Top Mexican teams set for Finley Stadium exhibition - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Top Mexican teams set for Finley Stadium exhibition

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Tim Kelly and his fellow Chattanooga FC board members are preparing for an FCS Championship Game-like atmosphere at Finley Stadium this Saturday.

Only it will be the other "football" featured this time around on the Davenport Field turf.

Top-level Mexican professional teams Club America and CF Pachuca will play a rare exhibition on American soil at 8 p.m. Et Saturday. The event is likely to be the highest-level of soccer ever seen in the Scenic City, and by far the largest event hosted by Chattanooga FC.

"It's already much bigger (than anything we've done)," Kelly said. "This is certainly the biggest soccer event Chattanooga has ever seen, and possibly the largest sporting event overall.

"These two teams played in Fresno, California, a few weeks ago and sold out that stadium. This is a similar size market, so we're hoping we can sell out Finley to the rafters."

They're already off to a good start.

CFC's Sheldon Grizzle said the online presale allotment of 5,000 tickets has already been sold out despite a $35-$45 price tag. Tickets will remain available at the Finley Stadium box office starting at 11 a.m. ET Saturday.

Fans from more than a dozen states are expected for an event that's also been seeing heavy promotion in Nashville and Atlanta.

"It's been a little different," Kelly said of the promotion. "These are two top-tier Mexican teams, so we've focused heavily on the Hispanic community, but also the soccer community as a whole. We've also reached out to Nashville and Atlanta in hopes of bringing people into town and keeping them overnight to enjoy our city while they're here.

"The ticket sales have certainly been brisk. We're a great tourist spot regionally anyway, so hopefully it all comes together to bring a lot of people in."

Club America and Pachuca are two of the most decorated teams in the Mexican Primera Division, combining to win 15 national titles. America has also claimed eight FIFA recognized international club trophies, which leads all clubs in the CONCACAF region and ties with Bayern Munich, Olimpia and Etoile du Sahel for the most in the world.

Both sides will be bringing many of their top players, led by Club America's Christian Benitez. Known as "Chuco," Benitez led the Mexican Primera with 14 goals last season.

Pachuca's coach is Hugo Sanchez, a Mexican soccer legend who spent part of his career with Real Madrid and played in three World Cups.

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