Mexico lost to Chile 1-0 at the LA Coliseum on Wednesday night. The crowd count was 32,924.
Now, the Coliseum is great for big games. A full-strength Mexico squad against a name opponent could draw upwards of 50,000 or more, even on a Wednesday night. But when Mexico brings a team that isn't loaded with stars, or as was the case this week a team that has basically one star and a handful of recognizable players, the Coliseum makes no sense.
That's when it is time to play at Home Depot Center.
I suppose the only drawback would be the college. If Cal State Dominguez Hills caps the attendance at whatever, then all bets are off. Otherwise, it makes much more sense to play a friendly like this at HDC than it does at the Coliseum. There's not a whole lot of difference between 32,924 and 27,000. It's not like 27,000 versus 57,000.
Sure, you lose a little in terms of attendance but you gain a lot. First of all, it's a soccer specific stadium... unless it's being used for X Games or concerts or high school football or tv shows or whatever. Still, the field is in decent shape right now, probably better than at the Coliseum where poor field conditions are typically a concern and complaint.
The traffic around the Coliseum is generally bad and when you play a game in there it gets horrendous. Traffic around HDC, even before and after big games, is manageable.
And of course had the game been played there yesterday it would have sold out. I think you could probably say that Mexico would sell out any game it played at HDC. A packed 27,000 would make a far better atmosphere than a big stadium with lots of empty seats. The Coliseum seats more than 90,000 so there were more than 50,000 empty seats on Wednesday. That's a lot of wasted space.
I guess in the end I like HDC quite a bit and think it should be used for soccer events whenever it makes sense. Gold Cup games at HDC make sense. Midweek friendlies make sense to some degree (Mexico-Argentina would be better off at the Coliseum, for instance). But playing second- or third-rate friendlies in a big stadium, well, that doesnt make a whole lot of sense.