This tackle by a security guard -- who hit a wayward Mexican spectator who wildly ran onto the field just before the second half began -- was one of the highlights of the night. (Photo courtesy of Steven Limentani).
I just watched Mexico and Iceland play to a scoreless tie in an exhibition soccer game in Charlotte. Sounds mundane, doesn't it? But it wasn't -- because more than 63,000 people showed up to watch it, turning the game into quite a fiesta.
I've written a full column about the game that you can find here and is also in Thursday's Charlotte Observer, but a few quick notes about Wednesday Night Futbol at Bank of America Stadium:
-- When Mexico's national team came out for warmups for the first time, I was sitting in the stands. In terms of sheer decibel level, the roar surpassed what you hear for 95 percent of Carolina Panther touchdowns ever scored in this stadium.
-- Best tackle of the night came via an alert security guard who was on the sideline at halftime. A Mexican fan jumped onto the field just before the second half began and started running around wildly, waving the Mexican flag. He touched at least one player, juked away from a couple of officials... and then got pulverized by this tall, lanky security guard, who executed a textbook tackle and got up smiling (a picture of the hit is above). It reminded me of those "Office Linebacker" commercials.
-- Iceland couldn't qualify for the 2010 World Cup (Mexico did), but it gave "El Tri" quite a fight. In the frenzied final minutes, Iceland held off Mexican charges again and again and was obviously playing for the tie late -- kicking the ball out of bounds, etc.
-- Too bad Mexico couldn't score at least one goal -- I would have liked to have heard the roar that set off in the stands, just for curiosity's sake.
-- I'm not sure I've ever smelled better tailgate food than I did on the way to the game.
-- The announced attendance was 63,227. As I guessed in the column, I think that broke down about like this in terms of fan support: 7 for Iceland, 63,220 for Mexico.