At an afternoon press conference at the Cotton Bowl, where city officials gathered to officially announce next month's double-header soccer game at the 77-year-old stadium, Mayor Tom Leppert emphatically dismissed a reporter's suggestion that it may be tough for the recently rehabbed Fair Park relic to compete with Jerry Jones' futuristic monstrosity out in Arlington.
"That really misses the mark," said Leppert, who was joined at the podium by the likes of council member Pauline Medrano, Park and Rec director Paul Dyer and FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. "Clearly, there's friendly competition with Cowboys Stadium, but we now have two of the largest football and soccer stadiums in the country. The combination of both of those puts Dallas on the map as one of the premier places for football and soccer. That's what's important."
Speaking of, on September 30 at 6 p.m. -- five days after the State Fair of Texas opens this year -- the Mexican National Team will play Colombia at the Cotton Bowl, while FC Dallas returns to its old stomping grounds to take on the New England Revolution.
Mexican Football Federation executive Nestor de la Torre, who'd visited Fair Park in the past as a player, told the crowd in Spanish that he hopes to pack the stadium with local fans. "The last time we were here we had more than 80,000 people come out," he said, referring to Mexico's July drubbing of Haiti during the Gold Cup at Cowboys Stadium. (The official turnout was 82,252.) "I'm confident that this time we'll break that record."
That's a tall order considering the match was the first sports event at Cowboys Stadium, but who knows? Maybe a doubleheader amidst corn dogs and fried Cokes, pig races and Texas Star rides will be a bigger draw than a billion-dollar spaceship in Arlington.
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