Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ivory Coast and El Salvador Soccer from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas

The main benefit of having my website Soccermogul is that I get media credentials to a multitude of wonderful soccer matches.  This summer offers three great games which I will be attending.  The Aston Villa v FC Dallas friendly in mid July and the Real Madrid v Roma friendly at the Cotton Bowl in late July. 

The first of the three was the World Cup warmup between Ivory Coast and El Salvador at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas the home of FC Dallas.  The Ivory Coast featured recognizable players such as Gervinho, Salomon Kalou, Kolo Toure to go along with the big two stars Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure. With soccer studs like that you can see why I had been waiting for this game since the time it was announced a few months back.

They were facing a very young squad from El Salvador looking to begin the process of building for the fall Centroamericano tournament as well as the next World Cup qualifying cycle.  The average age was a young 24 for El Salvador who found themselves playing in front of a decidedly pro El Salvador crowd flooding the stadium in a sea of blue.

There was a small, but vocal contingent of fans cheering for Cote d’Ivoire that made sure they were heard clad in bright orange colors.

Typically I will sit in the press box, but the press box area was a bit small at Toyota Stadium to accomodate the large press contingent.  Thus I decided to see if there was somewhere better to sit.   The level below the press box area is the suites and I decided that would be my destination.  There are three outside suites on each end of the stadium that I sought out.  Sure enough there was plenty of space so I took the match in from there.  Wonderful view with a nice cool breeze.

The Ivory Coast started quickly with Gervinho flying down the flanks and Tiote winning every ball in the center of the pitch.  It took only nine minutes for them to grab a lead as Gervinho took a pass from Didier Drogba rounded the keeper and slotted into the empty net.

It was all one way traffic as Cote d’Ivoire bossed the game.  They grabbed a second goal just before halftime as Drogba slid home a low cross from Gervinho.  2-0 at the break with El Salvador searching for a foothold in the match.

Credit to the large El Salvadoran fan base as they stayed behind their team despite the bad scoreline.  They sang, cheered and danced despite all.  And then in the 70th minute they were thrown a lifeline as El Salvador earned a penalty kick which was scored by Artur Alvarez sending the crowd into a frenzy.

El Salvador were unable to find the tying goal and the match ended 2-1 to Ivory Coast.  A deserved victory for the side from Africa, but that did not stop the celebrations from both sets of fans that lasted well after the game had ended.  A great experience from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.


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