SANDY — MLS teams have never fared well in Mexico, but the reverse has never really applied.
Historically Mexican club teams have always enjoyed coming north to face MLS teams, where the atmosphere is always more relaxed and the crowd is typically a pro-Mexican one.
Real Salt Lake's front office used every strategy in the book to ensure that isn't the case tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium for visiting Monterrey.
There still figure to be several thousand Rayados fans in attendance, but they'll be in the minority thanks to RSL's strategic ticket distribution plan over the past few weeks.
"When Garth (Lagerwey) and I sat down and talked about this game, we want it to be pro-RSL," said RSL president Bill Manning. "We've had great atmospheres here with Cruz Azul, Chivas Guadalajara and Club America, but we wanted to make sure our fans got a taste of this."
To ensure a pro-RSL crowd, management only put tickets on sale to its estimated 7,000 season ticket holders. Those same fans were allowed to buy additional tickets as well, up to double their season ticket allotment. The thinking was only Real Salt Lake fans were season ticket holders.
Along the way, Manning said the club sold more than 200 additional season tickets.
Once about 15,000 to 16,000 tickets were sold, RSL then opened up tickets to past single-game ticket buyers via email.
In addition to the 800 Colonel's Corner tickets that were sold at KFC locations earlier this month, Manning said by the time tickets for the Champions League final went on sale to the general public last week, there were less than 1,000 seats left. Those tickets had all been snatched up by the weekend.
"I'm really pleased at the reaction of our fans and our fan base," said Manning.
Monterrey fans both locally and those traveling from Mexico have no doubt secured their fair share of tickets. Tickets are still available as well at ksl.com, with some fans selling tickets up to five times the face value.
"Clearly there's a secondary market, and that's great we're on that market," said Manning.
He hopes the strategy helps Real Salt Lake continue its lengthy home unbeaten streak tonight.
About 300 Rayados fans making the trip from Mexico
MONTERREY, Mexico — Although it was night, the heat was stifling the atmosphere and passion of the "addicts," the fan club of the Monterrey Rayados who invaded an almost full Tecnologico Stadium.
White shirts with blue stripes and the clamor of 35,000 throats welcomed Real Salt Lake to the first game of the CONCACAF Champions League Final.
Even though not even a single fan of RSL was in the stadium, the "Royals" were there to challenge the top of the Mexican League.
The first goal, by the striker Aldo De Nigris, gave the lead to Rayados, causing the stampede of the "addicts."
Every time Rayados scores, the fans run up the rows of the stadium, then they throw themselves down back to the lower level, celebrating and cheering their team.
After the tie, 2-2 in Monterrey, the passionate fans were sad but not defeated, promising to follow their team to the second round of the final.
A group of at least 300 super fans, some of them on their way and some of them already here, are going to be present tonight at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
Angel Requenes is a Monterrey fan who traveled from Monterrey to Salt Lake City just to be with his favorite team. equenes and other fans drove from Monterrey to Houston and then flew from Texas to Utah; they finally arrived Tuesday morning.
"We were surprised by the snow," he said.
While they were looking for a chance to watch the training session of Monterrey at Rio Tinto on Tuesday night, they are also waiting for another group of fans that are coming by air and by car.
The "addicts" are hoping that the cold weather helps their team to win the match. However, they have not considered the height of the city. The truth will be unveiled tonight.
— Tania Navarro