NEW YORK – Yankee Stadium may be one of the baseball cathedrals in the United States, but on Sunday it played home to a soccer friendly that entertained and, quite possibly, surprised.
A crowd of 38,202 fans attended the first ever soccer match inside of Yankee Stadium, and they witnessed an open, 1-1 draw between UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain. Most of the fans cheered for Chelsea and were wearing their royal blue jerseys, making for scenes that likely resemble what Stamford Bridge is like during the Premiership campaign.
“It’s a brilliant support for us,” Frank Lampard told reporters after the match. “We’ve had it all over the [United States] the last few times we’ve been here and today no different. In the streets, outside our hotel, great support. And in the stadium today, singing and supporting us.
“When you come this far away to a country that’s not supposed to be so into soccer and you see the support that’s growing here, it’s nice to see.”
That support may have been more than nice to see: It may have also played a part in helping the Blues find a late equalizer.
After Nene had put an attack-minded PSG out in front at the half-hour mark, Chelsea struggled to create any real chances on goal. But that changed in a second half that saw the supporters continue to be rowdy despite a slew of substitutions made on both sides.
With Chelsea fans continuously cheering their team on, the Blues found a leveler through Lucas Piazon in the 82nd minute. Piazon found the back of the net with a shot that came following a low Ramires cross from the right.
The goal sent most of the supporters into a frenzy and it kept Chelsea undefeated in their preseason summer tour of the United States.
“I would like to thank all of our fans that have come here tonight. It looked like a home game for us,” Chelsea head coach Roberto Di Matteo said. “Paris Saint-Germain played a very strong team in the first half but we had more of the ball. I think the second half changed a little bit. We had more possession and we were able to equalize.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.