San Francisco

Soccer Game at Levi's Stadium Tests New Turf, Traffic

A sold-out crowd filled in Levi's Stadium Saturday night for a soccer match between Mexico and Chile, testing how traffic and the field holds up.

The parking lots were hopping, as hundreds of tailgaters enjoyed a live mariachi band before the soccer match. Fans are marking the event, which for many is their first trip to Levi's Stadium, with live music and lots of food.

The soccer game was sold out, and some fans said they had smooth sailing getting to and finding parking at Levi's Stadium.

"We came from San Francisco," soccer fan Susan Ferreira said. "It took us about an hour drive, very smooth, and we're going to be here until--tailgating. It was pretty smooth actually."

Ferreira's family has a lot of soccer players, so she said she will definitely be checking out the new turf.

Saturday night was the first test of the turf since the San Francisco 49ers replaced it when the $1.4 million special Bermuda blend started falling apart after the opening preseason game.

What has now been installed is the same type of turf that was used at Candlestick Park for years. So, nearly 70,000 fans will be checking out to see if it looks nice and holds up.

"As a player, I'm looking to make sure they don't slip or sink in it, and the ball doesn't slide too much. That's it," soccer fan Pedro Solano said.

The soccer match was also a test of how easy it was for people to get out of the stadium after the game. During the first preseason game at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers were losing big, so thousands left the game early.

But on Saturday, all 70,000 fans were expected to leave at once, so the traffic plan was put to the ultimate test. After the game, drivers had conflicting reports on trying to get back home.

Some said they were able to leave within minutes while others were still stuck at the stadium.

When the game ended with a 0-0 tie, the sellout crowd rushed to nearby parking lots trying to beat the rush home.

Federico Soria predicted a long trip out of the parking lot back to his home in San Francisco.

"I don't know," he said. "Traffic just seems to get worse and worse."

Pittsburg resident Oscar Curiel said he might be stuck for a bit longer.

"Probably at least two hours honestly to get home," he said. "Yeah, it's going to be a long ride home."

Some fans decided the best way to beat the crowds is to wait them out with a little after-game barbecue in the parking lot.

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