In front of a packed house of nearly 68,000 fans, most of them clad in green, Mexico and Chile played to a scoreless draw in the first international soccer match ever played at the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
The scoreline didn't reflect the intensity of the match, as both sides, Round of 16 participants at the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil, started their campaigns in the new World Cup cycle on a bright note. And though it was not goal scoring that filled the highlight reel, it was the excellent play of each side's goalkeeper that repeatedly saved the day.
For El Tri, charismatic 'keeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa, a breakout star for Mexico in Brazil, was the star of the night, using his lengthy frame to keep the Chilean attack off the scoreboard. A new arrival at La Liga's Malaga in the summer transfer window, Ochoa is hoping his World Cup performance will be a springboard to more consistent playing time at the Spanish league stalwarts.
Chile was bolstered by the play of Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who is the starter for the Catalan giants in his first season with the Blaugrana. Bravo deserved a chorus of "bravos" for his excellent work to stymie Mexico's potent counterattack. Chile's number one did not disappoint as he is expected to anchor the side in the new World Cup cycle ahead of Russia in 2018.
The massive crowd at Levi's Stadium, which played the perfect host to the legions of international soccer fans, ranked in the top-ten ever for matches held in the Bay Area. Only games at the old Stanford Stadium have hosted more.