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Thursday, January 28, 2010
Match is first pro event at new stadium

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Mexico's soccer team will play Ecuador in a World Cup warmup on May 7 in the first professional sports event at the $1.6 billion new Meadowlands Stadium.

The exhibition game in East Rutherford, N.J., is part of a six-game U.S. tour for Mexico as it prepares to face South Africa in the World Cup opener June 11 in Johannesburg. In addition, Mexico will play England at Wembley on May 24 as the English get ready for their World Cup match against the United States on June 12.

The first scheduled event at the new home of the NFL's New York Giants and Jets is a college lacrosse triple-header on April 10, but only the lower bowl up to the club level will be open. The entire stadium will be open for the soccer match.

Bon Jovi is scheduled to perform the first concert at the stadium on May 26.

A grass surface will be installed over the FieldTurf at the Meadowlands for the Mexico-Ecuador game and corner seats will be removed to allow for the soccer field, which has a wider playing surface than the NFL.

Just one of Mexico's matches in the U.S., March 3 against fellow World Cup qualifier New Zealand at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., is on an international fixture date set aside by FIFA. Clubs are not required to release players to national teams for the other matches.

Mexico opens its schedule on Feb. 24 at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. El Tri plays Iceland on March 24 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., then meets Senegal on May 10 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The final game in the U.S. is at Houston's Reliant Stadium on May 13 against an opponent to be determined. Mexico then hosts Chile on May 16 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

After its trip to England, Mexico plays the Netherlands on May 24 at German city to be determined, meets defending World Cup champion Italy in Brussels on June 3 and arrives in South Africa the following day. El Tri also plays France and Uruguay in the first round.