PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia hits the world soccer stage Thursday night with the arrival of Copa America play at Lincoln Financial Field. Some of the biggest names in the game are in the tournament. Fans in Philly will be treated to three matches — including one this weekend featuring the U.S. Men’s National Team.
It barely gets bigger than the Copa America, says Fox Sports analyst Herculez Gomez.READ MORE: 'There's A Lot Of Ghosts In Here': CBS3 Spends Evening In Believed-To-Be Haunted Neshaminy Creekside Inn
“The only things that could compare to it are the actual World Cup, and maybe the Euros,” Gomez said.
This 100th anniversary event is expected to draw 75,000 people to Philadelphia. First up, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Venezuela vs. Uruguay, with hopes star striker Luis Suarez won’t be sidelined by injury.
Saturday at the Linc, it’s the U.S. taking on Paraguay. A win for the stars and stripes means a quarterfinal berth; a loss, and they’re done.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Ahjaon Jackson Shot, Killed While Coming Home From Work With Twin Sister, Philadelphia Police Say
“From what I saw with Paraguay v Colombia, it’s not going to be easy for the U.S. Men’s National Team,” Gomez said. “The Paraguyans showed some real fight and belief even in the [2-1] loss, and any time you play against a team with that type of belief, you can be in trouble. So it’s going to be a fun, exciting game. Lots to play for — literally a win-or-go-home type of game.”
On Tuesday, Chile takes on Panama in South Philly.
Local tourism types are looking for a $41 million economic boost from the fans and teams in town. The rest of us just want to see the beautiful game.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Community Still Wants 'Real Justice' For Walter Wallace Jr. A Year After Fatal Police Shooting
“You’re talking about the best teams in the world going at it in your own backyard,” Gomez said. “I can’t think of anything more enticing than that.”