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Sun Bowl turf to be covered with sod before Chivas match; 10,000-plus expected to attend game

Published On: Jun 30 2014 07:37:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 01 2014 10:54:25 AM CDT

Sun Bowl to receive natural sod before Chivas match

The Sun Bowl will receive more than a $100,000 facelift this week.

On Wednesday and Thursday, crews will cover the Sun Bowl's artificial turf field with natural sod. It will be a Sun Bowl first.

It's all in preparation for Sunday when Mexican soccer Club Deportivo Guadalajara takes on Brazilian powerhouse Cruzeiro Esporte Clube.

Thirty trucks will bring in about 90,000 square feet of 1.5-inch-thick sod, which will take about 24 hours to install.

"This is a monumental undertaking," said UTEP Special Events Director Jorge Vazquez.

He said the eight-hour tear-down process will begin right after the match. Chivas requested the sod.

"Natural grass is preferable when it comes to playing soccer," Vazquez said. "The way the ball bounces."

The event's promotional firm in charge of ticket sales didn't return ABC-7's email Monday. But Vasquez said he expects between 10,000 and 15,000 fans to turn out Sunday for the 8 p.m. kickoff.

"Typically for a soccer game, you see a lot of the last-minute crowd," Vazquez said. "We do expect a lot of people to come from across the border."

Vazquez has even been in touch with international bridges about beefing up staffing Sunday night to speed up wait times.

"We'll be showcasing the Sun Bowl as perhaps a venue for that in the future -- for other teams to come," Vazquez said.

He said he wasn't sure whether MountainStar Sports Group had reached out to UTEP about housing a potential El Paso MLS team in the Sun Bowl for a season or two, until a permanent stadium could be built.

"Perhaps. I'm not aware of any communication as of yet. At least I haven't been approached," he said. "But I don't discard any possibilities at this point. It would be something exciting for El Paso."

MountainStar President Alan Ledford wasn't available for comment Monday.

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