U.S.-Mexico Confederations Cup playoff tickets to get even split

CONCACAF took steps on Thursday to ensure a more even split between U.S. and Mexican fans at the Rose Bowl for the crucial Confederations Cup playoff match between the teams there on Oct. 10.

The last time the two teams met at the Pasadena, California venue was in 2011 in that year's Gold Cup final, and Mexican fans outnumbered their American counterparts by a wide margin.

So this time around, CONCACAF is allowing each country's national federation to sell 30 percent of the 83,000 available seats to their own supporters. Another 30 percent would go into to lottery, with the final 10 percent being distributed to sponsors.

"We want to make sure that there is a neutrality and an opportunity for fans both teams to be represented at the stadium," CONCACAF deputy general secretary Ted Howard told ESPN on Wednesday in a phone interview. "We want to make sure it's balanced and creates the right atmosphere."

The system isn't unlike the one FIFA uses to sell tickets to World Cup matches, or the English Football Association employs to fill London's Wembley Stadium for the annual FA Cup final.

Still, given the popularity of El Tri in the United States and the massive Mexican-American population in the Los Angeles area, Howard is under no illusions that despite the governing body's best efforts, there is still likely to be a majority of support for the visiting team.

"Ideally, you'd like to see it 50-50," Howard said of the split between fans. "But knowing past history, it's probably going to lean more toward Mexico."

The tickets distributed to the U.S. and Mexican federations will be in the end zones, behind the goals, with the rest along the sidelines. Howard said avoiding the security issues that plagued the 2011 Gold Cup final -- outnumbered U.S. fans reported being hit by projectiles -- was part of the organization's thought process.

"It came into it to some extent," he said.

A CONCACAF spokesman said there will be more security on hand for this match, and that all drinks sold inside the stadium will have to be poured into cups.

U.S. Soccer's ticket sales process will begin early September, prior to CONCACAF's lottery, which will begin on Sept. 9. The results of the lottery, which will randomly draw names of those who have registered online, will be announced on Sept 18.