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Minnesota United christens Allianz Field with draw

Minnesota United christened Allianz Field on Saturday after drawing 3-3 with New York City FC under the lights at its new Major League Soccer (MLS) home.

The latest football-specific stadium in the league officially opened its doors last month for an unveiling ceremony, while this weekend marked the team’s first home game at the 19,400-seat venue.

The $250m (£189m/€220m) stadium in Saint Paul broke ground in June 2017 and was turned over to the club from construction manager Mortenson in February.

“The club has done an incredible job of catering it to everything we need,” said Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath, according to the Associated Press news agency. “I know the supporters are going to be impressed with everything that they’ve got. I can say from the professional’s point of view, and I’ve been doing this since I left school at 15: We’ve got everything that we need. This is as good as anywhere in the world.”

The MLS club had previously been playing its games at TCF Bank Stadium, home to the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers American football team. During its final season at this venue, United averaged attendances of 23,902. An over-capacity crowd of 19,796 watched Saturday’s game. This was made possible through 700 standing-room-only tickets being provided per match.

Allianz Field has a standing-only section, holding up to 2,920 fans in the south end of the stadium, which it hopes will become the loudest section.

“You look from the outside and it’s just a beautiful piece of architecture,” United veteran midfielder Ethan Finlay said, according to the Star Tribune newspaper. “Then you walk out of the tunnel and you can see the detail. It’s truly going to be a special place for years to come.”

United managing director Bill McGuire added that the stadium “will bring soccer, the world’s game, to our community in a long-lasting way, with a vision that says we want the future to be better than the past.”

Images: Minnesota United