Heavy Friday rush hour traffic worsened by soccer showdown at Soldier Field

Rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon was more of a headache than usual downtown, in large part due to a highly-anticipated and well-attended soccer showdown at Soldier Field.

In the first of five exhibition games in the 2024 MexTour, the Mexican Men’s National Team took on Bolivia.

The friendlies are part of an annual tour leading up to the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa América tournament, which will shake out in the U.S. beginning June 20.

On Friday, the parking lots at Soldier Field opened to fans at 4 p.m., leading to bumper-to-bumper traffic for several hours near the stadium on DuSable Lake Shore Drive and I-55.

The matchup, which began at 8 p.m., drew a crowd of roughly 45,000 people, according to Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

With traffic at a standstill, some vendors seized the opportunity by selling team merchandise. One man even wheeled a cart filled with t-shirts along the expressway, hoping to make some cash from those in the gridlock. 

Some fans had the right idea by ditching their cars for public transportation, but despite the time many others spent behind the wheel, they said they were so excited for the game that it didn’t faze them.

"This has been a long time that they haven't played here so we got to show 'em some love," said one fan supporting Mexico.

"I'm just here for a good game, you know," added another fan.

"Watch out Copa América, because Mexico is gonna make it!" said one attendee.

Looking ahead to potential traffic magnets at Soldier Field, World Champion Argentina will face off against Ecuador on June 9.

Later this summer, Real Madrid CF will take on AC Milan on July 31.

For all upcoming events at Soldier Field, click here.