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Mexico and Guadeloupe Advance in Gold Cup

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The teams are headed to Chicago for the finals of Gold Cup 2007 and a chapter is closed on what was an amazing week of soccer action in Houston. Sunday was the second largest soccer crowd in the history of Texas with 70,092 fans braving the weather to get inside Reliant Stadium (where it was dry and 75 degrees) for the Quarterfinal matches of Gold Cup. Mexico had to go to overtime to defeat Costa Rica (1-0) and Guadeloupe proved to be the Cinderella story of the tournament as they upset Honduras (2-1) in the second match. Mexico will play Guadeloupe on Thursday night in Chicago during the semi-finals. The U.S. will play Canada in the other semi-final match with the winners meeting in the title game.

With Wednesday's near capacity crowd of 68,417 the attendance total for Houston this year was 138,509 fans who came out for Gold Cup.

"We are so appreciative of the fans in Houston for supporting these matches and the Gold Cup tournament,"Lone Star Sports and Entertainment Director David Brady said. "Our community has once again proven that Houston is one of the strongest soccer markets in the United States."

{QUOTE} This year's Gold CupTM success follows a pattern set in 2005 when the tournament first came to Houston. In 2005, over 105,000 fans turned out for two days of matches at Reliant Stadium, making Houston the top market for the tournament. Houston's attendance was 40% higher than any other venue for the tournament, which played matches in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston and Miami. Houston and Reliant Stadium will likely retain the distinction of having the largest Gold Cup crowds this year given the venue's strong results to date.

"We are very appreciative of the efforts of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment and the City of Houston in helping us bring Gold Cup action to more and more fans," CONCACAF Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard said. "The Houston community has fully embraced the Gold Cup as evidenced by large crowds in 2005 with over 105,000 fans attending two dates and now almost 140,000 fans for this year's Gold Cup."

Lone Star Sports and Entertainment began promoting soccer in 2003 shortly after the opening of Reliant Stadium and has now hosted the four largest soccer crowds in Texas history.

"We are proud to have introduced marquee international soccer competition to the city of Houston," Brady said. "The city has responded to these matches and shown the world that Houston really is a soccer city and arguably the top soccer market in the U.S."

Since LSSE began promoting soccer in Houston, the city's reputation as a soccer city has grown exponentially. Reliant Stadium has hosted the four top crowds in Texas history in just the past four years, three in the past 10 months.

May 2003 United States vs. México 69,582
August 2006 FC Barcelona vs. Club América 70,550
LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo
June 2007 Gold Cup First Round 68,417
Cuba vs. Honduras; México vs. Panamá
June 2007 Gold Cup Quarterfinal 70,092
México vs. Costa Rica; Guadeloupe vs. Honduras

"LSSE is proud to bring these world-class events to Houston, but the success lies in the people who help us make them great," Brady said. "In addition to the passionate fans, we have a tremendous Gold Cup Host Committee that works with us in the community and incredible support from our city and county leaders. They have all been instrumental in the success of these events."

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