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A look ahead at Crystal Palace match day

By D.J. Switzer - Director of Communications, 07/14/16, 12:15PM EDT

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With our heavily anticipated international friendly against Premier League side Crystal Palace now just two days away, it seemed high time to share some of the finer details of what can be expected at the biggest soccer event in Cincinnati soccer history.

Below you'll find important information, tips and details about all the things you can expect to be different in the lead up to Saturday's epic match. 

Gates Open 90 Minutes Before Kickoff

While normal USL matchdays see the gates at Nippert Stadium opening 60 minutes before kickoff, we're going to open the gates a little earlier before our friendly against Crystal Palace. With a record crowd expected, the gates will be opening 90 minutes before kickoff at 5:30pm. 

This will allow supporters to enter the stadium early to avoid the large influx of fans we normally see try to enter the stadium just before kickoff. To further streamline your experience, purchase your parking passes in advance too so you don't have to hunt for a garage space! 

Happy Hour from 5:30-6:30pm

The gates opening early will not only allow you to get into the stadium earlier to avoid the record crowds we're expecting, but they'll also provide you access to something even better... the first ever FCC Cincinnati Happy Hour!

From 5:30-6:30pm, on the plaza outside Gate 2 by the UDF Kids Zone, you'll be able to grab select 12 oz. cans for just $5! And popcorn and pretzels can be had for just $2 a piece! 

Attendance Update

Speaking of record attendances expected, the club is excited to officially announce that we've now sold over 30,000 tickets to the Crystal Palace match! 

But with that news, that also means that there is no guarantee that walk-up tickets will be available in the lead up to the match. So if you haven't purchased your tickets yet, it's highly advisable that you do so very, very soon.

Post Match Fireworks

While everyone is eagerly looking forward to the match on Saturday evening, don't forget that there's also a post-match fireworks show! 

Scheduled to begin at 9:30pm, the Fireworks will be launched from on top of Fifth Third Arena and the Lindner Athletic Center. As such, fans sitting on the East side of the stadium will likely want to move either to the West side of the stadium -- all seats will become general admission after the final whistle -- or out onto Sheakley Lawn on the Southeast side of the stadium to more easily see the show.

Supporters in the Bailey

As has been the case for the last few matches, all supporters sitting in the Bailey will be asked to produce a physical ticket to gain entrance into the section. If you left your paper ticket at home, head up to the Box Office at Gate 2 and we'll gladly print you a new one for free.

Additionally, with gates opening earlier, we ask that fans still respect not sitting in the roped off area in the Bailey for our supporters groups marching in prior to kickoff. 

If you want to know what the Palace support is up to, you can check out their prematch schedule here.

Season Ticket Holders

We've heard some questions from our season ticket holders wondering whether this match is included in their season ticket packages. And the easy answer, is yes, they absolutely are! The tickets are marked as Match 17 and Exhibition. If you can't find your tickets, you can also reprint the tickets through our online ticket portal, or login on your phone to use mobile ticketing -- just remember that you will still need a physical ticket if your season ticket is in the Bailey.