(Photo credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports)
More than 61,000 fans bought tickets to see Lionel Messi play in Chicago on Wednesday.
The Inter Miami superstar might not appear due to an injury, so the Chicago Fire are offering something of a consolation gift to the spectators.
The Fire posted Tuesday on their website, "To show our appreciation, the Chicago Fire will be offering a $250 account credit toward new memberships for the 2024 season -- or a $50 account credit for anyone unable to use the new member credit -- to all single-game ticket buyers who attend our match vs. Inter Miami regardless of which players are able to make an appearance on the pitch."
The club added, "We realize that there will be many in attendance who are coming to a Chicago Fire match at Soldier Field for the first time, and we're excited to welcome them to the Fire Family and give them an opportunity to become long-term fans by creating a wonderful, fan-focused atmosphere."
Messi is listed as day-to-day due to a leg injury, but he was not among the players pictured on Tuesday when Inter Miami tweeted a series of photos of the squad heading to the airplane en route to Chicago.
The Argentinian legend has appeared in just one of Inter Miami's six matches in all competitions since Sept. 3, and he has sat out the past three contests. He missed the U.S. Open Cup final on Sept. 27 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as Miami fell 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo.
Inter Miami are 8-0-4 with Messi on the field, and he has 11 goals in 12 appearances for the team.
The largest previous home crowd in Fire history was the 37,122 fans who came to see the club face the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 8, 1998, in Chicago's inaugural season.
Chicago (9-12-10, 37 points) and Miami (9-15-6, 33 points) are both battling to make the playoffs in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference. CF Montreal (11-16-4, 37 points) currently occupy the ninth and final postseason position. The Fire have three matches remaining, while Inter Miami have four matches to go.
--Field Level Media