Fenway Park is far from an ideal venue for soccer — all those choice baseball-watching seats behind home plate are a long way from most of the action — but 32,162 fans enjoyed watching two European club teams go at it Wednesday night. The near sellout certainly strengthens the Kraft family’s case for moving their Revolution soccer team from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to a location closer to Boston. Whether a site in Somerville now under consideration is the best choice remains to be seen, but this week’s game demonstrated soccer’s magnetism at an urban field close to public transportation and the sport’s fan base of immigrants and families with children in youth soccer leagues.
Kids were out in force Wednesday. They and others in attendance witnessed a closely fought contest between Sporting Clube de Portugal and Celtic Football Club of Scotland. Judging by cheers at each goal during the 1-1 tie in regulation time, both clubs — each older than Fenway Park itself — have sizeable contingents of supporters in the Boston area. The play was not as silken as the best moments of the World Cup, but especially in the second half each team put the opposing goalie to the test.
The fans also got to see a bit of American football when a spectator started running across the pitch, only to be brought down by a security official in an open-field tackle that would have done the Patriots proud. A wave cheer and a halftime rendition of the Red Sox’ eighth-inning anthem, “Sweet Caroline,’’ stamped the evening as a Fenway event. But soccer’s undeniable appeal to a diverse audience could generate equal enthusiasm at another Boston-area home, if the Krafts and local officials can agree on one.
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