Blanco brings international star power to Silverbacks exhibition game

An influx of international talent has helped raise the profile of professional soccer in the United States. Local fans will get their chance to see a star today.

Mexican standout Cuauhtemoc Blanco and his Irapuato FC teammates will face the Atlanta Silverbacks near Spaghetti Junction at 7 p.m. Wednesday, providing area fans a chance to see one of the best strikers in Mexico's history.

Blanco, 38, previously played club soccer in the United States with the Chicago Fire. He earned 121 caps for the Mexican national team, scoring 39 goals and earning numerous awards.

Silverbacks coach Jose Manuel Abundis played alongside Blanco in the 1999 Confederations Cup, both scoring goals in a 4-3 win over Brazil in the finals. Atlanta goalkeeper Felipe Quintero played with Irapuato in 2004, helping the team earn promotion to the first division of Mexican soccer. Irapuato currently plays in Mexico's second division.

The Silverbacks last month finished their first season in the NASL with a 4-20-4 record.

Tickets for the match will available online at www.atlantasilverbacks.com until 10 a.m. today. Tickets will later be available at the Atlanta Silverbacks Park gate starting at 2 p.m.