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Are the U.S. home venues set for World Cup qualifying?

Feb 11, 2013, 2:56 PM EDT

On top of Sunday reports that a Sept. 10 World Cup qualifier was bound for Columbus, SI.com’s Grant Wahl says today that Salt Lake City, Kansas City and Seattle are also leaders for coming matches in the final round of regional play.

Citing an unnamed source, here is how Wahl says things might break:

source:

The first U.S. final round World Cup qualifier at home is set for Denver (March 22 against Costa Rica.)

Let’s discuss the others (as we hope that U.S. Soccer gets these things singed and sealed so we can all move on):

  • If CenturyLink Field in Seattle is indeed awarded a match, that indicates a significant shift in U.S. Soccer thinking. Previously, the federation seemed dead-set against the idea of a home match on artificial turf (or on one of the notoriously sketchy temporary grass fields covering the fake stuff.)
  • Salt Lake City has served the purpose quite well over the last two qualifying cycles, with important wins at Rice-Eccles Stadium en route to Germany 2006 and at Rio Tinto Stadium on the road to South Africa 2010. Both matches were well-attended.
  • Mexico at Crew Stadium? Yup. Hits the perfect note.

(MORE: U.S.-Mexico bound for Columbus once again)

  • The United States is likely to need a result down the wire, so Sporting Park in Kansas  City as the venue to face Jamaica would be a great choice. The Americans have positive, recently created memories of the place. They went into Kansas City last fall knowing they quite possibly needed a win or draw against Guatemala and got one fairly easily – after an early Guatemalan goal, that is. The United States punched its ticket into the final round of qualifying that night.
  1. ll8078 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Making it tough for the 1/3 of the country that lives within 4 hours of NYC. Had 55k at a friendly in Philly before the World Cup, not sure why they haven’t returned.

    • east96st - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      The East Coast major cities have too many legitimate, contending teams in other sports. US Soccer wants the whole spotlight for themselves. Hope on a plane, fly for an hour and a half into Columbus International and join us at Crew Stadium. Or do the 8 hour drive and stay over. Fun place to see the US matches. It’s the best show on turf we’ll see all year, so everyone gets pumped up for it. Plus, it’s a small stadium, so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Getting into and out of the parking lots sucks, so come early and leave late.

  2. genebrooklyn - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    And from what happened to us after US-Jamaica in September, even the parking lot experience has improved. We were on the interstate within 10 or 15 minutes after getting back to our car—unlike the miserable time we had in prior years.

    I echo the suggestion about getting in the car and hitting the road. We have done Crew Stadium 5 or 6 times over the years from Brooklyn and it is great drive. Columbus is fun, but you can also hit Pittsburgh or spots in between.

  3. ll8078 - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    It’s not a bad city but PPL is a rock throw from I95 and within 2 hours of NYC, DC, and did an amazing job hosting the MLS all star game. The ladies team has had good experiences there too apparently.

    I just always hear “well if these games are so important why is there only 15k watching”. These games shouldn’t be played in the same venues as mls, they should be infront of 60k (as Seattle will be), it’ll only boost the legitimacy of qualifying, and a lot more people can go out an experience their first US soccer game.

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