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USA-Mexico Site?

ESPN Deportes reported today that the USA World Cup qualifier against Mexico on Feb. 11 will be played in Seattle or Salt Lake City.

I am sure Salt Lake City is under consideration -- it offers a new, medium-sized stadium in a cool setting where the USSF will be able to manage ticket distribution and provide a true home-field advantage.

However, I highly doubt Seattle is.

The USSF had no comment today on the site selection process for the final-round opener, saying only that no decision has been made. But a few weeks ago, USSF President Sunil Gulati was adamant that stadiums with artificial turf, such as Qwest Field, would be largely avoided: "We aren't going to play on artificial surface, even though in theory we could, and we strongly prefer not to play in a situation where there is temporary grass laid in for a couple days."

The smart money is on Columbus or SLC.

By Steve Goff  |  December 11, 2008; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Comments

Columbus in February has been a winning combination in the past. That game would draw fans from the Northeast and Midwest so the Crew's recent attendance isn't much of a factor.

Salt Lake should get a qualifier this Hex, too.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 11, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Lots of Mexican immigrants in Denver, right? That, and the chance of snowstorms in Denver and SLC prompt me to vote for Columbus. Although, it's not that snowy in Minneapolis.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 11, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The main reason I chose Columbus over Salt Lake, is altitude. I'd give Mexico an advantage at altitude over us.

Posted by: alecw81 | December 11, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Uh, don't go dissin' the mighty Qwest field turf.... You'll surely piss off 19,000 season ticket holders...:-)
My buddy went to that Brazil/Canada match and said the atmosphere was incredible, but that the laid in sod looked like crap.
I of course wish I had the easy opportunity of making the match at RFK, but Columbus seems to make the most sense for this one in my op.

Riot INto Stadium sure does look nice though.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 11, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

My strong preference is Columbus, but does anyone think they may be considering Safeco instead of Qwest...we've played there before. I have no idea on the dimensions of Safeco though.

Posted by: khill72 | December 11, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

i'm surprised the USSF seems so unconcerned about maximizing income by looking to host in such a small stadium. the U.S.-Mexico game should sell out no matter where it is played, so they should put it in the biggest available stadium in a desirable (read: grass and no great worry about opposing support) city.

save SLC for T&T or Honduras and make one of them play at altitude.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 11, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Not Denver, please. And that's coming from someone who lives there. I-270 is right, there's also a large Mexican population here, and let's not forget the weak turnout for the Guatemala qualifier. Bad idea all around.

Posted by: Kenobi | December 11, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Salt Lake City isn't exactly Mexican free either.

And as to large stadiums for the attendance, that would mean some place like the Colosseum or Rose Bowl, because that where you'd find most of the fans to fill those stadiums. Of course, that would turn it into a Mexico home match.

No thanks. The idea should be to qualify, not to turn a buck.

Columbus should be the place.

Posted by: seahawkdad | December 11, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd love to see that game land in Columbus again, that 2001 game was on February 28th, as I remember. I grew up in Ohio, it seems to me that a game on 2/11 would push the weather envelope. Kickoff temp was around 30 in 2001. I wouldn't be surprised if a 2/11 game was about 20 with a 15mph wind.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 11, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I live in Denver and would be happy to see the game here; but I think Columbus is the best choice based on history and the fact that they should get something for winning MLS. Salt Lake would be ok, too, but who knows what the turnout would be like. You know in Columbus its going to packed and very pro-US.

Posted by: hacksaw | December 11, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping my birthday gift for myself would be in Columbus so it would be easier (cheaper) for me to get there.

Posted by: sitruc | December 11, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I voted for SLC before noticing that this is for a February 11th match.

Uuuuumm, in the snow? That would be cool to watch on TV, but it seems kinda like a bad idea, doesn't it? I mean, it would be totally evil of the USSF to do that, wouldn't it? :)

Posted by: sobugged1 | December 11, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I vote for the L.A. Coliseum (90,000) or Rose Bowl (100,000). Talk about atmosphere!

Posted by: LAStory | December 11, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"and let's not forget the weak turnout for the Guatemala qualifier"

That turnout would have been weak anywhere. A 2nd or even 3rd US team vs Guatemala in a meaningless game for the U.S.

Even further, cheap tickets were $35 on the end line (those seats were full), but the $50, 75 and 100 plus seats were "emptier" as the price went up.

There's plenty of soccer fans that would love a US v Mexico match in Feb. Doubt it will happen though,

Posted by: delantero | December 11, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

@sobugged1 -- I agree. A February match in Salt Lake seems silly. What's wrong with good old Legion Field in Birmingham or some other site where it won't be brutally cold? What about Florida?

Posted by: fischy | December 11, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Legion Field was renovated and turf was installed.

Posted by: ncguy | December 11, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Why would we want to play Mexico at altitude?

Green Bay.

Posted by: B_A_ | December 11, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

er, won't there be a lot of snow on the ground in Salt Lake in February? People generally go there to ski in the winter, not play soccer.

Posted by: hudson22 | December 11, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, BA beat me to it. Lambeau Field in Green Bay...let's see how El Tri handles the frozen tundra!

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 11, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

i was hoping my b-day present was to see US vs. Mex here at RFK..:(

Posted by: KHSpartan11 | December 11, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world would USSF abandon the Columbus experience? To play in a stadium that;
*is at altitude and dry, like Mexico City
*is bound to have more Mexican fans
*requires more travel for European players, and a big likelihood of travel delays

If they are thinking about it, somebody is outsmarting themself

Posted by: teo_68 | December 11, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Never thought of the fact that they might be considering the match at Safeco field... But would they really with all the attention on Qwest? Safeco is awesome...

Posted by: DadRyan | December 11, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

@seahawkdad - i was ruling out LA by saying they need to pick a place with "no great worry about opposing support". playing in mid-February is going to eliminate a lot of options. as others mentioned, the weather in SLC or Columbus could very well be cold snowy, which would be a bit ridiculous (though, yes, it would probably hinder the Mexicans). are there no other more southern cities that might offer decent facilities and a hospitable crowd? Atlanta? Tampa?

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 11, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

teo_68 hit on a major point that makes me think Sandy is a no-go, the travel from Europe issue. The Fed seemed hesitant to add that much more mileage to the Euros for a midweek match.

It's funny hwo many people around here must not have been following the team for 2001, because there's no way someone wouldn't want to see La Guerra Fria III had they seen that atmosphere on that wonderful Columbus night...

Posted by: EricB1 | December 11, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse


If the USSF decides to host the Mexico match in any city other than Cowlumbus, it's a sign that they're every single iota as stupid as everyone thinks they are.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | December 11, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Tampa. They drew well there before, no?

@EricB -- I'm sure we all remember how the Columbus games have turned out. Two 2-0 wins. I'd be delighted to see history repeat -- again. The thing is the weather might really suck and hold down the crowd.

Still, your point is well taken. Why change something that's working that well? Even if Mexico has a Scandinavian coach now, the players aren't used to it. So long as they sell it out, I'm cool with it.

Posted by: fischy | December 12, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, anyone out there go to any matches at Safeco?
I'd guess it'd be a paradox having a match in the baseball stadium across the street from the *football* stadium.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 12, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I was at Safeco for the US's game there. I'm pretty sure it's not possible to fit a field of proper width there.

Posted by: Wendell_Gee | December 12, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Too bad Wendell, the sushi and retractable roof are pretty cool aren't they?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 12, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

I was at the first Guerra Fria. It was around 25 degrees and windy. The weather was miserable; snow would not have made it much worse. From my experience, the people of the Midwest have a vastly different take on the meaning of the words "bad weather" as compared to those of us in the Mid-Atlantic.

There were some Mexican fans there, but we're talking 2,000 at the most, and they were very subdued (much like their team on the day). My dad and I parked next to a full size van with 8 Mexico fans driven by a Honduran who was there to root for the US. The Mexicans were uniformly unhappy about the conditions and fairly pessimistic...and then the sun went down. They were not a happy or boisterous group.

The only reason I can think of for not playing in Columbus would be that Crew Stadium collapsed. Since it hasn't, the choice couldn't be simpler.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 12, 2008 1:59 AM | Report abuse

ok....so seattle is totally out. i live there and would love to see my nat team kick mexicos butt...but....i'd rather have us play in columbus where there are no mexian fans....it's all about the three points man....

I went to mexi-china (played in seattle) with my 4 year old son (who is half mexican-half irish...bilingual)...and he asked me..."dad...are we in mexico" way...way too many mexicans in seattle for a nat qualifier....

so yeah...qwest field would totally fill up...but 70% mexican..30% US....not good.

HOWEVER......a us-mex friendly would be totally off the hook and would fill the place to the rafters....

Posted by: matt28 | December 12, 2008 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Columbus. The Cold & as a reward for winning the Cup.

Posted by: KireDCU | December 12, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"As much as I'd love to see that game land in Columbus again, that 2001 game was on February 28th, as I remember. I grew up in Ohio, it seems to me that a game on 2/11 would push the weather envelope. Kickoff temp was around 30 in 2001. I wouldn't be surprised if a 2/11 game was about 20 with a 15mph wind."

PERFECT!

"I was at the first Guerra Fria. It was around 25 degrees and windy. The weather was miserable; snow would not have made it much worse. From my experience, the people of the Midwest have a vastly different take on the meaning of the words "bad weather" as compared to those of us in the Mid-Atlantic.

There were some Mexican fans there, but we're talking 2,000 at the most, and they were very subdued (much like their team on the day). My dad and I parked next to a full size van with 8 Mexico fans driven by a Honduran who was there to root for the US. The Mexicans were uniformly unhappy about the conditions and fairly pessimistic...and then the sun went down. They were not a happy or boisterous group.

The only reason I can think of for not playing in Columbus would be that Crew Stadium collapsed. Since it hasn't, the choice couldn't be simpler.

EXACTLY!

I LOVE LA GUERRA FRIA II!

See you all in Columbus when the sun goes down!

Posted by: Barracudas | December 12, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Won't USSF receive A LOT more money by qualifying for the World Cup then selling an extra 20,000 tickets....

Home field advantage. Columbus in February. nuf said.

Posted by: Tweaked | December 12, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Can Columbus put back the seats that they ripped out of one end zone for a stage?

Pure speculation, but maybe US Soccer is not too pleased with the venue itself in Columbus (while clearly happy with the results there). Then again, Columbus still seats more than Salt Lake, even with the stage set up.

And this is just me, but I'm getting a little tired of the "let's have games in the most white bread places possible because we're afraid of fans rooting for the other side". But I guess those are the breaks. Wish that a more effective ticketing policy could take care of things (like the World Cup Finals tactics - have to be registered on the US Soccer site - maybe they could start a loyalty points program, etc).

Posted by: Kev29 | December 12, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

USSF doesn't choose the venue anymore based on the gate receipts, they try to choose a place that'll give the team the best home-field advantage; at least for the big games against Mexico in WC qualifying. So, that rules out any city with a big Mexican population. So, that seems to leave SLC or Columbus.

Posted by: hacksaw | December 12, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"Legion Field was renovated and turf was installed."

Forget about Birmingham, forever, as a result of this move.

The semifinals and final of the Beijing Olympic qualifiers for CONCACAF were played in Tennessee at the Titans' stadium, and drew good crowds, considering it was a youth competition-- 20k or more.

Nice stadium, grass field, scaled to FIFA pitch requirements. And it's right smack dab in downtown Nashville, near the honkytonks, bars, restaurants, and lots of hotel rooms. And tons of cheap, quick nonstop flights from DC airports.

Since Birmingham is out of the picture, Nashville might inherit the role as the USSF's choice venue in Dixie.

Only problem I can see is that the southeast is full of Mexico fans, and that's a big stadium. Anybody know if Nashville is like North Carolina, with a large population of recent immigrants?

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | December 12, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

We beat Poland in the snow in early '06... I say SLC

Posted by: carmines757 | December 12, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess hacksaw has never been to Utah. There are plenty of Mexicans there. As much as I would love to combine a WCQ against Mexico with a world class ski trip, C-bus is the best option.

Posted by: DCU4LIFE | December 13, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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