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Cutdown for World Cup Bid

Washington and Baltimore make the World Cup cut. For now.

The committee overseeing American soccer's bid to host the 2018 or 2022 Cup reduced the number of potential cities from 27 to 18 today. The list will be formally submitted to FIFA before the May 14 deadline for countries interested in staging the tournaments.

The biggest surprises were the absence of Chicago and, to a lesser degree, the San Francisco area.

If the United States is chosen in December as the host country for one of the events, the number of cities will eventually be cut to 12 in the coming years.

Baltimore offers M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Ravens. It staged an AC Milan-Chelsea friendly before a sellout crowd last summer. Washington has both RFK Stadium and FedEx Field, but RFK's small size and age virtually rules it out of consideration. RFK hosted five World Cup matches in 1994. FedEx Field -- which holds around 92,000 for Redskins games -- has hosted the Women's World Cup (1999) and international exhibitions. [CLARIFICATION: RFK is not on the formal bid; FedEx is Washington's only representative.]

From today's announcement.....

IN: Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, Tampa, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Nashville, Kansas City, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston, New York/New Jersey.

OUT: Chicago, Charlotte, Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Louis. "I think there is a little Olympic fatigue" and FIFA requirements might have been difficult to meet, USSF President Sunil Gulati said of the stunning omission of Chicago's Soldier Field, which is about a mile from USSF headquarters and hosted the opening match of the 1994 World Cup.

By Steve Goff  |  January 12, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  FIFA , USA World Cup bid  
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AS if DC was gonna be left off the list. It's the nation's capital. I'm more concerned as to weather or not it's going to host the final. I'm gonna go.

Posted by: mswiley2508 | January 12, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I was surprised when Chicago was out of the Olympic process on the first vote... but I am absolutely floored by them being out of the World Cup bid! I would have thought them to be in the top 3 cities with hosting potential, let alone the top 18.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 12, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Stupid Baltimore.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 12, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing Denver's nixed on that list b/c of FIFA's sensitivity to elevation issues. I think Nashville and KC will be the middle-America options -- Does Indy have an outdoor stadium up to par?

Posted by: DrewROC | January 12, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Olympic fatigue? Does Sunil mean that is miffed that he got no lobbying visit from Oprah, Michelle or the Prez?

Posted by: OWNTF | January 12, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse interviews Claudio Reyna about Donovan and Howard:

Posted by: spikeman | January 12, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Tampa...and not CHICAGO?! Really?

Posted by: EricS2 | January 12, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Very surprised to see Chicago out and Baltimore in. I am almost certain that Baltimore and DC won't both be hosts and I have a hard time seeing them taking Baltimore over DC.

Glad Atlanta is in the mix. I think the city should make the final cut. Then MLS will follow least I hope. And by the time the WC comes around, Arther Blank will have built a shiny new mega stadium in town.

Posted by: Atlanta4MLS | January 12, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

woah, crazy Chicago and San Francisco got bumped in exchange for any of the following: Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Baltimore.

Particularly after how miserably hot it was in 1994, that they would axe two of the more temperate summer climates? There's a serious over reliance on the south for a summertime tournament.

Posted by: joe_hill | January 12, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Denver is in.

Stupid Baltimore?

Posted by: Baltimore1202 | January 12, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I had a conversation with a USSF rep once about how I thought Chicago should be the linchpin of a US WC bid (a downtown stadium in a major city, etc., etc.). He told me that the renovated Soldier Field, while massive by most countries' standards, was too small by US standards. I seem to recall him saying it held about 65,000. I'd bet the two main criteria for judging cities at this point are: total seats in the stadium and total skyboxes in the stadium.

Posted by: troy6 | January 12, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

People who are certain that FedEx would be selected instead of M&T Bank are displaying a healthy amount of hubris.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | January 12, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but speaking (off topic as it seems to be today) of Hungarians...

Posted by: SportzNut21 | January 12, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

People who are certain that FedEx would be selected instead of M&T Bank are displaying a healthy amount of hubris.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | January 12, 2010 4:31 PM

FedEx and RFK are merely placeholders in the bid for the real stadium that will take the place of RFK by then.

And I don't think host sites for DC and Baltimore are out of the question.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 12, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I really thought they'd spread it out a bit more. Like either Tampa or Miami, Dallas or Houston, Los Angeles or San Diego, Washington or Baltimore, but not both of each of those pairs. Bummer for NorCal fans to loose both San Fransisco and Oakland. And leaving out Chicago is indeed baffling.

Posted by: patrickneil | January 12, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

So who's the big winner today... Baltimore, San Diego, Indianapolis??

No - Australia 2022

Posted by: Kev29 | January 12, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Nashville made the cut. They get a great crowd in a very nice venue in a happenin' city.

Posted by: b18bolo | January 12, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

M&T, Fedex and Lincoln Financial.
All short driving distances!
Potential to attend plenty of World Cup Matches!

Posted by: ussccr | January 12, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow, no San Francisco. How can they leave out my town? Big bummer.

Posted by: EssEff | January 12, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

San Fran and Oakland were most likely dropped because of on going stadium issues. I don't get the Chicago decision. or KC staying in with Indy.

Posted by: VTUnited | January 12, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Surprised by the Chicago omission. The city helps to bring more character to the bid. England, for example definitely has a lot of history in their venues.

Posted by: totalfootballer | January 12, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

FIFA will award the 2022 WC to Australia, and Blatter will blame the failure of the MLS to switch to a winter/fall schedule as the reason why the US can't host. Really wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: rademaar | January 12, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Lucas Oil Stadium got Indianapolis in. Can't quite figure out how Kansas City got in over Cleveland, though.

Posted by: Stevenho | January 12, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Chicago out and Baltimore in may GOOD move for FIFA

Posted by: gpoi | January 12, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Stop the Balto hating. M&T was a GREAT venue for chelsea/milan, and the Inner Harbor is a much better environment before and after the game than the vast parking lots at FedEx.

If there's a new DC stadium, great. Until then, M&T is the best venue in the area for a mega-soccer game.

Posted by: OWNTF | January 12, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm honestly surprised some of the more dominant soccer powers haven't broken away from FIFA and told Blatter and Co. to get bent.

Posted by: alecw81 | January 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Here's the breakdown of cities, stadiums, and capacity
Atlanta:Georgia Dome 71000 possible new stadium
San Diego:Qualcomm 71000 possible new stadium
Phoenix:University of Phoenix 72000
Dallas:Cowboys Stadium 80000 (111000 w/ standing)
Seattle:Qwest Field 72000
Denver:Invesco Field 76000
Tampa:Raymond James Stadium 75000
Indianapolis:Lucas Oil Stadium 70000
Baltimore:M&T 71000
Nashville:LP Field 69000
Kansas City:Arrowhead Stadium 77000 (currently being renovated)
Houston:Reliant Stadium 71500
Miami:Land Shark 75000 (currently being renovated)
Philadelphia:Lincoln Financial 68500
LA:Rose Bowl 92500, LA Coliseum 93500 (possible new/renovated NFL stadium)
DC:FedEx Field 91500 (possible new stadium)
Boston: Gillete Stadium 69000
NY/NJ: New Meadowlands 82500

For comparison
Chicago: Soldier Field 61500
Oakland: Oakland Coliseum 63000
Australia: Melbourne Cricket Ground 100,000, ANZ Stadium (Sydney) 83000 then everything else is 56K or less.

In terms of cities getting cut at the next stage if Atlanta doesn't get a new stadium you've got to think its out since it would be one of the oldest stadiums and indoors w/o a retractable roof. San Diego is probably out unless there is movement for a new stadium unless the USSF really wants to have regional groupings (i.e LA, SD and Phoenix). The average attendance in the US would be at least 20K higher per game which over 63 games is at least 1.25 million more tickets sold. At $75/ticket that's more than $90 million in extra revenue. It's going to be very hard for FIFA to turn down that type of money.

Posted by: mfrahm | January 12, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I watched the awful Villarreal game...tied 1-1 after the frist match in the CdR, Vigo gets an awful penalty to score in injury time. The foul wasn't even in the box.

Posted by: Reignking | January 12, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely dumb, except for the possible economic boost and prestige of bringing it here. USA is never even a lock to qualify for the World Cup.

We will never be good at soccer for two main reasons:

One, overseas, like American cities, the best athletes are in the inner cities. But, overseas, the inner city kids play soccer, but here they play basketball/football. Suburban kids here play soccer.

Two, American college soccer. Most of the top soccer teams recruit a lot overseas rather than bring in Americans and develop them. I understand you want the best players, but after HS, American soccer players are virtually never seen again unless they go straight to the National team.

Posted by: ssktigers | January 12, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe when if we finally land a world cup in 2018, the US will give DC the brand spanking new stadium it deserves. Till then, pray the foundation doesn't crumble.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 12, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Will FedEx even been around in 2018/2022?

Posted by: kasdc | January 12, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

No point in building a soccer-only stadium when you have RFK/FedEx/M&T in the area that can easily host soccer

Posted by: ssktigers | January 12, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

According to the AP story that the SF Chron is running there may still be hope for the Bay.

"Also left off was San Francisco, but organizers said the Bay Area could return to contention if the 49ers get a new stadium in Santa Clara."

Additionally, the Chron had this story (w/ pic) on their main home page, perhaps this is a sign people in the area are taking this somewhat seriously. While the atmosphere for the only Quakes game I've been to was abysmal (felt like a high school game) there was a great crowd when the US played Japan in a friendly a few years ago.

Fingers crossed.

Posted by: Mr_White | January 12, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

ssktigers, your posts are asinine.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget we're still 8 or 12 years out from actually playing the games. I'm not considering any list final until the tickets are printed.

I wouldn't be surpised to see Chicago (and possibly SF) added back in down the line.

Posted by: SoccerVA | January 12, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

""woah, crazy Chicago and San Francisco got bumped in exchange for any of the following: Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Baltimore.""

Right on, joe hill.

Leaving out the Bay Area is just stupid. Leaving out Chicago in favor of X Y and Z . . . reeks of wetoddidness

Posted by: delantero | January 12, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Phoenix? Please. Who the heck wants to play in the desert in June or July (Average high temp 100-103!!!)?

Not to mention the wasteland that is Phoenix to begin with . . . I don't care how big a market it might be. It's just stupid.

Posted by: delantero | January 12, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Please stop the stupidity people. The nations capital will be one of the final twelve sites chosen. To suggest Baltimore would be chosen over DC is like suggesting San Diego will be chosen over Los Angeles or Philadelphia/Boston will be chosen over New York. It's simply not going to happen. I'm not suggesting Baltimore won't be chosen but it won't be in lieu of Washington. Lastly, to the organizers M & T Bank isn't necessarily a better venue either. FedEx holds 25,000 more spectators than does M & T Bank and attendance is a huge factor in this process(although I do agree that DC may have a different venue by then).

Posted by: croftonpost | January 12, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

ssktigers, your posts are asinine.
Posted by: DadRyan

Well, he's clearly been watching too much LeBron, or weekend NFL games, or SportsCenter to understand futbol.

Posted by: delantero | January 12, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

If there's a new DC stadium, great. Until then, M&T is the best venue in the area for a mega-soccer game.
Posted by: OWNTF

That's about right. FedEx, really, isn't in DC. M and T is, well, in Baltimore.

So, Goff's post should read: Baltimore's M and T, or Fed Ex Stadium, in the Unincorporated part of Prince George's County . . or the pipe-dream new stadium in the District.

But that might be too much commentating and insufficient journalism.

Posted by: delantero | January 12, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

delantero, IMHO the University of Phoenix stadium is perfect. Natural grass retractable playing surface, air conditioning, and retractable roof. Maybe I'm biased because I have siblings living in Phoenix, but I really don't think it's a bad venue. The zillions of swimming pools and silicone blondes will be a big draw between matches as well...;)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 13, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Phoenix is as close to a lock as there is on this list. Only LA is more certain. As DadRyan notes, it's an air-conditioned stadium. That means it will be a helluva lot more comfortable to play in than any of the East Coast venues (unless the Redskins get a retractable roof facility in the meantime). Plus, Phoenix didn't host the last time around. I'm sure the USSF is looking to diversify the bid.

Chicago's stadium is smaller than what the USSF was looking for. Same problem in SF. Stanford Stadium's renovation was beautiful, but now it seats only 50,000. I think it's a bit misguided, because I think the Cup should be a showcase for interesting cities that tourists will want to see. Indy's stadium is first-rate (and has a retractable roof and A/C), but the city?

mfrahm's post really sets out the reasons for the selection. My only quibble with that post is his proclamation that San Diego won't make the final cut. I wouldn't be so sure. Perfect climate, decent facility (and there'll probably be a new one announced for the Chargers by the time of the final bid), and it would be nice to have one border town hosting.

Posted by: fischy | January 13, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why people think there won't be games held in Baltimore AND DC. If anything, it'd be ideal, because you could stay at a hotel in the middle and hit more games that way. Plus, 2 of the bigger stadiums.

Also, please keep in mind, denver/miami/other sites is a hotspot for celebrities, vacationers, and tourism. And dallas and Indy are indoor stadiums, so the temperature won't be as much an issue. I also think that several of these places will build new stadiums if the bid goes through.

Posted by: mswiley2508 | January 13, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Again, I think it's important to think of the stadiums in the bid merely as placeholders. Lots will change in the next 8-12 years. Even great new(ish) stadiums like M&T, Pheonix and Lucas Oil would need to be worked on before the Cup. And cities like DC, SD and Miami could have completely new structures built.

There's something very fishy (not fischy) about the Chicago exclusion. Can't be as simple as "Soldier Field... no thanks". Remember, World Cup politics is a pretty nasty business - maybe Chicago didn't like what was in store for them to be in the bid - or vice-versa.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 13, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Dad and fischy on Phoenix being a lock. Their new stadium is gorgeous, natural grass, retractable roof (close it and blast the AC) and has great sight lines. ...and there's no humidity. It may be the best place to play. Delantero - you just don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by: nairbsod | January 13, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Ah, didn't realize there was a roof with AC.

But it doesn't change squat about what a ridiculous city Phoenix is . . it is a DESERT. Why would you build a city of 5 million there?

And the whole idea of growing grass outside and wheeling it inside so that people can sit comfortably in AC while they are in the DESERT is about as monumentally stupid an idea as ever conceived.

Posted by: delantero | January 13, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

And the whole idea of growing grass outside and wheeling it inside so that people can sit comfortably in AC while they are in the DESERT is about as monumentally stupid an idea as ever conceived.

Posted by: delantero | January 13, 2010 10:15 AM

Really? I think it's kind of awesome. That stadium is amazing - and it has quite a bit in common with FIFA's favorite in Germany -

And the Sapporo Dome

Posted by: Kev29 | January 13, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

delantero, what did Arizona ever do to you man? ;)
Folks that live there and enjoy the lack of humidity probably wonder what morons decided to build a National Capital smack dab in the middle of a festering swamp, or what feels like a swamp a lot of the summer.:)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Phoenix, LA, Vegas. All these desert monstrosities are drains on the eco system. If you don't like 100 degree weather, don't move there and live in 70 degrees and build stadiums that allow you to stick your finger at mother nature.

What a drain on energy and resources. Live within the environment. Surfers can't surf without waves. Skiiers shouldn't be able to ski without natural snow. Idiots building in the desert shouldn't make fool themselbes into thinking that they aren't in the desert.

Posted by: delantero | January 13, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

So long as water for snow-making isn't pumped from underground sources, I fail to see how it wastes water resources. Water that is blown on the mountainside in January melts in April/May/June. Most of CA's water is locked up as snowmelt during the winter, and then kept in reservoirs after it melts. These same reservoirs, and private on-mountain ones as well, are the water sources of many snowmaking operations there. Futhermore, the ski areas have paid for the rights to use these waters. Whiskeys for drinkin', water's for fightin' over.

I will grant that it does take a fair bit of energy to run the compressors and chillers, and that it alters the cycle of when and how much water is in in the streams (vs rezs or snowpack). The latter factor has caused a number of interesting court battles.

Posted by: mason08 | January 13, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh... And I hate skiing on mmSnow. It's too dense. Even denser than Sierra Cement.

Posted by: mason08 | January 13, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Ski when there's snow. Kayak when the water is running. Surf when the waves are good. Mtn bike or road ride when the sun is out.

Don't build gazillion dollar, poorly insulated refrigerators in the desert so you can watch a sporting match.

*Mason, not talking about just the water when I said resources . . it's also the people driving to the resorts, the energy it takes to build and run the pumps, maintain the reservoirs, etc so that Johnny can learn how to ski at Massanothing.

And you are right, man made snow is horrible. I'm kind of a snow snob, though.

Posted by: delantero | January 13, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

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