USMNT Daily Update: A look at the leading candidates to host HEX qualifiers

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying is set for 2013, and while we still don’t know on which dates the U.S. Men’s National Team will be taking on the other five teams competing in the Hexagonal, we can start thinking about the venues that make the most sense to host those five important matches.

There are some venues that simply make too much sense, like Crew Stadium in Columbus and LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, but after that we are talking about three slots for more than a dozen potential venues to fight over. There are worthy candidates from coast to coast. Some with a history of being good USMNT hosts, and some others that haven’t really been given the chance yet.

Here is a closer look at the ten venues we could see having the best chances to earn the honor to host one of those five precious World Cup qualifiers:

1. CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio

USMNT history- Has hosted the past three Hex home games vs. Mexico, all victories. Recently hosted a qualifying win vs. Jamaica.

Why it works- USMNT fans from the East Coast and Midwest converge, and there isn’t a strong presence from any other CONCACAF fan bases nearby.

Why it won’t- Crew Stadium is getting a game. Can’t see it not.

Outlook- USA-Mexico seems destined to return, but if something surprising happens with that game, you can bet U.S. Soccer will either put the Costa Rica or Honduras match there.

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2. LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kansas

USMNT history- Gold Cup group stage victory vs. Guadeloupe in the 2011 Gold Cup, and more recently a World Cup qualifying win vs. Guatemala.

Why it works- A beautiful new stadium, strong foundation of fans from Sporting KC and it is in the middle if the country, within range of a wider variety of American fans.

Why it won’t- One of two clear-cut locks to host a Hex game.

Outlook- The scenes for the Guatemala qualifier were impressive, and the stadium provides a perfect atmosphere for a high-profile match. Livestrong could still snatch away USA-Mexico, but a more likely alternative is the Honduras match or Costa Rica match.

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3. RFK STADIUM, Washington D.C.

USMNT history- It may be old, and run down, but RFK Stadium has hosted a qualifier in seven of the past nine World Cup qualifying rounds the USMNT has played in.

Why it works- There is something about the nation’s capital hosting qualifiers that just feels right. Throw in the rapid fans of the Northeast being able to make the trip relatively easily and you have a recipe for strong turnouts.

Why it won’t- The stadium is old, but a bigger concern is the proximity to fan bases of the other Hex teams. When USA played Honduras there in 2001, the stadium was two-thirds Honduran fans. U.S. Soccer did that on purpose for a payday, but after watching the team lose there it became clear the planning for future qualifiers there must be more careful.

Outlook- With Jurgen Klinsmann more actively involved in the selection of venues, you wonder if he will buy into the history of RFK as a good home for the national team. It is far from a sure thing, and the presence of newer stadiums nearby has to cut into RFK’s chances.

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4. HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.

USMNT history- Has hosted one World Cup qualifier, a blowout win vs. Barbados in 2008.

Why it works- If Klinsmann wants to hold a lengthy camp around a home game, then his own home of Southern California could be a good fit.

Why it won’t- The commute for European-based players makes this an unlikely option outside of the summer, which reduces the number of possible games it can host.

Outlook- How the HEX schedule shakes out will determine if the Home Depot Center has any chance. if the USMNT home game against Mexico is during the summer, that will reduce the odds of seeing a qualifier there.

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5. SOLDIER FIELD, Chicago

USMNT history- A crowd of 55,347 filled the stadium for a USA-Honduras qualifier in 2009. USA is 5-3-3 at the venue.

Why it works- Big stadium in a big city in the heart of the country, with a history of drawing very large crowds.

Why it won’t- LiveStrong Sporting Park looks like the new midwestern home of the USMNT.

Outlook- With LSP expected to get a game, it seems like a long-shot that Soldier Field would get one too, but the prospects of being able to draw more than 50,000 fans without having to go all the way to Seattle could make Soldier Field a good option.

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6. RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah

USMNT history- Hosted the USMNT’s HEX win vs. El Salvador in 2009.

Why it works- A closer commute than the  West Coast. Can produce a cold weather environment for a February. Strong home-crowd advantage.

Why it won’t- Altitude. Still a bit of a hike for European-based players.

Outlook- It has a chance, but we’d rule it an outsider right now.

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7. LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD, Philadelphia, Pa.

USMNT history- Hosted a Gold Cup quarterfinal win vs. Panama in 2009, the USA-Mexico friendly in 2011 and the World Cup sendoff series win vs. Turkey in 2010.

Why it works- Strategically located to draw fans from New York and Washington D.C. Big stadium with a beautiful field and a track record of strong crowds for USMNT games.

Why it won’t- Location would also make it easy for large contingents of fans from all five HEX participants to travel.

Outlook- The best alternative to New York and Washington, and a venue Klinsmann is familiar with. PPL Park is also an option in this market, but it’s small size makes Lincoln Financial Field the more sensible option.

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8. LP FIELD, Nashville, Tenn.

USMNT history- Hosted the HEX win vs. Trinidad & Tobago in 2009 (27,959) and a friendly loss to Paraguay in 2011 (29,059).

Why it works- In terms of southern venues, LP Field has become the unofficial southern home of the USMNT. It’s location leads to a good draw from the south, midwest and even the East.

Why it won’t- The nightmares of the failed U.S. Olympic qualifying run last spring are still fresh in the mind, though it would make for a great redemption story.

Outlook- It caters to an underserved area of the country, has drawn good crowds before, and the stadium can hold a large crowd assuming it is an important match. An outside chance of getting a game, but a chance nonetheless.

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8. CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle

USMNT history- Has hosted four USMNT matches in the past, including three Gold Cup matches, never drawing more than 17,819 (but that was before the MLS Seattle Sounders era).

Why it works- Have you been to a Sounders game recently? The MLS club has energized the city of Seattle, turning it into one of, if not THE strongest soccer fan haven in America.

Why it won’t- Artificial turf is the big drawback. And no, laying down grass doesn’t work because temporary grass fields are never as good as natural fields. There is also the travel time issue for European-based players. Even with those two drawbacks, it certainly does feel like there is more at play here as to why the national team hasn’t been back since the 2009 Gold Cup.

Outlook- As amazing as the scene is in Seattle, CenturyLink continues to look like a serious long-shot for a USMNT match.

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10. EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.

USMNT history- Hosted the USMNT’s blowout win vs. Scotland in May.

Why it works- This venue drew a great crowd for the Scotland match, providing the kind of energy that is sure to stick in Klinsmann’s mind as he considers venues.

Why it won’t- Could lose out if U.S. Soccer wants to limit the number of small markets that get HEX games.

Outlook- Call it a long shot, but the crowd in May definitely made an impression that puts them on the list.

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There are certainly other venues worthy of consideration, from Red Bull Arena, to BBVA Compass Stadium to Jeld-Wen Field, but given the history of some of these venues, and based on the track record of venues selected in the past, the aforementioned group of stadiums make the most sense to be in the final mix. Could we see a surprise? Absolutely, but I would be very surprised if at least four of the five HEX home qualifiers for the USMNT aren’t played in venues listed here.

Now is your chance to vote. Cast your vote for the five venues you would like to see host Hexagonal Round home qualifiers for the U.S. Men’s National Team here (please select five venues):

 

  • Crew Stadium, Columbus
  • Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City
  • Home Depot Center, Carson
  • Soldier Field, Chicago
  • Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
  • Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy
  • CenturyLink Field, Seattle
  • LP Field, Nashville
  • EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville
  • RFK Stadium, Washington
  • Red Bull Arena, Harrison
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
  • Jeld-Wen Field, Portland
  • BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
  • University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix

What do you think of the list? Which five venues did you choose? Is there a venue you hope doesn’t make the final cut? Is there a longshot venue you’re praying makes the cut?

Share your thoughts below.

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154 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: A look at the leading candidates to host HEX qualifiers

  1. lassidawg says:

    Sorry but the assesment of the game at Rio Tinto is off, I will be generous and say it was 60% USA and 40% Salvador.
    I say if it is the summer play US v Mexico at the clink, I think it would upset the Mexicans more to play on turf than the Americans. If they distribute the tickets correctly they can insure a 75% or more pro USA crowd. The brilliant idea would be to start with US supporter groups then make their way through the Sounder and Timber season ticket holders.

    • Spectra says:

      I was there too but I would say 60% USA 30%mexican and 10% salvadorian.

      Most of the Mexicans left in the second half to go watch the mexican game

      • Miguel Rubio says:

        My main concern is that we give ourselves the best chance to play our biggest games before PRO-AMERICAN CROWDS. Crew Stadium and Livestrong are no brainers, and if possible, should be the sites for Honduras/Mexico. Jeld-Wen is another absolute must – I have no concerns whatsoever about the size of the pitch. If I had to pick 2 other cities it’d be Seattle and RFK, although I’m not as picky about the venues to host opponents who don’t travel as well as Honduras/Mexico.

        And this is coming from a dude who lives in NYC and plans on attending these matches.

  2. TADevil says:

    Hey, I want more love for Phoenix because that’s a venue I could actually attend. ;)

  3. dudeinho says:

    Um portland? the hosted Costa rica for a world cup qualifier a long time ago tab Ramos scored the winner i remember it very PRO US that day. this was Pre Timbers Army and the Timbers as well

  4. rick says:

    I was at the USA/Guatemala game at KC and was actually a bit disappointed by the fans there. All the fans around me wanted to sit down and got angry at me for wanting to stand. They even called security on me! I guess some of the KC fans still don’t get the difference between a soccer game and a baseball game.

    • Jake says:

      I was also at the US/Guat and the fans were awesome – I am sorry that is the dumbest thing I have every heard that if you sit at a game it makes you a non-soccer fan?? The fans stood when it was appropriate. I am not sure how standing makes you a
      soccer/futbol fan. Here is a shocker, I have been to a baseball game when
      the fans stood, the same for hockey, football and basketball. Here is news to you
      some people actually go to watch the game…

      • rick says:

        Here is news to you, some people have the amazing ability to stand AND watch a game at the same time. I guess that is a little too complicated for you, or you are too fat and/or lazy to stand because your little legs may get a little bit tired.

        BTW, don’t try to teach me about soccer culture. I have seen the USA live over 60 times, have been to 8 World Cups and have seen game in many other countries.

        • Jake says:

          And I have played for 28 yrs and still do to this day.
          I have played in two countries, but hey it was nice to see you
          Standing in the stands

        • Brock says:

          You’ve been to 60+ US matches and you still don’t know where the Supporters Section is?…

          • rick says:

            So Brock you are saying that only passion and great support of our national team can only be shown in one small section of the stadium?

            I have seen many games in the “Supporters Section” including at Azteca in 2009 when we go pretty abused by the Mexican fans. So yes, I know the difference.

        • smokeminside says:

          But there’s a difference between watching the games in person as opposed to watching the games on TV

    • Annelid Gustator says:

      The other members of crowd get a vote on whether it’s sitting or standing, dude. Don’t be a jerk about it.

      • Phlub says:

        I stood a majority of the time. Zero complaints. Did the same at Turkey v USA at Lincoln Financial. Both were great. Both should be a lock. Not sure about D.C. any more. Wait until they get a new stadium. A bit too far for the NYC faithful.

        Stadium size + faithful makes Seattle perfect. Embrace the turf. Field conditions are a shared obstacle.

      • rick says:

        No, it doesn’t come down to some sort of vote. It was three lazy guys behind me who didn’t have a single piece of USA gear on, from their comments didn’t know anything about the sport, and one of them spend the entire game ripping on the USA players. I am supposed to listen to what THEY want me to do? Why do we always bow down to the dumbest, laziest and overly sensitive people in the country? Can you imagine yelling down in front here? link to youtube.com They would laugh you out of the stadium.

        • MOUF says:

          3 guys are a relfection of “the crowd at LSP”?

          thats an interesting perspective

          • rick says:

            I didn’t say that. What I said was all the fans around me were sitting down, which I think is pretty weak for an important WCQ.

      • rick says:

        Don’t be a wuss about it.

    • Michael R. says:

      Clearly you were in the wrong section…

      link to theamericanoutlaws.com

    • Jeb says:

      so that was YOU!!! … jk jk

    • Kevin says:

      I am glad my 7 1/2 year old granddaughter was able to see and enjoy the game at LSP because of the considerate people in front of her who sat. She is part of the next generation of fans Glad she was not behind Rick.

      • rick says:

        I wasn’t standing in front of a 7 1/2 year old, but rather three grown men who were just lazy.

        • Kevin says:

          One person standing in the front row can affect everyone in that section not just the row right behind them. So who knows if you caused a young fan not to be able to see and enjoy the game because the young fan was not right behind you. Maybe you did maybe you did not.

    • bizzy says:

      rick!!!!!!! I like the passion man…..a fan that gets loud and rowdy, that cheers frantically for the most part, that actually acts as the 12th player on the field, that actually gives the team that home field advantage. Seats at a soccer game?? what are those?? lol. This should be the atmosphere of every stadium where/when we play a foreign nation. The cheers and the chants gives the players that second wind, that extra effort and the sign that the nation is with them. You should never walk into any stadium where here is a US qualifying game and see any other country’s colors more than ours or chanting louder than us. The psychological advantage should always be in our favor. If you want to sit at the stadium, that cool too, but in the atmosphere of the game, where passionate fans are involved, you should go to the stadium knowing that there is a possibility that you will be staring at people’s backs/butts for a good part of the game if you are. It is this atmosphere that takes a lot of people there in the first place, the cheering, the chanting, the flag waving, the banners……. because it’s way more comfortable at home, you get to see the game better with instant replays if you missed something, on a comfortable couch, sipping on a nice cool brew, with pop corn or nachos, than dealing with intoxicated, rowdy fans…..like me

      • Jake says:

        Reply to both you and Rick – my 8 yr old who probably knows
        more about the game then most and 5 yr old were both
        sitting and standing and singing along and clapping along the
        entire game. Most of the singing and clapping they did was while seated. They also were jumping up and down and hugging other
        kids seated behind us every goal……As Kevin said next generation,
        and because they were seated did not take away the ability to get into and cheer on the team.

        • bizzy says:

          Jake I see you have little ones who are into soccer and as a father you want to have fun at the games. They cheer sitting down, hug other kids and show their passion for the game but at the same time that shouldn’t mean everyone should sit because you and the family want to. It shouldn’t take away from my wanting to stand up, protest a call or jump out of my seat. There is also etiquette when people are sitting behind you, especially when there is nothing going on, so at the end of the day we all just have to be considerate and do what we came to do…..cheer for our team

          • Jake says:

            Bizzy – I have no problem standing, sitting,
            lying down or whatever it is. My problem was
            with Ricks stance on, “You’re not a real soccer fan if you do not stand up at a game” That whole
            soccer culture crap – I loved the game at KC and the crowd, loved hanging out with the AO before the game, watching the March to the Match – My boys
            playing 3 v 3 before – almost dunking the guy in the dunk tank with the AO’s(youngest one taking a shot)
            My boys probably know more about soccer then half of the AO’s and played more. However Rick’s attitude also can turn off allot of people. That was all my point was…I also got called out by a couple of the AO’s for not wearing a US jersey on the way to the game, which is ignorant because I was with 3 others with US jerseys on, one of which was mine that I gave to my wife because she wanted to wear one……

            • rick says:

              You are so frickin soft like most of our country. We have become the most overly sensitive whiners.

              Yes, I like loud, standing, beer drinking fans. So much of our society is plain vanilla that it is nice once in awhile to let loose.

              You may not want to go watch a game outside of the USA because sometimes people cuss (OMG), sometimes they stand the whole game (oh my tired legs), and sometimes they even sing songs about the other team that are not super super nice (gasp!).

              • Jake says:

                I don’t have to go to another country to watch a game, I have done even better, I have gone and played, in Germany. Which I am pretty sure you never have, played that is. I never said I had anything against standing, it is your attitude about not being a real fan if you don’t stand. Just finished watching MU v Braga and holy cow – most were sitting but heck they must not be real fans……..

      • rick says:

        Thank you Bizzy.

  5. beto says:

    it all really depends on the schedule; who we are playing and what time of year it is…

    as soon as the schedule comes out I can’t wait to put in my picks. Right now I hope the US makes it to Seattle and Chicago; as those would be great trips. Hopefully Seattle FO introduces their new grass field after the NFL season… that would be nice.

    As for Rio Tinto; if there is a home game then a trip to Azteca on the following Tuesday then SLC makes sense, otherwise no-go.

    Lastly, i think its time to retire RFK, next qualifying run DC should have a nice new stadium.

    • Ezra says:

      They just installed new FieldTurf this year. Why would they tear it out a year later? I’d imagine they’ll keep the turf until it is worn down and needs to be replaced, and then at that time consider moving to grass.

  6. Dimidri says:

    Columbus-mexico
    kc-costa Rica
    salt make-honduras
    Chicago-jamaica
    Panama -?? Maybe repeat clb/kc. , maybe Philly, maybe non-mls city.

    very small Jamaican pop in Chicago, big crowd, centrally located, ussf home, etc.

  7. MemRook says:

    Please oh please Nashville. It’s a 2 hour drive for me and always a great time (Olympic qualifying disaster aside. Still had a great time at the games and all events but losing suuuucked). Still. Selfishly I gotta hope for Nashvegas.

    • Mike Z says:

      Yes-Nashville seems to draw good pro-US crowds. In the spring the pitch is in great condition. If the team comes to Nashville, I will be there!

      • Scott says:

        Agreed. I would also throw in Jacksonville. I am 6 hrs from one and 5.5 from the other. Watched the USMNT play at both. I prefer Nashville.

  8. Chad says:

    My preferred locations:

    Mexico – Columbus
    Costa Rica – Kansas City
    Honduras – Nashville
    Jamaica – Hartford or Philadelphia
    Panama – LA or Seattle

  9. Bonji says:

    Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Denver doesn’t even make the list? Sad that a great SSS can’t be considered. Is this because of the way the Rapids/KSE manage it, or a perception that support is poor for the sport in the region?

    • beto says:

      as a resident of the mile high city and rapid’s supporter, no way. DSGP is not a great venue and there are a ton of people from panama, costa rica, honduras, mexico and even jamaica here in denver. for me, denver lost USSF’s respect when 5,000 people showed up to watch Freddy Adu and Jozy destroy Guatemala last qualifying run, even worse about half of that tinny crowd was rooting for Guatemala.

      • Big Chil says:

        Also a Rapids fan and Denver resident. I think that the perception is that support for soccer is poor here, mainly due to the Rapids’ underperforming attendance, which, in my book, is due to the stadium location, The Rapids averaged 15k tickets per game this year, though that was definitely not the butts in seats number. Unfortunately it frequently looks half full. DSGP is a nice, clean, if simple venue. Not a bad sightline in the house, and it’s easy to watch the game from the promenade. However, I was at the USWNT game v. Australia, and that was a full, rowdy house, with standing room only and field-side seats available.

        I’m fairly certain they could sell out a USMNT qualifier, but I don’t know as much about the CONCACAF population here, aside from Mexico.

        Another drawback may be the altitude, unless the U.S. players are able to be in for a few days to acclimate. It IS easy to get to DSGP from the airport, though, a 20 minute shot there and back.

      • couchtoast says:

        Dude, we had already qualified for the Hex in the game against Guatey and we fielded a second string team (hence why Freddy was there, ha!). Both conspired to bring down attendance. Not really fair to call that out as a reason against picking The Dick as a venue.

        I think the support is present in Denver to fill DSG for a meaningful game, but it would have to be against Jamaica. The Hispanic population here is too large to ensure a pro-USA crowd for any other Hex opponent. But the cold and altitude would make it a great venue for the Jamaica game.

        I think Rio Tinto has the same advantages and disadvantages as DSG. It would be good for the Jamaica game, but I would worry about ensuring a pro USA crowd for any other Hex opponent. I was at the ES game and it felt like a 50-50 split.

      • jacob says:

        that’s funny, i showed up for Kenny Cooper

  10. Wes Mills says:

    If US Soccer is serious about ensuring the most pro-US crowds as possible they will pick one of the two Pacific Northwest venues. I would love it if they played a match at Jeld-Wen Field because it would be driving distance for folks like me in the Bay Area but I would settle if they chose Seattle for the cash grab. Knowing Sunil Gulati he’ll probably pick Soldier Field for one of them and it will basically be another away game SMDH. Gulati needs to realize that Qualifying games shouldn’t be taken for granted and that friendlies are the ones for cash grabs. Btw Ives, I heard that Sunil told fans after the Guatemala match that Crew Stadium would host the US-Mexico game any truth to this?

  11. jacktackular says:

    I don’t think the US should play Mexico anywhere but the heartland…Seattle should get a game, but the Mexico game should be in KC

    • Matt B. says:

      You must not have followed the USMNT very long. Mexico always plays the USA in Crew Stadium and loses. Columbus should have the Mexico game.

      • Eurosnob says:

        I agree that Mexico game should be at the Crew stadium. There’s no need to mess with the winning formula, although after Mexico scheduled the last WC qualifier at Azteca for early afternoon to take advantage of the midday heat, I thought that USSF should consider moving the next qualification game against Mexico to Alaska.

  12. Al DiFranco says:

    Crew Stadium and LSP are no-brainers, as well as HDC because you know Klinsmann is going to want an extended camp sometime in the mix. I’m hoping Seattle gets one to recognize its outstanding fan support, and I would give the final one to Lincoln Financial to ensure one is on the east coast.

    • Hogatroge says:

      The only possible game to play at the HDC would be the Jamaica game.

      Otherwise, the crowd will be against the US.

  13. Dave says:

    It should absolutely be in Nashville. It is within a half day’s driving distance from Milwaukee, DC, the gulf coast, and Northern Texas. That’s a HUGE footprint.

  14. The King of Norway says:

    Only somebody who has never been in an airplane, seen a globe or thinks maps are still drawn by Mr. Mercator would believe that Seattle is too far for European-based players to travel. Amazing fact: planes fly over the North Pole and not strictly east to west. We’ll let you know if they see Santa Claus on their way over.

    • JRP says:

      Logic doesn’t belong on a blog comment board. Please refrain from ever typing a message again.

    • beto says:

      true that! 9 hr Direct flights between Seattle and London. flights to columbus, kc, philly, nashville, etc are all about similar time (plus or minus and hour) however not always direct.

    • Geigercounter says:

      Flying over the north pole isn’t done in commercial aviation, often. Too great radiation exposure for pilots is incurred on multiple trips. Even the northern routes around the arctic circle are stepped down during geo-magnetic storms for the same reason….but don’t worry the pacific north west will probably get one, just not mexico.

      • PD says:

        Is the extended time difference a significant issue, or is jet lag jet lag once you’re in it. (never personally traveled further than east coast to Europe, let alone tried to play soccer after that kind of trip, so I’m asking)

      • Kejsare says:

        Flights from Chicago to Stockholm only go as far north as southern Greenland. He is a little eager to say over the north pole when it is just over Nunavut/Greenland.

  15. vik says:

    No buck shaw? :P

  16. Jon says:

    I’m in Atlanta, which obviously has 0% chance since there’s no stadium. I’m biased as I want games as close to me to cut down on travel expenses. I’d do something like this.

    Mexico – Columbus
    Honduras – Kansas City
    Costa Rica – Nashville
    Panama – Salt Lake City
    Jamaica – Houston (So long as that game doesn’t fall in June.)

    I’d love to go to Seattle, but I can’t see doing turf or a shoddily laid down grass field in a crucial qualifier. I’d absolutely put a friendly or JV Gold Cup game there next year. Same for Portland, once they widen the field.

    HDC/LA are locks for Gold Cup action next summer. Chicago loses out due to Columbus/KC. RFK should be put out to pasture. JAX could sub for Nashville as a southern venue. I was there in May, impresses by the crowd size, but can’t imagine 40K+ showing again. Novelty effect and all…plus that game was Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I’d see 8K there on a Tuesday in October.

    • Knuckles says:

      We’ve had JV Gold Cup matches here before, and no one went because no one cared to see Cuba/Canada or whomever the hell it was that was playing. I’d like to see Seattle get a match, but I don’t lose much sleep over it.

    • SFTony says:

      The turf in Seattle is the best laid turf in the world. As someone who has played on field turf, it’s easy on the joints and the ball plays exactly how you kick it, no funny business.

  17. Daryl Lanier says:

    I’m from Jacksonville and we had a great showing of support for our Boys! I hope we made an impression on Klinsy. Jax is a diverse city with lots of Soccer Fans and we are hungry for more!

  18. Ryan says:

    Here’s what I think is realistic:

    Mexico-Columbus
    Honduras-KC
    Costa Rica-Nashville
    Jamaica-Chicago
    Panama-SLC

  19. dudeinho says:

    Id like to see 1 game in each region of the US in Soccer Specific Stadiums. and make it possible for multiple supporters groups to unite and help create the home field advantage

    Pacific Northwest
    USA – Costa Rica at Jeld wen
    Timber Army and ECS USA Supporters could set aside their differences and unite for a wall of Noise and Maybe a TIFO. the scarcity of Tickets and Small stadium would make it an Optimum location. VERY Pro US Crowd

    West
    USA – Jamiaca at Rio Tinto
    Again supporters are the key here LA SJ SLC and Colorado Supporters scarcity of tickets Pro US crowd and small Jamiacan Population

    Midwest
    USA – Honduras Livestrong
    Honduras fans Travel just as well as Mexican Fans and are just as passionate We need to replicate what columbus have done and go small . American Outlaws, and all the other regional groups. KC is a No brainer Here. Lets hope Roger Espinoza has Moved on though.

    Midwest 2
    USA – Mexico Crew Stadium
    Tradition undefeated etc.. no explanation keep it there.

    East
    USA- Panama PPL Park
    Sons of BEN Empire Supporters Barra Brava etc.. again scarcity of tickets PRO US crowd

    keep the games in stadiums that were built for the game. no money grabs lets go for passion and home field advantage

    • Eric says:

      Even if Roger hasn’t jumped ship for Europe yet, he’d still be beloved in KC so soon after a great season from him. KC always cheers for its heroes–even when Preki came to town as the head coach of, say, Chivas, he’d get a standing ovation from the KC fans.

      As an SKC fan, I like Roger a ton, but the USMNT fan in me wants to see KC get the Costa Rica game, not the Honduras game.

    • beto says:

      +1 on the SSS only. As much as I think Seattle, Chicago, Nashville, etc. would be great so would KC, Clbus, Chester, HDC, etc.. more ability to assume the pro-USA crowd and a nice message to MLS.

    • Eric says:

      Also, Jeld-Wen field is kind of a stretch as a “soccer-specific stadium.” The Timbers may be its tenant now, but it was a baseball field for most of its life.

      • Knuckles says:

        Not entirely true. It’s been a football field for *all* of it’s life (even now), a baseball field for a good chunk of it’s life, a soccer field for a fair amount of it’s life as well as a greyhound racing track and a cricket pitch.

      • Kejsare says:

        As a field/stadium for 130+ years, it spent about 60 of those years hosting baseball.

        It is not a baseball stadium. It is a near “U” shaped stadium that saw baseball as one of many sports to play there.

  20. Jack Schaedel says:

    Home Depot Center for JAM match, in summer so as not to force long trip from Europe.

    Other matches s/b far from homes and large US-based pockets of opponents: SEA, POR, BOS (not perfect), MPLS, BUF. COL and KC are fair choices for “home field” and great venues.

    Note, SEA not as far from Europe as you might think; the earth is round.

    • Reid says:

      I would love BOS but there aren’t any good fields up there (alumni stadium 40k seats and turf) closest would be foxboro and that also has turf. A better situation would be rentschler field in East Hartford it has actual grass, and 40k seats.

  21. Eric says:

    I voted for Columbus Crew Stadium, Livestrong Sporting Park, Rio Tinto Stadium, Red Bull Arena, and the Home Depot Center as the picks I thought would be most realistic. Here’s how I think they might shake out:

    Columbus: USA-Mexico
    LSP: USA-Costa Rica (putting the Honduras game here when Roger Espinoza is so beloved in SKC is kinda risky)
    Rio Tinto: USA-Honduras
    Red Bull Arena: USA-Panama
    Home Depot Center: USA-Jamaica

  22. SD Atherly says:

    The Mexico National Men’s team has already played 2 Friendlies at CenturyLink: one vs China and one vs Ecuador. Packed house for both…mostly for Mexico.

    • bottlcaps says:

      You will have a mostly packed house for a Mexico National team in the US, no matter where you put it, including Anchorage, as long as they can get tickets.

  23. Nate says:

    I think Hartford has to be in the mix. Centrally located between NY and Boston, and close for Euro Nats to travel to. Capacity is larger than RBA, but not too large for teams like Panama, Jamaica, and Costa Rica.

    • Chad says:

      I think Hartford should be a favorite, IMO. There were no WCQ games in New England for the 2010 World Cup, and I think we should be making efforts to make sure all fans have a chance to see meaningful games.

  24. bkyn says:

    Why not do it like Mexico and have all games in one place? Have them all in KC. Excellent field and enough strong U.S. fans that will fill the stadium.

    • Eric says:

      It’ s likely much better for soccer’s growth and exposure in the States if the games are held in a variety of venues.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      We don’t have any giant cities that are over a mile high, regularly get to over 100 degrees, have dangerous levels of smog, and have very few ethnic minorities. If we did, I’m sure we would play there. Salt Lake City in winter might be the closest, but there is no rabid fanbase there.

      • OPMG says:

        Disagree about the rabid fanbase. But the altitude can be a problem for players not accustomed to it.

  25. I voted for the places closest to west coast, and one on the east coast close (sorta) to where my son lives (nice to combine a visit and a soccer game). I’ve gone to the Home Depot in Carson for the B/C games in January/February several times. The venue is very nice, but really hard to get a pro US crowd there – maybe Ok for Panama, though.

  26. bryan says:

    the schedule is obviously going to make a huge difference, but removing that from the equation right now, i wouldn’t mind the following:

    Columbus: USA v. Mexico
    LSP: Honduras
    RFK: Jamaica
    Rio Tinto: Panama
    Seattle: Costa Rica

  27. steveo says:

    lets play Mexico in Anchorage….in February

  28. bottlcaps says:

    LA’s HDC also has a problem with parking/attendance caps in games held on a school nite. But it deserves to host a match against Jamaica. As LA is a home for LARGE populations of Hispanic communities from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica, plus the availability of cheap non-stop airfares to LA from most Concacaf nations, it almost guarantees a good turnout for those nations for their national team, Except Jamaicans, while I see a few rastafarians holding down the fort in LA and Long Beach, there is no large community of Jamaicans.

    • rick says:

      The only problem is unfortunately the crowd in LA is not all that passionate. I am a Galaxy season ticket holder and have seen the USA play there many times. So Cal fans aren’t great.

    • PD says:

      Most of those cats are natives of Ohio…

  29. Dinho says:

    This may be a stupid question, but when does the schedule come out?

  30. Wes Mills says:

    link to youtube.com

    This is why a game should be held at Jeld-Wen Field…. This guy tells his account of the WCQ hosted there in 1997 vs Costa Rica

    • Kobao says:

      if they aren’t bringing any games to seattle they sure as heck aren’t going to play them in portland instead…sorry mate. still have turf and your capacity is roughly a 1/3 of seattles.

      • Wes Mills says:

        I’m not from Portland I’m from San Francisco. I would settle with Seattle if they could only do one Pacific Northwest environment but Jeld-Wen I believe would not only draw PDX and SEA fans together but SJ fans like myself as well. The way the stadium is so close to the ground makes it an insane place to play kinda like Besiktas in Turkey.

        • dudeinho says:

          I totally agree can you imagine the whole northstand of jeld wen packed with US Supporters id be like the american version of the KOP

  31. Tim says:

    The dates of the games will impact selection, but that aside…

    Mexico – Portland

    Am I the only one who wants to play Mexico on a narrow field, on a fake pitch, in front of a loud pro-US crowd?

    Honduras – Kansas City

    After Mexico, HON have the biggest domestic contingent of fans to deal with. I’d expect a similar crowd breakdown as the GUA match.

    Costa Rica – Seattle

    I know putting in temp grass isn’t great, but Seattle has to have a match. They have a fanbase unlike anything our sport has had in this country.

    Panama – Columbus

    The old standby.

    Jamaica – Sandy

    Depends on time of year.

  32. Riggis says:

    Although I would love it to be in DC… Seems like every time the USMNT play anyone from central America there It’s practically an away game for them.

  33. roll tide says:

    Trick question; All games to be played at Bryan-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

  34. Good Jeremy says:

    Obviously we have a huge advantage when we’re able to play Mexico in Columbus in February and they have a huge one when we’re in Mexico City in the summer. Would we be willing to change our game to a warmer month if they moved theirs? (hypothetical question- I know that we don’t control the schedule)

  35. PD says:

    To me an ideal plan would see one venue in each corner and one central location, but That just can’t happen right now with. SKC and Columbus being such strong locations. I’d rather not see RFK or Gilette see a penny until the Revs get their act together and DCU gets a new stadium– there are better options in NYC, Philly, Nashville and FLA and they should be rewarded for their facilities and fan support.

    And while Seattle does deserve it for the quality of their fanbase… call me a snob, but I think that the game should be played on grass, not carpet. Is Portland grass?

  36. 2tone says:

    Just excited to get it going. If I was a betting man I would say that the 5 will be:

    Rio Tinto- Honduras
    Crew Stadium- Mexico
    LSP- Costa Rica
    Dynamo Stadium- Jamiaca
    LP field- Panama

    4 SS Stadiums and one NFL stadium that is in a central location that will be vital in drawing fans from the Southeast, East, and Midwest regions.

    Sorry Pacific Coast missess out on the Hex, but I have a feeling Klinsmann will make the HDC his WC training base before heading off to Brasil.

  37. johnnycougar says:

    I don’t get the whole “commute” argument. Is a 10 hour flight from London / Paris (etc) to LAX that much worse than a 7 hour flight to JFK? If you want to talk about inconvenience to the Europe-based players, it doesn’t get worse than Kansas City or Columbus. MCI has exactly 0 flights to/from Europe, and neither does CMH (let alone SLC). If the players take a chartered plane, then the inconvenience of flight time shouldn’t be that different.

    Absolute priority should be on difficulty for the opponent to play, however, so I agree that Kansas City and Columbus are musts. For that matter, I’d like to see Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras play in the most Middle America place possible, even if that meant all 3 games in Columbus. “Spread the game” around with the lesser opponents. Actually, if we’re just talking about drawing big crowds, save the newer venues for friendlies against big-name opponents. Most soccer-neutral people I know would far rather see a USA-Italy friendly than a USA-Jamaica qualifier with actual relevance.

  38. Ryan Nanez says:

    i sooo wish the pitch in seattle wasnt turf. that would hands down be our fortress

  39. Kobao says:

    question: aside from the other issues with playing in seattle how come everyone always cites how far it is away for european players, but they never mention that for LA? a flight from mainland europe to seattle is actually shorter than one to LA because you can fly north over canada/greenland. just seems like a crappy excuse someone in the media came up with at some point that now gets cited every time the topic comes up.

    additionally, wouldn’t the prospect of having 67k+ rapid US fans at a game in seattle far away from all other countries in the hex and their fan bases possibly outweigh playing on the turf? i guess not.

  40. jb says:

    Fantastic article!

    I know its not possible and maybe not fair to certain areas of the country, but I cant help but wish the USMNT would stick with one or two stadiums for all the qualifiers. It would be a tremendous help to the players trying to develop chemistry if they weren’t always playing on different fields. It just seems like it would be easier that way to really develop that ‘homefield advantage.’

  41. peterjh says:

    Regarding those Gold Cup matches at CenturyLink, as I recall those were played around the July 4 holiday featuring the US “C” team.

    A better barometer would be a friendly the US played against Honduras at Safeco Field in 2002. 38,000 showed up for that one.

  42. Sarasota says:

    JACKSONVILLE should be a NO BRAINER!!!!! 1999 — 3-0 over Germany, 2012 — 5-1 over Scotland. LARGE AND LOUD PATRIOTIC CROWDS! Please US SOCCER. Don’t screw this up!

    VAMOS!

    • Duneman says:

      Plus MLS is still looking at the SE or even FL (like Orlando) for future growth. I dont see that happening in TN. DC would be another great option for the SE-ish if they just had a better stadium…so maybe we save DC for when United get a new home. Even if RFK was full it looks kind of 3rd world. So lets go for another record Jax turn out!

  43. Tom says:

    I think we can move on from the fear of the visiting team fans making RFK hostile. 2001 was a lifetime ago. Back then the US was the worst team in the previous world cup. We lost to Iran. Not a team that you would travel for. Times are much different today and its time to face our fears,

    Hell we beat Mexico in Azteca, Maybe Mexico should play their home games against us in Houston.

  44. johnnycougar says:

    By the way, we have to consider the total goals of USSF in addition to qualifying. Others mentioned it earlier, that the goals are in some order: $$$, spreading the game, good PR, and winning / qualifying for the World Cup. Given that CONCACAF got lucky with the draw, and the 4th placed team from the hex has a home-and-home with the Oceania qualifier (almost certainly New Zealand), really we should get 4 of the 6 teams into the World Cup. This means that winning our home games is not as big of a priority since there is relatively little chance that we finish 5th or 6th. If we finish that low I doubt it was the home field’s fault anyways. Just a thought.

    • Eric says:

      Sure, but finishing 4th in a hex of Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Jamaica would–and should–be considered a massive disappointment.

      At worst, the US should finish no lower than third (presumably below Mexico and one of Honduras/Costa Rica), but even third place would represent underperformance. There’s no reason why the US should finish any lower than second.

      • johnnycougar says:

        I agree. My point is just that Gulati and co. might not feel the same way. They may not care whether we win the hex or get 4th, as long as we get to the World Cup. So they may put more emphasis on making money or whatever.

  45. Charlie G says:

    Hope the SF Bay Area is at least in the mix – Stanford Stadium (1994 WC match July 4th USA v. Brazil..most amazing scene), or maybe ATT Park (USA v. Japan 2006)

  46. Davy Crockett says:

    Nashville

  47. Robbie says:

    Would love to see a game at the Rosebowl or even the Coliseum. I know we want to keep our home field advantage, but watching a game with 70k other people is an awesome time. I think us soccer may be to the point where we dont have to be playing mexico to get that kind of turnout.

  48. Skeeter says:

    Settle will have a game.. No friendlies in the works for 2013 ..

    gotta happen

  49. Chris G says:

    Send one of these teams to Seattle freaking Washington. We’ll get 3 points and it’ll be a great showing for U.S. soccer. Would love Portland too but Seattle has better a better chance I guess. I just think about Costa Rica, Honduras, or Mexico having to go to the Pacific Northwest and getting pounced. I don’t see why turf is such a big deal either.

    • PD says:

      two reasons: the left knee and the right knee.

      • Lassidawg says:

        Have you played on turf since 1985. Only the aging former euro stars hate it. As a very amateur player with bad knees, I am not sore after playing on field turf. I have played on the stuff that is in the clink and it is softer than you would believe

      • Charles says:

        I like the Seattle turf, easier on the joints, we knee. ;-)

    • SilverRey says:

      I love playing indoor, and I’ve played on some “nice” field-turf fields (both indoor & outdoor) by way of perspective, BUT

      There is no argument out there that can convince me that someone doesn’t play better on grass.

  50. Paul says:

    I’d love to see a game back in the northeast again. There were plenty of good, well-attended matches in Foxboro and Hartford in the past, and I enjoyed just about all of them over the years. But unless it’s Jamaica, please don’t come. We do not have a large Hispanic population up here, but the stadiums are packed these days cheering against their adopted country. Unfortunately, the demographics have changed, and the loyalties of hispanics who call America their home has not. Let’s keep home field advantage and play the games where we have a shot at a pro-American crowd.

  51. toby says:

    Hartford, CT!! Great stadium for soccer (40,000) more than the soccer specific stadiums, but still intimate and great location between NYC and Boston.

  52. abc says:

    Columbus: Mexico
    Kansas City: Costa Rica
    Salt Lake City: Honduras
    DC or Philly: Panama
    Chicago: Jamaica

  53. Duneman says:

    Ok…everyone would like to have the team play in Seattle but no one (other then people in Seattle) think it makes any sense to play an international game on Turf….
    So…lets ask “IF (big if) we were to play a Hex in Seattle on the carpet, then which game would make sense based on the strategy of playing on the carpet?”

    Would the carpet give us any particular advantage over another team? AB shrunk their pothole field down to make it easier to stuff the box…no reason we can roll out the carpet to impact someones style of play or speed or older legs ;-) It might need to be a game we can play with some of our MLS guys playing who are use to a few carpet games a year…and maybe allow us to rest some of the 28+ Euro based guys who either dont want to risk injury or just are not ready for the harder ground.

    • Kejsare says:

      No one? Like the Ruskies? Portugal came through and played on Field Turf. The world didn’t end.

      USWNT will come to Portland twice in two years and play on turf. Why are they chicken about the fact that FIFA allows their top competitions to be played on this surface. Get with the times, they be changing.

  54. Coop says:

    How is BBVA not more seriously considered? It is clearly a gem of modern American soccer stadiums. Are you concerned with it’s lack is history and possible Hispanic influence? I just don’t understand how it could be so low on the radar.

  55. alabamafutbol says:

    Nashville. Short trek for me up from Tuscaloosa AL :)

    Will the venues be announced within a few days of the CONCACAF draw in November? Really getting anxious to see their selections

  56. ThatKidNandez says:

    Atlanta! Atlanta! Atlanta!!! Would be a.huge boost to getting interest for a mls team! Maybe even Charlotte Nc! The south needs soccer!

  57. dan says:

    Seattle needs to get some f*ing grass down permanently. That was the point when the original Qwest Field was f*ing built!

    Sounders need their own stadium though, there is no way around it

  58. RY RY APPLE PIE KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM CRY says:

    Americans will show up to any USA game. Livestrong is such an incredible environment so they will host as well as Columbus.

    The next stadiums should really be huge stadiums that can fit as many fans as possible. Rose Bowl for the USA Mexico game would be amazing, but we’d probably get outnumbered, or at least be extremely close in numbers. If USA fans can handle bags of piss getting thrown at them, it should be an amazing venue.

    Foxborough, Chicago, and Seattle should host as well because those stadiums can hold upwards of 50,000+.

  59. ACS says:

    Fairbanks,AK for the February game.

  60. DC Josh says:

    I just cannot see Seattle getting a USMNT qualifier with substitute grass and a 6 hour time zone difference for 80% of the squad. Maybe a summer game.

    • RY RY APPLE PIE KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM CRY says:

      Yeah, I mean a summer game I’d love to see it at a huge venue like Rose Bowl, good point about seattle turf, I didn’t think about that. Their fans are so amazing up there. I know the Bay area has a ton of supporters, wouldn’t mind seeing it up there either.

  61. Jerry says:

    Understand the issues with playing latin american teams in Texas, but I would love to see Dallas or Houston get some love one of the days. I remember a game several years ago in Houston, but other than the Olympic Team playing Mexico in Dallas this last cycle, I can’t recall the USMNT ever playing in Dallas. If so, its been well over 10 years.

  62. Jay says:

    That Honduras/USA game in the last hex in Chicago drew a great crowd. Disappointing if Chicago does not get a game.

    • Wes Mills says:

      I really hope we don’t play a game there. It was 70%-30% in favor of Honduras when it came to fan support. We can’t just keep planning home games that turn into away games. Especially in this last stage of qualifying

  63. BamaMan says:

    Mexico – Columbus
    Honduras – Kansas City (Livestrong)
    Costa Rica – SLC (Rio Tinto)
    Jamaica – Houston (BBVA)
    Panama – Philadelphia (PPL Park)

    Reward the teams that have invested in building MLS stadiums. New York and Los Angeles are just not going to have the crowd support that you want in a game like this. Better to play big friendlies against world powers in those venues.