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World Cup Qualifying

USMNT to hold Costa Rica qualifier at Dick's Sporting Goods Park

Photo by ISIphotos.com

The decision so many U.S. Men’s National Team fans have been anxiously waiting for has finally been made.

The U.S. will play their first home game of the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on March 22, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday. The match comes four days before the Americans take on arch-rivals Mexico at Estadio Azteca, and the altitude in Commerce City is believed to benefit the U.S. before they head to Mexico City and its infamously high altitude.

“We are really excited to play our first home qualifying match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a released statement. “Winning games at home in World Cup qualifying is crucial, and we really are expecting the fans in Colorado to bring us a huge home-field advantage.”

The Americans last played at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in 2008, beating Guatemala, 2-0, courtesy of goals from Kenny Cooper and Freddy Adu in their last World Cup qualifier of the semifinal round.

What do you think of the Americans hosting the Costa Rica home qualifier at Dicks Sporting Goods Park? Wishing it would have been in Kansas City? Preferred somewhere else?

Share your thoughts below.

70 comments
  • Camjam

    Booo. I wanted it here in Salt Lake. Better stadium, fans, and we’ll have mass transit from the airport directly to the stadium by then.

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    • Camjam

      And even though it’s 800 feet lower, I feel like the pollution in the area should give us a huge leg up. What better way to prepare for Mexico City? ;)

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      • Neruda

        I wanted SLC (Sandy) but I’m ok with Dicks, mostly because I don’t live in SLC anymore. Hows the worlds worst weather inversion treating you? I remember hating that time of year.

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      • Camjam

        Oh it’s been royally bad this year. I feel like we’re swimming in smog.

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      • bottlcaps

        I think Colorado fans will produce a bunch of “smoke” given the new laws recently enacted. This will be the first USMNT Concacaf qualifier game where you can roll one up, (outside of the Jamaica home games of course).

        Next up. let’s hope for Jamaica vs US @ Seattle, Wa. another state with new laws. That will also be pretty fun to go to,

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      • Neruda

        I’m not sure about co but here in wa the law passed clearly prohibits public use. But people in Seattle have been getting together at parks smoking joints while cops just stand by. It’s like a grace period before the regulations are settled.

        Mellowing out at a USMNT game with weed is a horrible idea.get the crowd amped by selling speed at concessions. That’ll do it.

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    • sandtrout

      Me too. I wanted SLC badly. I live in Arizona and have never been to that beautiful looking stadium NOR to a USMNT game. I also have friends there to stay with. Alas — not this time.

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    • Big Chil

      Welcome! Make sure you get tix as soon as they’re announced available. The USWNT friendly here last fall sold out in a few hours.

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  • Dimidri

    I suspect this game will prove that basically any city in the country can provide a pro-US, sold-out, loud crowd assuming the stadium is small enough and the tickets are sold through the proper channels.

    Fears of the game not being sold out don’t make any sense to me, they averaged 15k a game last year for a 18k stadium, add to that Denver people who are USMNT fans but not MLS fans, Rapids fans who don’t go to a lot of games but would go to a standalone event like this, regional supporter’s groups like RSL’s, and the USMNT supporter’s groups/other fans who will travel anywhere plus the away ticket allocation you have to give and, even conservatively speaking, it will easily sell out.

    I will say this, it seems like there is a larger chance that the mostly home-based Costa Ricans are used to the altitude and the USMNT can’t become acclimated in such a short time and we are disadvantaged in our home game than we get some sort of acclimation benefit for Mexico.

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    • Eurosnob

      You make a good point about the altitude being a potential advantage for Costa Rica, but there are a couple of mitigating factors. The USMNT will most likely have an on site training camp before the WC qualifier that should help them to partially acclimate to the altitude. Most Costa Rican players play for Alajuelense and Herediano, which play at a lower altitude than Commerce City so they will also have to get used to higher altitude although to a lesser degree than European based players. Plus, it could be pretty cold in March in Colorado and Costa Rican home-based players are not used to playing in cold weather.

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      • Paul Miller

        The European leagues don’t begin their international break to a few days before. The EPL plays the Saturday before. Serie A the Sunday before. There won’t be much time to acclimate to altitude prior to Costa Rica. They may not even have time to adjust to the extra time zones they’ll be flying across. This game should have been on the East Coast.

        Trying to use Costa Rica as an altitude prep for Mexico is fairly risky. More than likely, we’re not getting points at Azteca no matter what we do. We should have focused on getting three from Costa Rica, rather than what we are doing, which could be seen as looking past them to Mexico.

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      • David JS

        I agree 100% with you Paul. Hope this works out for the USMNT, we need at least 3 pts out of these two games.

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    • Ross

      Just last week bought a 5 pack to Rapids games. Also allows me a first shot at this match if we were to get it in Denver. The stadium only holds 18,500 so I’m sure it will sell out quick. I’m going to try to get as many tickets as I can.

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      • RB

        Not sure that is the case. Rapids didnt even sell tickets to the USWNT match last year — had to buy them through USSF…

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      • RB

        Actually if memory serves that was the initial announcement and situation, and then maybe they did sell some later or something. But wrt your “first shot” comment, it would be the same difference…

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  • FireSunil

    Gulati screwed the west coast again. Theres only been one qualifier out here since he rose to power in 2000! Only ONE for the ENTIRE west coast this CENTURY! We want our team back.

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  • The Imperative Voice

    If they were pursuing atmosphere, KC and SL always struck me as more into games than Denver. Denver reminds me of Dallas, fans sitting on their hands, not particularly lively.

    Beyond that, I don’t think with travel and in-season schedules they can hold long enough a camp with hard enough practices to really get altitude benefits for Mexico. Your own players might be tired from additional travel and playing at altitude, and some of their players may live and train at altitude in CR. To me, this would have made more sense for a team like Jamaica. Let them travel cross-country and play at altitude. I’d send CR up to NY to play in RB’s park, where we’d have direct flights in for our Euro-based and their players would have a near-universal travel burden.

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    • Paul Miller

      I should have read all the comments before responding above. That’s pretty much exactly what I said.

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  • Joel

    Last time we played there the crowd wasnt really that good and there is no question
    that the other two sites would be better for us….I hope that we get a nice crowd out there.

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      • Neruda

        The crowd for this game at Dicks better make sure he’s wrong. Despite the Rapids impending mediocrity this season CO fans need to bring it for USMNT.

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      • RB

        He’s obviously already wrong with that “no question” notion. Have you not read the comments here? Or considered the decision by USSF to put the game in Denver in the first place? Ovviously it’s wrong to say the other places are better, no question.

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      • Neruda

        Did I say “obviously wrong”? Yea it was another person. In fact I said in another post I’m ok with co.

        I’m saying the rapids are going to be bad again but the USMNT are going to give fans something to cheer about.

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      • RB

        Uh, no, I said “obviously wrong”. I didn’t say that you said that.

        You said we’d need to see how the crowd support was, in the end, to see if he was wrong. That is incorrect wrt point at hand: obviously there _is_ question as to which place would be better. And that is clear from this very thread.

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  • michael m

    Everyone please note that the US Women sold out extremely fast when they played here in Sept. The official attendance was slightly over 18,500. There will be no problem selling out DSP. None. As a Denver resident I am 100% certain.

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  • ed - houston

    this selection does make sense though…. don’t hate on the colorado faithfull, have faith….

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  • Steve

    Unrelated, sort of, Stuart Holden looks to have been brought on as a second half sub today.

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  • RedBull to CO

    Im relocating to Denver with the ball and chain.. couldnt be happier. But as a NYRB fan and one who lives within a path ride to WTC, i cannot be without a local team. Where should i go in denver for footy? and will i like the rapids?

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    • JohnCos

      “Three Lions” for footy and join us for FREE beer at the Class VI / Pid Army tailgate prior to each match.

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    • Chuck D

      Whenever I’ve moved I’ve continued to support my original favorite teams and bought the DirecTV packages to stay up with them. I do attend the local teams games but am usually impartial about the result. I’d hope you continue to support the Red Bulls. Perhaps the Rapids could be your Western Conference team?

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    • Big Chil

      Yes.

      The British Bulldog & Three Lions are your centrally located footy bars. The 3 main supporters groups are Bulldog SG, Pid Army, and Class VI. The Bulldog has buses to the games, and all 3 tailgate outside the stadium.

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  • Iggy

    Wonder what they will do with that terraced section in the stands? Will that be the supporters section? Probably not big enough for a US supporters section, unless they can put temporary stands there? That has the possibility of getting ugly.

    i hope its not like the champions league games where that end of the section isnt used per the ‘seating in proper chairs only’ rule.

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    • Timbers Fan

      Just as long as they don’t shoot that friggin cannon!

      This Timbers fan in Colorado will be attending assuming I can get tickets. Yes, Rapids fans are sorta lame, but not everyone who lives here is a Rapids fan. I expect a loud sellout crowd.

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    • Dan M

      But this is 2012. I have held tix at Dicks since ’08 and interest and attendance is way up. Fans still have a ways to go before it feels like a soccer stadium, but they are starting to show some numbers at least. Plus, as cited by others, look at WNT numbers.

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    • Jason Maxwell

      You’re apparently one of many who doesn’t remember that was a meaningless game for the U.S., having clinched qualification for the next stage in an earlier round, and as a result they brought a B+/C- team to Denver. Add in the weekday and the sub-freezing temps by kickoff and yeah, the attendance sucked.

      Looking at a couple of other example though, the women’s friendly in Sept. had an attendance above capacity, and the only other Men’s match in Denver since MLS started drew higher numbers than any other non-World Cup game that year (2002 vs. Mexico).

      If we’re going to rule a market out based on one bad game then there’s a whole list of places the U.S. shouldn’t return to.

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      • Camjam

        You make very strong points, and I agree that it would be silly to hold 1 bad game against a city.

        Still, pointing out that it was a “meaningless game” for the US doesn’t change the fact that Denver had less than 50% attendance for a USMNT Hex game in it’s recent history.

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      • Tom

        It wasn’t a Hex game, it was a semi-final round game against Guatamala. The US had clinched the month before, and yes it was freezing. This game will sell out quickly.

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      • RB

        “You’re apparently one of many who doesn’t remember that was a meaningless game for the U.S…”

        I remembered that.

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    • beto

      ya i was there.. wasn’t pretty. I think that a lot has changed since then and Jason brings up all the other valid points. I am thankful that USSF has given Colorado another shot cuz this time I 100% guarantee it will be sold out and rocking.

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  • Dan

    Considering how we need to adjust ourselves to altitude for the huge 3/26 match, this and Rio Tinto were the only sensible options. That or the summit of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 (I leave Mt. McKinley in Alaska out of consideration due to cold).

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    • Paul Miller

      I thought Rainier was the highest in the lower 48?

      But forget trying to get ready for Azteca. After we won that friendly, they’ll be so hungry to beat us, we ought to just write that one off and send a B team. Focus on the home points!

      Think how ugly this will get if we come away from both games with zero points. And by looking past Costa Rica, that’s the risk. Plus, while a lot of their starters are coming in from Europe as well, they grew up in a small, mountainous country. Good chance they’ll acclimate back to altitude faster than our guys.

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      • jb

        A realistic one, a nice change. Also one with eye on the biggest prize which is qualification. A good gambler hedges his bets. We have much better chance of getting 3pts at home vs costa rica, so that should be treated as the more important match. Hopefully it works out but it seems like poor planning to me.

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  • word

    As much as I am excited for this as a Colorado native, I have to admit that by far Colorado’s worst month is March for weather. Colorado is beautiful, sunny, and mild almost year round except for March. Still, I’m flipping out with excitement right now…never thought this day would come!!!!!

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    • Big Chil

      I know. I’ll be nervously watching for any possible blizzards that week. I’m assuming the grounds crew is up to it. If not, heck, the fans will head to the park with shovels.

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    • beto

      you aren’t excited to see the costa ricans sliding around in the snow and shivering the @$$es off while the US takes care of business?

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  • Sean

    Dumb. Why in God’s name does anyone think its a good idea to play a technically gifted team on a field as large as Dicks? For those who don’t know, the field is so large it is barely within Fifa regulations. Given our lack of speed and experience at the CB position, this is just stupid.

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  • leo

    Costa Rica in Colorado. Mexico in Columbus. Panama in Portland.
    Jamaica In Kansas City
    and Honduras in Salt Lake/ Philadelphia/ Seattle.

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    • Edwin in LA

      I would trade Portland for Seattle to face Panama but it looks like it will be hard with the University of Washington having their graduation thus not allowing them a good amount of time to PROPERLY lay down grass….although I think I would like to see a game in Seattle during June even if it’s with the artificial turf…I think the stuff we have seen in stadiums now is so much better than the old astroturf that it should be okay

      Like

  • Rick

    Denver is a beautiful city to host the game having the view of the mountains to the west of the city and the fear of an opponent from sea level to 5,280 always gets to the players and every team that comes to Colorado everytime.

    Like

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