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USA-Mexico qualifier heading West?

OnyewuMarquez (ISI PHotos) 

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Just when you thought the tradition of the USA home World Cup qualifier against Mexico being played in Columbus, Ohio would be upheld this year, now comes word from ESPN Deportes' John Sutcliffe that the Feb. USA-Mexico qualifier on Feb. 11 will be played either in Salt Lake City or Seattle. Sutcliffe states that a decision will be made by Dec. 15.

If true, the move is certainly an interesting one. There can be no complaints about the possibility of having the match at Rio Tinto Stadium, which is a beautiful building and should offer up the same kind of frigid conditions that made Columbus such a hit back in 2001. Seattle would also be an intriguing venue. Qwest Field would be prepped for soccer since the expansion Seattle Sounders would be starting MLS play a month later. Cold weather, not a large concentration of Mexicans in the area and nice stadiums. It seems both cities meet all three criteria for hosting this crucial qualifier.

I still haven't gotten independent confirmation of this being the case (so don't book or cancel any flights just yet), but for now, it is certainly worth discussion. What do you think of this development? Saddened that it won't be in Columbus?Think the ugly staging erected at Crew Stadium ultimately hurt the venue's chances of hosting? Do you think Mexico fans will find their way to Rio Tinto Stadium in great numbers?

(And for the folks thinking it, the above photo was already a You Write the Caption.)

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Be smart….. cold weather is no longer a factor in favor against el tri. 90 percent of the team plays in europe during the winter so they won’t mind the cold…. big mistake!

  2. Real salt lake has a brand new venue, which will be hosting the 2009 All-star game so its also only fitting that we host the US vs Mexico game. Last international game hosted in SLC was sold out and had a vast majority of US supporters. If it comes to SLC I’ll be Hitting up two sick events this year. Sorry Columbus, you might get snubbed

  3. you know its funny that if the game is played at Rio Tinto, the Mexican Fan Base is going to be huge,me being one and living 20 minutes away from the stadium is pumped to see the game played here.

  4. We are all missing the point, it has been about ten years since Mexico has beat the US anywhere in the US so who cares. If you want a good sized venue with a great crowd Salt Lake is the place to go. Rice Eccles Stadium holds 45,000 fans and yes idiots by FIFA rule you can’t play games on turf so no matter where it is there will be grass.

  5. -as a Seattleite, I can say Seattle will definitely sell out. First to most of the season tix holders, then masses of mexicans. It’d be ridiculous to say that US fans would have an edge, but the atmosphere would be better than any of the choices nevertheless.
    -soccer specific stadiums should be rewarded. These games are exactly the kind of incentives that we need to build more SSS.
    -In the end, it’s all about giving the US the best chance to win, so I would be fine with this game being somewhere in the northeast like Columbus for whatever “edge” we can get from a more proportionate US crowd.

    But damnit, i’d kill for this game to be here in Seattle haha. we’ll win either way.

  6. I would prefer the 20K sold out soccer specific stadium with about 5K Mexican fans as opposed to the 65K football stadium with 30K plus Mexican fans. I would prefer the same venue we have had the game at for the past two cycles. We don’t have much of a identifiable tradition with US Soccer……moving this game would just be another reason why we dont.

  7. DID WE HERE IN WASHINGTON DC NOT SHOW THAT WE’LL COME OUT IN MASSES FOR A USA GAME!?!?! Christ, we had 30,000 people there for the game against CUBA. 95% were USA fans. If they brought the USA v. Mexico game here, oh man, it would be insane. Yes, there is a larger population of Mexican immigrants here, but we also have a SOLID USA fan base here. Thanks to DC United, La Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles.

  8. not to mention when Mexico played China, they sold something like 50,000 tickets. And yes, most of them were Mexico fans. So Seattle can no doubt pull in fans of Mexico in large numbers.

  9. salt lake city it should be…I think were going to have to bring our own alchohal on the roadtrip since its in utah haha

  10. I hope it’s at Rio Tinto for the fact that I can drive there from Southern California….which also means so can a massive Mexican population. The 20k capacity makes it easy to control tickets. RSL fans should buy as many extras as possible and put them on message boards to try and control who gets them. Seattle has much TOO LARGE of a Mexican population, also the stadium is a 65k seater….sadly the USMNT can’t fill it full of US fans yet, even if there were no Mexicans.

  11. sisepuede — listing the pros for Cowlumbus, you forgot “US has a history of beating Mexico in critical hexagonal WCQs there.” That’s significant; it’s not something to simply dismiss or ignore.

  12. SLC: brand new, perfect size, state-of-the art, no bleachers, more season-seat owners than C-bus, SLC got great reviews from Landon and Bruce last time, it’s cold in Feb, Delta hub making travel arrangements easy, population not exactly diverse.

    C-bus: Less season-seat owners, glorified high-school stadium, mostly bleacher seats, CBUS not a hub for any airline, cold (I’ll give you that).

    Seattle: Many, many more season-seat owners than either of the above, temporary sod, way too big to guarantee a pro-US crowd. I’m sure it’s a lovely facility for the sport, but playing it there would essentially result in two away games agains Mexico in the hex.

    SLC should win out.

  13. we have had so much success in colombus, why change it? for a bigger market and more mexican fans to watch the game? We need any advantage we can get, forget about making the most money possible!!!

  14. No C-bus this is part of your punishment for being some of the worst fans in the MLS/Country. The only reason they consider having this in Columbus is because they know their will be a lot of tickets for sale to traveling fans since locally your support blows.

    I think that both Seattle and SLC would be better options for this game. Seattle would be better financially, and SLC would just be a better environment. I would have to do more research butter I am pretty sure that SLC is much colder then C-BUS is in February.

    I also think that the USSF needs to be spreading out the locations of games better. Especially if they are serious about trying to recruit fans to the game. The Mexico-USA game is the biggest and best so what better game would there be to let people see what soccer is all about.

  15. Why not just set up a system that only sells tickets on the internet, and that’s the only way to get them? The system could be set up to differentiate Mexican fans and American fans, and seat them in different areas. We could allocate a much smaller # of seats for Mexican fans than we do for American fans. Implementing a system like this could be quite easy, especially if the tickets are can only be distributed through the US federation’s website.

  16. screw it….how many mexicans do you know in utah….a state thats 60% mormon?

    since it looks like it wont be in columbus put it in salt lake.

    1.small stadium

    2, it will be freezing

    3. pro us crowd

    pretty much like columbus…

  17. phil — your last paragraph is an argument why it’d make more sense to have the match in UT than in Seattle. Why is it an argument to move the game out of Columbus?

  18. Seattle would ideal. Weather wise and the turn out would be unreal. You could pretty much say 50/50 and a sellout considering 55k plus showed for the China friendly. I live in eastern WA and know there would be a mass exodus of Mexicans making the trip. Book it.

  19. I come from Australia and i think its a bit sad that games involving USA v Mexico in the US would have a bigger mexican contingent in most cities. Americans regardless of what they think of soccer should still outnumber an away team.

    Saying that i think you should reward cities that have their own SSS. So give the game to Sandy UT. The fans their proved their worth with great crowds for the MLS playoffs unlike some other teams

  20. From Seattle and would love to see the game here, but according to Steve Goff’s blog, temporarily installed grass is not acceptable to USSF

    “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.

  21. I said this 8 hours ago and I will say it again I am from Seattle and it should be in Columbus. However if the execs back there aren’t willing to give the USSF what they want I will gladly attend the game here.

    For all of those doubting whether we can get 30K that will be bybased within a day or two of tickets going on sale. It will be a sell out and the lower bowl will be filled with US fans. I am a season ticket holder and if they give me the option to buy more than my seat I will buy at least 4 more for friends that don’t have tickets.

    Even if we don’t get this game I am assuming this means we will get a different one later in the year.

  22. Not sure how SLC prevents large number of fans from attending. Capacity is only 2,000 less than Crew Stadium. Airport is a Delta hub so no problems there. People in Columbus need to quit crying.

    Pete, I didn’t mean it that attendance wouldn’t be good in SLC, just that large #’s of fans wouldn’t be able to make the trip on the West Coast or in SLC (larger #’s than West Coast fans who miss out when the game is in the middle).

    I miss Gazidis already.

  23. I said this like 4 days ago!


    told you guys.

    Im gonna say 90% chance salt lake gets it,i really hope they do,I want to play mexico in the snow!Me and my friends will be roadtripping from socal!

  24. If the USSF has the match in Seattle or SLC rather than Cowlumbus, they’ll demonstrate to us all that they’re every bit as stupid as we portray.

    Seattle? Ben was right earlier when he talked about the best soccer fans in the US being in the Seattle area. Unfortunately, they’re Mexican fans. There is a *large* Mexican fanbase in that area. The Mexico-China friendly turned out 55,000 in Seattle, with Mexican fans driving hundreds of miles — for a friendly. What do you think it’ll be like for a WCQ? There will not be a homefield advantage. Bet your house on it.

    Salt Lake City? Probably, but not definitely, a US home site. But Salt Lake City in February? How good a condition will the pitch be in when they had to shovel it out from under 10″ of snow in order to play the match? And why would anyone think a match at altitude would help us more than them?

    Cowlumbus? We’ve only won the last two qualifiers against Mexico there.

    Jeebus, USSF, *don’t be this stupid*.

  25. First off MikeK, 65,000 people waking up to their first qually isn’t the same as 20k tried and true screamers who have packed CCS two times prior, both with the same result.

    Second, Seattle isn’t as cold as the midwest in February. Been to both places, bucko, not even close.

    Third, bringing up the racist bullcrap makes you no better than the few who started it; you paint an entire group of people by the actions of a few? Definition of a sterotype. You sir, are a grade-a idiot.

  26. This may be the worst off-season for any MLS city.

    I can lose Sigi. We will miss Chad.

    But sweet lord, I don’t wanna lose the USAvMexico game.


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