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Crew Stadium provides impressive home-field advantage in USMNT’s latest win over Mexico

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Any lingering ideas of moving the U.S. Men’s National Team’s quadrennial home World Cup qualifier against Mexico away from Crew Stadium seemingly came to an abrupt end on Tuesday night.

A pro-U.S. crowd of 24,584 put on a performance as equally as impressive as the U.S. team did in the Americans’ 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over arch-rival Mexico on Tuesday, providing an electric atmosphere that truly made for home-field advantage for the United States in its fourth straight 2-0 qualifying victory against El Tri in Columbus.

“The players when they know they’re playing (in) Columbus that they have 100 percent support behind them,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “It carries them, it gives them energy, it gives them confidence.”

The U.S. fans chanted loudly well before kickoff and filled up the majority of the seats at Crew Stadium, where Mexican fans were somewhat surprisingly few in numbers and essentially unheard from during the entirety of the match that helped assure the U.S.’s World Cup qualifying berth. But it was more than just the support from the U.S. faithful that added to the big-game atmosphere that was clearly present well before kickoff.

A pre-recorded pre-game message from president Barack Obama to U.S. Soccer supporters, fireworks during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, and a giant tifo all helped make Tuesday’s game feel like a soccer Super Bowl. There were also two blimps in the air as well as a plane carrying a banner, which added to the memorable spectacle in Columbus.

Still, the showing from the fans was among the biggest talking points for the U.S. players after the match.

“Yes, for sure, 100 percent,” said DaMarcus Beasley when asked if Tuesday’s support was the best he had ever experienced in qualifier in Columbus. “The crowds in the past have been great but they added some more stands, we had our whole (American) Outlaw family here and from the moment we stepped on the field in warm-ups, they were loud, they were behind us. They were our 12th man and we needed them.”

“Aw, great. Oh my God,” added a clearly impressed Mix Diskerud. “This is one of the best crowds that I ever played for. Just giving back the three points, I think they appreciated it. We came out after the game when we qualified to the World Cup and great atmosphere, so I’d like to come back here again.”

The fans were buzzing during the game and sang a slew of chants throughout the 90 minutes (‘Dos a Cero’ and ‘We are going to Brazil’ chief among them), even during stretches in the first half where El Tri were looking the more dangerous side. But the crowd went into absolute hysteria when Eddie Johnson netted the winner four minutes after halftime, heading home a Landon Donovan cross to deliver a crushing blow to a Mexican team with an already-frail psyche.

“I think you could feel it in the body language of the Mexican players when they didn’t get a goal that they tried really hard for (in) the first 20-25 minutes,” said Klinsmann. “They got heavier and heavier and you could see that psychological load in their minds, that they start to doubt themselves, their first touch was off from players that usually have a fantastic first touch.

“Absolutely, there is a psychological element in place here in Columbus and it’s definitely on our side.”

If Tuesday did anything aside from secure the Americans’ place in Brazil next summer, it was reinforce the idea that all U.S. home qualifiers against Mexico should be played at Crew Stadium. After all, El Tri continue to find it tough there amidst the American fans’ unwavering support for their team.

“This is a great crowd,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard. “It’s become it’s own monster. People want to come to Columbus to see U.S.-Mexico, and so it’s almost like the Mecca really for us, because of the way results have gone the last four times, you almost feel like it’s our destiny to win here.”

“The crowd was amazing,” said Johnson, who sent Crew Stadium into hysteria with his opening goal. “You couldn’t ask for a better place to have this game against a good team like Mexico, where we can actually feel like we’re the home team.”


  1. I’m also a Seattle fan, although I also don’t believe that the “HFA” v Mexico would be as present here as it is in Columbus. However, as a contrarian, I will speak up for those that would like to see it mixed up a little bit more. The early matches I don’t think are as significant (I believe we will get through barring an act of god) but in the Hex, we only have 5 home matches. KC definitely deserves as equal a shot at big matches as CLB and SEA. So does Portland, and others (not to dismiss the rest of the 2013 hosts). Obviously, as 99% of the rest of us, I think both SEA and PDX need a natural surface, but that certainly isn’t the case with most of the rest of the “deserving candidates”.

    Mexico will eventually win in Columbus (call me a heretic if you must) and when that happens, I hope that the “big match” distribution gets a little more fair.

  2. I went to the Gold Cup game in Hartford, CT last month hoping the atmosphere would be like this. There wasn’t anything wrong with the CT atmosphere but it wasn’t jumpin’ – that’s for sure.

  3. The whole Columbus expierence was just incredible! Best sporting event i have ever been to

    Seattle and Columbus couldnt be more different but at the same time so awesome in their own ways. Those two plus KC and Denver should be hex locks, hopefully DCU can get the stadium deal or maybe Chicago, Philly or Nashvegas can lock down the 5th Hex Stadium

  4. I was also there and agree with the above. It was absolutely 95-5. There were wayyyy more Mexico supporters tailgating in the parking lots and that worried me, but come gametime, I was VERY pleased with the crowd. It was amazing.

    Complain as much as you want about the ticketing process, but it worked better than it ever has…by FAR.

  5. I was there in 2009 and again last night. Notably fewer Mexican fans last night than in 2009. Great atmosphere. My understanding is that the first US-Mexico qualifier in 2001 was played in Columbus because Crew Stadium was the first professional soccer-specific stadium in the US. Columbus Crew Stadium is our (ie US soccer fans’) Fenway Park or Lambeau Field. The results and history supersede the amenities. As soccer continues to grow, competition for hex games will intensify, but US-Mexico should stay in Columbus. (As an aside, I think Seattle and Kansas City are likely locks for 2017 as well, leaving really only two spots for other cities.)

  6. I wonder who we will be scheduling as opponents for pre-WC friendlies, now that a NZ trip in Nov. is officially off the table. It would be nice if we could get 1-2 games in South America in (does anybody remember the last time USMNT played there?). Of course, we won’t be the only ones hoping to do this…

    • We need to play some Asian and African teams. The Asian confederation qualifying is completed so that’s doable for November. Not sure when African qualifiers finish (Isn’t it in October when they do the home/away game??) When’s the last friendly we had say against a team from those regions?

      I do like the idea of going down to S. America to get some games down there though.

  7. out of the following pool of players, it’ll be interesting to see how JK brings in October to couple with some of the vets that will definitely be there.

    JAB, AJ, Lichaj, Morales, Gyau, Corona, Castillo, Garza, Arriola, Mix, Torres, Kljestan, Agudelo, Shea, Bedoya, Orozco, Chandler, Gil, Feilhaber, Williams, Spector, Ream, Wood, and Wooten are some of the players I believe have the best chance. but Klinsmann could bring in some other U-23 players for the experience (given the Olympic fiasco) too. i think we’ll see established veterans like LD and Dempsey since they are in MLS, and maybe some other older Gold Cup players.

  8. Now that we have established that Crew Stadium is the venue for the most important WC qualifiers, it would be nice for the US Federation to partner with the Columbus Crew to ensure the stadium’s long term viability. It sounds like the new owner there may try to get a new stadium elsewhere and that could leave the stadium without a caretaker. Not to mention it appears out-dated anyway.

    I’d like to see the USSF pony up some money to renovate and maybe even enlarge the stadium so that we can continue to use it’s advantages. Make it an even more US friendly with training facilities and such. Just a tought but I’d hate to lose what we have there.

    • In an article (I think on SI) the new owner talked about a possible move to downtown Columbus as well as a complete rebranding of the team. I’m not a Columbus Crew supporter so I don’t know all the ins and outs. However, it is “Crew Stadium” and I’m sure the new owners of the club want to do what they feel is best for the club, which is building a new and better stadium in a better location.

      There is no chance that USSF will renovate a stadium of an MLS team when the owners of that team are actively seeking to move (even if they didn’t want to move I doubt the USSF would give them $$). Not to mention, our country is way too large to have a national stadium, especially when we are trying to grow the game in the US.

      • You’re right, we cannot have a national stadium but this is an important one that I’d hate to lose. Unless they built a new stadium with even better atmosphere, It would be in the USSF’s best interests to help them keep it open in some way. I guess it’s impossible to throw support behind one particular franchise but there’s just something about that stadium.

      • Yeah, I agree that there is something about it as well. I think the historical significance that it was the first SSS in the US probably plays a pretty big role and as the 2-0 victories keep coming, the legacy only gets stronger.

        But, at the end of the day, the Crew have got to do what’s best for the club.

      • I dont think downtown would be that much better.. That side of town was certainly the rowdy area! Plus the huge tailgating lot was prime.

        All in all i thought the stadium was fine. I like the unglamerous feel there. The pop up luxury boxes where a good idea, maybe something more perminant with the new owner. They do have to expand a bit tho! Build a massive American Kop!

    • I am not from Columbus so pardon me for saying this but moving Crew Stadium seems idiotic. Sporting KC has a much, much better stadium but Crew’s location, at least for an international qualifier, seemed to be much, much better. Better space to tailgate; traffic was tough to get out but the proximity to the college strip paid great dividends for getting to college bars. Heck, folks can basically walk there from the college campus. Sporting KC, on the other hand, is located in the middle of a strip mall. A very nice strip mall, no doubt, but nonetheless a place totally absent of atmosphere (unlike the stadium itself). Crew Stadium could probably use $20-$30M in improvements to seating on both endlines, skyboxes, and scoreboards/video boards to get it up to the level of Sporting Park.

      I had a great time at Crew Stadium last night and, it seems to me, relocating would be a waste of time and money for the team.

  9. I love that there is still somewhere in these United States where American Pride overcomes the willingness to pacify our friends South of the border. So proud of the US Soccer supporters! I was hoping that there would be overwhelming boos during their national anthem like they do for ours but I know we are too classy for that. If only I could now get an American broadcast of our games on our national sports network instead of seeing pre-game stories in Spanish and having to listen to the arrogant Mexican apologist, Jorge Campos. I know we have our own version in Alexi but please send at that pro Mexican nonsense to Deportes.

    • your comments are embarrassing for those of us that think that it is possible to be patriotic and to show common courtesy and kindness to fans of the opposing team. Regardless of what other fans do to us. Basing your behavior on your own values is a much better plan than letting others dictate your behavior by their behavior.

      Great job Columbus fans and US fans in general– it was awesome to see you on TV.

      • Yeah, but you were hoping that we WOULD boo the anthem. I dont think thats cool. Its ridiculous and disrespectful when they do it but lowering ourselves to the lowest of their fans doesn’t make any sense. I don’t get all the hatred for Campos. I think it’s interesting to hear the Mexican perspective and he seems much better on air than others they’ve had filling that role. the BEIN stuff is free market. They outbid everyone for the rights. Im not thrilled that I had to pay for that package either, but I could really care less whether it’s an American owned channel. I just don’t get why youre so angry after such a big victory.

      • Yes, that’s what I said. It was really a commentary on the other countries, and that we were too classy for that. Should have clarified. You’re right to call me on it.

    • The fact that you can’t congratulate Columbus and celebrate a great victory without spewing hateful political garbage says a lot about you.

      • Also, where are you getting that my comments were political? Do you watch soccer or sports in general? We get disrespected by every other country we play at in CONCACAF. I’m simply commenting as a US Soccer fan, who would like to see an American network focus on the American team. It would be like the Longhorn Network airing the Bob Stoops coaches show(If you even kno wwho and what that is). Do you see the world through such a political lens that you cannot view sports for what they are? Yes, I understand why they continue to pander to the Mexican viewership but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Besides, the comments were in jest anyway. Before you start casting stones and throwing your own hateful rhetoric, you should take a look in the mirror.

      • Okay, I read my comments again through a politcal context and I can see what you’re saying. However, I was referring more to the atmosphere in the Rose Bowl, New Jersey or really any other place we’ve played them here except for C-bus. Sorry, as someone whose Grand Parents were from Mexico and has an in-law from Mexico, you struck a nerve. Hate is a strong word and one that I don’t use. However, I do hate their soccer team. 😉

      • As a some who has a MEXICAN mother, YOUR comments struck a nerve, Jorge Campos was fine, and in fact i prefer to watch USA games on Univison due to the lack of extreme bias or idolization that the ESPN crew has at times. BTW, Univisions and Unimas commentating crew are always respectful and supportive of the USMNT. If we had booed during the mexican national anthem i would have felt ashamed to have been a US supporter, stay classy dude.

      • Yes, Campos was fine last night, just don’t care for him in general, much like the way you feel about our commentators. You’re right, it would have been classless to boo, just like the Mexican, Costa Rican and Honduran fans. That’s what sets us apart. You stay classy too bruh.

    • “If only I could now get an American broadcast of our games on our national sports network”

      What is “our national sports network” and how would last night’s broadcast differ from one on it?

      • I guess ESPN isn’t based in the U.S.? Being the major sports network here, it kind of makes it our National Sports network. I know it’s not goverment sponsored but I’d guess a mojority of it’s viewers are from this country.

        But in reality, I guess ESPN is really Mexico’s national network since they show all of their games. I guess we should feel fortunate they even include us, right?

        When I’m watching my team, I don’t want to get the other team’s point of view. When I’ve been in other countries watching the broadcast of their team playing ours, I never noticed any special interest stories on the Americans nor did they have American Analysts on tv. I know it’s too much to ask but it just annoys me. I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t have BEIN and can’t watch the road games.

      • Sorry you don’t have beIN. That situation is rectifiable, though, I suspect.

        It’s not about being a “our national sports network”, it’s about broadcasting rights and capitalism. I couldn’t care less if beIN picked up the ball ESPN didn’t, as long as I get to see the game.

        I also appreciate input from non-American commentators and analysts (or those not from my side, if it’s a club situation). Know your enemy, you know. And what are you going to do, turn off the game or mute it just because Ian Darke or Ray Hudson or Ruud Gullit is commenting?

        I just cannot understand such an approach, but then there’s the mute button, I guess, to solve your problem…

      • Unfortunately I cannot get BeIN on my provider and have no other provider options. I don’t mind objectivity, but I don’t see Campos as such. I do enjoy the commentary of the Venezuelan Gentleman(his name escapes me). Maybe it’s just a rivalry thing but it annoys me. I think Darke and some of the others are a little more objective than Campos. Btw, I watch the broadcasts of the other Mexican qualifiers and I’m completely okay with how they handle it. I think I’ve seen Lalas on those post game and I would be annoyed if I were a Mexican fan too.

        You’re completely right about the network. I understand why they do it, just don’t like it. I know I’ll have to get over it though. Unless I’m lucky and they don’t qualify for the World Cup.

      • BEin isn’t available to everyone at all. Even if there wasn’t an additional financial cost involved.

        That situation really is unacceptable. But it’s hardly new. Used to be, they were only on pay-per-view.

  10. Proud of my home state for the showing. We might not have the prettiest/newest stadium out there, but any midwesterner knows we have heart here. Blue-collar people for a blue-collar team. Love it!

    • We could feel all the energy of the stadium on TV, way to make us proud! Going to have to make a trip out there for the future USMNT games and get in the thick of it!

    • Absolutley! Every qualifying game has been unique in its own way but Columbus was just 100% blue collar Americana! Perfect for the Mexico game.

  11. Columbus is special. There’s more than a bit of magic there. They must take pride in the history there. Even though our soccer culture isn’t 100+ years old like many other nations, it’s important to recognize and build on the history we do have. Go Columbus!

  12. I was very impressed! This was the first time we were the home team in Columbus and it was magnificent.

    I still would like a USA vs Mexico in Seattle..

      • If Seattle wants to become the most hated (by the rest of the country..) section of US supporters then go ahead a try to steal USxMEX from Ohio

        If Seattle wants to make a positive mark on the national scene then give us a true home field advantage vs Honduras. IMO they are the most difficult team to beat on the field and in the stands.. Of course right behind El Tri who we have clearly figured out

    • Of course…..cue the Seattle supporters
      Two reasons why this game will never take place in Seattle:

      (1) You don’t have real grass and the stuff they put down 24-48 hours before just isn’t the same
      (2) No tradition like Crew Stadium – who wants to play somewhere different when you have a clear psychological advantage of four 2-0 wins.

      I would prefer the game at SKC over Seattle. Not that it is a horrible venue or a bad atmosphere, but for the games you have to win Columbus is a must.

      • “(1) You don’t have real grass and the stuff they put down 24-48 hours before just isn’t the same…”

        …especially when we have to rest players we’d otherwise want on the field if the surface were for real.

    • Seattle supporter here.

      We should definitely NOT host USA v Mexico unless we’re going to cap attendance at around the season ticket holder mark. If we opened the entire stadium we would be 50/50 USA/Mex fans. Even with a cap there is plenty of allegiance to Mex among season ticket holders; we’re broadcasting sounders games in spanish on TV and radio.

  13. my question is if its such a huge home field advantage why aren’t all home qualifiers played a Crew Stadium. I get KC was a great base too maybe just alternate between those two sites?

    • Because there are other places that will offer a pro U.S. crowd (especially against Hex opponents with smaller US contingents than Mexico), and it helps to grow the game by offering other places the opportunity to host. A friend of mine became a huge USMNT fan over the summer – it never would have happened had the Gold Cup final not been within driving distance in Chicago.

      • hate to be techinical but the gold cup isnt a qualifier. Im not saying dont have friendlys or GC matches all over the states but the only concern about qualifiers should be having the best home crowd possible. Hard to argue that isnt columbus.

      • As much as it pains me to say this, I wouldn’t mind a revolving qualifier host city of Columbus, KC, and Seattle. I live in NYC, so there’s little to no chance of one coming out here.

        That being said, it’s good to give the rest of the country a taste of what qualifiers are like. Most likely, we’ll see Mexico in Columbus, the second hardest game in Seattle, the third hardest game in KC, and then the remaining 2 split elsewhere.

        And I’d be fine with that.

      • The lads used to have a great record at Foxboro but hardly ever play at Gillette. Watch the US El Salvador match from 1997 with all the snow piled up on the sidelines.

    • 4 out of the 5 qualifiers should be set and not moved.
      vs Mexico – Columbus
      vs Costa Rica – Denver (hehe)
      one in Seattle
      one in Kansas City

      Fifth one up for grabs.

  14. They need to upgrade the seating, but the atmosphere looked incredible. A bigger stadium with that kind of support would only be rivaled by Seattle.

    • I think you meant to say the opposite of the thing you actually said.

      Ticketing this year was an unmitigated disaster. US Soccer is 100% to blame.

      • I would agree that the ticketing this year was a nightmare, but look at what they managed to do. 4 years ago we had a qualifier in Columbus and while it was PRO-US there were a ton of Mexican fans. I wouldn’t call it 50/50, but I would call it 60/40. This year with basically selling out the lower bowl to the supporters groups and usmnt supporters we ended up with a lower bowl that was 95/5 pro-us. It was amazing. Even though I was pissed at how the ticketing was done.

  15. Four years ago I drove from Pittsburgh to Columbus to see the qualifier in the rain and hail. While it was definitely a pro-American crowd, there were still a significant amount of Mexican fans there at the time. Wow…have times changed! You can just see the snowball rolling in support of our sport and the USMNT.

    One other ovservation…the hoops jersey (yes I own one) is extremely prevalent in the crowd shots….its distinctive and classy. US Soccer…KEEP THIS LOOK!

  16. 2-0 four straight times is amazing. Didn’t even need the winter weather as a 12th man! Definitely can’t move the match, but it’s too bad the stadium is so small. With the US fan base continuing to grow (hopefully exponentially after a great WC showing in Brazil), it will be a crazy hot ticket in four years!

    • Being there it seemed like 95-5. You literally never heard any mexico support and didn’t even really notice they were there. The two small groups of green jerseys were also gone by the 85th minute. It was fantastic.


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