Today US Soccer announced which city will be hosting the USA's third and final home game of this round of qualifying against Guatemala. The USA will be coming back to Kansas City and Livestrong Sporting Park for the game on October 16th. It'll be the third time the USA has played in Kansas City, the second World Cup qualifier, and the second time at Livestrong Sporting Park.
The game against Guatemala is the last of the 6 games in this round of qualifying that kicks off on the 8th in Tampa. The top two finishers from the USA's group qualify for the next round, the Hex, where the top 3 automatically qualify for the World Cup and the 4th place team plays the winner of Oceania qualifying.
It's great that the USA is returning to Kansas City again after 19,000 plus saw their Gold Cup game last year vs Guadeloupe. The one draw back in my opinion is the timing of the game. With the game being the last one in this cycle, the USA SHOULD have already clinched qualification for the Hex. If that's true the roster for this game could be a bit underwhelming, similar to the 2010 qualifying cycle, when the US had already clinched qualification to the Hex and had guys like Pablo Mastroeni and John Thorrington starting for the United States in the meaningless game against Guatemala that the US won 2-0.
On the opposite side of that coin though, Robb Heineman sees this game as an audition for bigger things, specifically, US-Mexico in the Hex. Heineman said, “I think this is a good audition for the U.S.-Mexico game. Meaningful games for our national team should be played at Livestrong Sporting Park. That is how we feel about it, and we’re anxious to prove that is the case.”
Since qualification for the 2002 World Cup, US Soccer has held the US-Mexico game in the Hex at Columbus Crew Stadium, where the US has made a habit of winning 2-0 at CCS. But there are plenty of other stadiums vying to host the big match up. This game would be a good audition for KC fans to show that they can make another US friendly atmosphere. Unlike Guadeloupe, Guatemalan fans travel well. Proving that KC can bring in a pro US crowd against an opponent that travels better is the next key step if KC wants to host US-Mexico.