Sunday, January 06, 2013

Livestrong Finalist for Costa Rica Qualifier

Reports out of Costa Rica in early December were that Livestrong Sporting Park would be hosting the upcoming World Cup qualifier against the Ticos.  After that came further reports that it wouldn't be LSP, but instead Colorado or Salt Lake that would be hosting the game in an attempt to help acclimate players to higher altitudes ahead of the qualifier a few days later in Mexico City.

Today on Goals on Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel, Grant Wahl said that those are the final 3 sites that are being decided upon and that a decision should be coming some time this week.

Putting the game in Salt Lake or Colorado makes sense from the altitude standpoint.  Salt Lake hosted the US qualifier against Costa Rica in the 2006 cycle and provided a very good home atmosphere.  The last qualifier held in Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park was the qualifier against Guatemala in the 2010 cycle.  That game wasn't that well attended overall, but the game also meant nothing, and since then games for qualifiers have changed and qualifiers aren't going to have attendance like that any more I don't think.

KC provides a good home atmosphere and a place where the US will have a home field advantage, as shown in the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifier vs Guatemala.  In fact you can go back to the 2002 cycle when KC hosted the Costa Rica qualifier and over 30,000 showed up for that game.  All 3 provide very good choices for US Soccer.

If the qualifier doesn't come to KC, I still expect KC to get one of the qualifiers, whether it be Honduras, Mexico, Panama, or Jamaica.  Even with the rumors of the two summer home qualifiers vs Honduras and Panama going to the Pacific Northwest, I'd still figure on KC getting one of the final two.  My opinion then would be Jamaica as I wouldn't take the US-Mexico game out of Columbus.  The Jamaica game may not be glamorous, but if the US needs a result, there aren't many places where the US would probably want to come for a must win than Kansas City.

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