San Jose and Portland, Ore., Would Have Hosted USMNT World Cup Qualifiers Had CSA Chosen Vancouver for Canada-USA
But Once Canada Chose Hamilton, Ont., U.S. Soccer Opted for Columbus and St. Paul
It’s not earth-shattering news, but it’s still interesting: U.S. Soccer would have chosen San Jose, Calif., and Portland, Ore., as the sites for the upcoming home USMNT World Cup qualifiers if the Canadian Soccer Association had followed its original intention of staging the Canada-USMNT game in Vancouver, multiple sources tell me.
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But Canada coach John Herdman insisted on staging the Canada-USA game in Hamilton, Ont., preferring to cut down on his own team’s travel after playing its first qualifier of the window in Honduras. Once the CSA announced the location of Canada-USA, U.S. Soccer finalized contracts to put its two home qualifiers this window in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Paul, Minnesota. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter emphasized in his Friday press conference that it was important to minimize travel between games, which he said will allow some of his U.S. players to potentially start all three games.
The news does reveal a couple things: U.S. Soccer was willing to put home World Cup qualifiers on the West Coast this cycle (even though it won’t end up happening for any of the seven home qualifiers), and the federation was also willing to play a qualifier on artificial turf in Portland.
Where do you wish these two home U.S. World Cup qualifiers were taking place?
I understand minimizing travel. But *Minnesota* in February? No, those sites were chosen to freeze Central American players. PERIOD. It’s why Canada chose to play Mexico in Edmonton. And why they’re playing the US in Hamilton. So the USSF said, “hold my beer” and scheduled TWO games in ice boxes. Minneapolis is 667 air miles from Hamilton. NYC is 360. Don’t tell me you’re minimizing travel.
You’re absolutely right, Grant. If you have confidence you can beat CONCACAF opponents anywhere, you wouldn’t schedule like this.
Not sure I believe the USSF. IF travel were the primary consideration, it seems Houston, Austin or Dallas would've made more sense than Nashville back in September as all 3 are much closer to El Salvador and Honduras.
That said, Charlotte NC instead of Minneapolis. More than 100 miles closer to Hamilton by air and not nearly as frigid.