Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium just opened last month but it’s already on its way to becoming a U.S. soccer fixture. The women’s national team played a pre-Olympic friendly there, it’ll host a Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal next week and then on Oct. 7, it’ll be the site of the World Cup qualifier between the U.S. men and Jamaica. U.S. Soccer announced its decision late Thursday.
The USMNT-Jamaica match will be the fourth of 14 that each team must play in Concacaf’s World Cup qualifying octagonal, which will send the top three finishers to next year’s tournament in Qatar and the fourth-place side to an intercontinental playoff. The U.S. will open qualifying in September with games at El Salvador (Sept. 2) and at Honduras (Sept. 8) surrounding a Sept. 5 showdown against Canada in Nashville.
Last month, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter attended the inaugural MLS game played at Q2 Stadium, which seats just under 21,000. His son, Sebastian, is an Austin FC midfielder. The MLS expansion team was 1-1-2 at Q2 heading into Thursday night’s game against the Seattle Sounders.
“What’s been happening in Austin the last couple years is extraordinary,” Berhalter said. “It’s amazing the way the city has embraced the sport, the world-class facilities they have developed, and most importantly for us the atmosphere the fans create in the stadium. That’s precisely the type of environment we need for our home World Cup qualifiers, and I know it’s something our players value and appreciate.”
It will mark the first time the U.S. men contest a World Cup qualifier in Texas, and it will be the 15th time the U.S. and Jamaica meet in qualifying. The U.S. holds a 7-1-6 advantage in those games and a 17-3-8 record in the series overall. They’ll also meet Sunday night in a Gold Cup quarterfinal at AT&T Stadium outside Dallas, with the winner moving on to face either El Salvador or Qatar (a Gold Cup guest) at Q2 on July 29.
The October qualifier will open the second three-match window of the octagonal, which is being played in just seven months. FIFA sanctioned longer international windows to accommodate games postponed by the pandemic.
Here’s the USMNT’s updated World Cup qualifying schedule:
Sept. 2 at El Salvador
Sept. 5 vs. Canada at Nissan Stadium, Nashville
Sept. 8 at Honduras
Oct. 7 vs. Jamaica at Q2 Stadium, Austin
Oct. 10 at Panama
Oct. 13 vs. Costa Rica
Nov. 12 vs. Mexico
Nov. 16 at Jamaica
Jan. 27 vs. El Salvador
Jan. 30 at Canada
Feb. 2 vs. Honduras
March 24 at Mexico
March 27 vs. Panama
March 30 at Costa Rica
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