The quadrennial home World Cup qualifier against Mexico, the most anticipated regularly scheduled soccer game staged in the U.S., will remain in Ohio. It’s just moving about 110 miles to the southwest.
Cincinnati is the new home of U.S.-Mexico, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday morning. Traditionally played at the Columbus Crew’s original stadium, which recently made way for a downtown facility, the climactic qualifier will take place Nov. 12 at FC Cincinnati’s new TQL Stadium. It seats 26,000 and opened in mid-May.
Historic Crew Stadium hosted U.S.-Mexico in five consecutive World Cup cycles starting in 2001. It became both a fortress and a good luck charm as the Americans won the first four games, all by a 2-0 score. But the streak ended in November 2016, when an 88th-minute El Tri goal sent the hosts to defeat and, subsequently, down a road that would see them miss the 2018 World Cup. The Crew moved to Lower.com Field this month.
“When you talk about great rivalries in our sport, USA-Mexico is one of the best,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We are fortunate to have so many great venue options in this country, and for this match Cincinnati ticks all the boxes. This is a special game that requires a special atmosphere, and we know it’s one that Cincinnati will provide.”
The U.S. men have played just once in Cincinnati. They lost to Venezuela, 3-0, in a June 2019 friendly played at Nippert Stadium, the University of Cincinnati venue that was FCC’s home field in 2016-2020. During its one full MLS season at Nippert, 2019, FCC averaged more than 27,000 fans per game.
U.S. Soccer has now announced three of the seven venues for the upcoming octagonal round of World Cup qualifying. The double round-robin kicks off in September and will send the top three finishers to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (the fourth team enters an intercontinental playoff). All three confirmed U.S. sites are new MLS markets. After beginning on the road in El Salvador, the U.S. will host Canada at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The NFL arena is second-year MLS club Nashville SC’s temporary home while its new stadium is under construction.
The October qualifiers begin at Austin FC’s brand-new Q2 Stadium, where the U.S. will entertain Jamaica. Austin entered MLS this season. No site has been announced for the third qualifier in the October window, a home game against Costa Rica. The two-game November window then opens in Cincinnati.
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 at TQL Stadium, Cincinnati
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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