Crew Stadium, the barebones home of the Crew... and the National Team? (Fahmi/MassiveReport.com)
U.S. Soccer and the Crew announced that the U.S. Men's National Team is returning to Crew Stadium. They will take on Jamaica in a World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday, September 11th at 8 pm. Columbus is no stranger to the National Team. They played 8 games, including 6 qualifiers since Crew Stadium was built in 1999. It's no surprise that Columbus gets a qualifier. It's not a high profile "hexagonal" qualifier, but one that the Crew and Columbus supports well.
This also is a reminder that the big game is coming up, the home qualifier against Mexico. The House that Lamar has hosted the last three home World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico. Three 2-0 wins against the fierce rivals, "La Guerra Fria" in 2001, a pristine fall day in September 2005, and the monsoon/windstorm of February 2009. This game is the pride of the Crew staff and Columbus soccer fans.
In 2009, U.S. Soccer has said they wanted a strong home field advantage for this game. Tradition, and a small Latino population, has kept the game in Columbus. Now, newer stadiums are attracting a lot of attention. Real Salt Lake reportedly put in a strong bid in 2008 to host the '09 qualifier at Rio Tinto. They will likely do so again. There is another competitor, Sporting Kansas City's jewel LiveStrong Park open just last year and is the class of American soccer stadiums. They have hosted several U.S. Soccer events and Kansas City can pack a small stadium like that.
The Columbus soccer community will once again play gracious host to American soccer fans in September, but the clock is ticking until the "Hexagonal" schedule comes out and venue decisions fall into the spotlight.