And once again, USA turns to Columbus for qualifying magic— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) September 8, 2012
The U.S. Soccer Federation announced today that Tuesday's National Team game was a sellout. Nearly 24,000 fans will pack Crew Stadium on Tuesday. Moreso than any other, it's probably the most important game the National Team have ever played in Columbus.
The U.S. National Team shockingly lost at The Office in Kingston, Jamaica. It's the first loss to Jamaica and leaves the U.S. with 4 points and in 2nd place in their 3rd Round Qualifying group. It's a damaging result if they hope to advance to the Hex and only builds more pressure to get the full three points on Tuesday. The game is must win.
The U.S. has an illustrious history in Columbus. The tremendous support provides quite the home field advantage. There have been three monumental wins against Mexico, another win against Grenada, and ties against Costa Rica and Jamaica. None of those games had the weight of a "must win" hanging on them, only the Costa Rica game in 2000 comes close. Some of them clinched moving on to the next round or were just the latest in a never ending series of qualifiers.
It's true that all of them were valuable results in getting to the World Cup, but if the Nats tie, or even lose on Tuesday, the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign could be over before it began.
The U.S. will be expected to rebound and win, but they weren't supposed to lose in Kingston. Anything can happen in qualifying and the Yanks are in an uncomfortable spot needing the full three points this early in qualification. This isn't battling it out with Mexico for CONCACAF supremacy, this is getting to play Mexico in the first place.
If there is any place to win a must win game it's in front of a rabid home crowd in the stadium that has been the site of so many key moments of U.S. Soccer over the past decade, Crew Stadium. Columbus has proven in the past to be an inhospitable place to visit. U.S. Soccer and countless fans are hoping that Central Ohio will provide the magic, the backdrop for another fine win.