Guerra Fria. Dos a Cero. It's the game that every American soccer fan circles on their calendar once every four years. U.S. v. Mexico at Crew Stadium is special. There is nothing else like it.
The Hex schedule is set and the U.S. Soccer Federation is deciding on hosts for all important final six qualifiers. The management in charge of LiveStrong Park, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, and Rio Tinto are vying to host the important Costa Rican qualifier in March. Crew faithful wait patiently.
CenturyLink Field is being talked about as candidate for one of the U.S. team's June match ups. Columbus won't likely see Honduras or Panama come to town in the midwest summer heat.
But why Crew Stadium; it starts with tradition. Three games, three wins is monumental. Josh Wolff's goal, Gooch's stare down, and Bradley's brace are all great memories of North America's fiercest rivalry.
The crowd has been behind the home side since the beginning. The Americans have struggled to create that home field advantage against Mexico, but not at Crew Stadium. For a decade, Columbus has been inside the collective Mexican psyche and the partisan crowd is a big reason.
The setup is ideal for the team. Jurgen Klinsmann raved about the facility last September when the U.S. faced off against Jamaica. The facade may not be the most striking, but the pitch was perfect for the National Team's ideal of a passing based game.
Off the field, the team and the city's fans know how to host a great party. The Crew Stadium management have extensive experience at dealing with the federation and can cater to what they require.
Visiting fans are also treated to events around the city as the Columbus soccer community rolls out the red carpet for visitors. U.S. v. Mexico isn't just game day, it's a mid week extravaganza as pre game parties are planned and the tailgating starts early.
Crew Stadium isn't the jewel of American soccer anymore. It lost that crown years ago to the Home Depot Center, Red Bull Arena, now LiveStrong Park. The Nordecke may not have the sizzle of the Timbers Army or Seattle supporters, but are a dedicated group of well organized American backers. There are plenty of other venues that may look better on paper than Columbus, but Columbus is where the U.S. National Team goes to win.