Twitter was the first sign. The American soccer media started peppering timelines with "Hello, Columbus" salutations. Next it was the fans, on the road from New York, Washington D.C., Houston, L.A. and everywhere in between tweeting about plane schedules and traffic reports.
The pictures started showing up from Crew Stadium as a who's who of soccer media assembled at mixed zone for National Team training with rapid fire reports. "Michael Bradley isn't in a walking boot." or "Clint Dempsey loves the support the U.S. gets in Columbus".
After the fun and games of practice it was time for the parties to kick things off. The U.S. National team had a pep rally at the Bluestone in downtown pose for the cameras. Supporters began assembling. Outlaws bearing badges from San Diego, Minneapolis, Denver, San Antonio, New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta reveled at Fourth Street Bar and Grille well past.
With less than 20 hours to kickoff, it's clear. The center of the American soccer universe is Columbus. The fans are ready, the TV cameras will be focused on the action as Crew Stadium is the stage for the biggest game since... well since the last time Crew Stadium hosted USA v. Mexico. Columbus is once again the Center of the American soccer universe, for at least a day.