Wednesday night will be the continuation of Columbus’ longstanding tradition of hosting the United States Men’s National Team in important matches. The USMNT is hosting Costa Rica in the first FIFA World Cup qualifying game at Lower.com Field to start the new tradition of playing in downtown Columbus.
This will be the 11th World Cup qualifying game played in Columbus with the previous 10 U.S. matches in town taking place at historic Crew Stadium. The team’s seven wins in those matches is the most of any city in America.
Before kick off at Lower.com Field for former Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter and his squad, let’s take a quick look back at the previous 10 World Cup qualifiers in Columbus, Ohio.
Oct. 11, 2000: USA 0-0 Costa Rica
The first international soccer game played at historic Crew Stadium was 21 years ago when the U.S. hosted Costa Rica. Crew striker Brian McBride was the centerpiece of Bruce Arena’s roster in pursuit of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. The match ended scoreless in a chilly October evening in Columbus.
Feb. 28, 2001: USA 2-0 Mexico
One of the most significant moments in Columbus sports history was in late February of 2001 when the United States beat Mexico at historic Crew Stadium, 2-0. Goals from Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart were enough to beat a strong El Tri side to kick off the final round of World Cup qualification.
The Americans eventually qualified for the 2002 World Cup and beat Mexico again in the tournament’s Round of 16, only to lose to Germany 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
June 13, 2004: USA 3-0 Grenada
The USMNT returned to Columbus three years later in the first of three 2006 World Cup qualifying matchups in the capital of Ohio. A second-round game in the summer was scheduled against Grenada and ended with an emphatic 3-0 scoreline. Landon Donovan, Wolff and DeMarcus Beasley were the goal scorers on that special day.
Nov. 17, 2004: USA 1-1 Jamaica
Five months after the Grenada game, the Americans came back to historic Crew Stadium to play Jamaica in the third round of qualification. This match was the only USMNT game in Columbus to have less than 10,000 fans in attendance. Eddie Johnson’s early goal was quickly canceled out by an Andrew Williams penalty in a 1-1 draw.
Sept. 3, 2005: USA 2-0 Mexico
Once again, Columbus was granted the hosting duties for the big U.S.-Mexico game in the final round of World Cup qualifying. For the second time in four years, the Stars and Stripes beat El Tri 2-0 with goals from Steve Ralston and DeMarcus Beasley.
The win clinched America’s spot in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where the U.S. was quickly eliminated in the group stage.
Feb. 11, 2009: USA 2-0 Mexico
After the disappointment of the 2006 World Cup, it was a long wait until the next qualifier at historic Crew Stadium with the United States welcoming back Mexico in the middle of winter of 2009. For the third time, it was a 2-0 U.S. win with Michael Bradley’s brace cementing a soccer tradition and identifying Columbus with three words: “Dos A Cero.”
The U.S. eventually qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. After a dramatic Landon Donovan winner against Algeria to advance to the knockout stages, the Bob Bradley-managed Americans lost to Ghana in the Round of 16.
Sept. 11, 2012: USA 1-0 Jamaica
The seventh World Cup qualifier in the home of the Black & Gold was on the 11th commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001. The stadium held a moment of silence and chants of “USA” rang out from the crowd before kick off against Jamaica. One goal by Herculez Gomez in the 55th earned the fifth World Cup qualifying victory in Columbus.
Sept. 10, 2013: USA 2-0 Mexico
Dos A Cero made its return to Columbus one year after the Jamaica game as the United States Soccer Federation celebrated its centennial year in style. For the fourth time, the Stars and Stripes beat Mexico 2-0 with Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan’s goals cementing historic Crew Stadium as the place El Tri comes to lose.
The United States’ win sent the team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Americans were knocked out once again in the Round of 16 by Belgium in extra time in what is the last World Cup game for the USMNT.
March 29, 2016: USA 4-0 Guatemala
The ninth U.S. game at historic Crew Stadium was against Guatemala in the spring of 2019. The stadium was packed for the most lopsided victory in Columbus for the Americans with a 4-0 win. Clint Dempsey, Geoff Cameron, Graham Zusi and Jozy Altidore got on the score sheet. Young Christian Pulisic made his USMNT debut in the 81st minute of this match.
Nov. 11, 2016: USA 1-2 Mexico
The last World Cup qualifier at historic Crew Stadium and most recent in Columbus was the breaking of the Dos A Cero tradition. Mexico returned to then named “MAPFRE Stadium” in front of a sellout crowd and finally beat the United States in that stadium, 2-1. Rafa Marquez’s 89th minute winner silenced the crowd and broke the unbeaten run for the USMNT in Columbus. The United States then failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
On Wednesday night, a new crop of Americans look to start another tradition, bringing glory back to Columbus on the new pitch at Lower.com Field