Although the Major League Soccer regular season doesn’t begin until Feb. 26, Columbus Crew supporters might have their chance to see forward Gyasi Zardes take to Lower.com Field this week. On Thursday, the United States Men’s National Team returns to Columbus for its second World Cup qualifier in Ohio’s capital city within three months, taking on El Salvador. The Crew striker and former Black & Gold goalkeeper Zack Steffen are both on the roster in hopes to help push the U.S. one step closer to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
After Thursday, the USMNT heads to Hamilton, Ontario to face Canada, currently top team in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. Keeping matches in the same climate, since then the United States heads to Allianz Field in Minnesota next week, makes sense for conditioning purposes.
This response prompted a lot of cold shoulders from non-Columbus based supporters, and even some members of the national media, that would rather the U.S. play in short-sleeve weather. Thursday’s temperature currently gives a high of 27 degrees at kickoff.
Heading into the game, the United States sits in second place in the table of eight CONCACAF countries. To qualify, a team must finish in the top three of the table. The fourth-place team moves onto an intercontinental playoff against other teams from around the world.
Right now, the U.S. is only one point ahead of both Mexico and Panama with six matches remaining in the cycle. Within those six are matches against the other three teams at the top of the group: Canada, Mexico and Panama.
Here’s what you need to know as the United States faces El Salvador:
How to Watch
Date: Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Lower.com Field; Columbus, Ohio
TV: ESPN 2, UniMás & TUDN
Columbus has a rich history with the United States Men’s National Team. Since the opening of historic Columbus Crew Stadium in 1999, Columbus has hosted 11 World Cup Qualifiers for the men’s team, with Thursday’s match pushing it up to a dozen. The Americans are 9-2-1 all time in Columbus between historic Crew Stadium and Lower.com Field.
Most notably in that period are four matches against rival Mexico where the United States defied odds and came away with 2-0 victories in Columbus. That run of games, and the Dos a Cero lore, keeps Columbus as a top destination for the United States Men’s National Team.
Supporters of the Red, White & Blue may not see eye-to-eye on where Thursday’s match is located, but a victory will put a lot of fans back on the same page, at least for a few minutes.