The home of the United States’ biggest World Cup qualifying game could be moved from Columbus, Ohio.
Multiple sources told FanSided’s “MLS Multiplex” that the Nov. 12 meeting between the United States and Mexico could take place at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, MN. It would represent a historic departure from recent lore for a game that has enormous significance for the United States in terms of returning to the World Cup.
No decision has been finalized on the location of the World Cup qualifier, a spokesperson for the American Football Federation said. But the idea that America’s most important qualifying game is in Minnesota certainly deserves some buzz.
Since 2001, Columbus has been the home and some might say the spiritual home of the region’s most heated game, with the United States winning four of five qualifiers at Columbus Crew Stadium. Those four wins came from a score of 2-0, leading to the back to cero mystique that surrounded both this qualifier of house but the location itself.
Now after a 2-1 loss to El Tri in the process of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the hold that Columbus apparently had on this particularity seems to have loosened.
The selection of Allianz Field, home of MLS club Minnesota United, seems logical on several levels. The stadium has all the bells and whistles of a modern sports arena, having opened in 2019 (the old Crew Stadium was opened two decades earlier and was more Spartan in style).
The United States national team would not only sell Allianz Field for the game and would likely be able to limit the impact of loud support from Mexico. In addition to trying to have professional support for the United States national team, Minnesota United’s stadium can also give the home team a potential climate advantage.
Last year, on November 12, the average temperature in Saint-Paul was 29.8 degrees. In 2019, it was 11.1 degrees.
If the United States seeks to make Mexico uncomfortable, the Minneapolis area certainly offers some intriguing advantages. Allianz Field, with a capacity of 19,400, has hosted the National Men’s and Women’s Team at events since it opened. Both matches took place in 2019.
The loss to Mexico was the last international game the United States Men’s National Team played in Columbus. The Americans had a good June, winning the Nations League trophy in a 3-2 overtime win over Mexico last week.
The Crew opens a new stadium to replace its historic location. The new stadium is expected to open in July this year.
Follow ‘MLS Multiplex’ Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer