U.S. Soccer Has Selected Columbus and St. Paul to Host Critical Home World Cup Qualifiers Against El Salvador and HondurasUSMNT Returns to Lower.com Field for USA-El Salvador, Presented by Volkswagen, on Jan. 27; First USA World Cup Qualifier at Allianz Field will be Feb. 2 against Honduras
CHICAGO (Nov. 24, 2021) – With results at home vital to qualifying for the World Cup, U.S. Soccer has selected Columbus, Ohio and St. Paul, Minn. as the venues for the critical World Cup Qualifiers against El Salvador and Honduras.
Lower.com Field will be the site of USA-El Salvador, presented by Volkswagen, on Jan. 27 (ESPN networks, Univision networks). Following the away match against Canada, the U.S. returns to face Honduras on Feb. 2 for the first World Cup Qualifier at Allianz Field. (FS1, Univision networks). Kickoff times will be confirmed in the near future.
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With six matches remaining, the USMNT sits in second place in the Octagonal standings with 15 points and a 4-1-3 record. The top three teams in the group earn automatic qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“As we have seen throughout the qualifying process so far, great stadiums and great atmospheres provide a huge advantage to our team,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We’ve had fantastic experiences in Columbus and the Twin Cities and look forward to continuing our World Cup Qualifying campaign in front of our fans.”
In continuation of preparations for the January World Cup Qualifiers, the USMNT will hold a training camp from Dec. 5-18 in Carson, Calif., concluding with a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Dec. 18 at Dignity Health Sports Park (8 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMás and TUDN).
RIDING THE C-BUS
The match in Columbus will be another homecoming for the USMNT and its current head coach.
The city has hosted 11 World Cup Qualifiers since 2000, with the USA posting a 8-1-2 record during that span. This past October, the USA closed the October World Cup qualifying window on a high note with a 2-1 win against Costa Rica. Playing in front of a raucous, sell-out crowd of 20,165 in its return to Columbus at the new Lower.com Field, a thunderbolt from defender Sergiño Dest and forward Tim Weah’s deflected shot earned the United States three crucial points at home.
BEHIND THE CREST: USMNT Downs Costa Rica 2-1 in Columbus
With an average age of 22 years, 61 days, the USA took the field that day not only with its youngest lineup in World Cup qualifying but also in any official competition.
Berhalter spent five seasons as the sporting director and head coach of Columbus Crew SC where he led the team to postseason appearances in four of his five years in charge. He guided Columbus to the 2015 MLS Cup Final and nearly returned the club to the league’s title game two years later, falling 1-0 to eventual champions Toronto FC in the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.
TIME FOR THE TWIN CITIES
Minnesota will become the 21st different state to host a World Cup Qualifier when the USMNT takes on Honduras at Allianz Field. The team makes its second visit to the home of Minnesota United FC, after previously opening the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup with a 4-0 win against Guyana. The stadium has also been the site of two USWNT friendlies against Portugal in September 2019 and Korea Republic just last month.
WINTER TRIPLE DATE
The matches against El Salvador and Honduras are part of the ‘triple date’ in World Cup Qualifying during which the U.S. will play three matches in seven days.
Under the new qualifying format, a total of eight teams – increased from six in previous cycles -will compete in the Final Round, with the top three teams advancing to Qatar ’22. The fourth-place team will participate in an Intercontinental playoff for the last spot.
The 10 matches in the Final Round had typically been played during the course of 18 months. Due to schedule changes related to the global pandemic and the new format, each team will play 14 matches in a seven-month period.