Gregg Berhalter: “We feel like we made some mistakes in the last qualifying cycle, particularly in the Costa Rica game, not having a crowd that was that was 100 percent U.S.” (Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer)
By Michael Lewis
Attention metro area soccer fans:
Please don’t hold our breath thinking the U.S. men’s national team will play a World Cup qualifying match in this area any time soon.
In wake of Wednesday morning’s announcement that Cincinnati will host the USA-Mexico qualifier at TQL Stadium Nov. 12, head coach Gregg Berhalter talked about the importance of having pro-U.S. crowds.
He noted the Americans’ 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Sept. 1, 2017, as a prime example. That loss helped drive the nail in the USMNT’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup
“We took a hard look at all the venues, and I think one thing that was important was we’re going need every venue that we play in, to have an absolute rocking crowd,” Berhalter said during a Zoom media press conference previewing Thursday night’s Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal vs. Qatar Wednesday afternoon. “We feel like we made some mistakes in the last qualifying cycle, particularly in the Costa Rica game, not having a crowd that was that was 100 percent U.S. and that’s going to be extremely important.
“When I look at you know some of the venues we’ve chosen already and will continue to announce, I think it fits perfectly into what we’re talking about. Cincinnati in particular has a good capacity stadium, brand new stadium. I think it’s going be a fantastic venue to compete against Mexico.”
The five previous WCQ encounters on American soil was held at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The first four confrontations result in 2-0 USA wins, as they became legendary dos a cero results. The fifth game did not end so well for the USMNT, a 2-1 defeat to El Tri in November 2016.
The USA finished fifth in the hexagonal with a 3-4-3 record and 12 points, one goal away from qualifying for Russia 2018.
The Americans will host Canada at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. Sept. 6 and Jamaica at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas Oct. 7.