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USMNT’s stadium pick for Mexico a response to 2018 World Cup qualifying mistake, says Berhalter

The U.S. head coach explained why his team chose Cincinnati for its upcoming match against El Tri

U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter explained why the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Mexico will be played in Cincinnati as he reflected on the mistakes in scheduling during the last qualifying cycle.

The U.S. is set to take on El Tri in Cincy on Nov. 12, shifting away from the usual location of that particular match: Columbus.

Having already announced locations for several World Cup qualifiers so far, Berhalter stressed the importance of getting those decisions right as his team looks to maximize its chances of sealing a return to the World Cup.

What was said?

“For the Mexico game, we took a hard look at all the venues,” Berhalter said, “and I think one thing that was important was that we’re going to need every venue that we play in to have an absolute rocking crowd.

“We feel like we made some mistakes in the last qualifying cycle, particularly the Costa Rica game, not having a crowd that was 100% 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, and I think it’s gonna be a fantastic venue to compete against Mexico.”

What happened against Costa Rica?

One of the biggest setbacks of the USMNT’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign came against Costa Rica on September 1, 2017.

After opting to host the match at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, the U.S. was met by a split crowd of USMNT and Costa Rica supporters, taking away any possibility of a home-field advantage.

The U.S. went on to lose the game 2-0 before then dropping points in a 1-1 draw with Honduras in their next match that severely damaged their World Cup qualifying hopes.

A win over Panama in Orlando nearly salvaged their ticket to Russia before hope was tossed away in that now-infamous loss to Trinidad & Tobago.

The venues so far

The U.S. already has the first part of the team’s schedule set as they look ahead towards qualifying this fall.

Up first will be a September 2 trip to El Salvador before the U.S. hosts Canada in Nashville three days later and visits Honduras three days after that.

In October, Berhalter and Co. will host Jamaica in Austin on the 7th before visiting Panama on the 10th. After that, they’ll host Costa Rica in Columbus on October 13 to complete the October international break

They’ll finish off the year with the clash with Mexico and then a visit to Kingston, Jamaica, on November 16.

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