WASHINGTON, June 4, 2012 — Kansas could become the new home for the U.S. national team. The American team will play a World Cup qualifier at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park venue for the first time when it hosts Guatemala on Oct. 16 in the final match of Semifinal Round qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. LIVESTRONG is the home of the Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City.
“We are very excited to play such an important World Cup qualifier in Kansas City,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They have an amazing new facility in LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, and the fans have really demonstrated incredible support for soccer in the area. We expect it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere.”
The U.S. team begins its World Cup qualifying on campaign on Friday, June 8, against Antigua & Barbuda at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The team then plays Guatemala in World Cup qualifying June 23, at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.
The Americans are making their second appearance in the state of Kansas and second at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The team played a game in the new venue during the 2011 Gold Cup with the U.S. winning 1-0 against Guadeloupe on June 14, 2011. The Americans are 12-4-5 lifetime against Guatemala. The teams have met 10 times overall in World Cup qualifying play, with the U.S. holding an unbeaten 6-0-4 record in the series.
Guatemala joins Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, and the United States in Group A. Each opponent will meet twice, once at home and once away, in round robin play. The top two teams from each of three groups will advance to the Final Round of qualifying, which will take place in 2013. Three teams will automatically qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while the fourth place team will play in a two-leg playoff against the winner of the Oceania region.
For over 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996. Follow John on Twitter at <\@>Johnahaydon
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