WASHINGTON, January 16, 2013 — It’s all about altitude. The U.S. men’s national soccer team will open its home schedule in the final round of World Cup, qualifying against Costa Rica at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on March 22. The venue is just outside Denver and 5,164 feet above sea level. The reason for choosing the high altitude of Colorado for the Costa Rica game is to give the players several days of training at such an altitude before facing Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on March 26 in the third game of qualifying.
The Americans 10-game road to hopefully their seventh World Cup appearances begins at Honduras on on Feb. 6 at San Pedro Sula. “We are really excited to play our first home qualifying match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Winning games at home in World Cup qualifying is crucial, and we really are expecting the fans in Colorado to bring us a huge home-field advantage.”
This is the second World Cup qualifier hosted at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. In 2008, the U.S. beat Guatemala to secure the top spot in its group in the Semifinal Round.
The U.S. team is currently training at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., in preparation for the first match of 2013, an exhibition game against Canada on Jan. 29 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
Along with Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico, the U.S. is joined by Jamaica and Panama as the final six teams set to compete in the 10-game round-robin format from Feb. 6-Oct. 15.
The top three teams in the Hexagonal automatically advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place finisher will contest a two-game playoff against the winner of the Oceania region.
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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