Soldier Field is definitely one of the premier venues that is always mentioned for big soccer games. Whether it is USMNT games or friendlies (like Fire/Manchester United in 2011), Soldier Field is always a great venue to watch a game. Crowds are big, support is loud, and it's an experience everyone should try if you haven't already. For those Fire fans that also actively support the USMNT, Soldier Field should certainly be a destination for all of you in 2013 for the Gold Cup, regardless of the teams playing.
To catch those of you up to speed that may not have all the info, the competition runs from July 7-July 28th. You may remember the US/Mexico final from 2011. The Americans jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the 23rd minute, but could not hold out. Mexico scored 4 unanswered goals to claim the Cup in a 4-2 win. The US team should definitely be motivated for this one.
The 12 teams taking part will be the USA, Mexico, and Canada (who all qualified automatically). The other countries joining them are Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Martinique, Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador. Guatemala and Panama will have a playoff for the final spot.
Here is the full list of venues announced this morning:
- Dallas - Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
- Atlanta - Georgia Dome (Atlanta)
- Baltimore - M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
- Chicago - Soldier Field (Chicago)
- Denver - Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver)
- Hartford - Rentschler Field (East Hartford, Conn.)
- Houston - BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston)
- Los Angeles - Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
- Miami - Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
- New York- Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.)
- Portland - JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.)
- Salt Lake City - Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
- Seattle - CenturyLink Field (Seattle)
A couple of things to note here. One, both the Home Depot Center and CheatStrong...Errr, I mean "Sporting Park" in Kansas City missed the cut. For as much as the Sporks like to brag about the new venue, this has to sting a little. And for all the talent that LA attracts in MLS play, you would think they would be on the list too.
The other nice thing to note is that, despite some other nice sports stadiums in the Midwest, Soldier Field was the only one named. This backs up the view that Soldier Field is a premier location for big, international soccer events. It's good for the teams, the city, and the fans. Again, I urge you to check out a match this summer. You will have the time of your life. The USA/Poland match I attended in 2010 at Soldier was an absolute blast, and that was only a friendly. There wasn't a Cup on the line.
With World Cup Hexagonal play starting in February, it will be nice to have some USMNT matches with some meaning this Spring and Summer.