Tuesday, December 16, 2008

US-Mexico match should be in Columbus

I'll admit that when the official word finally came that the US-Mexico World Cup Qualifier was going to be played in Columbus I was briefly disappointed. The thought of watching the continent's two biggest teams walk out of that tunnel at Rio Tinto made me out right giddy.

Then, reality set in. Besides the enormity of the match, what else would really be that enjoyable about the experience of watching an outdoor game in Salt Lake in February? The USSF is looking for a home field advantage, and freezing out the Mexicans would have been a plus in the favor of the Red, White and Blue. However, the altitude factor would not be much of an advantage as Mexico City sits nearly 6,000 feet closer to the clouds than Sandy. Plus, with Utah being quite a bit closer to the country just south of the Rio Grande than Ohio makes for a higher probability of a stronger Mexican fan base mixing into the crowd at Rio Tinto - jeopardizing the advantage that the USSF is seeking.

With all those things in mind, plus the fact that Columbus has been the most ideal host for this match the last two go rounds, it is clear that US Soccer made the correct decision on this match.

A nice take home thought for soccer fans in Utah is that Rio Tinto is already making the short list of possible venues to host large matches. Being considered as a site for the Mexico match can only help the possibility of hosting another match during this summer's qualification, and many more in the future.