It looks like the USMNT will continue the road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup through the American Midwest after announcing Columbus, Ohio and St. Paul, Minnesota as the venues for the next two qualifiers.
The first match is set to kick off on January 27 against El Salvador at Lower.com Field, home to Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew. The US men’s national team then faces Honduras on February 2 at Allianz Field, the stadium of Minnesota United.
“As we have seen throughout the qualifying process so far, great stadiums and great atmospheres provide a huge advantage to our team,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said as part of Wednesday’s venue announcement.
“We’ve had fantastic experiences in Columbus and the Twin Cities and look forward to continuing our World Cup qualifying campaign in front of our fans.”
Columbus became the national team’s unofficial home, having played at least one qualifier there during every World cup cycle since 2002. The team holds a 8-2-1 record in those games overall. Berhalter is no stranger to this stadium either, having coached the Columbus Crew for five years before becoming USMNT manager.
In between both home games, the USMNT will travel to Canada on January 30 as part of the Octagonal’s three-match window.
To prepare for the January/February window of qualifiers, the American side will conduct a training camp in Carson, California from December 5-18, and face Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 18 in an international friendly.
The U.S is in second place on the Concacaf standings after beating North American rivals Mexico to climb the table. The American side now boasts a record of 4-3-1 with 15 points in eight games.
While they hold a comfortable spot, the USMNT has no room for error as Mexico and Panama trail behind by only one point. The top three teams qualify directly into the World Cup, while fourth place heads to an inter-confederation playoff.
The venue for the final home qualifier – against Panama on March 27 – is yet to be decided.