WCQ: USMNT to host Costa Rica in Columbus


The United States men’s national team will face Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 13, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Thursday.

It will be the first international match at Lower.com Field, the new home of the Columbus Crew.

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Ohio’s capital city had previously hosted World Cup qualifiers against Mexico in each of the last five World Cup cycles. But with that match set for Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium on Nov. 12, Columbus will instead host the Costa Rica match.

The game will also be a homecoming of sorts for U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter, who managed the Crew for five seasons prior to taking over the national job.

The USSF also announced that due to the anticipated high demand, it will once again be utilizing a weighted random draw for tickets.

“One thing you can count on in Columbus is unwavering support for the U.S. team, and that’s going to be critical in helping us get a win against Costa Rica,” Berhalter said. “Having coached there for five years and then attending opening day of the new stadium, I know first-hand just how incredible the bond is between the team and the fans. We can’t wait to play there.”

The USMNT open up World Cup qualifying by playing at El Salvador on Sept. 2, then hosting Canada in Nashville, Tennessee, three days later. The U.S. then travel to Honduras for a match on Sept. 8.

The game against Costa Rica in Columbus will mark the last of three games in the October window, with the U.S. first hosting Jamaica in Austin, Texas on Oct. 7, and then traveling to face Panama three days later.

The Nov. 12 match against Mexico in Cincinnati will be followed by the U.S. traveling to Jamaica to face the Reggae Boyz four days later.

The second portion of the qualifying campaign picks back up in January.

Under the new qualifying format, a total of eight teams from CONCACAF — increased from six in previous cycles — will compete in the final round, with the top three teams advancing to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fourth-place team will participate in an Intercontinental playoff for the last spot.

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