The Colorado Rapids Soccer Club announced that Dick's Sporting Goods Park will be host to a FIFA World Cup Qualifier.Denver soccer fans rejoice! The United States Men's National team and Trinidad & Tobago will be facing off in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday, June 8 at 5:50 p.m. at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. For the third consecutive time, the park will be the home of the USMNT qualifying round where the US has posted two shut out victories and has an overall record of 4-1-0 in the state of Colorado. The team lost its first two World Cup qualifiers to Mexico and Costa Rica. But after a turn-around win 6-0 against Honduras, and a tie game with Panama, the ESPN Soccer Power Index now predicts the US team has an 82 percent chance of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. If the fourth-ranked U.S. Men's National Team can pull off a victory, they'll move on to take on regional rival Mexico at the famous Estadio Azteca. “We are honored to once again welcome the U.S. Men’s National Team and host a crucial World Cup qualifier at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park,” said Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “The energy in our fortress and the support from the Colorado faithful will be a huge advantage for the USMNT as they continue their quest to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.” [caption id="attachment_12331" align="aligncenter" width="740"] Costa Rican players were not amused by the Snow Clasico.[/caption] The US Men's National Team has fond memories of Colorado, and in Spring of 2013, the Americans played Costa Rica in Denver. However, the weather did not cooperate and a blizzard dumped five inches of snow onto the field. An early Clint Dempsey goal off a Jose Altidore deflection was all the United States needed to win 1-0 in what later became known as the Snow Clasico. With this next game scheduled for June, snow will not be in the forecast. The team is expected to begin training in Colorado on May 29 with the match against Trinidad and Tobago set for June 8. The coaches' main concern is getting the players, many of whom are traveling back from European clubs, acclimated to the elevation.
The decision to play the next qualifier in Colorado was strategic. Coach Bruce Arena hopes the extra training time at high altitude will give the American team an advantage over the Caribbean island team. Coaches are also devoting a week and a half to Colorado altitude training because Mexico City is nearly 2,000 feet higher in elevation than Denver and the air is heavily polluted. Fingers crossed the extra training will give the team a leg up and make for a very interesting game. Rapids Full Season Ticket Members will be offered pre-sale tickets April 6, otherwise expect tickets to go fast! Sales will open up to the general public on Friday, April 14 at 10 a.m. (MT) here. For the serious fan, VIP packages are also available and include a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. National Team jersey, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other perks.
In a World Cup qualifying campaign, winning games at home is critical,” ... “In all ways, Colorado provides a great environment for our team. We are at an important stage of the campaign, and we look forward to the great support.” - U.S. head coach Bruce Arena