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U.S. Soccer Chooses N.J Venue For Critical Game Against Ticos On Friday

Because this is summer in New Jersey, the Costa Rican national team won’t have to worry about any snow storms, just the bugs, as they go head-to-head in a critical World Cup soccer qualifier against the U.S. national team.

United States’s forward Clint Dempsey (C) moves the ball against Costa Rica during the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match in Arlington, Texas, on July 22, 2017. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The game is being held at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

In choosing the venue, the U.S. Soccer is forfeiting revenue to give them the upper hand by minimizing travel distances for its own players (to maximize revenue), limiting the number of hostile fans and give the visiting team an entirely not comfortable time.

 

“There was not really super magic to choosing it,” said Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer. “We wanted to play in a small stadium with a terrific grass field. We wanted to be on the East Coast, because a number of our European-based players (such as Christian Pulisic, Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood and Eric Lichaj) were involved and this provided easier flights.

“We also wanted some place we knew we’d sell out with a pro-U.S. crowd.”

Friday’s game is a key, difficult match for the U.S. team against the Costa Ricans that won 4-0 when they met last November in a qualifier in San Jose, Costa Rica.

A win by the U.S. would mean the Ticos giving up their second place in the Hexagonal standings.

In the North, Central America and Caribbean standings, Mexico is in first place with 14 points; Costa Rica in second with 11 points; U.S.A in third with 8 points; Panama in fourth with 7 points; Honduras fifth with 5; and Trinidad and Tobago in last with 3.

Oh, about the snowstorm. In case you forget, the last time the U.S. played Costa Rica in a home qualifier, it was in the 2014 qualifying rounds, when the Ticos were forced to play in a March (2013) snowstorm in Colorado. The Ticos lost that game.

FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Costa Rica and United States at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 22, 2013, in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

“Honestly, it was robbery, a disgrace,” Christian Bolaños said about a blizzard-driven, 1-0 loss. “You couldn’t see the ball. If we had played without snow, we would have won, I am sure.”