As expected, U.S. Soccer announced officially on Thursday that the US national team will return to Columbus for the massive home match against Mexico on September 10.
For various reasons — weather, home crowds, Rafa Marquez — Crew Stadium has been a lucky charm for the US against El Tri. The Yanks have hosted three World Cup qualifiers against Mexico in Columbus, and they’ve earned three wins, each by the identical score of 2-0.
Here’s a look back at the three matches.
USA 2, Mexico 0: February 28, 2001
The "Josh Wolff Game." The speedy forward (now an assistant coach with D.C. United) broke out on the international stage with a goal and an assist as the US pulled off what the Brits would call a “famous” victory. Amazingly, Wolff probably wouldn’t have seen the field at all if Brian McBride hadn’t knocked heads with Mexico’s Alberto Macias on a high ball and come out in the 15th minute.
The win set the precedent for USA-Mexico matches at Crew Stadium, as a partisan sold-out crowd and below-freezing temperatures had the Mexicans shivering and the Americans buzzing.
Moment of Marquez Madness: Rafa got a yellow card for coming in studs up on Wolff in the 36th minute. Probably deserved a red card.
USA: Friedel; Regis, Agoos, Pope, Sanneh; Jones, Armas, Reyna (Mathis), Stewart; McBride (Wolff), Moore (Llamosa)
MEXICO: Campos; Suarez, Marquez (Ruiz), Macias, Carmona (Zepeda); Ruiz, Pardo, Villa, Luna (Arellano); Hernandez, Palencia
USA 2, Mexico 0: September 3, 2005
This win was worth more than just three points for the USMNT: The three points booked the Yanks’ ticket to the 2006 World Cup.
The weather wasn’t the factor it has been in other matches in Columbus, but the result was the same, thanks to a frenzied four-minute stretch in the second half that saw the US score twice. Steve Ralston scored in the 53rd minute, and DaMarcus Beasley doubled the lead in the 57th.
Moment of Marquez Madness: Rafa picked up his customary yellow card in the 32nd minute.
USA: Keller; Hejduk, Onyewu, Berhalter, Lewis; Ralston (Quaranta), Reyna, Armas, Beasley; Donovan (Mastroeni), McBride (Cunningham)
MEXICO: Sanchez; Rodriguez (Mendez), Marquez, Davino, Salcido; Torrado, Morales, Galindo, Naelson (Bravo), Fonseca (Medina), Borgetti
USA 2, Mexico 0: February 11. 2009
One of the most fiercely contested clashes in this rivalry’s history. Mexico, under the doomed leadership of Sven-Goran Eriksson, came out flying, determined not to lose a third straight qualifier in Columbus. But it was cold, the crowd was incredible, and Michael Bradley was determined not to lose. Plus, as if on cue, Marquez went berserk.
Bradley gave the US the lead in the 43rd minute, but it was Marquez’s karate-kick on goalkeeper Tim Howard that ultimately did in the Mexicans’ chances — and cemented Rafa’s reputation as evil incarnate for USMNT fans. Bradley put the game away with his second goal in the 92nd minute, and the US’s Hexagonal campaign was off to a great start.
Eriksson lasted only two more matches, a win at home over Costa Rica and a loss in Honduras on April Fool's Day.
Moment of Marquez Madness: see above.
USA: Howard; Hejduk, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Pearce; Dempsey Bradley, Kljestan (Clark), Beasley; Donovan, Ching (Altidore)
MEXICO: Sanchez; Galindo, Salcido, Marquez, Osorio; Augusto, Medina (Sinha), Pardo; Ochoa, Castillo (Martinez), dos Santos (Bravo)