For nearly two decades, Columbus has been the spiritual home of the US national team, the place where U.S. Soccer schedules the biggest and most important matches, thanks to the powerful "dos a cero" mojo created over years of success at MAPFRE Stadium against archrivals Mexico, in particular.
But El Tri's 2-1 victory over the US in the last such fixture, the opening game of the Hexagonal round of Concacaf 2018 World Cup qualifying on Nov. 11, 2016, has shaken the Columbus mythology in the eyes of some.
“That was kind of like their fortress,” MNUFC minority owner and FOX Sports consultant Ben Grossman explained to the Minnesota Star-Tribune this week as Allianz Field was announced as a venue for the USMNT's first game of the 2019 Gold Cup. “The curse was broken, and you kind of heard this chatter that the US is going to need a new fortress. And here we are with Allianz Field being built. And with our fan base here just kind of exploding … and the electricity at our games, you started to put two and two together and say … why not us?
“Without a doubt, my dream, my goal, is I want US-Mexico World Cup qualifier 2021,” Grossman added, mindful of his home region's cool climate and rich soccer culture. “I want this to be where the US men’s national team plays their biggest game.”
What do you think? Are the Loons and their promising new home deserving hosts for one of the biggest events on the North American soccer calendar? Or are they getting way ahead of themselves? Share your thoughts in the comments section, please.