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Cincinnati To Host USMNT World Cup Qualifying Match Against Mexico

CONCACAF Mexico United States Soccer
Jack Dempsey/AP
/
FR42408 AP
United States' Christian Pulisic (10) scores a penalty kick goal against Mexico's Guillermo Ochoa (13) in extra time at the CONCACAF Nations League championship soccer match, Sunday, June 6, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

A soccer match historically hosted in Columbus is moving south to Cincinnati. The Queen City will host a men's World Cup qualifying match between the United States and Mexico on Nov. 12.

The match will be played in FC Cincinnati's TQL Stadium. A time hasn't yet been set.

"It's one of the biggest rivalries in the world of football," says retired U.S. national team standout DeMarcus Beasley. He's played many times against Mexico and says it's always a big match.

"Every player wants to play in that game, whether it's in Azteca (the Mexican National Team's home stadium in Mexico City) or whether it's in the United States... it's such a big game for both teams and bragging rights."

The match is part of a 14-game qualifying schedule referred to as the "octagon" or "octagonal." Eight countries from the CONCACAF region are battling for three spots in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fourth place team will enter inter-confederation play for a final spot.

Tickets are expected to sell out quickly once the allocation process begins at the end of August.

Being from the Midwest, Beasley, and Indiana native, is excited to see the game - historically played to successful outcomes by the U.S. in front of a large, U.S.-friendly crowd in Columbus - stay in Ohio.

"Columbus was great to U.S. Soccer. I have very fond memories of playing in Columbus. ... It's always going to have a special place in my heart and for U.S. Soccer, I'm sure. But yeah, for (the game) to stay in Ohio, it's great. You guys here in this city have built a beautiful stadium."

Beasley points out it's important to have whatever edge you can going into big matches, such as a 'home field' advantage, which U.S. Soccer is almost certainly banking on getting in Cincinnati.

"The (stadium) will be full, it'll be rocking," Beasley says of the game day experience of hosting Mexico, known as 'El Tri.' "The American Outlaws will be here. You all in Cincinnati will be here. The atmosphere is going to be electric."

This is just the second time the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) has played in Cincinnati. The first was June 9, 2019, when the USA hosted Venezuela at Nippert Stadium in a tune-up match ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup. Venezuela defeated the USA 3-nil that day before a crowd of nearly 24,000 people.

Columbus is expected to get a big-ticket game as well. Per sources, U.S. Soccer is expected soon to announce Columbus will host a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Oct. 13.

2026 World Cup

Cincinnati remains in the running to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup. The United States is jointly hosting the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico. Three cities each in Canada and Mexico are already determined. Cincinnati is among the 17 U.S. cities bidding for one of the 10 U.S. host city slots.

Four area CEOs are chairing the local organizing committee for Cincinnati's bid. They are: P&G's David Taylor, Ohio National's Barbara Turner, Kroger's Rodney McMullen and American Financial Group's Carl H. Lindner III

Games in Cincinnati would be held at Paul Brown Stadium, which forecasts a soccer capacity of 60,294. The gross capacity is listed at 67,402, but 7,108 seats are lost to VIPs and media. The total field area would be expanded to 125 meters by 85 meters, according to GameDay PR, to accommodate a FIFA-sized playing surface, sign boards and bench areas.