According to a report from Grant Wahl on Monday, Kansas City is quickly becoming U.S. Soccer's "go-to" site for hosting the most important World Cup qualifiers late in the qualifying stage.
Following the city's boisterous and emphatic display during last year's semifinal round of World Cup qualifying, there has been little question whether or not Sporting Kansas City's Sporting Park would another of the United States national team's key games in 2013's final round of World Cup qualifying The question has, instead, been a tussle over which game the U.S. Soccer federation would choose to host in the Heartland.
According to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl on Monday morning, we may be close to an answer:
Source: USSF aiming for home WCQ venues June 11 (PAN) Seattle; June 18 (HON) Salt Lake; Sept 10 (MEX) Columbus; Oct 11 (JAM) Kansas City.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 11, 2013
The home qualifier against Mexico is the one hotly on everyone's mind, and Kansas City has a decent enough argument to make for the game, but the national team's history of playing Mexico in Columbus (3-0-0 record, all three victories coming via the 2-0 - "dos a cero" - scoreline) makes Columbus the host site with the greatest historical claim and reason to retain the Hexagonal group's biggest rivalry game.
What Wahl's reported host sites does, is this: just as last October's home qualifier against Guatemala, Kansas City will be called upon to host the final home game of the qualifying stage - this with one more remaining on the road in Panama four days later - putting the favor of a raucous home crowd squarely behind the Yanks, who with two games remaining, could be in a position of needing just three points to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. To put that more simply, Kansas City may not get the biggest game in name, but the biggest game in terms of 'do we go to the World Cup or not.'
Having hosted just two national team games in the last decade, that is certainly a tag and responsibility that has come quick to Kansas City, and one that many in-town and traveling U.S. supporters all over the country will embrace wholeheartedly.