On June 11, CenturyLink Field will play host to the US National Team’s World Cup qualifying match against Panama and on Saturday, US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was on hand in Seattle for the Sounders FC’s match against the New England Revolution.
During a halftime media session, he reiterated what he said last month when Seattle was announced as the venue for the crucial qualifier, noting that the incredible support shown for the Sounders and US Soccer in the Pacific Northwest was a driving force behind getting a game at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s a big deal for us coming to the Northwest,” Klinsmann said. “We know support is amazing in the Northwest and interest is huge.”
One of the difficulties in scheduling matches on the West coast has traditionally been the travel required by players who ply their trade in Europe. By scheduling a June match in Seattle, US Soccer ensures that most of the players in Europe will be in their off-season, so travel won’t be as much of an issue.
“The tricky part for us was when we can get our European players coming into the Northwest,” Klinsmann said. “With a short time window, it’s difficult, and it’s tough for the players. We end up mostly on the East coast and go from there and obviously to the Central American countries. When we looked at everything for summer schedule, we have to make it happen here.”
After the first three rounds of the CONCACAF region’s World Cup qualifying tournament, the US sits third in the standings at 1-1-1 behind Panama (1-0-2) and Costa Rica (1-1-1). After losing their first match of the Hexagonal Round 2-1 in Honduras, the US had two great results, topping Costa Rica 1-0 in the snow in Colorado and then playing to a scoreless road draw at Estadio Azteca against Mexico.
Their next match will come on the road against Jamaica on June 7, followed by the Panama match in Seattle on June 11 and a rematch with Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on June 18. With the road matches so difficult in Central America, though, those home matches become even more vital as the US looks to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“Every team to play away is tough. We have big ones still coming up in Costa Rica, then Panama, as well. Every match is a huge. So that’s why it’s huge for us coming here on June 11 to play this home game against Panama here in Seattle with a full stadium and big support,” Klinsmann said. “Every game you have to treat as a big one, as a three-pointer whenever you meet one of those teams.”
Tickets are still available for the World Cup qualifying match – the first in Seattle since 1976 – and can be purchased at the CenturyLink Field box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, at Ticketmaster.com, USsoccer.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.