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Fans Guide to USMNT Game in Columbus

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FC Cincinnati and US Soccer fans in general will have an opportunity to check off a major bucket-list event this Friday as the US Men’s National Team takes on Mexico at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus. Friday’s match will kick off the final round of World Cup Qualifying for the US. CST would like to put together a simple history and fan guide for the event so that any traveling fans, or ones staying in Cincy can enjoy the match to the fullest.

Where – Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, OH

When – 8:00 p.m. EST – on Fox Sports 1

‘Dos a Cero’ – History

I am one of the people who love the novelty behind the ‘Dos a Cero’ (2-0) story, but at the end of the day I just want the USMNT to beat our biggest rival Mexico. However, I think it is only fitting to give our readers a brief history into the USA vs. Mexico match-up in Columbus.

In April of 1997, the USMNT drew Mexico 2-2 in the lead up to the 1998 World Cup. That match, played in Foxborough, Mass. had a crowd of over 57,000, but did not provide the home-field advantage the US would need to be a dominant factor. Members of the US Soccer community including Crew owner Lamar Hunt put a plan in place to forego ticket revenue and focus on a competitive advantage in a smaller venue.

US Soccer turned to Columbus Crew Stadium to move their most important World Cup qualifying match in the 2002 qualifying cycle. The match in February of 2001 was the first qualifying match of the HEX (the final round of Concacaf WC qualifying). Conditions were frigid, with the Mexican national team foregoing warm ups in favor of their heated locker room.

The smaller venue provided an electric atmosphere and formed the basis of the ‘Dos a Cero’ ethos with a great home crowd. Defender Jeff Agoos was quoted “It was a great atmosphere, everyone on the bench felt it, a real home-field advantage.” This would mark the first 2-0 ‘Dos a Cero’ win in the World Cup qualifying series for the US. The US also cemented the ‘Dos a Cero’ legacy during the 2002 World Cup with a 2-0 win over Mexico in Korea.

With the success of the 2001 match, US Soccer returned to Columbus in 2005 with what would be Columbus’ second ‘Dos a Cero’. Goals by Steve Ralston and Demarcus Beasley put the US ahead in the match played in September. This match was also made famous by an epic stare down between US Defender Oguchi Onyewu and Mexican player Jared Borgetti.

In 2009, the opening match of the HEX once again placed the USA vs. Mexico in Columbus. This match marked my first time viewing ‘Dos a Cero’ as a young college student. The atmosphere was wild and the result actually cost Sven-Göran Eriksson his job with the Mexico National Team. This was the coming out party for a young Michael Bradley who notched a brace playing for his father Bob Bradley. While Columbus did provide a better competitive atmosphere for the US, there were still many Mexico fans in attendance and set in motion a big change for the next cycle.

While 2009 was Bradley’s push to the main-stage, 2013 featured the fans. With new ticket procedures in place, the US supporters group “The American Outlaws” created an amazing atmosphere that carried the US to greater heights.  CONCACAF qualifying was beginning to wrap up in the final 3 rounds. The US had dropped a road result to Costa Rica, but could still clinch a spot in Rio with a win over Mexico and some help from other squads. Mexico was reeling from a loss to Honduras in Azteca and desperately needed a win to stay alive to clinch one of the 3 automatic qualifying spots out of CONCACAF.

The US were bolstered by their home fans and a 49th minute goal from Eddie Johnson set the stadium off with noise and celebration. A 78th minute goal from the returning Landon Donovan set up a great ‘Dos a Cero’ storyline and chants of ‘Dos a Cero’ rang out for the final 20 minutes. However a snag in the ‘Dos a Cero’ storyline took place as Clint Dempsey was awarded a late penalty kick to put the US up 3-0. Dempsey stepped up and narrowly missed the PK cementing a 4th ‘Dos a Cero’ (2-0) in Columbus. The USMNT look to continue their dominance on Friday. A win and three points will go a long way in the start of this World Cup qualifying campaign.

What’s Next

We have all heard the rumors about a new soccer specific stadium in Columbus. This potentially could be the final WCQ in Crew/Mapfre Stadium. Even though there is still plenty of speculation about how long it will take to build a new SSS, I encourage all fans to make the most of the event by attending the game, tailgates, or watch parties. You can see details of some events below.

If US fans can again make Columbus a fortress, it will be hard for US Soccer to move the game to another city. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” said Sunil Gulati, the president of US Soccer. “Until we lose, there may be someone who moves the Mexico game away from Columbus, but it’s not going to be me.” Let’s continue to force US Soccer’s hand and support another Ohio city on the national stage.

Make sure to follow Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we will have several members of our staff covering the game. There will also be a roster/starting XI breakdown coming out on Thursday. But for now, make sure to plan accordingly for Friday.
‘Dos a Cero’!

Key Events

American Outlaws Night Before Party
Where: Fourth Street Patio – 1810 North 4th StreetWhen: 7 p.m. – CLOSE
Why: This is a spot where US Soccer fans can meet prior to the match. Fourth Street Patio was the place to be in 2013 as many US Soccer VIPs including Jurgen Klinsmann and Alexi Lalas made appearances. This is also when AO will unveil a US flag drop at 9:45 p.m. prior to the USWNT match vs. Romania at 10 p.m. If you will be in Columbus on Thursday, this is a must attend.

US Soccer/American Outlaws Pregame & Tailgate
Where: Fourth Street Patio & the Lot on 17th street near Dora Dr. or Mapfre Stadium Lots
When: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Why: American Outlaws will congregate off site at Fourth Street and the 17th Street Lot. American Outlaws have provided food to members prior to previous games. Games will be set up including mini goals, a DJ & more. This all leads up to the AO March

American Outlaws March
Where: From the AO Pregame & Tailgate
When: 6 p.m.
Why: If you think FC Cincinnati marches are cool, this sets the standard. The march will begin approx. 1 1/2 hours prior to the match and will get AO members into their seats early to cheer on the USMNT. The march will weave through the Mapfre lots and end up at the stadium. Some amazing veterans will be joining AO and leading the march will be 4 members of the Paralympic National Team and others. The 4 PNT players that are current or former military that will be joining the fans in Columbus are Seth Jahn, David Garza, Josh Brunais and Gavin James.

Events in Cincinnati

ao-cincyAmerican Outlaws: Cincinnati Chapter Watch Party
Where: Molly Malone’s: 112 E 4th St. Covington, KY 41011
When: Opens at 11 a.m. on Friday
Why: There is likely to be a large portion of these members traveling to the match Friday, but I am sure there will still be a presence at Molly Malones. If you haven’t made plans yet, you can also check out the AWAY MATCH watch party on Tuesday. Check out the American Outlaws: Cincinnati Chapter Facebook page for more details.

ROSTER

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@bryanweigel for @cincysoccertalk

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