I think we can all agree the United States playing in Livestrong Sporting Park was a rousing success. The U.S. won. The fans were energetic. The stadium was amazing.
Just ask the guys that played out there.
Landon Donovan: "It was fantastic. I think everybody involved should be commended. It was really good. The crowd was great, it was energetic, the stadium is beautiful, the locker room is beautiful. I’d definitely hope to come back here."
Sasha Kljestan: "I was saying in the locker room that tonight you saw a really pro-American crowd. That’s the most American flags I’ve seen in a stadium, so I hope we’ll have more games here. Maybe it will become the new national stadium."
Clint Dempsey: "The game here in Kansas City is going to grow and I think the future here is looking bright for Sporting Kansas City."
Even coach Bob Bradley gave as effusive praise as Bob Bradley is capable of giving, calling the stadium "first class."
So, what comes next for Kansas City? Well, I'm not thefirst (or second or third
) person to wonder if Livestrong Park can become a new World Cup qualifier location. And I'm not talking about the U.S. playing El Salvador or Nicaragua here. I'm talking Mexico and Costa Rica games.
For the past few qualifiers, the United States has played Mexico in Columbus. In winter.
Besides the new stadium smell and the obvious personal bias I have, there are two legitimate reasons I can see for giving KC a chance to share (or take) the honor from Columbus.
1. The stadium is just big enough to hold the game while also being small enough to nearly ensure a pro-USA crowd. KC's announced attendance was 20,109 -- or just over 1,500 more than capacity -- last night.
Given the 11,000 Sporting KC ticket holders and the excellent American Outlaws chapter (is this the "spiritual home" or the American Outlaws?
), it's almost a sure thing the crowd would be at least 90 percent Yank fans. Just via group sales alone, you could pull that number off.
2. Geography. Not only can you draw from the Kansas City metro, but you can draw from Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, St. Louis, all of Kansas and possibly Illinois.
Add all of that to the growing soccer culture here in this city and I think this could be the start of a great partnership.