The United States men’s national soccer team will prepare for the final round of World Cup Qualifiers, with a game against Canada on January 29th in Houston. The match will be the only one for the U.S. before they travel to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to play in the opening game of the 10 game Hexagonal tournament that will determine which teams from Concacaf will make it to Brazil 2014.
The game will come at the end of the United States January camp in Florida, which traditionally gives younger players and fringe players, a chance to make an impression on the U.S. coach. Most “campers” tend to be MLS players, with a handful of players from the Scandinavian leagues thrown in. With the qualifiers looming, Jurgen Klinsmann’s first teamers should be arriving throughout the camp, as they become available.
The Houston game will be the first time for the US. men’s national team to play in BBVA Compass Stadium, the home ground of the Houston Dynamo, which just opened this May. The USWNT recently defeated China, 4-0, in the new 22,000 seater.
Fans will be able to attend an open practice at BBVA Compass Stadium on January 28th. Admission and parking will be free. Canada was part of the United States’ preparations for the semifinal round of qualifying, with the U.S playing poorly in a dour 0-0 draw in Toronto on June 3, 2012.
Klinsmann must not be superstitious however, because after making Canada part of their build up, the Americans were far from inspiring in that semifinal round. The low point came when the U.S barely got past the minnows of the group, Antigua and Barbuda, 2-1 on Eddie Johnson’s 90th minute goal.
With that in mind, the match in Houston versus Canada may be an important barometer for the U.S. chances as they head into the six team final qualifiers, a much tougher group of teams than those in the semifinal round. Fans and pundits alike will be anxious to see who Klinsmann lines out in Houston, searching for clues in the build up to all important Hex.
Landon Donovan has been openly weighing retirement, and in the aftermath of winning a second consecutive MLS Cup, his stated desire for a protracted break, makes him doubtful for the Honduras match.
The top three finishers in the Hex advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth place finishers will take on the top finisher in the Oceania region in a two game set if they want to travel to Brazil. Along with the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Jamaica make up the Hex.
Tickets for the January 29th game in Houston go on sale through U.S. Soccer.com on December 21, call 1 888-929 7849 after 10am CT. Tickets can also be purchased at the BBVA Compass Stadium box office, Monday through Friday from 9am – 6pm. The box office will be closed from December 24- January 1.