The United States is returning to Kansas City. After a successful trip to Livestrong Sporting Park during the 2011 Gold Cup, when they defeated Guadeloupe 1-0 in front of a raucous, pro-U.S. crowd, the U.S. will be heading back to Kansas City on October 16 for their World Cup qualifier against Guatemala. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2 and Telefutura.
The $200 million Livestrong Sporting Park is the jewel of U.S. soccer stadiums, and on top of that, gave the U.S. one of the best home crowds they have ever had. That Kansas City is hosting a World Cup qualifier is not a surprise at all and if the support for this qualifier is anything like the U.S. got during last year's Gold Cup then you can bet on the team returning to Livestrong Sporting Park in the final round of World Cup qualifying in 2013.
What does make Kansas City's selection a little bit strange is that this appeared to be an opportunity to give a west coast city the chance to host. This is the final match of the third round of qualifying, by which team the U.S. expects to have already qualified for the final round. That means that the European players will not be called in and travel won't be a knock against playing the match out west. That is what the U.S. did last qualifying cycle when they played the final match of the third round in Denver, CO. U.S. fans in Salt Lake City, Denver, and especially Seattle, Portland and San Francisco/Bay Area have to wonder when they will be called upon to host again.
Tampa, FL was already chosen as the host for the U.S.'s first World Cup qualifier of the round against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday. Columbus, OH will play host to the second home qualifier against Jamaica in September. Now Kansas City will wrap up the round in October.