Venues announced for U.S.’s final four World Cup Qualifiers

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No surprises here. U.S. Soccer announced the venues for the Men’s National Team’s final four World Cup qualifiers, and they’re right where was expected them.

On Friday, the U.S. begins the home portion of final round qualifying in Denver against Costa Rica. Their next home qualifier is June 11 in Seattle against Panama. The team hosts Honduras seven days later in Sandy, UT, while the quadrennial qualifier against Mexico in Columbus takes place Sept. 10. Sporting Park hosts the team’s final home qualifier on Oct. 11 against Jamaica.

“We are really excited about the venues we have selected for our home World Cup qualifiers,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said via a federation release. “Winning your games at home is crucial, and we know that at each of these stadiums we will get amazing support from the fans. There are so many great facilities in this country, and to be able to play in this many soccer specific stadiums in MLS cities shows how far this sport has come.”

Full Schedule
The USMNT’s current schedule, through the end of the calendar year.
March 22: Costa Rica, WCQ, Denver
March 26: Mexico, WCQ, Mexico City
May 29: Belgium, FR, Cleveland
June 2: Germany, FR, Washington D.C.
June 7: Jamaica, WCQ, Kingston
June 11: Panama, WCQ, Seattle
June 18: Honduras, WCQ, Sandy
July 9: Belize, GC, Portland
July 13: Cuba, GC, Sandy
July 16: Costa Rica, GC, Hartford
Sept 6: Costa Rica, WCQ, TBD
Sept 10: Mexico, WCQ, Columbus
Oct 11: Jamaica, WCQ, Kansas City
Oct 15: Panama, WCQ, TBD

These venue announcements expected ever since SI.com’s Grant Wahl reported the potential schedule earlier this winter. The atmosphere at CenturyLink Field made Seattle an attractive venue despite the city not hosting a World Cup qualifier in 35 years. Booking Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium for the venue’s second ever qualifier follows the same line of thinking that placed the Costa Rica game in Colorado. The Columbus match will mark the fourth straight cycle El Tri has had to venture to Columbus, while for the second straight round, Sporting Park will host the final home match.

Along with announcing the qualifying venues, U.S. Soccer also confirmed the men’s anticipated summer friendly against Germany. The States will host Klinsmann’s former team in a Centennial Celebration Match at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium on June 2.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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