The United States may be too large and varied to ever have a “national” soccer stadium, per se. That is, there can never be a Wembley or Azteca equivalent – those being the presiding, primary national team seats for England and Mexico.
But Livestrong Sporting Park in suburban Kansas City may have become be de facto home ground for domestic soccer goings-on in 2012.
A quick look at what the park has / had going in 2012:
U.S. Open Cup championship: The home team needed overtime and penalty kicks last month to dethrone Seattle in the final of U.S. Soccer’s all-comers tournament.
SKC hosting Chicago tonight: Tonight’s contest at Livestrong is probably the biggest so far in Major League Soccer’s 2012 season. Yes, there have been high-profile meetings that deserved splashy media treatment, usually involving one “David Beckham.” While they may have been lavish feasts, they were not exactly “nutritional” in terms of real effect on the standings. You cannot say that about a match that could decide the Eastern Conference championship and could reveal which side still has a legitimate shot at fetching San Jose for the Supporters Shield.
MLS Cup 2012?: If things break right – and a lot of things have to break right – Livestrong could still host the 2012 championship game. Under the new format, remember, the finalist with a better record hosts the big match. Right now, statistically speaking, Sporting KC has the second-best chance of hosting that match. (Although that could change tonight.)
U.S. World Cup qualifier: On Oct. 16 the United States will either advance into final round World Cup qualifying or will tumble embarrassingly out of soccer’s quadrennial grand showcase. (Egad! Could that really happen?) Either way, it will happen inside Livestrong Sporting Park, where Jurgen Klinsmann’s men face Guatemala that night. That game, by the way, is sold out.