Venue decision near for first United States home match in final round World Cup qualifying

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U.S. Soccer will announce this week where the national team’s first home game in final round World Cup qualifying will be played, according to Grant Wahl.

The veteran soccer writer from Sports Illustrated, also working these days as part of the Fox Soccer Channel staff, said a “high-ranking U.S. Soccer source” revealed to him the venue for a March 22 contest against Costa Rica is down to three finalists.

The high-stakes match will be played in either Salt Lake City, Denver or Kansas City, according to Wahl.

That will be the United States’ first home match in final round qualifying, which begins Feb. 6 at Honduras. The contest against Costa Rica will be Match Day No. 2 in final stage CONCACAF qualifying.

The United States has enjoyed its time in Salt Lake City before, defeating Costa Rica (same country they face here in March) en route to World Cup 2006 in Germany. That was before a nice crowd of 40,586 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Four years later Bob Bradley’s team won an important match over El Salvador at a packed Rio Tinto Stadium (pictured).

In both cases, national team players and staff talked up their regard for Salt Lake City as a venue.

The team has not been to Colorado since a 2008 win over Guatemala in semifinal round World Cup qualifying. Attendance was hardly great that day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9,303), but the United States had already booked passage into final round qualifying by that point, so that’s not exactly surprising.

Kansas City is a shoe-in to get at least one match, based on the big support there and the U.S. team success at Livestrong Sporting Park since it opened in suburban Kansas City about 20 months ago.