Add Houston to the rotation of U.S. national team venues
We learned details this morning of the friendly that will finish off Jurgen Klinsmann’s January training camp. The team of mostly MLS men, supplemented with perhaps a couple from Scandinavian clubs, will meet Canada at Houston’s new BBVA Compass Stadium on Jan. 29.
The team is now set to train in California for two weeks (starting on Jan. 14) and then use the match in Houston to punctuate that part of the national team activity.
Shortly thereafter, a roster of players that looks completely different who gather in Miami for a day or so before departure into Honduras to open World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6; that collection will include all the European heavies who won’t need to participate in the January camp at the Home Depot Center.
Houston has been on U.S. Soccer’s radar for some time – but not for this kind of match. Rather, Houston has been the scene of some big money makers, like a match there against Mexico back in 2008. More than 70,000 saw the Americans draw with Mexico, 2-2.
BBVA Compass, with its capacity of about 22,000, provides the opportunity to host “smaller” matches – like a friendly against Canada. Just last week the U.S. women played there, defeating China before a crowd of 15,643.
BBVA, in fact, looks the very picture of what Sunil Gulati was saying about appropriate sized MLS venues that will host the majority of final stage World Cup qualifiers. We talked about that just this morning.