It has been four years since the United States Men’s National Team have played a match in Denver. That was on March 22, and it was snowing like crazy. The good news for the players and the fans is that it’s supposed to be 82 degrees when the national team kicks off against Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After a nightmare start to World Cup qualifying that got former U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann fired and replaced with Bruce Arena, Arena has been able to right the ship and get a win and a draw in the last two results.
The United States have two World Cup qualifying matches this weekend with T&T on Thursday and then they’ll be taking a trip to Mexico City to take on their rival Mexico. That will take place at Estadio Azteca, 7,200 feet above sea level, which is why the U.S. have spent the last ten days training at altitude (Salt Lake City and Denver).
It’s easy for the United States to look ahead to the big game on Sunday but Arena has made it a point to make sure that they understand how critical it is to get three points on Thursday. They still have six matches left in qualifying, but losing the first two matches of the final round have made every other match that much more important.
Colorado Rapids and U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, if he is to start as expected, will be making his 115th appearance for the United States and his first time in front of Rapids fans as a Rapid.
“Tomorrow will be interesting, it will be fun,” Howard told the media on Wednesday. “Obviously it is always fun to play in front of your home team’s fans. They’ve been great for us the year that I’ve been here. So I’m excited to put my shirt on and go out there and make them proud.”
It should be a special night for Ethan Horvath, as well, as he gets to put on the U.S. uniform for the first time in his home state. The Colorado native is from Centennial and attended Arapahoe High School. The 21 year-old currently plays for Club Brugge in Belgium.
Soccer fans in Colorado are going to be very excited to see the men’s national team play for the first team in four years. This time it will hopefully be memorable for the soccer and not because of the snow.