Bruce Arena, the United States national team football manager, says the US Soccer Federation should be “shrewd” when choosing which venues host its World Cup qualifying games.
A large number of Costa Rican fans at last Friday’s game at the Red Bull Arena (pictured) in New Jersey could be heard throughout the match, which the US lost 2-0. Costa Rica has a strong track record at the venue, having beat the US 1-0 back in 2015.
The choice of venue became a topic of discussion following the loss, and Arena voiced his concerns over the choice of venue, though he did not believe that is why his team lost.
“I don’t think we should play in a venue that’s comfortable for the visiting team, but I don’t think it made a difference in the game,” he said, according to ESPN. “It probably makes a difference for Costa Rica.
“Imagine if we were playing this game [against Honduras] in Dallas or San Diego. It would be nicer for us, even though it’s not a good analogy because we’re playing in our country.
“We don’t get any luxuries in going on the road and [where] everything is nice and comfortable, we get a good fan base coming out for the game and all of that.”
“Obviously our country is unique to other countries,” he added. “We’re a melting pot and all the countries in Concacaf, they’re countrymen make it to the U.S. in one capacity or another and they’ll come out and support their team.
“So we have to be shrewd in the venues we select when we have to play different countries.”
Arena noted that he does not expect the same issue when his team travels to the Orlando City Stadium to take on Panama on October 6.
“Am I going to find out that there’s a big Panamanian population in Orlando?” he joked. “I know from living [in New York] that there were a lot of Costa Ricans living there, and Salvadorans and Mexicans.
“I knew that would be a challenge. I would sense that Orlando is going to be pretty very much pro-American.”