By Paul Kennedy
The quadrennial USA-Mexico showdown in Columbus -- Day 8 of the Hexagonal -- is two months away, but demand for tickets is so high that U.S. Soccer will conduct a random draw for the undetermined number of tickets that will be made available to the general public for the Sept. 10 match at Crew Stadium.
The random draw will follow a pre-sale for priority groups and take place after ticket buyers submit their requests for tickets (a maximum of four), beginning July 19 at 10 a.m. ET and ending July 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Priority groups include U.S. Soccer Supporters Club members and other members of the U.S. Soccer community.
Sponsor Visa will offer its cardholders an opportunity to request tickets for this match for a limited period (July 18 at 10 a.m. ET to July 19, at 2 a.m. ET) before the general public.
As it has done for other qualifiers, U.S. Soccer is offering VIP and travel packages that include tickets.
“U.S. Soccer is taking this unique approach due to the expected high ticket demand,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “We’ve seen in the past few cycles that the USA-Mexico match in the final round of World Cup qualifying is by far the most desired ticket, and we wanted to provide as many fans as possible a fair opportunity to secure tickets at face value.”
There is a very good chance the USA will qualify for the World Cup if it beats Mexico in Columbus. Eight years ago, on what was Day 7 of the Hexagonal, the USA qualified for the 2006 World Cup with a 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus. It also beat Mexico twice in Columbus in February qualifiers.
ATTENDANCE WATCH.Crowds for exhibitions matches involving Mexican clubs drew strong crowds at three venues on Saturday, and the matches didn't see a repeat of the problems last week in Las Vegas, where a Guadalajara-Club America match was marred by mass fighting among rival fans.
Tijuana drew almost 29,000 fans for its game in nearby San Diego against Club America. The game was played at Petco Park, home of the baseball Padres, and the cozy setting meant the field dimensions were only 95 by 68 yards.
A Chivas-UNAM and Cruz Azul-Morelia doubleheader at San Jose's Spartan Stadium drew more than 22,000 fans, most of whom were supporting Chivas or Morelia. Northern California is home to large groups of immigrants from Jalisco and Michoacan who support Chivas and Morelia, respectively.
The San Antonio Scorpions played their first international at their new Toyota Park and set an attendance record with 8,255 fans for their game against Tigres.
Puebla had to postpone matches at the Carolina RailHawks on Saturday and Ventura County Fusion on Tuesday because it couldn't get out of Mexico City when a volcano disturbance forced U.S. airlines to cancel flights.
International Friendly Matches (July 6):
CROWD MATCH (VENUE)
28,759 Tijuana-Club America (San Diego, Calif.)
22,389Guadalajara-UNAM, Cruz Azul-Morelia (San Jose, Calif.)
8,555San Antonio Scorpions-Tigres (San Antonio, Texas)
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