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Three’s a Crowd

I want to wish everyone a Happy Veterans Day!

2-nil Dos-a-Cero is pretty perfect, isn’t it?

Admittedly, 2-nil is the worst lead in soccer (there’s a legitimate psychology to this). However, for whatever reason, this scoreline has evolved into a magical anomaly in the beautiful game when the USMNT (United States Men’s National Team) and That Team Down South meet in Ohio’s capital city at Crew Stadium. And yes, I’m fully aware that the first soccer-specific stadium is now called MAPFRE Stadium, but it will always be Crew Stadium to true Crew/US fans who’ll never forget the legacy of the late Lamar Hunt who delivered the MLS team and stadium to our city.

Hopefully, every member of the USMNT coaching staff and players walk by the statue of Mr. Hunt at the main entrance of Crew Stadium tonight and pay their respects to the man responsible for bringing professional soccer to Columbus, OH.

Talk about a great photo opportunity and image for US Soccer.

There have been four Dos-a-Cero games in Columbus, OH for World Cup qualifying:

  • February 28, 2001
  • September 3, 2005
  • February 11, 2009
  • September 10, 2013

There have been other notable Dos-a-Cero results between the USMNT and That Team Down South (one of which was during the 2002 World Cup in South Korea), but tonight spotlights Crew Stadium’s unrivaled assembly line of delivering the prized scoreline in Columbus, OH for World Cup qualifying.

As it has been written about many, many times on Jimmy’s Daily Planet, I am not a fan of the roster that’s been continually produced by USMNT Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann, his tactical decisions (or lack thereof) or why he’s still managing the team. That aside, I am above all a fan of the USMNT and will be cheering for the Stars & Stripes to deliver a fifth-consecutive Dos-a-Cero! The pure magic of this game can overcome the aforementioned concerns for one night.

OH, that first night…

It’s amazing to have the USMNT back home in Columbus, OH:

THE Soccer Capital of the United States of America.

GO USA!

That 2nd (Well 2-0) Degree Burn

Dos-a-Cero: Enough said.

Okay, here are a few more words.

THE soccer capital of the United States of America will feature the Stars & Stripes vs. That Team Down South (trademark pending) for the fifth time tomorrow night. The forecast for Columbus, OH is projecting weather in the lower 40s on November 11th. Hopefully, it will be the coldest, most uncomfortable 40-degrees in recorded history. Why? Because the visiting opponent/hated rival Mexico That Team Down South hates the frigid weather of a particular Midwestern capital. For the first Dos-a-Cero match on February 28, 2001, the players from That Team Down South refused to warm-up due to the slightly chilly weather (in the teens).

More will be written about the unrivaled history and significance of Dos-a-Cero in Columbus, OH in tomorrow’s post. For now, let’s all enjoy (in the warm comfort of our homes) a throwback this Thursday to this legendary 2-nil series between the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) and, you know…

Again, a Jimmy’s Daily Planet trademark is pending.

Fun Fact: Josh Wolff is currently an Assistant Coach with, yes, Columbus Crew SC.

Hopefully, USMNT Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann asks Mr. Wolff to give the forwards (and, cough cough, the bench players) a pep-talk before the game tomorrow night.

OH-It’s Good to be Home

Crew Stadium will once again play the patriotic host to a pivotal World Cup qualifying match. This evening, under a Midwestern blanket of stars, the United States of America will battle “That Team Down South.”

The stands will be painted with jerseys and shirts that will proudly showcase the brightest and boldest color combinations of red, white and blue. The chanting and support will be relentless because, honestly, it’s the USMNT’s homecoming.

The fans, players and coaches all know what’s waiting for them. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. on ESPN, but the excitement has been building since the last match four years ago.

The stage is set for another defining 90 minutes of American soccer.

For the United States, tonight’s game can (should) provide this squad with a unique window into the future. Can the Americans regroup after suffering an embarrassing loss in Costa Rica 3-1 in a matter of just a few days with a depleted starting lineup (injury and yellow card accumulations)? Like today, and potentially during the summer of 2014 in Brazil, can the red-white and blue prove to have a short memory. When maximum points and victories are necessary and when the team is forced to travel between games, will Jürgen Klinsmann’s team rise to the occasion?

When an individual is under pressure, there are only two reactions: get crushed or push back.

The United States vs. Mexico is an incredible soccer rivalry. Luckily for the American players and fans, they will feel right at home in Columbus, Ohio. In the three World Cup Qualifying games played between these two nations at Crew Stadium (2001, 2005 and 2009), the United States has won all three games with a final tally of 2-nil.

Or, in better words: Dos a Cero.

There have been great goals, hard tackles, beautiful passes, yellow cards and McBride’s “eye wide shut.”

With three games left in World Cup qualifying and a point differential of 1 between the United States and first-place Costa Rica, 5 between the U.S. and Mexico and 6 between Costa Rica and Mexico, tonight’s match is critical for both teams.

The stakes are undeniably high. The rivalry is real. This is the game and Crew Stadium is the venue!

To build the suspense even more, there will be several intriguing story lines playing out tonight in the heat inside (but really outside) the house Lamar built.

  • Without the maestro in the middle, can the U.S. be guided without the quiet, steady leadership of Michael Bradley?
  • How will Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey play together in such a vitally important game? Will they be the catalysts or finishers on goals?
  • Will Mexico, having fired its head coach last Saturday morning, be dejected or inspired by pride?
  • How many yellow and red cards will the ref show or not show?
  • Will Chicharito (Javier Hernández Balcázar) play like a Manchester United star?
  • Besides Tim Howard, which American player will take the strategic and emotional leadership role tonight? FYI-This responsibility is not limited to the man wearing the captain’s armband…
  • Does the American side have a reliable and dependent back line?
  • Will the United States of America pull off another paramount victory in front of its best crowd?

Now, the most critical question: will it be miraculously cold tonight like back in 2001? The forecast says mid-80s, so probably not. But remember: this is Columbus, where the hopes and dreams of American soccer fans, players and coaches come true…

Plus, it all depends on how you define “cold.”

Another 2-nil win for the U.S. could seriously start to freeze the hopes of a berth to the 2014 World Cup in sunny Brazil for “That Team Down South.”

I’m getting chills just thinking about it!