The road to the 2014 World Cup will take the United States men’s national soccer team through Seattle.
Team USA will meet Panama in a World Cup qualifying match June 11 at CenturyLink Field, U.S. Soccer announced Thursday.
“It’s fantastic,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “(U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann) called me – it must be a couple of months ago now – saying, ‘We really want to have a game in Seattle; let’s start working on it.’ Everybody worked well together to get it over the finish line. It looks like it’s going to be an important game, and hopefully our Seattle fans can give the team a big home-field advantage.”
First kick will be at 6:30 p.m. The match will be played on a temporary natural grass surface, which will be installed in time for Sounders FC to play its June 8 Major League Soccer match against Vancouver.
Capacity for the U.S. match will be limited to 42,000 because of a Mariners-Astros game starting at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field.
U.S.-Panama tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. April 2 through Ticketmaster and at the CenturyLink Field box office. The Sounders are expected to make a presale offer to their season-ticket holders.
The U.S. men’s team has played one previous World Cup qualifier in Seattle: a 2-0 win over Canada in 1976 at the Kingdome. Team USA is 6-2-1 through all competitions in Seattle and 4-0 at CenturyLink Field.
“I think we deserve to have a qualifier here,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “(We) want to make sure our fans get out there and support it in full force – just like they do us every week when we play – and create an atmosphere that will make it very beneficial for the U.S. team here.”
U.S. Soccer also announced other home World Cup qualifiers: June 18 against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah; Sept. 10 against Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio; Oct. 11 against Jamaica at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Team USA (0-1) plays Costa Rica (0-0-1) in a World Cup qualifier at 7 p.m. today at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.