Monday, March 11, 2013

Changes to venues for the USA´s home matches

Home Depot Center to host USA v Tonga on June 14
Due to scheduling complications the assigned venues for some of the USA Eagles´ home matches have been forced to be altered. The USA will no longer host Tonga at the Rio Tino Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. Instead it will be played at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, California. It is the same city which hosted the USA legs of the IRB World Sevens Series when it was played in Los Angeles. The USA´s home match against Canada has also been moved from the Kennesaw State soccer stadium in Atlanta Georgia to Blackbaus Stadium in the relatively small Charleston, South Carolina. 

The USA had not actually confirmed where the matches were to be played but it had been leaked that Salt Lake City and Atlanta were to host the matches. The explanation for the changes is firstly that the United States of America´s national soccer team is likely to play a FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at the Utah venue while Rugby Canada has requested a change to the scheduled date to USA Rugby due to wanting to host the Eagles in Toronto in August. This means that Georgia will miss out with Canada instead playing in South Carolina similar to the Rugby World Cup 2011 qualification match which the USA won 12-6 with neither team scoring a try. 

It now remains to be seen how USA Rugby is able to promote both matches. The choice of Los Angeles for the Tongan match is a good move. Southern California has a good rugby following and also a notable Pacific Island population. The choice of South Carolina is not so strong in terms of marketability. It will certainly give the USA a good home advantage thoguh due to it being very far from Canada. Had it been in a larger city such as Chicago, New York or Seattle then there would certainly be a larger crowed but it would also attract many more Canadians. In the grand scheme of things it would appear that USA Rugby authorities have decided to use what is, arguably, a backwater to give Todd Clever and his players an edge. 

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