PPL Park to host CONCACAF WWC qualifying elimination games; KC, DC, Chicago get first round

Jeff Kassouf July 24, 2014 24
PPL Park, will host the semifinals, third-place match and final of CONCACAF Women's World Cup qualifying in October. (Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE)

PPL Park, will host the semifinals, third-place match and final of CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying in October. (Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE)

Venues for CONCACAF 2015 Women’s World Cup qualification in October are set, with Kansas City, greater Chicago and Washington, D.C., hosting first-round games and PPL Park outside of Philadelphia hosting the semifinals, third-place match and final.

The tournament will take place from Oct. 15-26, with the top three finishers advancing to next year’s World Cup in Canada and the fourth-place team entering a playoff with the third-place finisher from South America (CONMEBOL).

The Equalizer reported on Wednesday that Sporting Park in Kansas City would serve as one of the venues for the qualification tournament. U.S. Soccer confirmed on Thursday — as first reported by Sports Business Journal’s Christopher Botta — that RFK Stadium in D.C. and Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., are also part of the first round matches.confirmed Kansas City as a host, along with RFK Stadium in D.C. and Bridgeview, Ill., where the Chicago Fire play.

Each team — including the U.S. women — will play once in each city.

PPL Park in Chester, Penn., the home of MLS’ Philadelphia Union, will host the critical semifinals, third-place match and final. The final will take place on Sunday, Oct. 26.

“We are honored to serve as the local organizing committee for this tournament as we continue to support and grow women’s soccer in this region on a large scale,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The second season of the NWSL has been exciting to follow, and this tournament provides fans with another opportunity to see some of the best women’s soccer players in the world compete on the international level. With the tremendous success and popularity of the men’s World Cup here in the United States this summer, we are looking forward to carrying that momentum right through to the Women’s World Cup in Canada and beyond.”

Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala will join the United States and four Caribbean teams in the qualifying event. Caribbean sub-qualifying will take place from August 19-26 in Trinidad & Tobago. The draw for groups will take place in Miami on Sept. 5.

All qualifying matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 or Fox Soccer Plus, as well as streamed on foxsports2go.com.

Ticket information is not currently available.

Here’s the full schedule:

Wednesday, October 15: Group A doubleheader at Sporting Park
Thursday, October 16: Group B doubleheader at Sporting Park
Friday, October 17: Group A doubleheader at Toyota Park
Saturday, October 18: Group B doubleheader at Toyota Park
Monday, October 20: Group A doubleheader at RFK Stadium
Tuesday, October 21: Group B doubleheader at RFK Stadium
Friday, October 24: Semifinal doubleheader at PPL Park
Sunday, October 26: Championship game and third place game at PPL Park

  • kernel_thai

    I guess when u only have one major draw in the tournament u really need to have them play at all the sites.

    • Amy Brookheimer

      Or do what has been done in the past WCQ and Olympic qualifiers: have them in one city. Besides being cheaper for the federations, think of the players. As presently structured, their recovery day is a travel day between games. This is the World Cup qualification tournament, not a Victory Tour to money grab from Oreo-eating, Coke-drinking Morgan fangirls or to shill for US Soccer’s sponsors.

      • Ben

        Travel really should not be an issue.
        KC/Chicago are really close together and are reachable by bus so not much of an issue there.
        This is the same for DC/Philly which are 2 hours apart. I think the scheduling is great because you the USWNT playing in 3 NWSL cities which can only be good for the exposure of the game.

        • Amy Brookheimer

          They are geographically close, but think about the logistics of travel. A flight from KC to Chicago is only an hour and half, but at least double that long once you factor wrangling 30+ people and their gear, getting to/from airports, praying for no delays, and dealing with ground transportation to the final destination in the next city. Then you’ve got venue walkthroughs, team meetings, training sessions, and recovery sessions. It’s a brutal turnaround.

          • Steglitz49

            We can hope that the organizers will charter planes and/or arrange fast-lane walk-through of security. Other sports do this, so why not soccer?

          • Ben

            Or they could chose to stay in a hotel that is between both cities that makes it easier to get to the stadium in a hour or two by bus.

      • Guest

        Quit your whining.

      • Steglitz49

        The USA is a large country. Get used to it.

    • rufan

      Agree, probably would be hard to get venues to bid for games if not having the US team play at least one time there.

  • kernel_thai

    It will be interesting to see how the non USA group draws. It will also be possible for a dedicated fan to see every match with this format.

  • kernel_thai

    And of course KC, Chicago and DC r NWSL cities so good for the league.

  • FawcettFan14

    Good choices. NWSL cities, nice stadiums, perfect time of year for soccer (crisp fall air). The non-USA (and maybe Mexico) games will be pretty sparsely attended, I imagine. But oh well. Should be fun.

    • David K Anderson

      “Good choices” if you live in the eastern third of the country, I guess. And the NWSL’s announcement uses a picture of Alex Morgan playing in Providence Park. /smh

  • VaFan51

    Extra added bonus: Unless I am mistaken, all 4 of these venues have natural grass surfaces. What a luxury for woso.

    • Diane (DeeG)

      Only to play WWC on turf grass..

      • Steglitz49

        Unless you make the argument, that those deciding were used to the English meaning of “turf” as in “turf accountant” for bookie and “hallowed turf” as the pitch of a great club, on has to assume, that those, who were forced to accept Canada’s sole bid — beggars can’t be choosers, btw — knew, that in north-American English “turf” means artificial grass and what the English call “turf” is called “sod”.

        Sod it! come to think of it.

  • JD

    Non-USA (and non-Mexico) games probably won’t draw much…I mean the other teams just aren’t that strong. As for a prediction, I expect the 3 automatic qualifiers to be: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica with the CONMEBOL playoff team being Trinidad or Jamaica?

    • STT

      After Costa Rica, CONCACAF women really are a toss-up. I could imagine Guatemala and Haiti also have a good shot at that 4th place spot. Though unless there’s an upset in that 3rd-place game, the 4th-place CONACAF team will get creamed by the CONMEBOL 3rd place.

      • RollingBeatles

        CONMEBOL is still fairly weak though. Brazil is clear #1, Colombia is probably #2 still. Then its a toss up between Chile & Argentina. It probably wouldn’t be a blow out, but I’d expect them to beat Haiti/Jamaica/Trinidad. Not sure about Guatemala, seems like the island countries are better than central america.

        Its odd that Oceania is as powerful as CONMEBOL. New Zealand isn’t as good as Brazil, but they’re much better than all the others.

        • Steglitz49

          I was under the impression that Chile’s ladies were better than Argentina’s and might well give Colombia’s lasses a run for their money. Maybe I am out of date?

          • Bolivar

            Chile beat Brazil a few months ago in Brazil. Everyone seemed surprised.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. You also jogged my memory that a Chilean club side played in last year’s Mobcast Cup in Japan, representing south-America.

  • nwslfan

    YAAAAASSSSS finals and semis in PHILLY.

  • RollingBeatles

    They should’ve put the semi-final and final in Portland. But the choices are good, all NWSL cities. I guess they want to try and use it to promote the NWSL in those cities? Still, USA-Mexico final in Portland would’ve been awesome.