U.S. Soccer confirms Rio Tinto Stadium as host for June 18 qualifier

Published: Thursday, March 21 2013 4:25 p.m. MDT

Players compete during the Real Salt Lake/Zions Bank Ligas All-Star Game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Monday, Aug. 20, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SANDY — On the eve of its critical World Cup qualifying match in Colorado, U.S. Soccer confirmed that it would be back in the Rocky Mountain region very soon.

A week after it was unofficially announced that Rio Tinto Stadium would host Honduras at a World Cup qualifier on June 18, U.S. soccer made it official on Thursday, which coach Jurgen Klinsmann said was a no-brainer.

“Choosing Salt Lake for a very important game in the qualifying process is an easy choice,” he said. “We think the crowd will give us a huge support, loud, noisy, pushing us forward and giving us a lot of energy for 90 minutes. Every point in a World Cup qualifier is crucial, and we need to have game in venues like Salt Lake where we know opponents not only have to deal with us, they will also have to deal with the crowd.”

Real Salt Lake season ticket holders will have an exclusive presale window to purchase tickets next Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. at riotintostadium.com

Tickets will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, April 2, at 10 a.m. at ussoccer.com.

The will be a Visa cardholders advance sale on Friday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. at ussoccer.com.

“When we ask the question ‘where is the biggest support for us throughout the country?’ Salt Lake always comes up in that discussion. It has been proven in the past that this is another venue where we can ‘rock the boat’ and get a lot of excitement in the city around the game,” Klinsmann said.

The June 18 match kicks off at 7 p.m., and will be the third World Cup qualifier contested in Utah.

The United States beat Costa Rica 3-0 in a qualifier at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2005, and then beat El Salvador 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on 2009.

Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando, who's part of the U.S. squad that takes on Costa Rica this Friday in Commerce City, Colo., agrees with Klinsmann's assertion that Rio Tinto Stadium is a perfect venue for the qualifier.

“(Utah fans) deserve to have a game here. The fans have proven that they come out and support, and they can be the extra man,” Rimando said.

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