U.S. Soccer announced today that Exploria Stadium will host the final home game of the United States Men’s National Team’s 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. The match will be on March 27 at 7 p.m. against Panama, and will be the penultimate match of the qualifying cycle. It will also be the only home game during the final qualifying window, sandwiched between a March 24 game against Mexico at the Azteca and a March 30 away game against Costa Rica.
Presales for tickets will start on next Monday, Jan. 24, with the public sale starting on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Tickets for the game will be sold with the intention of the stadium being “at near full capacity.”
If playing Panama at Exploria Stadium for a World Cup qualifier sounds familiar, that’s because it is. On Oct. 6, 2017 the United States executed a demolition job of Panama in front of a raucous crowd, cruising to a 4-0 victory in front of a sell-out crowd.
In total, the USMNT has played four matches at Exploria Stadium, and is undefeated at the purple palace. In March of 2019, the Yanks beat Ecuador 1-0 in a friendly and followed that game up with a 4-1 trouncing of Canada in the Concacaf Nations League in November of the same year. The most recent game was a 7-0 thumping of Trinidad and Tobago in January of last year in a friendly game to close out January camp.
Gregg Berhalter has been in charge of the team for all but one of those victories, and he had the following to say about returning to the comforting confines of Exploria Stadium:
“We are excited to be back at Exploria Stadium. This city and these fans have been a huge advantage to us throughout the years. In our last home game of the Octagonal we look forward to another special night of soccer.”
This represents an excellent opportunity for the city of Orlando to make its case to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup. At the moment, it’s on the shortlist being considered as one of the U.S. host cities, and a sellout crowd, combined with another victory for the good guys, would provide some great publicity in the push to land some games.
It also continues a very good track record of Exploria Stadium hosting big-time soccer events. The stadium has played host to the SheBelieves Cup multiple times, friendlies for both the USWNT and USMNT, the knockout stages of the Concacaf Champions League, the Concacaf Gold Cup, Florida Cup, the NWSL final, and the aforementioned USMNT World Cup qualifiers.
Notable Soccer Events at Exploria Stadium
- Oct. 6, 2017 — USMNT World Cup qualifier vs Panama (U.S. won, 4-0)
- Oct. 14, 2017 — NWSL Championship (Portland Thorns beat North Carolina Courage, 1-0)
- Dec. 3, 2017 — NCAA Women’s College Cup (Stanford beat UCLA, 3-2)
- Jan. 10-11, 2018 — Florida Cup (Corinthian (BRA) 1-1 PSV Eindhoven (NED); Rangers (SCO) 1-0 Atletico Mineiro (BRA))
- March 7, 2018 — SheBelieves Cup (USWNT 1-0 England; France 3-0 Germany)
- Jan 10-12, 2019 — Florida Cup (Ajax (NED) 2-2 Flamengo (BRA); Ajax (NED) 4-2 São Paulo (BRA); Flamengo (BRA) 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt (GER))
- March 21, 2019 —USMNT friendly vs. Ecuador (U.S. won, 1-0)
- June 28, 2019 — International Friendly: Pachuca (MEX) vs. Independiente Medellin (COL) (Medellin won, 2-1)
- July 31, 2019 — MLS All-Star Game (Atletico Madrid beat MLS All-Stars, 3-0)
- Nov. 15, 2019 — USMNT Concacaf Nations League vs. Canada (U.S. won, 4-1)
- Jan. 15 & 18, 2020 — Florida Cup (Corinthians (BRA) 2-1 New York City FC (USA); Palmeiras (BRA) 0-0 Atletico Nacional (COL); Palmeiras (BRA) 2-1 New York City FC (USA); Atletico Nacional (COL) 2-1 Corinthians (BRA))
- March 5, 2020 — SheBelieves Cup (USWNT 2-0 England; Spain 3-1 Japan)
- Dec. 15-22, 2020 — Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals, semifinals, and final
- Jan. 18, 2021 — USWNT friendly vs. Colombia (U.S. won, 4-0)
- Jan. 22, 2021 — USWNT friendly vs. Colombia (U.S. won, 6-0)
- Jan. 31, 2021 — USMNT friendly vs. Trinidad & Tobago (U.S. won, 7-0)
- Feb. 18, 21, & 24, 2021 — 2021 SheBelieves Cup (all six matches, event won by USWNT)
- July, 2021 — Concacaf Gold Cup (hosted six matches during group stage)
- *March 27, 2022 —USMNT World Cup qualifier vs. Panama
*- indicates future event