San Jose to host U.S.'s World Cup qualifier vs. Honduras - sources
Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, will host the United States' crucial March 24 World Cup qualifier against Honduras, multiple sources told ESPN FC.
The match will be Bruce Arena's first competitive game as U.S. coach after he replaced Jurgen Klinsmann last month. Arena previously led the American squad from 1998 to 2006.
Arena's first match back at the U.S. helm will be a Jan. 29 friendly against Serbia at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday.
The Americans will play another exhibition on Feb. 3, sources said, with location and opponent to be announced at a later date.
Klinsmann was fired after the U.S. lost its first two games of the final round of qualifying for the first time, putting participation in Russia 2018 in jeopardy after defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica.
The Americans currently sit last in the standings in the six team "Hexagonal" round of CONCACAF qualifying, making their next qualifier all but a must-win -- especially at home, where the Yanks went a perfect 8-0 on the way to Brazil 2014.
After meeting Honduras in San Jose, Arena's team will travel to Panama for a March 28 qualifier against the Canaleros at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. The U.S. won both corresponding fixtures during the 2014 World Cup cycle on their way to a third consecutive first-place finish in the Hex.
Avaya Stadium is home to the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS. The 18,000-seat venue opened last year.
While the West Coast location will subject the national team's European-based players to extra travel, the arena's limited capacity would allow U.S. Soccer to control ticket sales and help ensure a home-field advantage.
American fans were badly outnumbered by backers of Los Catrachos during qualifiers at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in 2001 -- the U.S. team's most recent home qualifying loss until last month's defeat by Mexico -- and at Chicago's Soldier Field in 2009.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.