United States must be 'shrewd' when selecting home qualifier venues - Arena
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- United States manager Bruce Arena said he thinks the U.S. Soccer Federation needs to be "shrewd" when it comes to selecting venues for World Cup qualifying.
The choice of Red Bull Arena as the venue for last Friday's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica was a talking point following the team's 2-0 defeat.
There was a sizable contingent of Costa Rica fans in attendance that made themselves heard throughout the match, though it was by no means the majority of fans inside the stadium. Costa Rica also has a history of success at the venue, having prevailed 1-0 in a friendly back in October of 2015.
Speaking at a roundtable with reporters ahead of Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, Arena questioned the choice of Red Bull Arena, though he was clear to point out that he didn't think it was why his team lost.
"I don't think we should play in a venue that's comfortable for the visiting team, but I don't think it made a difference in the game," he said. "It probably makes a difference for Costa Rica.
"Imagine if we were playing this game [against Honduras] in Dallas or San Diego. It would be nicer for us, even though it's not a good analogy because we're playing in our country.
"We don't get any luxuries in going on the road and [where] everything is nice and comfortable, we get a good fan base coming out for the game and all of that."
Arena did add that having contingents of away fans at the U.S. team's home qualifiers was simply a fact of life his side needed to deal with.
"Obviously our country is unique to other countries," he said. "We're a melting pot and all the countries in CONCACAF, they're countrymen make it to the U.S. in one capacity or another and they'll come out and support their team.
"So we have to be shrewd in the venues we select when we have to play different countries."
Arena added that he's not expecting the same issue to be present when the U.S. takes on Panama at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Oct. 6.
"Am I going to find out that there's a big Panamanian population in Orlando?" he joked. "I know from living [in New York] that there were a lot of Costa Ricans living there, and Salvadorans and Mexicans.
"I knew that would be a challenge. I would sense that Orlando is going to be pretty very much pro-American."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.