Mexico is coming to the United States for a World Cup qualifier and it won't be at Columbus Crew Stadium. That is because the match is not against the U.S. El Tri are taking on Guyana in the semifinal round of qualifying and it will be at at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.
How does this happen?
Guyana wants a money grab. They are realistically eliminated from qualifying for the hex so home-field advantage doesn't mean much, but scoring millions for a federation that needs it means a ton, so that is what they are doing.
The Guyana Football Federation sold the rights to their home World Cup qualifier against Mexico to a promoter, which is completely legal by FIFA rules. That promoter is putting the match on in Houston, knowing that Mexico fans will fill BBVA Compass Stadium, sponsors will be eager to join in, and they can made a tidy profit.
"Any time you get a chance to host a World Cup qualifier, it's a big deal," said BBVA Compass Stadium general manager Doug Hall. "Certainly adding Mexico to it takes it to another level."
For the new stadium in downtown Houston, this is a massive coup. Hosting Mexico is always big, but to get a World Cup qualifier puts the stadium in the spotlight of millions.
Everything here is above board, fair and everyone here is making out handsomely. Everyone except for the U.S.
The Americans have a hard enough time fighting off the swell of Mexico as is. El Tri are the most popular sports team in the United States and giving people a chance to see a Mexico World Cup qualifier north of the border won't help the Americans. Fans will strengthen their Mexico ties and young dual citizen players could very well see this as a catalyst for a strong bond to El Tri should they ever develop into international quality players.
Many will blow this out of proportion and call it a major move for Mexico and it isn't. Other will say that it is insignificant, which it isn't. It's a note worth taking notice of, but hardly something that will change the status quo. It just sucks when everyone except your team comes away a winner.