032113_isi_hex2_usmntjt0321131075 John Todd/isiphotos.com
Direct from Denver

Pre-Game Report: Outlaws, Snow, Ice-Cold Corona

American Soccer Now's Jon Arnold has been soaking up the atmosphere at Dick's Sporting Goods Park so you can feel like you are there—minus the frosty weather and freezing rain, that is.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
March 22, 2013
8:24 PM
DENVER—The day I left Arizona it was in the 80s. After wearing shorts the day before, I packed a recently purchased winter coat in my carry-on so it would be ready the moment I set foot in frigid Denver. I haven’t used it once. The temperatures haven’t been as high as they are in Phoenix, but a light jacket has been fine with things hanging in the 50s most of the week.

I’ll have the coat on tonight when I settle in to the open-air press box at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa Rica. Meteorological experts (my iPhone) report game time temperature will be just above freezing with a 60% chance of precipitation that will increase as the match goes on.

Players on both teams insist it won’t affect them, but I’m not sure I buy that. More likely, to me, is that it will affect them but it will affect everyone about evenly. Most players who will be on the pitch tonight have played in frigid conditions before, but freezing temperatures and snow can have an impact on pretty much anybody no matter how hearty they are. Also, expect to see a very high snood count. Players from both sides were sporting them in training with temperatures 20 degrees above where they’ll be tonight.

Outlaws In Attendance

The cold will also affect the fans. Some fans I’ve talked to are planning to imbibe their way to a liquid coat or beer blanket, and there were some American Outlaws well on their way at last night’s gathering at the British Bulldog. The bar was packed, which stands to reason. In addition to the stadium being sold out, the Outlaws will have their largest ever supporters’ section Friday, spanning three stadium sections behind one of the goals. There were 2,000 AO tickets sold.

There doesn’t seem to be a ton of interest from Denver in general, with Colorado State and Colorado’s March Madness hopes, as well as Denver Broncos free agency issues, dominating the conversations. The ticket sales speak for themselves, though, and it should be a nice atmosphere—albeit a bit chilly.

Joe Corona, Spokesman

It won’t surprise most American fans if Joe Corona doesn’t get into the match, but some Costa Ricans might be expecting him. The Tijuana midfielder is one of only a handful of U.S. players on this roster who speaks fluent Spanish and has handled the lion’s share of interviews with the visiting press. Wednesday in particular, Corona answered questions for the entire period of availability.

Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.

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