Red Bull Arena will play host to two international matches during the March FIFA break, with Paraguay and Peru meeting on Friday, March 22, and Honduras taking on Ecuador on Tuesday, March 26.
The arena is not unfamiliar to hosting international games. Since it’s opening in 2010, the venue has hosted multiple high profile games outside of MLS, including international friendlies, a 2018 World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Costa Rica, and CONCACAF Gold Cup matches – the latter of which is scheduled to once again be hosted at the arena later this year on June 24.
The Paraguay match will serve as a homecoming for former Red Bulls’ head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who served as head coach for the 2008 and 2009 seasons where he lead the club to its first, and so far only, MLS Cup Final during the 08′ campaign. Recently, Osorio had been coaching the Mexican national team since 2015 where helped the team secure qualification to the 2018 World Cup. Following the competition, he resigned from the team and was hired by Paraguay a few months later.
The Ecuadorian national team already has some recently familiarity with the venue as well, as they defeated Jamaica, 2-0, on September 7, 2018 in another friendly. The team has played games in Harrison dating back to 2011. Meanwhile, Honduras is coming off just missing the latest World Cup after losing in a inter-confederation playoff against Australia, 3-1 on goal aggregate and will be looking to begin 2019 off right as it prepares to compete in the upcoming Gold Cup. Finally, Peru is coming off a appearance in the recent World Cup where they fell in the group stages after only securing one win against bottom table Australia.
Tickets are already on sale for both games and I believe these games will be fairly well attended, despite the cold weather that can be expected in March. These national teams will resonate will a large number of the residents of the local area and that isn’t just an assumption. The World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa Rica that took place in the summer of 2017 was heavily attended by Costa Rican fans and, seemingly, outnumbered the U.S. supporters. While these two matches won’t be as attended, it still could be a very healthy group.
With many of these squads coming off either successful 2018s or looking to rebound in 2019, a lot of eyes could be on Red Bull Arena this March.