Last Saturday, we noted that FirstEnergy Stadium was the host of two Gold Cup matches, including one that featured the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) against Nicaragua. In order to win their group, the USMNT needed to win by at least three goals, and they indeed took care of business with a 3-0 victory.
Prior to that victory, the players on the USMNT had some more links to the Cleveland Browns besides just playing in their home stadium. Last Friday, the team actually practiced in Berea:
Happy to host the #USMNT today in Berea before #GoldCup2017!— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 14, 2017
Welcome to #TheLand!
See them in action tomorrow » https://t.co/PgHBJlsAXZ pic.twitter.com/QF35qacbgz
USMNT head coach Bruce Arena said that he is well aware of the Browns’ storied past. "I always followed the Browns in the early days with Jim and Lou ‘The Toe’ Groza, so it’s great to be here,” Arena told Browns.com. “It’s a beautiful facility. ... Ohio’s been a very good state for the sport of soccer over the years.”
The Browns’ tight ends were actively involved in the action. In this clip, you can see rookie tight end David Njoku hanging out with goalie Tim Howard. Howard is not participating in the Gold Cup, but is the team’s primary goalie for when the World Cup qualifiers continue. In this other clip, you can see tight end Seth DeValve attending the game and seeing a sweet bicycle kick attempt of a goal.
According to the USMNT, the game drew 27,934 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium. That means they did better than the 23,368 fans that Tampa did earlier in the week, but not quite as well as the friendly game from July 1st at East Hartford, Connecticut, where they had 28,754 fans. Overall, it’s not a bad figure, especially if the team feels Cleveland was accommodating at a city and venue in general.