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Global Aug 14, 2012

D.C.’s RFK Stadium set to host international doubleheader on Wednesday

By Charles Boehm

The U.S. Men’s National Team has journeyed to Mexico City to face passionate rivals Mexico at the imposing Estadio Azteca in a friendly match tomorrow night. But the United States’ capital city will still be hosting some top-notch international action as RFK Stadium plays host to a doubleheader designed to entice two of Washington, D.C.’s largest expatriate communities.

Guatemala will meet Paraguay at RFK at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by a nightcap featuring El Salvador and Jamaica at 8 p.m. Guatemala’s involvement is expected to inspire a decent turnout by fans of the Central American nation living in Virginia and Maryland, and the second game figures to draw a massive walk-up crowd thanks to the region’s large Salvadoran-American population.

While many Jamaican immigrants to the U.S. tend to cluster in New York City, there is a substantial smattering of them in Maryland communities like Baltimore and Bladensburg who may be drawn to support the Reggae Boys.

But their numbers will likely be dwarfed by Salvadoran fans who flock to their team’s matches at RFK with such force and passion that the aging downtown venue has been nicknamed “Estadio Cuscatlán Norte,” or the northern version of El Salvador’s home stadium back in their capital city of San Salvador. Advance ticket sales for Wednesday have reportedly been sluggish but a gameday crowd of about 20,000 is expected nonetheless.

The Jamaican team, which features several MLS standouts like Dane Richards (Vancouver Whitecaps), Ryan Johnson (Toronto FC) and Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids), is based in Herndon, Va. and trained at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday, as did Guatemala.

Guatemala, El Salvador and Jamaica are currently in the midst of the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, while Paraguay are in second-to-last place in the South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying standings with a 1-3-1 record.

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