CHICAGO (Sept. 10, 2014) – Ticket sales have surpassed 20,000 for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s high-profile friendly against Ecuador on Oct. 10 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow along on Twitter @ussoccer.
The match will be the final opportunity for fans to see USA forward Landon Donovan in international competition. Among those planning to see Donovan off in style will be more than 3,000 fans from organized supporter groups, led by the American Outlaws. The USA’s all-time scoring leader will retire from soccer at the end of the current Major League Soccer season.
“The game in East Hartford with the farewell to Landon Donovan is very special, so we want to give him the most exciting event possible,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Looking towards the October games against Ecuador and Honduras, we definitely look at the strongest squad possible. It’s exciting for the fans and for us. We look at bringing the players back that won in the Czech Republic, and also to mix them with the players here in MLS.”
Tickets are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-522-8499 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET only) and at the XL Center ticket office in downtown East Hartford (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.). [Note: Tickets are not sold at Rentschler Field except on the day of the event.] (TICKETS)
Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
Rentschler Field has previously hosted big-time MNT matches, including a World Cup qualifier, two Send-Off Series games and a CONCACAF Gold Cup group match. In the USA’s initial visit, Brian McBride scored the game-winner in the 1-0 win on Aug. 17, 2005, against Trinidad & Tobago in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In the team’s most recent stop, Brek Shea made his first international goal count as the USA defeated Costa Rica 1-0 and won its group on the way to capturing the 2013 Gold Cup title. Overall, the United States holds a 3-1-0 record at the venue.
The United States reached the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, advancing out of the “Group of Death” with a second-place finish behind tournament champion Germany. Overall, the USA has posted a 6-3-2 record this year, and is coming off a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague.
Immediately following the match in Connecticut, the U.S. Men will travel to South Florida to take on CONCACAF rival Honduras on Oct. 14 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida (TICKETS).
The U.S. Soccer world was thrilled to see Jozy Altidore back on the field for the Men’s National Team after returning from injury, and no one more so than head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The MNT boss felt the on-field presence of the 24-year-old striker during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil would have made a huge difference. Now with a fresh start in the new cycle, Altidore will be given greater responsibility, symbolized when Klinsmann handed him the captain’s armband for the 1-0 win against Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague. According to Klinsmann, with his contributions on and off the field, Altidore looked more than ready to answer that call.
ussoccer.com: Having reviewed the win against the Czech Republic, what are your lasting impressions of the performance?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “There are a lot of positives we can take out of this game. We asked this younger generation - the group that here and there was not a big part of the World Cup in Brazil - to step it up and make statements. I think that young group made a very, very strong statement. We asked players such as Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Jozy Altidore and others to take the responsibilities into their hands and guide that young team in Prague, and that’s what they did. Winning in Prague against a Czech team that barely missed out on qualifying for the World Cup is a strong statement. So overall, it was a very positive trip. We learned a lot, and this group deserves to come along.”
ussoccer.com: There seemed to be an increased aggressiveness in the midfield. What were your instructions to those guys?
JK: “With every young group that comes through the system, you want them to step it up physically year by year. You want them to take over responsibilities, you want them to grow, to be louder on the field, but also to send out signals physically. It’s a physical sport, and in many cases it’s about one-on-one battles on the field and winning those battles. That’s what Mix, Michael Orozco, Joe Corona, John Brooks, Jozy Altidore, Ale Bedoya did. They stepped up and showed they can compete physically. That’s what we wanted to see, so for that reason they deserve a compliment.”
ussoccer.com: The team also seemed to show a commitment to playing out of the bac, particularly with the distribution by Brad Guzan. Did you ask them to stick with that plan and not be afraid to take risks? Is that something you plan to preach moving forward?
JK: “It’s definitely a huge step for us to play out of the back, to find defenders and open up the game right away and not to play long balls all the time. Pretty much every long ball is a turn over. In the first half with Brad Guzan delivering those balls into Diskerud, into the fullbacks, into the centerbacks, that looked really nice. Obviously for Nick Rimando, he’s used to doing that. He’s almost like a field player and he’s very comfortable playing out of the back. We told them not to worry about making mistakes. Here and there it might happen, but we want this game to be developed from the back into the midfield and then into the forwards and not to be forced always to play long balls. This is something we are going to encourage more and more going forward. We want to keep the ball. We want to build out of the back. We want them to have the confidence to do that and not worry about mistakes. I think it was a big step forward, and we will emphasize that going into the October games as well.”
ussoccer.com: While Jozy didn’t have many scoring chances, he seemed to show improved hold up play. What were your impressions?
JK: “It was huge for us to have Jozy Altidore back in our lineup. This was the biggest bummer for us in the World Cup, to lose Jozy in the first game. I think we could have made a huge step in the World Cup, especially facing a team like Belgium in the Round of 16, if Jozy had been on the field. I asked him to guide this young group. He’s still a young guy himself - he’s 24 years old but he already has 70 caps. We made him the captain and told him to guide these guys and he enjoyed that. He battled the whole game. He won most of his one-on-one battles, he provided great assists. He connected with Joe Gyau to the right and Julian green to the left, and connected to the midfield. It was a very strong performance by Jozy, even if he didn’t score. This is what we want to see from him. Sooner or later, I told him you are going to score your goals in the Premier League and continue to score goals for the National Team.”
CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2014) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has announced that he will retire at the end of the current Major League Soccer season. The two-time FIFA World Cup veteran and Chivas USA center back finishes a 15-year career for club and country as the USA’s all-time leading goal scorer for a defender.
“I’m still hungry for the game and I want to play, but unfortunately you can’t play forever. I was thinking about this in the offseason, and it took me about six months to come to a final decision,” said Bocanegra. “The timing is right for me. I’ve known for a little while now in my mind and in my heart. I’m happy with it, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges.”
Bocanegra, 35, captained the U.S. team 64 times during an international career that began in 2001 and concludes with 110 appearances. He played a total of 9,222 minutes in the USA uniform, the fifth-most of any player in team history. The Alta Loma, Calif., native played in two FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010), appearing in six matches. He is tied for fourth place among U.S. players with 31 games played in World Cup Qualifying with Kasey Keller, Eddie Pope and Claudio Reyna. Bocanegra participated in four CONCACAF Gold Cups and collected two titles, having captained the team to the 2007 championship.
Bocanegra was a member of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team that participated in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria and won bronze with the U-23 team in the 1999 Pan American Games. The defender made his National Team debut against Korea Republic on Dec. 9, 2001, and with 110 career international caps, became the 12th U.S. player to surpass the 100-cap mark.
Bocanegra began his professional career with the Chicago Fire after he was drafted fourth overall out of UCLA in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft. He established himself as a starter with the Fire and was named MLS Rookie of the Year. Bocanegra helped lead Chicago to the 2000 MLS Cup final and won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship in 2000 and 2003. He added to his list of accolades as one of the league’s premier players by earning back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003.
In January of 2004, Bocanegra took his talents to the English Premier League with Fulham. In his four years with the London side, Bocanegra appeared in 133 games, scoring eight goals while becoming one of the few players in U.S. Soccer history to captain both his club and country simultaneously. After his time in the Premier League, the defender moved on to the French Ligue 1 where he played for Stade Rennais (2008-10) and later AS Saint-Étienne (2010-12) before signing with Rangers. Bocanegra returned to MLS and his native California in July of 2013 when he signed with Chivas USA.
Bocanegra Career National Team Highlights
- With his goal against Guatemala on Oct. 16, 2012, became the USA’s all-time leading goal scorer for defenders with 14
- Tied for fourth among U.S. players for career World Cup qualifying appearances with 31
- Became the 12th U.S. player to reach 100 caps when he started in the 3-2 win against Slovenia on Nov. 15, 2011
- One of five U.S. players to play every minute of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
- Appeared in six World Cup matches spanning two tournaments
- Played in 15 of 18 World Cup qualifiers in the 2010 cycle, notching game-winning goals in Guatemala in the semifinal round and against Honduras in the final phase
- Captained the U.S. to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship, his second regional title after first winning in 2002
- Became one of the few players in U.S. Soccer history to simultaneously captain both his club side and the national team, which he did after captaining Fulham to a 3-3 draw against Tottenham on Sept. 1, and then took the armband for the USA in its game against Brazil on Sept. 9, 2007, in Chicago