Photos from the USA's 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic in Prague to open the 2018 FIFA World Cup cycle.
U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore has been itching to get back on the field for the past two-and-a-half months.
Altidore, who injured his hamstring in the opener of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is fully recovered heading into Wednesday’s international match against the Czech Republic in Prague.
“It feels great. I’m so excited to be back,” said Altidore, who leads the current USA roster with 71 caps and 23 goals. “I want to get on the field and help the guys put out a positive performance.”
During Tuesday’s press conference, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named Altidore the captain for Wednesday’s game. It represents the second time that Altidore will wear the armband. Altidore’s other international match as team captain was on Oct. 15, 2013, during the USA’s dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Panama to cap off the Hexagonal.
CHICAGO (March 17, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to face the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague, marking the first match for the United States following the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Details for the first meeting between the teams on Czech soil will be announced at a later date.
“While we are focused on preparing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we must always look ahead and therefore we are thrilled to get this match against the Czech Republic,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Historically, they have a very good team, and they are going to be preparing for a huge challenge against the Netherlands in their opening game of qualifying for the European Championships, so we expect this to be a tough match and another good benchmark for our team.”
The United States will be seeking its first victory against the Czech Republic. The USA is 0-3-0 in the all-time series that began at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. In the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Czech Republic collected a 3-0 win in the opening group match. Most recently, the teams met in the Send-Off Series for South Africa as the U.S. fell 4-2 on May 25, 2010, in East Hartford, Conn.
The Czech Republic has reached the World Cup finals on nine occasions, twice advancing to the championship final. Backstopped by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech and led by team captain and Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky, the Czech Republic finished in third place in its qualifying group for Brazil behind Italy and Denmark. The Czech Republic been drawn into a challenging Group A in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship and opens the campaign on Sept. 9 at home against the Netherlands.
The MNT will continue its long rivalry against Mexico when the teams square off April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (TICKETS). Kickoff for USA-Mexico, presented by AT&T, is set for 8 p.m. Arizona Time (11 p.m. ET), and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.
If there is one venue the U.S. Men’s National Team could call home outside United States, it would undoubtedly be Fulham’s Craven Cottage. Plenty of current and former players can find the stadium on the river Thames without a GPS.
The list of U.S. internationals that pulled on the Fulham jersey is long and distinguished, including goalkeepers, goal scorers, FIFA World Cup veterans and aspiring leaders.
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (1999-2002) was the first to don the Cottager’s kit in the modern era and former U.S. MNT midfielder and defender Eddie Lewis arrived a year later (2000-2002). Despite not playing a game the whole season, his coach Jean Tigana insisted on keeping Lewis until season’s end, making him the last to arrive at the USA’s pre-World Cup training camp in 2002. Lewis went on to deliver one of the most famous crosses in U.S. history.
Later in the decade, three-time World Cup veteran Kasey Keller spent a season at Craven Cottage (2007), while striker Eddie Johnson had a three-year spell there (2008-11) spent mostly on loan.
The most accomplished and celebrated U.S. players at Craven Cottage are strikers Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey. McBride (2004-08) scored 33 goals during his tenure and became such a fan favorite that the stadium pub now bears his name. He was a two-time Fulham Player of the Year, and was named captain for the 2007-08 season. Most recently, McBride was named to a special committee to help select the club’s next manager.
“I think it’s the perfect fit. The Fulham supporters are incredibly loyal and have a great appreciation for what the American players bring to the table,” McBride said of Craven Cottage. “For the U.S. players and fans who will be there for the first time, they will experience a very special place. There is a heart and soul to Craven Cottage that goes beyond just a stadium; it’s like playing in front of your family.”
Not to be outdone, Dempsey picked up McBride’s scoring reins at Fulham. In addition to famous goals – the game-winner against Liverpool that saved Fulham from relegation in 2007 and the wonder strike against Juventus in the Europa League Round of 16, among others – the Texan set the team record for the most career tallies in the Premier League (50) by an American, surpassing his 2006 World Cup teammate, McBride.
Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra also made a big impression with the Fulham faithful (2004-08), becoming one of the few MNT players in history playing outside the United States to wear the captain’s armband for both club and country. He was the second leading scorer in the 2006-07 campaign with five goals – behind McBride – and finished his career there with eight total in 116 appearances.
“I’m thrilled that the U.S. Men’s National Team will play at a stadium that has meant so much to the American players who got their chance at Fulham,” Bocanegra said. “The fans there were incredibly supportive of us, and we have so many great memories there. Craven Cottage has one of the most intimate atmospheres I’ve ever played in. Sitting in the Cottage is like having a rooftop seat it Wrigley Field – it’s an experience every fan should have in their lifetime.”
The American line of succession at Fulham has now been passed to 18-year-old Emerson Hyndman, who played extensively in Fulham’s Youth Academy and scored a goal in the U-18 FA Cup Final. Now earning regular minutes for the first time, Hyndman debuted for the senior MNT in the 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in Prague this past September.
CHICAGO (Oct. 22, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will play Colombia in an international friendly on Friday, Nov. 14, at Craven Cottage in London. Kickoff at the home of Fulham FC is set for 7:45 p.m. GMT (2:45 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on UniMas. Fans can also follow along on Twitter @ussoccer.
“Colombia showed in the World Cup that they are one of the top teams in the world,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They have some tremendous attacking talent like Radamel Falcao at Manchester United, James Rodriguez who won the Golden Boot at the World Cup and now plays at Real Madrid, Arian Ramos from Dortmund who was one of the top scorers in the Bundesliga, and Carlos Bacca who won the Europa League with Sevilla. So overall, it’s a squad with a lot of experience playing at the highest level, and this will be another great benchmark for us. We are thrilled to be playing at Craven Cottage, which holds so many good memories for U.S. players. It will be a unique experience.”
Craven Cottage has served as the proverbial “home away from home” for many U.S. internationals over the years. U.S. MNT captain Clint Dempsey spent six seasons at Fulham, and during his Premier League tenure, broke the record for most goals by an American in the EPL with 37, surpassing the mark set by another Fulham icon, Brian McBride.
World Cup veterans Carlos Bocanegra, Marcus Hahnemann, Eddie Lewis, Kasey Keller and Eddie Johnson also spent part of their careers at Fulham. Bocanegra served as team captain, while McBride became such a fan favorite, the bar in the stadium is named after him. The Cottagers’ most recent American addition to the squad is Emerson Hyndman, who debuted for the MNT last month in the 1-0 win against Czech Republic in Prague.
Tickets go on sale to the public Thursday, Oct. 23, at 12 p.m. GMT (7 a.m. ET) through ussoccer.com, by phone within the United Kingdom at 0843-208-1234 (option 1), as well as the Fulham FC Ticket Office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
U.S. Soccer is also offering a special VIP Experience for fans to attend the match in London as part of the team delegation. Spaces are limited for a three-day package (Nov. 13-15), including accommodations at the official U.S. Soccer hotel, premium match tickets, gifts, excursions, ground transportation and more. U.S. Soccer is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit and the minimum donation to participate is $3,975.Click here for more information, or contact U.S. Soccer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colombia is No. 3 in the world in FIFA’s latest rankings. Colombia competed in its fourth FIFA World Cup this past summer and had its best showing at the event. Los Cafeteros won Group G ahead of Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez and Colombia captain and Manchester United forward Radamel Falcao are anticipated to be with the team.
The announcement of the match against Colombia completes the 2014 MNT schedule. Four days after the game in London, the U.S. will close out the campaign with a friendly against Ireland on Nov. 18 in Dublin. Kickoff at Aviva Stadium is set for 8:45 p.m. local time (2:45 p.m. ET).