U.S. Soccer

U.S. Soccer Offers Maiden Patrons Program to Mexico City

The U.S. Soccer Patrons Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for guests to experience USA v. Mexico in Mexico City on June 11 as part of the official U.S. Soccer Delegation. The program includes:

  • Match tickets as part of the official U.S. Soccer Delegation
  • Accommodations at the official U.S. Soccer Hotel
  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes access and opportunities
  • Honorary one-year membership in the Captains Circle of the Development Fund
  • Ground transportation to official events and airport transfers
  • U.S. Soccer gifts, apparel and more

U.S. Soccer is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Part of the donation to participate is a special tax-deductible gift to the U.S. Soccer Development Fund that will help develop world-class players, coaches and National Teams that inspire a nation.

Donation to participate:

  • Individual Patron: $4,950
  • Couple (2 Patrons): $7,950
  • A limited number of “at-cost” spots are available for U.S. Soccer Development Fund Coaches and Presidents Circle Members ($2,950 per person; $4,450 per couple). Click here to join an elite Circle and receive select at-cost pricing and other benefits for this and future matches.

More information: Register Now | Patrons Program FAQ Guide | About the Development Fund

VIP Mexico City Patrons Program

Space is very limited for the Patrons Program, which is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Questions? Contact vip@ussocer.org

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MNT Apr 24, 2017

MNT Depth Passed the Test in March

As a veteran manager and one who already spent eight years at the helm of the U.S. Men’s National Team prior to his current tenure, Bruce Arena knows well to plan for all eventualities.

When asked about his roster composition prior to naming last month’s World Cup Qualifying squad, Arena said, “Between now and when the players report, there's going to be a lot of issues, so we have a Plan A, a B and a C, and in a lot of cases we're probably going to go to Plan C.”

That answer came eight days before he announced a carefully crafted 24-player roster that was already missing DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes and Eric Lichaj due to injury. In addition, Arena had concerns about the status of a number of other players that had recently returned from various long-term ailments.

Within a day of the announcement, changes started to come: Brad Guzan was ruled out as he and his wife were expecting the birth of their child, Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood withdrew due to injury. While Jordan Morris was present in San Jose for the 6-0 win against Honduras, he couldn’t sufficiently recover after picking up an ankle sprain with Seattle Sounders FC prior to his camp arrival.

Defender Michael Orozco had a knee injury flare up just prior to the match, and then there was the game itself. Arena was forced to use all three subs because of ailments to different players: Sebastian Lletget’s foot injury which subsequently required surgery, Geoff Cameron’s quad strain and John Brooks’ illness all took their toll.

All said and done, between the initial roster announcement and the day after the win against Honduras, the MNT manager was unable to use eight of the players he had called up in either that game or the away fixture in Panama.

While he and his staff planned for it, he hopes to reduce those replacement announcements heading into June’s World Cup Qualifiers saying, “That’s [nearly] 40 percent of your roster. That’s radical and we can’t have that happen again. We don’t have much of a margin for error [in qualifying], so we’ve got to get that right.”

Forward Plans and Scouting

Originally planning on using Clint Dempsey in a reduced role, the injuries to Wood and Morris necessitated the veteran play the full 90 minutes in both matches. Dempsey – who had only recently returned to game action after being sidelined for months - rose to the occasion, scoring four of the team’s seven goals. While Dempsey’s performance showed he hasn’t lost his finishing touch – he now sits just one goal shy of Landon Donovan’s record mark of 57 – Arena spoke about the team’s depth at forward and what factors will come into play when choosing his strike corps heading into June.

“There’s so many factors that come into play. There’s form, there’s fitness, and your gut feeling. There’s two games in a short period of time – June 8 and June 11 – where one would assume you make some changes because of that. I think we’re going to find that we don’t have enough forwards – three is not enough. Obviously we’ll be watching the players over the next six weeks before we determine how we’re going to play in the games against Trinidad and Mexico.”

Part of the scouting work he and his staff conduct prior to the team reconvening in late May will include another trip to Europe to watch and meet with players early next month. From there he’ll take all factors into account – injury, fitness and form – when whittling down his pool for the matches against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico.

“We obviously are following all the players. We have an extreme pool of 61 players that we can get down to 43 real quick, and then get that down to 31. I think we want to have probably about 35 names that we follow closely and get down to 25 for our camp.”

The Gold Cup

Arena reiterated Thursday that his prime focus is continuing the USA’s turnaround in World Cup Qualifying. And yet, the CONCACAF Gold Cup does lurk later on in July. Arena admits that his roster for that tournament will largely be determined by what happens in June.

“I’m not spending any time right now on the Gold Cup roster, but I think things will come into play with how we do in these two games. What position is the U.S. team in going into the Gold Cup from World Cup Qualifying? If we’re in a desperate situation, we may need to go with the team that we think is somewhat the team we’re going to play with in September. If we come out of these games in good shape, we’ll have a little more flexibility to look at some new players. I think the results coming out of the games in June will dictate what kind of roster we piece together for the Gold Cup. My preference is to have some new faces.”

Placed in Group B, the U.S. will face Panama (July 8 in Nashville), Martinique (July 12 in Tampa) and Nicaragua (July 15 in Cleveland) as the MNT goes for its sixth regional title this summer. 

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MNT Apr 14, 2017

NOTEBOOK: MNT Prioritizing Altitude Training Ahead of June World Cup Qualifiers

With a few weeks having passed since the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 1-1 World Cup Qualifying draw in Panama, head coach Bruce Arena indicated Thursday that he and his staff have been working towards June’s all-important matches against Trinidad & Tobago and at Mexico.

To that end, Arena spoke about the decision to USA-Trinidad & Tobago, Presented by Liberty Mutual at 5,100 feet above sea level on June in Commerce City, Colo., in order to prepare for the 7,300 feet of elevation they’ll experience see when visiting Mexico at Estadio Azteca three days later.

“We think that we have a better chance of being acclimatized with two weeks of training and following procedures that we think will help our players adjust,” Arena said. “We want to have our best chance to leave Mexico City and Denver with some points.”

MNT training camp will open at the home of the Colorado Rapids towards the end of May, with a still to be announced friendly scheduled prior to the qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago.

Arena said he and his staff have gathered different opinions on how to best handle altitude training, though he has been through this before. During the 2005 Hexagonal, the U.S. MNT’s domestic-based players took part in a lengthy, late-winter camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., prior to heading to Azteca at the end of March.

Though the altitude training certainly accounted for one factor, the conditions in Colorado towards the end of winter couldn’t replicate the heat and air quality of what the team experienced on an early Sunday afternoon at Azteca. The U.S. surrendered two early goals and could never completely claw back in a 2-1 defeat on March 27, 2005.

“When we stepped on the field in Mexico City, it was about 85 degrees at noon with pollution and everything else. There’s a lot of variables you have to throw in there, and we’re going to try and get a little bit closer this time around.”

A few other nuggets Arena addressed:

World Cup 2026 Bid

2026 Unified World Cup Bid

The U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol announced Monday their intention to submit a unified bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Asked about the difference in time between when the U.S. held the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the potential to host in 2026, Arena said, “I think there are two different stories – in 1994 I think the U.S. was looked at as this emerging frontier in the game and FIFA wanted to bring the U.S. into the world’s game. I think in 2026 we’re going to be fully emerged into the game and a big player. [Should we host] I think 2026 will be the time where we’re going to start talking about winning the World Cup. It wasn’t going to be in 1994, it wasn’t going to be in 2010, but 2026 can be our time. I think that’s the difference.”

Christian Pulisic

Following this week’s events in Germany that saw explosions occur outside the Borussia Dortmund team bus as it headed to Signal Iduna Park for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal tie with Monaco, Arena was asked if he and his coaching staff had spoken with MNT and BVB midfielder Christian Pulisic.

“We’ve had contact with him. I actually left him a message today. I haven’t personally spoken to him, but we had contact with him through text during the incident and after the incident. He’s okay. Again I don’t know the exact circumstances around the bombs going off, but I’m sure it was very hectic, very scary and I’m sure it disrupted the team in a lot of ways. It’s never easy, hopefully in time all those people will recover.”

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MNT Apr 13, 2017

PREVIEW: MNT Looks for Road Result vs. Mexico at Estadio Azteca

The U.S. Men’s National Team makes the turn into the second half of the Hex when they visit Mexico on Sunday, June 11 at the iconic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Altitude, heat and smog all play factors in making Azteca one of the most difficult road qualifying venues in the world. Add in a crowd of 87,000, almost all of which are buzzing fully behind the home side, and it certainly explains that El Tri is 40-2-7 in World Cup Qualifiers at Azteca since the stadium opened in 1966.

Where They Stand

Because of Mexico’s participation in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, the game was moved up two days to allow El Trí to depart for Russia on time. That means both sides will have just three days between their games on Matchday 5 – the USA hosts Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico welcomes Honduras – before renewing their rivalry at Azteca on June 11.

Currently sitting fourth in the six-team Final Round group, the U.S. will hope to come to the Mexican capital with a win against the Soca Warriors in their pocket and also try to make amends for the 2-1 home defeat the side suffered to open the Hex on Nov. 11 in Columbus.

Meanwhile, Mexico enters the June qualifying dates sitting atop the table with 10 points, knowing that a win against Honduras on June 8 and another against the MNT three days later would all but book their ticket to Russia 2018.

The History

Thanks mainly to a 43-year unbeaten streak from 1937-1980, Mexico holds a commanding lead in the all-time series, going 34-18-14 against the United States. One of the cornerstones of Bruce Arena’s first tenure in charge of the MNT was the USA’s fortunes against Mexico, with the U.S. holding a 13-7-5 edge since 2000.

While Mexico’s 2-1 win last November in Columbus bucked the trend, overall the home teams have dominated the series in World Cup Qualifying since the 1982 cycle, with the USA’s best qualifying results at Azteca coming in scoreless draws on Nov. 2, 1997 and its most recent visit on March 26, 2013

While still intimidating, some of the shine has come off Azteca in recent years. The U.S. earned its first and only victory at the historic venue with a 1-0 friendly win on Aug. 15, 2012, while Mexico earned just six points in its five final round qualifiers there in 2013, going 1-1-3 on the way to finishing fourth in that year’s Hexagonal.

Still, battling all the elements while facing Mexico at Estadio Azteca is no small task. The U.S. has gone 1-7-2 in 10 matches there, with only five MNT players registering a goal. While a qualifying win in Mexico City would certainly be historic, another draw would be more than most teams ever walk away with from the vaunted venue. 

USA Results vs. Mexico at Estadio Azteca

Date

Result

U.S. Goal Scorers

Competition

Sept. 3, 1972

1-3 L

W. Roy

1974 WCQ

Oct. 15, 1976

0-3 L

--

1978 WCQ

Nov. 9, 1980

1-5 L

R. Davis

1982 WCQ

Nov. 2, 1997

0-0 D

--

1998 WCQ

Aug. 1, 1999

0-1 L (aet)

--

1999 Confederations Cup

July 1, 2001

0-1 L

--

2002 WCQ

March 27, 2005

1-2 L

E. Lewis

2006 WCQ

Aug. 12, 2009

1-2 L

C. Davies

2010 WCQ

Aug. 15, 2012

1-0 W

M. Orozco

Friendly

March 26, 2013

0-0 D

--

2014 WCQ


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MNT Apr 11, 2017

Vexed by the Hex? A Simple Guide to the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying

The U.S. Men’s National Team has played in the last seven World Cups – one of only six nations in the world to accomplish that feat – and some people naturally assume that every four years the U.S. is just penciled into the bracket. Not so!

In fact, qualifying for the FIFA World Cup out of CONCACAF  is a marathon. Since the current qualifying format was adopted for the 1998 tournament, the U.S. has had to play 16-18 matches spanning two years in order to book its place in the FIFA World Cup.

In the case of the current cycle, the MNT began its quest to qualify for Russia 2018 when it started play in CONCACAF’s Semifinal Round in November 2015. Having finished on top of a group that also featured Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the U.S. now finds itself in the CONCACAF's Final Round of World Cup Qualifying.

The six-team group, nicknamed “The Hex” (short for Hexagonal), pits the top two teams from each of CONCACAF’s three semifinal groups – in this case, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and USA -- in a home-and-away mini-league which began in November 2016 and concludes in October 2017. At the end of the 10-game schedule, the top three teams in The Hex automatically qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Meanwhile, the fourth-place team from CONCACAF will go into an intercontinental playoff with the fifth-place finisher from the Asian Football Confederation’s own qualifying tournament. The winner over two games will be 32nd and final entrant into the World Cup.

Got all that?

Here’s a breakdown of the 10-game schedule the MNT will have to navigate to qualify for its eighth consecutive FIFA World Cup, with a little history added in.

USA 1, Mexico 2 - Nov. 11, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio
Having defeated Mexico 2-0 in each of its previous four Final Round matches played in Columbus, Ohio, the MNT went back to MAPFRE Stadium in November, where they fell 2-1 to a talented Mexico side

A deflected effort from Miguel Layun gave Mexico a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, before the U.S. suffered another setback when goalkeeper Tim Howard suffered a fractured right adductor while taking a routine goal kick and had to leave the match in the 40th minute. After halftime, the U.S. bounced back through Bobby Wood's 49th minute strike and had chances to push ahead that came up empty. Just as it looked like both teams would settle for a 1-1 draw, Mexico captain Rafael Marquez headed home an 89th minute corner kick from Layun to give El Trí all three points.

WATCH: U.S. Falls 2-1 to Mexico in November 


Costa Rica 4, USA 0 - Nov. 15, 2016 in San Jose, Costa Rica

Four days after falling to Mexico, the U.S. traveled to Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica for a match against Los Ticos. The MNT's success rate in Costa Rica had never been great and while the U.S. nearly went into halftime tied 0-0, but Johan Venegas pushed the home side ahead in the 44th minute. Costa Rica then added strikes from Cristian BolaƄos and a brace from Joel Campbell to run out 4-0 winners.

In the days following the match, Jurgen Klinsmann was replaced by former MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who is charged with righting the ship for the U.S. to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

USA vs. Honduras - March 24, 2017

With just eight previous qualifying meetings, there’s much less history with Honduras than some of the MNT’s other Hex opponents. That said, Honduras does have its place in the USA’s World Cup Qualifying history thanks to its 3-2 victory in 2001 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. That result ended the MNT’s then record 19-match home unbeaten streak in qualifying and also stands as the USA’s last home qualifying defeat. The team will enter Final Round qualifying riding a 30-match home unbeaten run dating back to that 2001 loss.

WATCH: Honduras hands the U.S. its first home World Cup Qualifying loss since 1985

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Honduras: 5-2-1
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Honduras:
2-1-0 

Panama vs. USA - March 28, 2017
Having only first met Panama during qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. has become better acquainted with Los Canaleros in recent years. While qualifying visits to Central America are far from easy, the MNT has fared reasonably well in Panama, going 2-0-1 in its three contests at Estadio Rommel Fernandez. The most recent meeting will be fresh on the minds of Panama after the U.S. eliminated them from contention for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in heart-breaking fashion. With only a few ticks remaining on the clock and Panama’s dream of reaching its first World Cup moments from being realized, goals by Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson elevated the MNT to a 3-2 win on Oct. 15, 2013. Adding a bit of irony, the USA’s comeback win handed its nemesis Mexico a lifeline in their bid to advance to Brazil.

WATCH: U.S. eliminates Panama from World Cup contention in 2013

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Panama: 5-0-1
All-Time Away WCQ Records at Panama: 2-0-1 

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago - June 7-8, 2017
The U.S. will be best acquainted with Trinidad & Tobago after facing the Soca Warriors twice in the semifinal round. While T&T has offered tough challenges over the years, the MNT has dominated the series overall. The 4-0 win in September in Jacksonville moved the USA’s all-time home World Cup Qualifying record to 8-0-1 against the Caribbean nation. The matchup will bring back fond memories for Jozy Altidore, who in the 2008 edition of the series became the youngest player in history to score a hat trick for the U.S. Men’s National Team, tallying all three goals in the dominating 3-0 victory on April 1, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.

WATCH: Kljestan, Altidore, Arriola lead MNT past T&T in September

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 12-1-3
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 8-0-1

Mexico vs. USA - June 11-12, 2017
The second half of the cycle begins with the U.S. visiting Mexico and very likely the daunting Estadio Azteca. The heat and humidity of Mexico City in June combined with the 7,380 feet of altitude will certainly be payback for the potentially cold temperatures of Columbus in November. While the more than 100,000 fans packed into the arena create an even greater home-field advantage, the U.S. has put chinks in the armor in recent years. Having first earned a 0-0 World Cup Qualifying draw there in 1997, the MNT collected its first win against Mexico on their own soil in a 1-0 friendly win in 2012, and went on to secure a point from a 0-0 draw in 2013 during final round qualifying. 

WATCH: U.S. earns crucial 0-0 draw at Estadio Azteca in 2013

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Mexico: 6-16-6
All-Time Away WCQ Record at Mexico: 0-13-2

USA vs. Costa Rica - September 1, 2017
Just as the United States has found little qualifying success in Costa Rica, so the story goes for Los Ticos on U.S. soil, where the MNT holds a 6-1-2 all-time advantage. Costa Rica’s last two qualifying visits have provided memorable moments. In 2009, Jonathan Bornstein’s game-tying goal in the 95th minute not only ensured the U.S. remained unbeaten in home World Cup Qualifying, but also helped Honduras leapfrog Costa Rica for CONCACAF’s third World Cup Qualifying place for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In March 2013, the U.S. earned a 1-0 home win against Costa Rica in a match dubbed the “Snowclasico” for its blustery winter conditions at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. As field conditions worsened during the match, referee Joel Aguilar halted the game in the 55th minute to allow the stadium grounds crew to clear the lines on the field of snow. A gutsy performance saw the U.S. win 1-0 behind a first-half goal from Clint Dempsey as Costa Rica departed Colorado with jittery teeth and a bitter taste in their mouth.

WATCH: MNT grinds it out in the snow vs. Costa Rica

U.S. All-Time WCQ Record vs. Costa Rica: 6-10-3
U.S. All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Costa Rica:
6-1-2

Honduras vs. USA - September 5, 2017
Interestingly, Honduras is the only Hex opponent that the U.S. has won against on the road more times than they have at home. The series dates back to a 1-0 victory in San Pedro Sula in 1965 and has seen the U.S. earn two more wins at Estadio Olimpico – 2-1 in 2001 and a 3-2 result in 2009 in a game that feature two goals from Conor Casey and a Landon Donovan free – as well as a late penalty miss by Honduran striker Carlos Pavon - which clinched a berth for the United States at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Still, the U.S. will return looking to avenge its last meeting there. In the blistering heat of San Pedro Sula – matched only by the intensity of their fans both inside and outside the stadium – the United States suffered a 2-1 defeat to open the final round of qualifying in 2013. 

WATCH: U.S. earns 2010 World Cup berth in San Pedro Sula

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Honduras: 5-2-1
U.S. All-Time Away WCQ Records at Honduras: 3-1-1

October 6, 2017 - USA vs. Panama
Historically speaking, the MNT will still be in need of points to qualify when they host Los Canaleros on Matchday 9. The U.S. has won all three of its previous home World Cup Qualifying matches against Panama, outscoring the Central American side 10-0 in process. Nonetheless, the USA must remain vigilant: Panama has earned two consecutive draws on U.S. soil and won the Third Place match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in penalties. The 2004 meeting in qualifying added to the U.S. history books when after entering in the 65th minute, Eddie Johnson ripped off three straight goals to become the first player in MNT history to record a hat trick as a substitute. The U.S. ended with a 6-0 win. 

WATCH: U.S. sees off Panama during 2013 Hex in Seattle 

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Panama: 5-0-1
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Panama:
3-0-0

October 10, 2017 - Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA
In 1989, the MNT visited Trinidad & Tobago on the final day of World Cup Qualifying knowing that only a win would take the USA to its first World Cup since 1950. On that day, the task of winning away in Port of Spain was no foregone conclusion, and Paul Caligiuri’s “shot heard ‘around the world’ launched the modern era of U.S. Soccer. Flash forward almost 30 years, and anything less than three points there hasn’t met expectations. The MNT learned that lesson last November following a 0-0 draw in its semifinal round match at Hasely Crawford Stadium. With competition in CONCACAF at its fiercest, the U.S. could very well enter the final game of the Hex needing a result to book passage to Russia. 

WATCH: Paul Caligiuri sends USA to first World Cup since 1950 

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 12-1-3
All-Time Away WCQ Record at Trinidad & Tobago:
4-1-2

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MNT Mar 21, 2017
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