CHICAGO (Thursday, December 19, 2002) â€“ The U.S. Men's National Team will host fellow World Cup finalists Japan at Seattle Seahawks Stadium on Saturday, March 29 in Seattle . Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can follow the action live online via ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
"The match against Japan gives us a chance to present a different type of opponent to our team," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "Japan are a physical, aggressive side that runs extremely well. This games gives us another opportunity to expand the experience of our younger players while continuing preparation for both the FIFA Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup this summer."
The United States and Japan have met only one time at the senior international level, with Japan capturing a 3-1 victory on March 14, 1993 in Tokyo. The countries most recently clashed in the quarterfinals of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The United States, facing a Japanese side that included European stars Hidetoshi Nakata and Junichi Inamoto, captured a dramatic 5-4 win in penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation, advancing the USA into the medal round.
The Japanese are coming off an impressive performance in the 2002 World Cup, an event which they co-hosted with Korea. In only their second appearance in the World Cup Finals, Japan finished on top of Group H with two wins and a draw, advancing to the knockout phase where they fell to eventual third-place finishers Turkey in the Round of 16. Now under the charge of Brazilian World Cup legend Zico, the defending Asian Football Confederation champions will join in the United States in competing in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup this summer in France.
The clash with Japan will be the first international soccer match hosted by the newly minted Seattle Seahawks Stadium. The U.S. men are making their third appearance in Seattle, each at a different venue. Earlier this year, more than 38,000 fans packed into Safeco Field to witness the USA trounce Honduras 4-0, as Clint Mathis and Landon Donovan each netted a pair in the shutout victory. The USA drew 1-1 with Russia at the Kingdome in 1994, in a preparation match for the '94 World Cup.
Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $70 go on sale starting Monday, December 23, at 12 p.m. PT at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, at the Seahawks Stadium ticket office, by phone (Seattle 206-628-0888; Tacoma 253-627-8497), and on-line at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290. (Click here for complete ticket information.)
The United States is continuing its preparation for participation in two major tournaments this summer. Eight teams from the around the world, led by 2002 World Cup champions Brazil, will compete for the FIFA Confederations Cup championship from June 18-29 in France. The USA will then look to defend its confederation championship in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held from July 12-27 in the United States.