CHICAGO (Wednesday, February 18, 2004) — Tickets for the U.S. Men’s National Team next domestic international friendly, which will pit them against fellow CONCACAF World Cup qualifying participant Haiti on Saturday, March 13 at The Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., go on sale today at 12 p.m. ET. Kickoff for the match is set for 8 p.m. ET, and fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
"Haiti is an athletic and quite unpredictable opponent, and will provide a great challenge for our team," said U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena. "The matches with Haiti in southern Florida typically provide a very exciting atmosphere, and it will be a good experience for our players... Games like these should definitely help us in our ultimate goal of preparing players to play in our upcoming World Cup qualifiers beginning in June."
Tickets, which are priced at $15 for Youth General Admission, $20 for Adult General Admission and $35 for Reserved, are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, including select FYE, Specs Music and Ricky's Records. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 305-358-5885 in Miami, 561-966-3309 in West Palm Beach or 954-523-3309 for Fort Lauderdale. For complete ticket information, please click here.
Including the USA's first away match of 2004 today Feb. 18 in Holland (live on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. ET), the match against Haiti is one of five games the U.S. will play before it begins CONCACAF World Cup qualifying at home on June 13. The U.S. will also play games on March 31 at Poland and in friendlies on April 28 and May 26 at sites and against opponents still to be finalized. Following their two-game World Cup qualifying series on June 13 and June 20 against Grenada or Guyana, U.S. Soccer has also scheduled a return domestic match for the U.S. Men against Poland on July 11 at a site yet to be determined.
The U.S. has met Haiti 14 times in their history, and despite holding an overall record of 5-6-3, the teams have played only twice since 1983. The sides' last meeting also took place at The Orange Bowl, with the U.S. collecting a 3-0 victory in front of 49,000 fans on Feb. 12, 2000, in the opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The USA has played nine times at Miami's Orange Bowl, compiling a 2-5-2 lifetime record, which includes three matches last year (a friendly vs. Argentina and two matches in the CONCACAF Gold Cup).
Haiti is one of the USA's potential opponents in the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, with the teams having been drawn into the same bracket. To meet the U.S. though, Haiti will first have to get past a two-game series with Turks & Caicos Islands in the first round of qualifying on Feb. 18 and Feb. 21, and then a two-game set against Jamaica. Should they win those match-ups, and should the U.S. get past their preliminary round opponent, the teams would meet in the four-team semifinal round qualifying group, which begins in August.
Former U.S. MNT defender Fernando Clavijo leads the Haitian National Team after getting hired in October of 2003. Clavijo registered 61 caps as a defender with the U.S. MNT from 1990-1994 and started three matches during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Clavijo was also a former MLS coach for the New England Revolution and an assistant for the MetroStars. With Haiti, Clavijo is attempting to spark one of the most dangerous teams in the Caribbean to their second-ever World Cup appearance, having made their World Cup debut in 1974 in Germany.