Crew Stadium to Host Two U.S. MNT World Cup Qualifiers
The winner of the USA-Grenada aggregate goals series will advance to the semifinal round of qualifying, where they will play six round-robin games against three other teams from Aug. 18 through Nov. 17, 2004. Should the U.S. advance past Grenada, the semifinal round finale on Nov. 17 would also be hosted by the five-year-old Crew Stadium.
"Columbus Crew Stadium has been a great home for soccer and for the U.S. National Teams," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "They've hosted a number of important games, and we've had great success there. We know that fans from all over the country will find their way to Columbus to support us, and it is the perfect venue for us to begin our World Cup journey."
An advance sale for U.S. Soccer fans registered at ussoccerfan.com begins on April 26 for series tickets to both matches (free registration available at ussoccerfan.com). Tickets range from $25-$65 for the June 13 match against Grenada, while tickets for the potential match on Nov. 17 against Jamaica or Haiti range from $35-$85. Fans can also buy series tickets for both games in a public sale from April 30 to May 13. If available, single game tickets for the June 13 match will go on sale May 14. Crew season ticket holders will receive an exclusive purchase opportunity prior to the ussoccerfan.com private advance sale. [Click here for complete ticket information].
Since opening in 1999, Columbus Crew Stadium has hosted the U.S. Men's National Team four times, including two World Cup qualifying games during the 2002 World Cup cycle. The U.S. has never lost a game or surrendered a goal at Crew Stadium, compiling a 2-0-2 lifetime record.
Crew Stadium is home to one of the most famous victories in U.S. history when the MNT downed Mexico 2-0 in 2002 World Cup qualifying play on a blustery winter evening on February 28, 2001. The USA's other qualifying experience in Columbus came in a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Costa Rica on Oct 11, 2000. Crew Stadium's World Cup experience also includes hosting three doubleheaders during the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Should the U.S. get past Grenada, the team's semifinal round schedule would begin with a road game on Aug. 18 against either Jamaica or Haiti, the same team the USA would face in their Nov. 17 match in what could be a chilly Crew Stadium. According to the National Weather Service, the average low temperature in Columbus on Nov. 17 is 34 degrees, compared to 77 in Kingston, Jamaica and 70 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
"Crew Stadium is extremely proud to host our Men's National Team as they begin the very difficult task of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup Finals," said Crew Stadium General Manager Mark McCullers. "Being selected to host two matches in 2004 demonstrates a great deal of confidence in central Ohio soccer fans to deliver a significant home field advantage for the team and reinforces Crew Stadium as a preferred venue for our National Teams."
In their history, the U.S. has never played Grenada, who qualified for the showdown with the United States after sweeping Guyana in a two-game series, 8-0. Against Jamaica, the U.S. has an undefeated record of 8-0-5, which includes a 6-0-1 record on home soil and 2-0-4 mark in World Cup qualifying play. Against Haiti, the U.S. actually has an all-time losing record of 5-6-4, which includes a 2-2-0 record in qualifying dating all the way back to 1954. The Jamaica-Haiti series will be played during the same window of dates as the USA-Grenada match-up.
Following the Wednesday, March 31, game in Poland, the U.S. has matches scheduled for April 28 against Mexico at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and for June 2 at a venue and against an opponent yet to be finalized. That match will be the team's final preparation before their showdown at Crew Stadium with Grenada on June 13. The team also has a return match against Poland scheduled for July 11 at Chicago's Soldier Field.
– 2004 U.S. Men's National Team Schedule –
* Pending the U.S. advancing to the semifinal round.