Chicago, Salt Lake and Washington, D.C. To Host U.S. Men's National Team's Remaining Home FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
CHICAGO (Feb. 11, 2008) — The U.S. Men’s National Team will play their last three final round home FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in Chicago, Salt Lake and Washington, D.C. The U.S. will host Honduras on June 6 at Soldier Field, and then face El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sept. 5 in Salt Lake. The team closes out the final round of qualifying against Costa Rica on Oct. 14 at historic RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Ticket and television information will be available in the near future.
“We are excited to be heading back to three great venues for soccer in this country," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "We have very special memories of playing in Chicago, and we expect a terrific atmosphere with the enthusiastic fans in the Chicagoland area. Salt Lake has demonstrated both passion and commitment to the U.S. team and the sport as a whole, and we believe Rio Tinto Stadium will be a fine host for a World Cup qualifier. RFK Stadium has a tremendous history and tradition hosting the national team, and we always appreciate the knowledge and energy that supporters in D.C. bring to the stadium."
Despite years of soccer history, Chicago’s Soldier Field will be hosting a World Cup qualifier for the first time, with the match against Honduras kicking off at 7 p.m. CT. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 3-3-2 in the stadium by the lake, including a 2-1 victory against Mexico in the final of the 2007 Gold Cup before a sold-out crowd of 60,000 fans. Overall, five of the eight matches at Soldier Field have drawn more than 40,000 supporters.
The U.S. team is making its first trip to newly minted Rio Tinto Stadium, facing off against El Salvador at 5:30 p.m. MT. Salt Lake City hosted a final round World Cup qualifier in the lead up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, when the U.S. recorded a dominating 3-0 victory against Costa Rica in front of a raucous Utah crowd of 40,586 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The victory was sparked by two goals from forward Landon Donovan and six second-half saves by goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium has hosted the national team 18 times, and has been the site of 11 U.S. wins - more than any stadium in the world. Overall, the U.S. is 11-3-4 on East Capitol Street. Washington. D.C., served as a venue in the semifinal round last year when the U.S. clinched passage to the final phase with a dominating 6-1 victory against Cuba. DaMarcus Beasley scored two goals, while Landon Donovan, Brian Ching, Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu added tallies as the U.S. took full advantage of the passionate home support. Kickoff for the match on Oct. 14 will be determined later.
The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.