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CONCACAF Confirms World Cup Qualifying Semifinal Round Qualifying Schedule


CHICAGO (March 2, 2004) —CONCACAF, the governing body of soccer for the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, has announced the results of the draw to determine the schedule and order of matches of the semifinal round of 2006 World Cup Qualifying.   The United States, should it advance to the semifinal round, would open the four-team, six-match round robin competition on the road on Aug. 18 in Jamaica or Haiti. The first U.S. home game is scheduled for Sept. 4 likely against El Salvador or Bermuda.

The U.S. first meets the winner of Grenada and Guyana in a home-and-home series June 13 and June 20, with the first match to be played in the United States at a site to be determined. Grenada appears to be the likely U.S. opponent after their 5-0 first leg victory over Guyana on Feb. 28. The return match in the series is set for March 13 in Guyana.

Should the U.S. advance to the semifinal round, the team would play three of their first four games on the road before closing with home matches on Oct. 13 and November 17.  Sites for all of the U.S. World Cup qualifying games have yet to be determined.

"We don't want to put the cart ahead of the horse," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena, whose team needed a victory against Barbados on the final matchday to advance from the semifinal round in 2002 World Cup qualifying.  "If we are successful and reach the semifinal stage, we look forward to the competition.  We know from past experiences it will be a very difficult and challenging competition, yet one for which we will be prepared and ready to go."
  
The U.S. MNT continues the buildup to 2006 World Cup qualifying with a friendly against Haiti on Saturday, March 13 at The Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.  Kickoff for the match is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be shown live on HDNet.  The match will also be available to DirecTV viewers via pay-per-view, and fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

The U.S. MNT then travels to Poland on March 31, and has game dates set for April 28 and May 26 at sites and against opponents still to be finalized.  Following the MNT World Cup qualifiers on June 13 and June 20 against either Grenada or Guyana, the U.S. will meet Poland in a domestic friendly on July 11.

Following are the potential teams in the USA's semifinal round bracket, and the potential U.S. MNT Schedule for 2004:

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
GROUP A - Semifinal Round


* should the U.S. advance to the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying
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