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U.S. Men Head to Florida as Scotland Comes to Jacksonville and Antigua & Barbuda Visits Tampa

The U.S. Men’s National Team announced Wednesday it is headed to Florida for two matches this May and June, hosting Scotland on May 26 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., and opening 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on June 8 in Tampa, Fla. The USA has a bit of history with Scotland, but it has yet to face Antigua and Barbuda – a team that the U.S. will face twice during FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will host a new opponent when it takes on Antigua and Barbuda on June 8 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The two sides will square off as part of the Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Antigua and Barbuda will be the 91st country the U.S. Men will face in the history of the program.

The last time the U.S. played a country for the first time was back on June 23, 2010, when it defeated Algeria 1-0 during the FIFA World Cup to win Group C on Landon Donovan’s dramatic stoppage-time goal. That game was preceded by the USA’s first match against Slovenia on June 18, 2010, a 2-2 draw in the second group game.

While Antigua and Barbuda is months away from announcing its roster heading into the match, it is clear that much of the team’s attacking goes through Antiguan forward Peter Byers. Byers, who has eight goals in qualifying (the most goals among active players in qualifying), plays for the Los Angeles Blues in the USL PRO. He first debuted for Antigua and Barbuda’s national team in 2004. Last year, the 27-year-old Byers had two hat tricks in World Cup Qualifying victories against the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 6 and Oct. 11.

With Antigua Barracuda FC joining the USL PRO for the 2011 season, naturally the majority of Antigua and Barbuda national team flocked to this franchise and spent the year playing among the league’s various U.S.-based teams.

Antigua and Barbuda captain and defender George Dublin, midfielder Tamorley “Ziggy” Thomas and forward Randolph Burton are among a group of 18 capped players who have recent ties to Antigua Barracuda, which finished its first USL PRO season with a 9-13-2 record.

The U.S. will visit Antigua and Barbuda for the first time on Oct. 12 as part of CONCACAF semifinal-round qualification for the 2014 World Cup.

U.S. Turnaround Against Scotland: The first three times the U.S. faced Scotland, it lost all three matches by a combined 11-0 margin. But the series has turned around since that opening, with the United States earning a victory and two draws. The USA (1-3-2 in the head-to-head series) first met Scotland on June 19, 1949, dropping a 4-0 decision at Randall’s Island, N.Y.

Scotland netted a 6-0 win against the U.S. on April 30, 1952, in Glasgow, Scotland, followed by a 1-0 victory on May 17, 1992, in Denver, Colo.

The U.S. garnered its first win against Scotland on May 26, 1996, with Eric Wynalda and Cobi Jones tallying goals en route to a 2-1 victory in New Britain, Conn. The two teams played to a scoreless draw on May 30, 1998, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Most recently, the U.S. and Scotland played to a 1-1 draw on Nov. 12, 2005, in Glasgow. Josh Wolff converted a penalty kick in the ninth minute, but Scotland responded later in the first half. The USA dominated the match but could not find the game-winner.