The U.S. will be looking to extend its unbeaten streak at Crew Stadium after posting consecutive shutouts in World Cup qualifying play in the team's last two trips to the Ohio venue. The U.S. battled Costa Rica to a scoreless draw on October 11, 2000, in the semifinal round of qualifying, and then returned on February 28 of this year to open the final round of qualifying with an important 2-0 victory over Mexico in what was called by many "La Guerra Fria En Columbus" (or "The Cold War in Columbus"). In both of those matches, the Americans sold out Crew Stadium averaging 24,527 fans.
The match-up will mark the final preparation for the Americans before their important back-to-back final round World Cup qualifying games in the middle of June. In those crucial games, the U.S. travels to Jamaica on June 16 and then returns to the states four days later to take on Trinidad & Tobago at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts.
Amazingly, in seven all-time meetings against Ecuador, the U.S. has never won. The South Americans own a 4-0-3 record against the U.S., which includes a 1-0 victory in the teams' last meeting back on August 7, 1997 in Baltimore, Md. Ecuador has been one of the surprises in CONMEBOL (South American) World Cup qualifying, where they currently stand in fourth-place with 19 points (6-4-1 record).
Ecuador is coming off an historic first-ever win over world-power Brazil, 1-0, on March 28 in Quito. The top four teams in South American qualifying will automatically qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan and the fifth-place finisher in South America will playoff against the Oceania champion. Ecuador, which has won its last three qualifying matches, will put its winning streak on the line when it hosts Paraguay on April 24. Just five days prior to their match against the U.S., Ecuador will take on Peru on June 2 in Quito before traveling directly into Columbus.
The U.S. is off to their best start ever in World Cup qualifying final round play after defeating Columbus and then earning a critical 2-1 victory on March 28 in Honduras. The road victory against the high-scoring Hondurans was just the third-ever World Cup qualifying victory for the U.S. in Central America. The top three teams from the six-team 30-game CONCACAF final round, which concludes on Nov. 11, will advance to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Tickets for the international friendly against Ecuador are priced at $32 (sideline), $24 (corner) and $18 (end), will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, May 5, at 10 a.m. ET. Prior to that, Crew season-ticket holders and members of the U.S. Soccer family will be offered an opportunity to acquire tickets through a special mailing.