CHICAGO (March 13, 2006) – The U.S. Men’s National Team’s three-game Send-Off Series prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup will begin at The Coliseum in Nashville, Tenn., on May 23, before continuing to Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 26, and concluding at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on May 28.
The three U.S. opponents will be Morocco, Venezuela and Latvia, respectively, with all three matches kicking off at 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Telemundo will be broadcasting all three matches on tape delay.
Tickets for each match go on-sale on Wednesday, March 22 at 10 a.m. local time at ussoccer.com and all local Ticketmaster outlets. Group tickets for 20 or more are available for each match, as well as on-field seats and a limited number of Ultimate Fan Tickets. More information is available at ussoccer.com or by calling 312-528-1290.
"I'm pleased that we were able to arrange these three friendlies as part of our preparation for the World Cup," said U.S. MNT Manager Bruce Arena. "With the World Cup taking place in Europe, scheduling matches has been extremely difficult this time around; however, I think the opposition we will be facing will give us the right type of competition we need as we move forward with our preparations for Germany.
“We look forward to the support of the American fans and some fantastic atmospheres in these venues as we undertake the challenge of getting our team ready to compete in the World Cup."
The U.S. MNT will be making its debut in Nashville, and Cleveland will host a full international for the first time after hosting U.S. vs. Bayern Munich prior to the 1994 World Cup. The Send-Off Series finale will be at Rentschler Field, the site of a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Aug. 17, 2005, in front of a crowd of 25,488. The series, like the three-games played by the U.S. Women before their 2004 Olympic gold medal run, begins in Nashville and ends in East Hartford.
Morocco is the strongest of the Send-Off Series opponents, and will face the U.S. at The Coliseum at 6 p.m. CT on May 23. Ranked No. 36 in the FIFA rankings (12 spots ahead of U.S. Group E opponent Ghana), Morocco was just 21 minutes away from being in Germany for the World Cup when Tunisia scored a 69th-minute equalizer to knock the four-time World Cup participant down to second place. The U.S. has never beaten Morocco, with losses coming in 1992 and 1999.
The U.S. has also faced Venezuela twice, with a 1-0-1 record that includes a 2-0 victory in Seattle, Wash., on March 29, 2003. The second match of the series, presented by Sierra Mist, will kick off at 7 p.m. ET at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The final match of the Send-Off Series, presented by Hyundai, kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 28, will be the first vs. Latvia, one of the final 16 at the 2004 European Championship.
The U.S. MNT is undefeated in 2006, with a 4-0-1 record that includes victories over fellow World Cup qualifiers Japan and Poland. The U.S. will next be in action on Wednesday, March 22, taking on World Cup host Germany in Dortmund live on ESPN2 at 2:25 p.m. ET, and will also host Jamaica at a sold-out SAS Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on April 11 at 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN2. The U.S. will begin their final FIFA World Cup training camp on May 9 in Cary, N.C., before departing for the Send-Off Series matches.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy in Kaiserslautern on June 17 and then finishing off group play against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg. The U.S. has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as their base of operations throughout the tournament.
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