The Nike U.S. Cup is staged annually by the Federation as U.S. Soccer's premier men's event. After one year as an abbreviated four-game tournament, the Nike U.S. Cup will not only be staged again this year in its usual four-team, six-game format, it is also returning to its original June schedule.
In addition to the doubleheader finale at Giants Stadium, two other tournament dates will feature doubleheaders with Major League Soccer, beginning with the Chicago Fire and Kansas City Wizards squaring off before Ireland and Mexico do battle at Soldier Field on Sunday, June 4. The second MLS doubleheader will see the Dallas Burn host the Columbus Crew following Mexico vs. South Africa.
After winning the inaugural event in 1992 and capturing the 1995 tournament against a tough field of Colombia, Mexico and Nigeria, the U.S. is looking to reclaim the U.S. Cup crown, which has been won by Mexico in each of the last three tournaments. In 1999, the Tri-Colores took the crown with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the USA in San Diego on March 13. That loss was the first for Bruce Arena as head coach of the U.S. and concluded the abbreviated four-game tournament.
"The U.S. Cup is our last major international competition prior to World Cup qualifying," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena, "so it is obviously important in our preparation for our ultimate goal of qualifying for the next World Cup. This is an excellent field. Ireland had some success in Euro qualifying and is always a tough opponent and our first match-up against South Africa will be a good test against one of Africa's strongest teams. And we are always up for games against Mexico."
In six past tournaments, the U.S. has a 7-7-3 all-time record in 17 games against Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, England, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru and Portugal.
For Ireland, the trip to the United States marks the country's third U.S. Cup appearance, having previously finished third in the 1992 event and second in 1996. Ireland has compiled a 2-3-1 mark in six previous U.S. Cup games, including an 0-2 mark against the U.S. Back on May 30, 1992, at RFK Stadium, the U.S. downed Ireland 3-1 in the first-ever U.S. Cup match.
South Africa will not only be making their Nike U.S. Cup debut, but will also be taking on the USA for the first time in the history of the two countries.
Tickets for all the matches go on sale March 4 at 10 a.m. at each venue's stadium box office and via Ticketmaster. Prices range from $20 to $75.
|June 3||United States vs. South Africa||RFK Stadium|
|4:00 p.m. (ET) / ABC||(703/478-6600)|
|June 4||Chicago vs. Kansas City (MLS)||Solider Field|
|2:00 p.m. (CT) / -||(888/MLS-FIRE)|
|Ireland vs. Mexico||Solider Field|
|4:30 p.m. (CT) / -||(888/MLS-FIRE)|
|June 6||United States vs. Ireland||Foxboro Stadium|
|8:00 p.m. (ET) / ESPN||(877/GET-REVS)|
|June 7||Mexico vs. South Africa||The Cotton Bowl|
|7:00 p.m. (CT) / -||(214/373-8000)|
|Dallas vs. Columbus (MLS)||The Cotton Bowl|
|9:30 p.m. (CT) / -||(214/373-8000)|
|June 11||United States vs. Mexico||Giants Stadium|
(East Rutherford, N.J.)
|1:00 p.m. (ET) / ABC||(888/4-METROTIX)|
|Ireland vs. South Africa||Giants Stadium|
(East Rutherford, N.J.)
|3:30 p.m. (ET) / -||(888/4-METROTIX)|