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U.S.-Mexico Rivalry Returns to Columbus on Feb. 11 For First Final Round Qualifier For 2010 FIFA World Cup


CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2008) — For the third consecutive time in final round qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer has selected Columbus Crew Stadium to host the home leg between the United States and Mexico. The USA’s most anticipated match of the final round will be played Wednesday, Feb. 11, with kickoff times and broadcast information to be announced at a later date. Fans will be able to follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

The match in Columbus is the first of five qualifiers in the Final Round to be played in the United States. Ticketing details will be announced in the near future.

“We are very excited about returning to Columbus,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who guided the U.S. to a 7-1-0 record through the first two rounds of FIFA World Cup qualifying. “The national team has enjoyed a great history there, and the team has always appreciated the fantastic support from the fans. We are looking forward to an incredible atmosphere as we continue the difficult task of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.”

The Columbus Crew Stadium match will be the sixth World Cup qualifier hosted by the nine-year-old venue. The U.S. has a 3-0-2 record in qualifying and an unbeaten 4-0-3 all-time record in the stadium. In the first meeting on Feb. 28, 2001 – dubbed the “Guerra Fria (‘Cold War’)” because the game-time temperature topped out at 29 degrees - goals by Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart paced the U.S. to a 2-0 victory. Four years later on Sept. 3, 2005, goals by Steve Ralston and DaMarcus Beasley earned the United States another 2-0 win and officially booked their place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

“Our first priority is to give our team the best chance to be successful and achieve the goal of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and Columbus Crew Stadium has always been a great venue for the national team," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We carefully considered our options, and ultimately we felt that playing in Columbus is the right fit for this match.”

The match on Feb. 11 will mark the 55th meeting between the USA and Mexico. The U.S. has dominated the series of late, collecting an 8-0-2 home record against Mexico since 2000. During that span, the USA has netted 17 goals, while the Mexicans have scored only three on American soil in this decade.

Under head coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. has a 2-0-1 record against their border rivals, including a 2-1 victory in the 2007 Gold Cup final in Chicago that delivered the U.S. its second-consecutive regional championship and a place in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, where they will play current World Champion Italy, Brazil and Egypt.

The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off a busy 2009 schedule when they face Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the USA’s only tune-up match prior to the start of final round qualifying is set for at 5:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

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