U.S. to Face Guatemala on February 19 in Texas' First World Cup Preparation Match
Pizza Hut Park to Host First U.S. National Team Event
at 1 p.m. CT live on ESPN2 and Telemundo;
U.S. Schedule for First Two Months of World Cup Year Now Finalized
CHICAGO (January 10, 2006) — For the first time since 1994, the U.S. Men’s National Team will play a World Cup preparation match in Texas when the U.S. hosts Guatemala on February 19 at 1 p.m. CT at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
This will be the first U.S. National Team appearance at FC Dallas’ new home, which opened five months ago on Aug. 6, 2005, and will be the fourth match of the year for the team. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Telemundo, and will be available to fans online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Tickets will go on sale starting Friday, January 13, at 10 a.m. CT online at ussoccer.com, at all Dallas-Ft. Worth area Ticketmaster outlets (including Foley’s, Fiesta Stores, and Tower Records) and by phone at 214-373-8000. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets through FC Dallas by calling 888-FCD-GOAL beginning Thursday, January 12, at 10 a.m.
With the announcement of this match, the MNT has finalized its January and February schedules as the team continues to prepare for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
"The Guatemala game will provide us with another good opponent as we continue to prepare and evaluate players for the 2006 World Cup roster,” U.S Manager Bruce Arena said. “The game at Pizza Hut Park is the first for the Men's National Team in Frisco, and we're excited about playing at one of the finest soccer venues in the United States."
The U.S. MNT is currently in camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and will open its 2006 schedule with a trio of friendlies in California. On Jan. 22, the team will face Canada at Torero Stadium in San Diego and one week later returns to The Home Depot Center to face Norway on Jan. 29 live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. PT. The U.S. ends its West Coast swing with a primetime match vs. Japan on Friday, Feb. 10, at SBC Park live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. PT.
The Feb. 19 match will be the 17th meeting all-time between the U.S. and Guatemala. Guatemala won the first four meetings between the two nations between 1977 and 1988, but since the team’s second meeting in 1988, the U.S. has an 8-0-4 record including a 4-0-4 mark in World Cup qualifying. The U.S. has also never lost to Guatemala on U.S. soil. Most recently, the U.S. faced Guatemala in the Final Round of World Cup qualifying, and came away with a 2-0 victory in Birmingham, Ala., and a 0-0 draw in Guatemala City.
The last time the U.S. played a World Cup preparation match in Texas was a 2-2 tie with Bolivia on March 26, 1994 at the Cotton Bowl. Overall, the U.S. has a 6-2-5 record in the state and a 5-1-4 mark in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. The U.S. is unbeaten in Texas in their last 11 matches, with the last loss coming to Ecuador on June 10, 1988, in Houston.
Currently ranked eighth in the FIFA World Rankings, the U.S. concluded 2005 with a 13-3-4 record, an all-time high for wins and the best-ever winning percentage (.750) in a season where the team has played more than 10 games, breaking the record of .733 set just last year when the U.S. went 8-1-6 in 15 games. The USA became the first team to qualify from CONCACAF for the FIFA World Cup when they defeated Mexico 2-0 on Sept. 3, 2005 in Columbus, Ohio on MatchDay 7 of the final round hexagonal.
Guatemala was the fifth best team in CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup, and finished just one win away from a place in the playoff that was eventually won by Trinidad & Tobago. Behind talented FC Dallas striker Carlos Ruiz, Guatemala tied the U.S. as the second highest scoring team in the region with 16 goals.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Ghana, and Italy. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen. Five days later, the USA faces Italy in Kaiserslautern, then finishes 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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