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U.S. Men to Face Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia in Group C at 2007 Copa America

CARACAS, Venezuela (Feb. 14, 2007) – The U.S. Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group C with Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay for the 2007 Copa America, a 12-team tournament which will take place from June 26 to July 15 in nine cities across Venezuela.

The U.S. will open the tournament against Argentina on Thursday, June 28 at Estadio Jose “Pachencho” Romero in Maracaibo, which is in the northeast corner of the country on the western side of Lake Maracaibo and will also be the venue for the final. The U.S. will then face Paraguay on July 2 at Estadio Agustin Tovar “La Carolina” in Barinas, before finishing group play against Colombia on July 5 at Estadio Metropolitano de Futbol de Lara in Barquisimeto.

“We excited about our participation in Copa America. I think quite obviously we have been put in a very competitive group,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley. “When we decided that we wanted to enter Copa America, we did so with the understanding that we would have excellent games for our players and I know that will be the case. As you know, we have a busy schedule this summer. Copa America follows the Gold Cup, which will be played in the United States. We have a lot of work to do in terms of putting together rosters, but they are both very, very important events as we go forward with our national team program.”

In the other two groups, host Venezuela heads up Group A alongside Bolivia, Peru and Uruguay, while Group B includes Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico. The Final Draw for the Copa America, the championship of South America, took place Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local) at the teatro Teresa Carreño de Caracas.

The first phase of the tournament consists of three groups of four teams each competing in a round-robin format. The top two teams from each group, along with the two best third-place teams, advance to the knockout phase.

For the United States, the appearance will mark their third entrance into CONMEBOL’s signature event. The last time the U.S. competed in the tournament in 1995, the U.S. upset defending champion Argentina, 3-0, to advance to the quarterfinals where they defeated Mexico and eventually finished in fourth place. Overall, the U.S. has played Argentina seven times in their history, holding a lifetime record of 2-5-0 against the South American juggernaut. The only other victory came in 1999 when a Joe-Max Moore goal was the difference in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. is 3-8-3 all-time vs. Colombia in a series that dates back to a 2-0 loss for the U.S. in Bogata, Colombia, in 1961. The biggest game of the series was a 2-1 win for the U.S. in the Rose Bowl during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. An Earnie Stewart goal gave the U.S. its first win in a World Cup match since the famed 1950 U.S. team defeated England 1-0. The last time the two countries met, the U.S. defeated Colombia 3-0 on March 9, 2005, in Fullerton, Calif.

Paraguay is the only team in the tournament the U.S. has a winning record against, never losing to the Guaranies in four meetings (2-0-2). The first meeting between the two countries came during the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay, the U.S. defeating Paraguay 3-0 as Bert Patenaude scored the first hat-trick in World Cup play.

Copa America is the second international tournament in which the U.S. will compete next summer. The U.S. will seek to defend their Gold Cup title when they join 11 other teams in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will take place from June 6-24 in several cities across the United States.

The U.S. has begun preparations for this summer’s events in fine fashion, posting two victories under Bradley. After a 3-1 win on Jan. 20 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., delivered the USA their first-ever victory against Denmark, the U.S. shutout Mexico for the eighth straight time at home with a familiar 2-0 scoreline in front of a sold out crowd of 62,462 on Feb. 7 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The shutout kept Mexico scoreless on American soil in this decade, as the U.S. has outscored their CONCACAF rival 13-0 since 2000.

– U.S. All-Time Record vs. “Group C” Copa America Opponents –

                       GP   W      L      T      GF     GA      Notes:
Argentina      7       2      5       0       7        25      USA beat ARG 3-0 in 1995 Copa America to win group
Colombia    14      3      8       3      11      18       USA defeated Colombia 2-1 during 1994 World Cup in USA
Paraguay      4       2      0       2       7         2        U.S. has never lost to Paraguay in four matches
Total              25    7      13      5      25      45

– U.S. 2007 Copa America Schedule –

Date          Opponent            Venezuela City (Venue)
June 28    Argentina            Maracaibo (Estadio Jose “Pachencho” Romero)
July 2        Paraguay            Barinas (Estadio Agustin Tovar “La Carolina”)
July 5        Colombia           Barquisimeto (Estadio Metropolitano de Futbol de Lara)