CHICAGO (Monday, February 14, 2005) — The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will face Honduras on Saturday, March 19, in Albuquerque, N.M. at 2 p.m. MT at University Stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico in an important tune up for the most difficult match of its World Cup Qualifying schedule.
Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $60 go on sale tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 15) at 9 a.m. MT. Tickets can be purchased online at ussoccer.com, by calling 505-925-5858 or 800-905-3315, by visiting any Tickets.com retail outlet (including Raley's or Oshman’s stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe), and at the UNM Ticket Offices at The Pit and the UNM Bookstore. A limited number of special "On Field" seats are also available at $125.
The U.S. Men’s National Team is coming off an exciting 2-1 victory on Feb. 9 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Goals by Ed Johnson and Eddie Lewis earned the U.S. three valuable points for a win in the first qualifying match of 2005. The next qualifying match for the U.S. sends the team to Mexico City to face rival Mexico on March 27 at Estadio Azteca, the toughest venue in the CONCACAF region for a visiting team to earn points. Mexico also won their qualifying opener on Feb. 9 by a 2-1 margin, so they are tied with the U.S. at the top of the six-team qualifying group. At stake for the U.S. over the 10-game qualifying schedule this year is a berth to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
"As a team, our focus right now is on preparing as best we can for our World Cup qualifying games," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "With that in mind, we know the match in New Mexico is going to be a critical step for us as we prepare for the high-altitude and difficult conditions that await us for our match in Mexico City on March 27. We haven't played in New Mexico for more than 10 years, so we are excited about getting into a new market with such an important game."
This is the second trip for the U.S. Men’s National Team to New Mexico. Previously at University Stadium, the U.S. dropped a 2-0 decision to Chile in front of 15,610 fans on April 30, 1994, just two months prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. Women’s National Team played at University Stadium last year for the first time, topping Mexico 3-0 on May 9 with a crowd of 17,805.
The U.S. is 5-2-3 all-time vs. Honduras in a series that dates back to a 1-0 win for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying play in 1965. The U.S. is coming off of a pair of 4-0 wins in consecutive friendly matches vs. Honduras in 2002 and 2004, with the most recent being played on June 2 of last year in Foxboro, Mass. In that game, a warm up for the opening match of World Cup qualifying for the U.S., forward Brian McBride scored a pair of goals to move into second on the U.S. career scoring chart and captain Claudio Reyna earned his 100th cap.
Honduras narrowly missed out on the final round of World Cup Qualifying, as Guatemala and Costa Rica made it out of the toughest semifinal round groups in CONCACAF. The Honduran team includes 2004 Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player Amado Guevara of the MetroStars and newly signed Chicago Fire central defender Samuel Caballero, who was playing in Italy’s Serie A as recently as 2003.
The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, will compete in the 10-game round-robin format from Feb. 9 through Oct. 12, 2005, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.