U.S. Men to Open 2007 Copa America on June 28 vs. Argentina
CHICAGO (February 13, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team will open the 2007 Copa America vs. Argentina on Thursday, June 28, the official tournament organizers announced on Tuesday evening. The USA will learn their complete schedule and additional opponents on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET) when the official draw for the 2007 Copa America, the regional championship of South America, is staged at the teatro Teresa Carreño de Caracas.
The 12-team tournament will run from June 26 to July 15 in nine cities across Venezuela. For the United States, the appearance will mark their third entrance into CONMEBOL’s signature event.
Prior to Wednesday’s Draw, CONMEBOL announced today that the USA will be in a group with Argentina and face them on June 28. In addition, CONMEBOL announced that Mexico will face Brazil on June 27 and the host Venezuelans will open the tournament on June 26 against Bolivia.
The first phase of the tournament consists of three groups of four teams each that compete 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. Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela have been designated to head the three groups.
The U.S. is competing in the biennial event for the first time since 1995, when a 3-0 defeat of defending champion Argentina and a quarterfinal victory against Mexico helped lift the USA to a fourth-place finish in Uruguay. Despite falling 1-0 to Brazil in the semifinals, U.S. midfielder John Harkes joined Uruguay captain Enzo Francescoli as co-MVP of the tournament. The USA’s only other appearance in the competition came in 1993 in Ecuador.
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. Becoming the first team in history to reach the finals five times, the United States captured their third regional crown by defeating Panama in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw in regulation. Along the route to the 2005 championship, the U.S. extended their record-setting 19-match unbeaten run in group play, while DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan and Oguchi Onyewu were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The U.S. has begun preparations for this summer’s events in fine fashion, posting two victories under Bob Bradley. After a 3-1 win on Jan. 20 at The Home Depot Center 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 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.