CHICAGO (Wednesday, December 18, 2002) â€“ The U.S. Men's National Team will host two-time World Cup champion Argentina in an international friendly Saturday, February 8, 2003 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Four days later, the USA will face Jamaica at the National Stadium in Kingston. Kickoff for the Feb. 12 match is set for 2:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
"Argentina is traditionally one of the finest teams in the world, and to have the opportunity to face a team of their caliber is invaluable to the developmental process of our team," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "Our goal over the next two years is to face as much quality opposition as possible in order to prepare our newer players for the challenge of World Cup qualifying in 2004."
The United States holds a 2-4 lifetime record against Argentina, who are currently ranked fifth in the FIFA World Rankings. The Feb. 8 meeting will be the second ever on U.S. soil. The teams' last met June 13, 1999 in Washington, D.C., when a Joe-Max Moore lifted the United States a 1-0 victory and their second straight win against their South American neighbors. The previous victory came four years earlier, when the United States shocked Argentina 3-0 on July 14, 1995, en route to a fourth place finish at the Copa America in Uruguay.
The USA has played eight times at the Orange Bowl in Miami, compiling a 2-4-2 lifetime record. The U.S. men last visited Miami in February of 2001, falling to Colombia by a score of 1-0. In their previous visit, the U.S. defeated Haiti 3-0 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on February 12, 2000.
The United States has never lost to Jamaica, holding a 7-0-5 record against the Reggae Boyz. Despite the unbeaten record, the USA has only one victory in five matches at "The Office" in Kingston, dating back more than eight years.
"Playing against Jamaica at the National Stadium is always a difficult challenge," said Arena. "The Jamaicans have an outstanding record playing at home, and with the heat and tremendous support of their fans it is especially tough to get a result."
The U.S. and Jamaica are no strangers to one another, as it was the Reggae Boyz that the U.S. topped 2-1 on October 7, 2001 to clinch a spot in the 2002 World Cup. The 2-1 win in Foxboro ended a string of four straight draws between the two nations. The teams last met May 16 of this year in the "Nike Road to Korea", with United States delivering a 5-0 thrashing in their second to last match prior to departing for the World Cup.
Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $15 to $35 go on sale starting Monday, December 23, at 12 p.m. ET at all South Florida Ticketmaster outlets (including FYE, Specâ€™s Music and Rickyâ€™s Records), by phone (Ft. Lauderdale 954-523-3309; Miami 305-358-5885; West Palm Beach 561-966-3309) and on-line at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order immediately through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1249. (Click here for complete ticket information.)
The United States is continuing preparation for participation in two major tournaments this summer. Eight teams from the around the world, led by 2002 World Cup champions Brazil, will compete for the FIFA Confederations Cup championship from June 18-29 in France. The USA will then look to defend its confederation championship in the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held from July 12-23 in the United States.