CHICAGO (Thursday, January 10, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team will make a long-awaited return to the Seattle area on Saturday, March 2, when they take on 2001 FIFA World Team of the Year Honduras at Safeco Field in an international friendly that will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the match can be purchased starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. (PT) by calling TicketMaster at 206-628-0888, visiting outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest. Tickets can be purchased at the Safeco Field Box Office tomorrow for one day only, before the box office shuts down and re-opens on Jan. 26. Group tickets are available by calling the Washington State Youth Soccer Association at 1-888-800-8124, the Washington State Soccer Association at 425-485-7855 or the Seattle Sounders at 206-622-3415.
"We are excited to be returning to Seattle, an area that has a long history of supporting soccer in the United States. Safeco Field is a beautiful facility, and we think it will make a terrific venue for soccer," said U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who recently guided the USA to a record fourth consecutive World Cup appearance. "We certainly face a difficult opponent in Honduras, but they’re one that we know very well. This match will be another key step in our preparations for the 2002 World Cup."
The U.S. MNT has only played in Seattle one other time, when they tied Russia 1-1 on January 29, 1994 in front of 43,651 fans at The Kingdome, with Alexi Lalas scoring the lone goal for the U.S.
The March 2 match at the newly-constructed Safeco Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners, will mark the only time that the U.S. team has played on grass in Seattle. The stadium, which recently hosted college football’s Seattle Bowl, will be re-sodded to cover the baseball infield approximately two weeks prior to the match and will feature a 110 x 70 yard field.
"We are pleased to help bring soccer at this level back to Seattle," said Seattle Mariners VP of Business Operations Bob Aylward. "This match-up will showcase Safeco Field nationally and internationally as a versatile venue for hosting a variety of events."
The U.S. and Honduras played two memorable World Cup qualifying matches in 2001, with each team winning on the other’s home soil. In the first match, the U.S. earned a hard-fought 2-1 win in front of a charged crowd in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on March 27. But Honduras got revenge on Sept. 1, battling back to win 3-2 at RFK Stadium in front of an energetic, mixed crowd of 54,282 fans.
In December, Honduras was honored as the 2001 FIFA World Team of the Year, despite failing to qualify for the World Cup. Honduras shocked the soccer world with their impressive run to the Copa America semifinals, which included a 2-0 win against defending champions Brazil in the quarterfinals. Honduras fell to eventual champions Colombia in the semis, but bounced back to top Uruguay in penalty kicks for third place.
The game against Honduras will mark the debut of the new 2002 World Cup jerseys that Nike has produced for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Nike spent considerable time developing the jerseys, as the 2002 World Cup will be played during the monsoon season from May 31-June 30 in Korea and Japan.
Seattle has a long soccer history that dates back to 1974 and the North American Soccer League. The Seattle Sounders now play in A-League and brought home back-to-back A-League titles in 1995 and 1996.