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U.S. Men to Face England for First Time Since 1994 With Match at Chicago's Soldier Field on May 28


CHICAGO (March 11, 2005) — The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will face England for the first time since 1994 in a Memorial Weekend match-up at Chicago’s Soldier Field on May 28 at 2 p.m. CT, in a match being broadcast live on ESPN. The meeting between the two quarterfinalists at the 2002 FIFA World Cup comes amidst the qualifying schedules for both nations as they aim for a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Tickets ranging in price levels from $28 to $95 go on sale starting Thursday, March 31 at noon CT through ussoccer.com, by phone at 312-559-1212 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Chicagoland (including Coconuts, Hot Tix, and Tower Records stores). Also starting March 31, groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com.

The teams last met at famed Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 7, 1994, a 2-0 win for England that came just one year after the USA’s memorable 2-0 win at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., in the build up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Of course, the teams are best remembered for the historic match-up 55 years ago at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in which the United States provided one of the sports biggest upsets ever with a 1-0 win in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

"England are one of the better teams in Europe and the match will serve as great preparation for our World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Panama," said U.S. manager Bruce Arena, who has a 5-9-3 record vs. European teams, including a 2-1-3 record in matches played at home. "The game will generate a lot of excitement and we look forward to a great atmosphere in Chicago."

By the time Memorial Day Weekend rolls around, the U.S. will have completed three of their 10 final round qualifying matches in the CONCACAF region. Following a 2-1 victory in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on Feb. 9 in the opening game, the U.S. will travel to face Mexico in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca on March 27 at 1 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2 & Telemundo) and then host Guatemala in Birmingham, Ala., on March 30 at 8 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2 & delayed on Telemundo). Following the match vs. England, the U.S. gets right back into the thick of qualifying as they host Costa Rica on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2 & delayed on Telemundo) at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

England also has a pair of World Cup qualifying matches in late March, and through four games in their six-team group they have already earned 10 points to sit in first place, one point ahead of Poland in Group 6 that includes Austria, Wales, Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland. In late March, England is home to Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland. After their trip to the U.S., they will resume qualifying in early September at Wales and Northern Ireland. There are eight groups in European qualifying, with the top team from each advancing as well as the two best second-place teams. The six remaining second-place teams will vie for the final three spots in a European playoff.

This will mark England’s sixth visit to the United States, with England posting a convincing 4-1-0 record state-side, including a 29-6 advantage in goal differential. England’s victories included 6-3, 8-1, 10-0 and 5-0 decisions in 1953, 1959, 1964 and 1985, respectively. The U.S. finally turned the tables on June 9, 1993, in Foxboro, Mass., with their historic 2-0 win behind goals by Thomas Dooley and Alexi Lalas.

“We wanted to play these matches as close to the end of the season as possible, rather than using the World Cup qualifying dates in early June, to ensure that the players have the chance to rest properly over the summer,” said England Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. “Playing the USA in their own country is a big test. They are an excellent team who have made enormous progress over the last ten years or so, and were very unlucky not to make the semifinals at the last World Cup. They have some very good young players like Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, and we have also seen in the Premiership that they have a choice of top-class goalkeepers."

England will be the second European power to visit the U.S. in Chicago in the last year. The U.S. men played their first game in Chicago since 1993, hosting Poland on July 11, 2004, in the return leg of a two-game series. A boisterous crowd of 39,592 saw a late header from former Chicago Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra earn a 1-1 tie. This will be the fifth match the U.S. has played in Chicago, and the fifth different European power to come to the Windy City as an opponent. The U.S. has a 1-1-2 record in Chicago since 1993 versus the likes of Portugal, Italy and Germany in addition to the aforementioned Poland match-up in 2004.

Following their match with the United States, England will travel to the East Coast to take on Colombia at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., for a game on May 31 at 4 p.m. ET. That match-up is part of a double-header that concludes with the MetroStars hosting the Chicago Fire at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin Wold Cup qualifying format 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.

In addition to the live ESPN2 broadcast of USA-England, fans can also follow the action online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips.

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