Tenth & Final Qualifier on the Road to Germany
Will See Team Play at Historic Soccer Location
CHICAGO (August 31, 2005) — The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will host Panama on October 12 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., at 8 p.m. ET in the final game of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The U.S. vs. Panama match is being presented by Philips Electronics and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo. Fans can also follow the U.S. match live on ussoccer.com via MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $36 go on sale starting Wednesday, September 7, at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com, by phone at 508-931-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets in the region (including Filene's Stores) and at the Gillette Stadium Box Office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Discounted tickets (from $16-$28) are available for groups of 20 or more by calling the New England Revolution at 877-GET-REVS.
"It's only fitting that our last game in 2005 is being held in a place that has such a great tradition of supporting U.S. Soccer," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "We are certainly hopeful that this match will be a celebration of our efforts to qualify for the World Cup, and we're pleased to close out the process in front of fans who have supported us so well over the years."
Despite only meeting once in their history prior to last fall, this is now the fifth meeting between the two teams in the last year and the third of 2004. Most recently, the U.S. claimed the CONCACAF crown at the 2005 Gold Cup on penalty kicks after both sides played 120 minutes of scoreless soccer. Santino Quaranta, Landon Donovan and Brad Davis all converted their penalty kicks for the U.S. in that July 24 match-up at Giants Stadium.
The other three meetings between the USA and Panama were all World Cup qualifiers. The U.S. has a 2-0-2 record over that span, and a 3-0-2 all-time record vs. their newest Central American rivals that includes a 2-1 victory in 1993.
The latest qualifying meeting came in the USA’s second trip to Panama City in less than a year. After escaping the first game vs. Panama in the semifinal round of qualifying in 2004 with a point from a late goal by Cobi Jones, the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 victory on their second trip. Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride and Landon Donovan all scored for the U.S., and Kasey Keller came up with some important saves to preserve the shutout.
Almost one year to the day prior to this qualifying finale, the U.S. topped Panama 6-0 at RFK in the home leg of the semifinal round series between the sides. That match served as a coming out party for forward Eddie Johnson, who became the eighth U.S. player to score a hat trick. Landon Donovan struck twice in the game, as well.
This match will be a return for the U.S. to the site of two Gold Cup matches, a 0-0 tie with Costa Rica in group play and a 3-1 victory over Jamaica in the quarterfinals in mid-July. The last World Cup qualifying match in Foxboro was Sept. 4, 2004, as the U.S. topped El Salvador 2-0 behind goals by Landon Donovan and Brian Ching.
The U.S. has a 13-1-4 record in Foxboro, having played eight of those games at Gillette Stadium and 10 at the old Foxboro Stadium. Since the 2002 World Cup, the U.S. has shut out their opponent in six of seven games, allowing just one goal during that span in the aforementioned 3-1 victory over Jamaica. This will be the seventh World Cup qualifier that the U.S. has played in Foxboro, with the last five matches all victories. The first World Cup qualifier in Foxboro was a 1997 2-2 tie vs. Mexico.
The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin tournament 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.
The U.S. has a 5-1-0 record in the final round of qualifying, and would clinch a berth at the 2006 FIFA World Cup with a win vs. Mexico on Saturday, September 3 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, live on ESPN Classic and Telemundo at 7:25 p.m. ET.
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