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U.S. Men To Renew Rivalry Against Colombia In Miami In Last Home Match Before Qualifying

CHICAGO (Thursday, January 4, 2001) - The United States will continue its preparation for the final stage of World Cup Qualifying with an international friendly against Colombia at the Orange Bowl in Miami on February 3, 2001, at 4:00 p.m. ET. The match will be televised live on ESPN2. The game marks the team's final home game before it begins the 10-game World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins against Mexico on Feb. 28 in Columbus, Ohio.

The two teams last met in the quarterfinal of the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, also at the Orange Bowl. Brian McBride had a goal and an assist for the Americans, but an 82nd minute equalizer from Gerardo Bedoya put the game into overtime. After two scoreless overtime periods, the Colombians advanced through penalty kicks, 2-1, in front of a crowd of 32,972.

The Americans have never topped the South Americans at the Orange Bowl, drawing 1-1 on February 4, 1990, and falling 2-1 on May 8, 1993, before going to penalty kicks last February. Colombia leads the all- time series 7-2-3, outscoring the Americans 17-8. The teams are best remembered for their encounter in the 1994 World Cup, when the Americans ousted the favored Colombians from the tournament with an historic 2-1 victory at the Rose Bowl.

The Colombians are currently in the middle of a major struggle in their quest to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. With eight games remaining, Colombia is tied for fifth in the ten-team qualifying group, level at 15 points with Uruguay and one point behind Ecuador. The top four teams in the South American qualifying group will automatically advance to the 2002 World Cup, while the fifth-place team will compete in a home-and-away playoff against the winner of the OFC preliminary competition, with the winner qualifying for the final competition.

The Colombians suffered a heart-breaking loss at Brazil in their most recent qualifier in November, when the 1994 World Cup Champions scored in the 93rd minute to grab a win. The Colombians, whose stingy defense has allowed only seven goals through 10 qualifiers, next meet Bolivia and Venezuela in qualifying action.

Prior to traveling to Miami to take on Colombia, the U.S. will battle China on Jan. 27 in Oakland at 2:30 p.m. PT in a match that will be shown nationally on ESPN2.

The U.S. opens its final round of qualifying at home at Columbus Crew Stadium against Mexico on Feb. 28 (7:30 p.m. ET / ESPN2 & Telemundo), before traveling to Honduras for their second qualifier on March 28. The team's third qualifier has been slated for April 25 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City against the winner of the Costa Rica/Guatemala playoff on Saturday, January 6, which will be also be played at the Orange Bowl.

Tickets for the Colombia match go on sale Wednesday, January 10, at 10:00 a.m. ET at all Florida area Ticketmaster outlets (including Spec's Music, Ricky's Records and Sears) or by calling 305-358-5885 (Miami), 954-523-3309 (Broward) or 561-966-3309 (West Palm Beach). More ticket information is available at Advance ticket prices range from $15 to $35.