CHICAGO (Jan. 13, 2011) â€“ U.S. Soccer has announced a pair of Menâ€™s National Team friendlies for March. The U.S. will take on two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Argentina on March 26 in East Rutherford, N.J. Kickoff at the New Meadowlands Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision. Three days later, the U.S. hosts Paraguay at LP Field in Nashville. The match will be televised live on an ESPN network and TeleFutura beginning at 7 p.m. CT. (UPDATE: the match will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura. Kickoff time remains unchanged).Â Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
Tickets for both games go on sale to the public Friday, Jan. 21, at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets for the Argentina game are also available at Ticketmaster outlets throughout the New York/New Jersey area, at the New Meadowland Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and at the IZOD Center ticket office (open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). For the Paraguay game, Ticketmaster outlets throughout Central Tennessee (including Kroger stores) and the LP Field ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will carry tickets.
Groups can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets, a special VIP package which includes a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits, are available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
The matches fall on international fixture dates which allows the teams the ability to select a full complement of players. The meeting against fifth-ranked Argentina marks the ninth match in the last four years for the United States against a team ranked in the top five in the world. Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc., represented the Argentina national team during the arrangement of its match.
"Argentina continues to be one of the most talented teams in the world, and we are excited to have the opportunity to compete against them," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "When you talk about the best players around the globe, the Argentines certainly contribute a lot of names to that list. Paraguay showed during the World Cup that they are a creative and organized team capable of being very dangerous in the attack. Both of these matches give us a chance to continue to raise the bar for our team, and it will also be a great part of our preparation for the Gold Cup."
The U.S. has a lifetime record of 2-6-1 against Argentina. The teams most recently met in 2008 at Giants Stadium, where Tim Howard held Lionel Messi and friends at bay as the teamsÂ fought to a thrilling 0-0 draw in front of 78,682 rain-soaked fans. The two U.S. victories include a 3-0 upset of the defending champions in the group phase of the 1995 Copa America, and a 1-0 win in 1999 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., when a Joe-Max Moore goal was the difference.
The U.S. is making their second appearance at the New Meadowlands Stadium, having played five-time FIFA World Cup Champion Brazil on Aug. 10, 2010, in the first match following last summerâ€™s World Cup. Overall, the USA holds a 4-2-5 record in the State of New Jersey.
Argentina boasts some of the finest attacking talent in the world, led by 2010 FIFA World Player of the Year Messi, who was recently awarded the coveted Balon dâ€™Or for the second year in a row. Manchester City captain Carlos Tevez is among a host of players leading top clubs across Europe, a list that also includes Argentina captain and FC Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano. Having played in the last 10 consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments, Argentina has reached the final four times.
The U.S. holds a 2-1-2 lifetime record against Paraguay, posting three shutouts. In addition to a 3-0 victory in the 1930 World Cup (July 17 in Montevideo, Uruguay), the USA collected a 2-0 win on July 6, 2003 in Columbus, Ohio. The teams last met at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela, where a youngÂ U.S. team fell 3-1 to the Paraguayans in Barinas after entering halftime with an even scoreline.
Paraguay is coming off its fourth-consecutive appearance in a FIFA World Cup, falling to eventual champion Spain in the quarterfinals after finishing in first place of Group F. They arrived in South Africa after completing their best ever performance in World Cup qualifying, finishing in third place in CONMEBOL with 33 points and 10 victories while suffering only three defeats on the road.
The U.S. will be making their third appearance in Nashville. LP Field hosted a final round World Cup qualifier on April 1, 2009, when Jozy Altidore became the youngest player in U.S. history to record a hat trick,Â pacing the U.S. to a 3-0 victory against Trinidad &Tobago.
In April of 2008, the venue hosted the knockout round of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament, where the U.S. Under-23 Menâ€™s National Team defeated Canada in the semifinals to become one of two teams from the region to qualify for Beijing.
The U.S. is currently in training camp in Carson, Calif., preparing for the first match of 2011, a friendly against fellow FIFA World Cup finalists Chile on Jan. 22 at The Home Depot Center (tickets). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and TeleFutura. Fans can follow the game live via ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker or on Twitter @ussoccer.