CHICAGO (Wednesday, February 6, 2002) — The U.S. Men’s National Team will play European power Holland in the USA’s World Cup send-off match on May 19 at CMGI Field in Foxboro, Mass., in the final game of the three-game “Nike Road to Korea.” The match will be televised live at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. The last time the U.S. played in Foxboro, Mass., the team earned a spot in the World Cup in Korea/Japan with a 2-1 win over Jamaica in front of 40,483 fans at Foxboro Stadium.
The “Nike Road to Korea” will include three domestic matches before the U.S. departs for Korea and the 2002 World Cup in late May. Before playing Holland on May 19, the U.S. will face Uruguay on May 12 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in a game that will be televised live on ABC at 2 p.m. ET. The U.S. then travels north to face Jamaica on May 16 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in a match that will be shown live on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The announcement of the three-game “Nike Road to Korea” completes the USA’s preparation schedule prior to departing for the World Cup. Including the just-completed Gold Cup, the U.S. will have faced seven World Cup-bound sides in 2002 prior to kicking off the World Cup on June 5 against Portugal.
"We are excited to have finalized a formidable schedule in preparation for the World Cup,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena. “We have arranged to play against high level competition in some of the best soccer venues in the country, which we feel will afford a great challenge to our team and provide for an excellent send-off. We felt the best way to prepare for the competition in Korea was to create a rigorous schedule, and we have acheived that."
Holland is one of Europe’s top teams, advancing to the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. Currently ranked 8th in the FIFA world rankings, Holland did not qualify for the World Cup after being drawn into a qualifying group with the Republic of Ireland and Portugal. Holland lost just twice in ten qualifying matches and finished with a plus-21 goal differential, but failed to advance.
Holland possesses one of the top striker combinations in the world, with the leading scorer of the 2000 European Championship, Patrick Kluivert (FC Barcelona – Spain), coupling with Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United – England), the hottest striker in the English Premier League.
The U.S. and Holland have played just once before, ironically in the run up to the 1998 World Cup. The Dutch topped the U.S. 2-0 on Feb. 21, 1998, in Miami, Fla. In 10 all-time matches at Foxboro Stadium, the U.S. Men’s National Team compiled a 7-0-3 record.
When the U.S. and Jamaica meet on Thursday, May 16 at Giants Stadium, it will mark the sixth time the teams have played since 1997. The U.S. has never lost to Jamaica in 11 matches and have previously played at Giants Stadium just once in its history in a full international, topping Mexico 3-0 on June 11, 2000.
The U.S. and Jamaica are no strangers to one another, as it was the Reggae Boyz that the U.S. topped 2-1 on October 7, 2001 to clinch a spot in the 2002 World Cup. The 2-1 win in Foxboro ended a string of four straight draws between the two nations. It was also the last match for the U.S. Men’s National Team at Foxboro Stadium, which is being replaced by CMGI Field this year.
The U.S. and Uruguay have met just five times in the teams’ history, but only twice in the last ten years. Uruguay finished fifth in CONMEBOL qualifying and then topped Australia in a two-legged playoff to secure the 32nd and final spot in the 2002 World Cup. Uruguay drew the unenviable task of sharing a group with defending World Cup champs France in Korea.
Fresh off of their Gold Cup championship, Arena’s squad will travel to Italy to face three-time World Cup champions Italy on February 13. The U.S. returns home for a two-game domestic swing that will see them play Honduras in Seattle on March 2 and Ecuador in Birmingham on March 10. The USA’s World Cup preparations continue in Europe in March and April, when the U.S. meets Germany on March 27 in Rostock, Germany, and Ireland on April 17 in Dublin.
The U.S. – Holland game will be the first game of a doubleheader that will wrap up with the New England Revolution playing the Chicago Fire at 4:30 p.m. ET. The U.S. and Uruguay will also be part of a doubleheader, playing before D.C. United takes on the Columbus Crew at 4 p.m. ET.
Ticket information for the “Nike Road to Korea” will be announced at a later date. The U.S. – Holland match will be included in the Revolution’s season ticket package, and fans can call 1-877-GET-REVS for more information on season tickets.