Five Things to Know About #USAvPER

By: Jeff Crandall
RFK Stadium
RFK Stadium

RFK Stadium History

Though originally built in 1961 to house Washington, D.C.’s National Football League and Major League Baseball teams, RFK Stadium has become a cathedral of sorts for soccer in the United States.

Having served as a host venue for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1996 Summer Olympics, 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups, RFK has been a center piece of international soccer in the United States for more than two decades.

Outside those competitions, the U.S. MNT has its own storied history at the venue that dates back to a 1-1 draw with China on Oct. 6, 1977. The 22 Men’s National Team matches hosted at the old ground are more than any other stadium, and along the way some very memorable MNT moments have been made.

Here’s a few:

Check out some of the best moments throughout the years at RFK Stadium.

Jurgen Talks RFK Stadium and Peru

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s only match at RFK Stadium was the Centennial win over his home nation back in 2013. Klinsmann signaled his appreciation for the MNT’s history in the nation’s capital ahead of a tough preparation match Friday against Peru.

“It’s definitely a pleasure being back here in D.C. and a stadium that has always treated us nicely. We’re looking forward to an interesting game with a very good side. It’s a team that did extremely well in the Copa America – finished third and surprised a lot of people in South America and all over the world. It’s going to be a good benchmark for us and hopefully we see a good performance by our guys. It hopefully gives us a couple of answers to a lot of questions we all have. We’re really looking forward to have that match tomorrow night in the special venue here.”

History vs. Peru

The U.S. MNT holds an even 2-2-1 record against Peru all-time. The two nations first met on June 4, 1989, when goals from Bruce Murray, Tab Ramos and Brian Bliss gave the MNT a 3-0 win over Los Incas at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. At the time, the win tied the team record for largest margin of victory over a non-CONCACAF opponent, which to that point had been the MNT’s 3-0 win over Paraguay at the 1930 FIFA World Cup.

Wednesday’s meeting will be the first between the two nations in 15 years, with the sides last matching up during the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage. Played on Feb. 16, 2000, future U.S. all-time cap winner Cobi Jones headed home the game’s only goal off a cross from Eddie Lewis in the 59th minute to give the MNT a 1-0 victory over Peru.

Alejandro Bedoya on Peru

As U.S. players arrived into camp at the start of the week, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann set an early tone for each of them to prove they belong on the roster for the CONCACAF Cup match against Mexico on Oct. 10.

Joining Klinsmann for the pre-match press conference Thursday at RFK Stadium, veteran U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya indicated players have responded well to the challenge this week.

“These two games will serve as a good starting point for us players to see where we’re at,” Bedoya said. “This is where every player has to pull up their socks, look in the mirror and really show themselves what they’re capable of and prove to the coach we deserve a starting spot to be part of the team moving forward.”

Goals at RFK Stadium

Two players on the current MNT roster have scored goals at RFK Stadium and both of them were memorable.

Jermaine Jones tallied his first career international goal and the game-winner during a 2-0 Gold Cup quarterfinal win over Jamaica on June 19, 2011. The son of an American serviceman, Jones memorably celebrated his goal with a salute to the fans in attendance.

In the team’s last visit to RFK Stadium, Jozy Altidore buried a picture-perfect volley off a cross from Graham Zusi to open the scoring in the USA’s wild 4-3 win over Germany.