Rapids Named as Hosts for Potential US Men's World Cup Qualifier

CHICAGO (From US Soccer) — The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced that Dick's Sporting Goods Park will be one of three venues that would host home matches for the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Before taking the field in these games however the U.S. must first advance past the second round where they face a home-and-away series against Barbados. The U.S. will host the first leg on June 15 at The Home Depot Center. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. PT and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. The away leg will be played on June 22 at a site and time to be determined.
Should the U.S. advance they will play their first home qualifier of the four-team semifinal round group on Sept. 10 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview Ill. against the winner of the Trinidad & Tobago-Bermuda series. Kickoff would be set for 7 p.m. CT with the match broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision.
On Oct. 11 the U.S. would face either Cuba or Antigua & Barbuda at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. That match would begin at 4 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Galavision.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park would host the USA’s final match of the semifinal phase with the team taking on either Guatemala or St. Lucia on Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. MT live on ESPN2 and Galavision.
Ticket information for all three potential semifinal round home matches will be available at a later date.
While Colorado has only held three matches involving the U.S. men they have provided enthusiastic and substantial support each time. The USA are 2-1-0 in Denver the most recent match coming in one of the team’s final preparation matches before their historic quarterfinal run in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. On April 3 2002 a strike by ex-Rapids player Clint Mathis secured a 1-0 US victory against Mexico before 48476 fans foreshadowing the USA’s 2-0 victory against their regional rivals in the Round of 16 of the World Cup in Korea that summer. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will host the team’s first match in Colorado taking place outside of Denver and their first qualifier in the Rocky Mountain State.

The U.S. has never played a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Chicagoland but has a tremendous history in the Windy City against previous opponents like Portugal Germany and Brazil and with average crowds of over 40000 fans. The U.S. holds a 4-2-2 lifetime record at Soldier Field highlighted by the 2-1 victory against Mexico in the Gold Cup final last summer that earned the USA their fourth regional championship and a place in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. The U.S. would be making their first-ever appearance in Bridgeview the home of the Chicago Fire.

RFK Stadium is no stranger to the U.S. national team having hosted 17 matches since 1977. The U.S. has collected a 10-3-4 record in the nation’s capital including a 3-1-1 record in World Cup qualifying. With an average attendance of over 30000 Washington D.C. has witnessed several memorable matches including a 4-0 victory against Mexico in 1995 and a 1-0 win against Argentina in 1999. RFK last hosted the national team on Oct. 13 2004 when an Eddie Johnson hat trick paced the United States to a 6-0 victory against Panama to close out the semifinal phase of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Semifinal Round qualifying in the CONCACAF region will take place from August to November in 2008 with the teams divided into three groups of four teams each. Playing a six-game round robin format the top two finishers from each group will advance to the final six-team group that will be played in 2009.

The U.S. is gearing up for a trio of blockbuster friendlies in advance of the Barbados match beginning with a trip to famed Wembley Stadium for a May 28 clash with England. More than 1300 tickets were sold in the U.S. Supporters Section for the USA’s second-ever trip to London. The U.S. will then face fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander before heading back across the Atlantic to face No. 1-ranked Argentina on June 8 in New Jersey. More than 45000 tickets (buy tickets) have been sold for the USA’s final match at Giants Stadium.
For more information on the US Men's road towards the World Cup visit www.USSoccer.com