Anticipating the biggest international soccer event in Crew Stadium since the U.S. faced Mexico on Feb. 28 2001 fans snapped up tickets during a week-long presale for select members of the U.S. Soccer community including registered ussoccerfan.com members and Crew season ticket holders. The remaining tickets sold out today in 20 minutes.
"Columbus has consistently given tremendous support to the national team and we are excited about the chance to play in front of a sold-out crowd at Crew Stadium said U.S. manager Bruce Arena.
"While every World Cup qualifier is important winning your matches at home is critical and we anticipate that the fans in Columbus will provide a big boost to our team."
The Labor Day weekend tilt in Crew Stadium presented by Budweiser will be televised live at 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN Classic and Telemundo and fans are also able to follow the match live at ussoccer.com via MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics
"Crew Stadium will again be the center of the soccer universe as fans from across the country will descend upon Columbus for this quadrennial qualifying battle said Crew General Manager Mark McCullers.
"The anticipation is already at fever pitch. Fans who were fortunate enough to score this ticket will not be disappointed."
The U.S. is currently in second place in the final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with 12 points and a 4-1-0 record while Mexico has 13 points and a 4-0-1 record. Both teams will again be in action on August 17 as the U.S. hosts Trinidad & Tobago in East Hartford Conn. (at 6 p.m. MT live on ESPN2) and Mexico hosts Costa Rica in Mexico City.
The Crew Stadium match will be the fifth World Cup qualifier hosted by the six-year old venue. The U.S. has a 2-0-2 record in qualifying and a 3-0-3 all-time record there. In 2004 the U.S. defeated Grenada on June 13 by a 3-0 score in a second round qualifying match before tying Jamaica 1-1 in the final match of the semifinal round on November 17.
The U.S. has just 11 wins in 50 matches against Mexico in a series that dates to 1934 but the U.S. has a 9-6-8 advantage in home matches since 1957. In the last nine meetings the U.S. has won six games by shutout and tied another meeting 0-0 in 2003.
Additionally since the rivalry between these two teams began in earnest in 1990 the sides have played 23 times with the U.S. holding a 9-7-7 advantage. The last two U.S. losses were in Mexico City in final round qualifying for the FIFA World Cup including a 2-1 defeat on March 27 of this year.
Under Arena the U.S. has a 6-4-1 record vs. their border rivals including a 13-6 advantage in goal differential. The biggest of those six wins was a 2-0 victory for the U.S. on June 17 2002 that sent Mexico home from Korea while the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
In World Cup qualifying the U.S. has a 3-14-5 record vs. Mexico including a 2-0 victory in Columbus Crew Stadium in the last U.S. final round qualifier vs. the Tricolores at home. In that match on Feb. 28 2001 Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart scored for the U.S. before a sold-out crowd of 24624 fans who braved freezing temperatures.
The U.S. along with Costa Rica Guatemala Mexico Panama and Trinidad & Tobago is competing in the 10-game round-robin format tournament from Feb. 9 through Oct. 12 2005 with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.