USA To Host Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifier on June 4 In First-Ever Appearance in Salt Lake City

CHICAGO (From USSoccer.Com) — The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will host Costa Rica on Saturday June 4 in Salt Lake City Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium at 5:30 p.m. MT in their fourth of 10 final round qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

The U.S. vs. Costa Rica match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and will be followed by MLS expansion franchise Real Salt Lake hosting FC Dallas as the second game of the doubleheader at 8 p.m. Fans can also follow the U.S. match live at via MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.

The match in Salt Lake City is the second of five qualifiers in this round to be played in the United States. Tickets will range from $25 to $68 and on-sale details will be announced later in March. Fans can register for advance ticket information and an advance private sale at Real Salt Lake season tickets will be honored for the doubleheader.

"We’re excited about the opportunity to play in Salt Lake City said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. "Real Salt Lake and the fans will provide the U.S. team with a venue which we can truly call ‘home.’ I look forward to the game on June 4 and hopefully it will be the first of many games for the national team in Utah."

The U.S. Men’s National Team is coming off an exciting 2-1 victory on Feb. 9 in Port-of-Spain Trinidad. Goals by Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis earned the U.S. three valuable points for a win in the first qualifying match of 2005. The next qualifying match for the U.S. sends the team to Mexico City to face rival Mexico on March 27. Three days later the U.S. returns home to host Guatemala in Birmingham Ala. The team will have more than two months without a qualifying match before returning to action on June 4 in Salt Lake City. At stake for the U.S. over the 10-game qualifying schedule this year is a berth to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

This will be the first trip for the U.S. Men’s National Team to both Salt Lake City and Utah. In 2003 the U.S. Women’s National Team topped Ireland 5-0 in preparation for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in front of 19584 fans.

The U.S. is 10-9-4 all-time vs. Costa Rica with the record going over the .500 mark for the first time in 2003 when the U.S. topped the Ticos by a 3-2 margin in the third-place match of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Bobby Convey scored the game-winner for the U.S. in the 67th minute. One year earlier Josh Wolff and Jeff Agoos provided the U.S. with a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in the Gold Cup finals a match that sent the U.S. to the 2003 Confederations Cup in France. Real Salt Lake’s Eddie Pope is one of 20 U.S. players to score a goal against Costa Rica with his strike coming in a 2-1 win on Feb. 7 1998 in Oakland Calif. The U.S. trails in all-time goal differential with 25 goals for and 26 against.

In World Cup qualifying Costa Rica still holds the series edge with a 6-4-2 mark vs. the U.S. although at home the U.S. is 4-1-1 vs. Costa Rica with the only home loss coming in Torrance Calif. in 1985 in qualifying for the 1986 World Cup. In qualifying for the 2002 World Cup the U.S. faced Costa Rica in both the semifinal and final rounds posting a 1-2-1 overall record. After a 0-0 draw in Columbus Ohio at home in the semifinal round a Josh Wolff goal in Kansas City gave the U.S. a 1-0 win in the final round on April 25 2001.

The U.S. along with Costa Rica Guatemala Mexico Panama and Trinidad & Tobago will compete in the 10-game round-robin format 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.

U.S. Mens National Team 2005 Schedule
Date Match Venue Result/Kickoff/TV

Feb. 9 Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA* Queen’s Park Oval (Port of Spain Trinidad) 2-1 W

March 9 USA vs. Colombia Titan Stadium (Fullerton Calif.) 7:30 p.m. PT

March 19 USA vs. Honduras University Stadium (Albuquerque N.M.) 2 p.m. MT

March 27 Mexico vs. USA * Estadio Azteca (Mexico City Mexico) 12 p.m. CT / ESPN2 & Telemundo

March 30 USA vs. Guatemala * Legion Field (Birmingham Ala.) 7 p.m. CT / ESPN2

June 4 USA vs. Costa Rica * Rice-Eccles Stadium (Salt Lake City Utah) 5:30 p.m. MT / ESPN2

June 8 Panama vs. USA * Estadio Rommel Fernandez (Panama City Panama) –

Aug. 17 USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago * –

Sept. 3 USA vs. Mexico *

Sept. 7 Guatemala vs. USA * Mateo Flores (Mazatenango Guatemala)

Oct. 8/9 Costa Rica vs. USA * Estadio Ricardo Saprissa (San Jose Costa Rica) –

Oct. 12 USA vs. Panama *

* FIFA World Cup Qualifying Match