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U.S.-Mexico returns to Crew Stadium for World Cup qualifier

March 9, 2005 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Columbus Crew SC News Release

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Wednesday, March 9) – Columbus Crew General Manager Mark McCullers, in conjunction with U.S. Soccer, announced today that Columbus Crew Stadium will be the site for the U.S.-Mexico World Cup Qualifying match on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. (ET). The game will be shown live on ESPN Classic and Telemundo.

“U.S.-Mexico is the most anticipated soccer match to be played on U.S. soil this year,” said Crew General Manager Mark McCullers. “It’s a tribute to our fans, community and organization that U.S. Soccer would award us its highest profile game. The electric atmosphere at Crew Stadium for the U.S.-Mexico match in February, 2001, was phenomenal and there is no doubt in my mind that we will replicate or exceed that environment for this game.”

Ticketing details will be announced at a later date, but Crew Season Ticket holders will receive a priority offer to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

“Crew Stadium has always been an excellent venue for U.S. Soccer. We've had a lot of success there, and we're happy to be returning for another meaningful match,” said Arena. “Every World Cup qualifier is important, particularly at home, and we look forward to the tremendous support we always receive from the fans in Columbus.”

In World Cup qualifying, the U.S. has a 3-13-5 record vs. Mexico, including a 2-0 victory over the Tricolors in the now famous “La Guerra Fria” game at Crew Stadium on Feb. 28, 2001. The Mexican media dubbed the game “La Guerra Fria,” The Cold War, because of the cold temperatures expected in Columbus. In that match, Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart scored for the U.S. before a pro-American, sold-out crowd of 24,624 fans in below freezing temperatures. The Feb. 28, 2001, game was also a final round World Cup qualifying game, and the last time the two nations have played in the U.S. in World Cup qualifying action.

Approximately 19,000 tickets were sold prior to the Feb. 28, 2001, game going on sale to the general public. The approximately 5,000 tickets that did go on sale to the general public sold out in just six hours. Fans from at least 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the countries of Mexico and England attended the match.

The Mexico match will be the fifth World Cup qualifier hosted by six-year old Crew Stadium. The U.S. has an unbeaten 2-0-2 record in qualifying and a 3-0-3 all-time record at Crew Stadium. 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.

“We are thrilled that Columbus Crew Stadium has been selected to host the U.S. National Team's World Cup qualifying match against Mexico. The selection of Columbus is another validation that our city is the No. 1 soccer host city in the United States,'” said Linda Logan, executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. “Hosting matches such as the MLS All-Star Game in July and the U.S.A.-Mexico qualifier in September will draw thousands of visitors to our community and have a significant positive impact on our community's economy.”

The U.S. has just 11 wins in 49 matches against Mexico in a series that dates to 1934, but the U.S. has a 9-6-8 advantage in home matches dating back to 1957. In the last eight meetings, the U.S. has won six games by shutout and tied another meeting 0-0 in 2003. The last U.S. loss was a 1-0 defeat in Mexico City in final round qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, since the rivalry between these two teams began in earnest in 1990, the sides have played 22 times, with the U.S. holding a 9-6-7 advantage.

Under Arena, the U.S. has a 6-3-1 record vs. their border rivals including a 12-4 advantage in goal differential. His six wins are the most for the U.S. manager vs. any opponent in his six-year tenure at the helm of the U.S. MNT. In the last meeting between the two teams, the U.S. prevailed with a 93rd minute goal from Eddie Pope as he drilled home a rebound of a Taylor Twellman header in a 1-0 win on April 28,

2004 in Dallas.

The last match for the two rivals in an official competition 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 FIFA World Cup.

The U.S. has nine games left in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. opened final round qualifying play with a 2-1 victory in Trinidad on Feb. 9. The USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago are competing for three automatic berths to the World Cup finals in Germany. The fourth-place finisher will face the fifth-place team from the Asian Football Confederation in a home-and-home series to determine the last entrant into the tournament.

The U.S. continues World Cup qualifying against Mexico on March 27 at Estadio Azteca, and then opens their home schedule of final round qualifying play on Wednesday, March 30, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The Mexico match in Columbus is the seventh of 10 games in final round qualifying.

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