Real Salt Lake and Rice-Eccles Stadium to host U.S. World Cup qualifier June 4
SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake and U.S. Soccer announced today that the United States Men's National Team World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica will be held in Salt Lake City's Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, June 4, at 5:30 p.m. MT. Included in the biggest international event to hit Utah since the 2002 Winter Olympics will be the second half of that night's doubleheader, with Real Salt Lake hosting FC Dallas immediately following the U.S.-Costa Rica contest.
"Working with Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Utah Sports Commission to bring U.S. Soccer events to Utah is emblematic of the world-class soccer Real Salt Lake represents," said RSL General Manager Steve Pastorino. "This event will showcase two of our marquee players, Clint Mathis and Eddie Pope, and provides significant value to our season ticket holders, who receive this game as a 'thank you' from RSL for their tremendous support."
Real Salt Lake season ticket packages for the inaugural 2005 campaign at Rice-Eccles Stadium are now on sale. The RSL 2005 season package features 21 games, including all 16 MLS regular season games, the USA-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifier and four special bonus games. The National Team match at Rice-Eccles is the second of five qualifiers in this final round on the road to Germany 2006 to be played in the United States. Tickets for the June 4 doubleheader will range from $25 to $68, with on-sale details to be announced in the near future. Interested fans should contact the Real Salt Lake Ticket Office by calling (866) 9-SOCCER.
"We're excited about the opportunity to play in Salt Lake City," said 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."
Mathis and Pope kicked off training camp with 20 other MLS players at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., yesterday, invited by U.S. Men's National Team manager Bruce Arena to prepare for friendlies against Colombia and Honduras later this month and the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico on March 27 and Guatemala on March 30. 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 19,584 fans.
The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, are competing in a 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 in the "hexagonal" will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying for the right to advance to Germany.
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.
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.
Real Salt Lake season ticket packages for the inaugural 2005 season at Rice-Eccles Stadium are now on sale. The RSL 2005 season ticket package features 20 games, including all 16 MLS regular season games and four special bonus games. Real Salt Lake's season ticket pricing consists of a Youth (15 and younger) and an Adult in four price levels. Prices for the 2005 season ticket packages are $200 adult ($180 youth) for the North Goal, $300 adult ($240 youth) for the Corner Flag, $400 ($320 youth) for East Sideline and $500 ($400 youth) for VIP seats. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the RSL Ticket Office at 515 South 700 East, #2R, SLC, UT 84102, by logging onto www.RealSaltLake.com or by contacting the Real Salt Lake Ticket Office at (866) 9-SOCCER.