Watch parties for World Cup qualifiers

The U.S. national team's road to the 2006 FIFA World Cup continues on Aug. 18 when it opens the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying in Jamaica.

The U.S. game in Jamaica will be shown live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m., but Crew Stadium will show the game in its entirety in the Stadium Club starting at 9:30 p.m. at the conclusion of the Crew's home game vs. Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. that evening. The tape delayed start of the U.S. game allows fans the opportunity to see both games without having to choose between the two.

After Jamaica, the U.S. will play its first semifinal home match against El Salvador on Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. in Foxboro, Mass. Road games on Sept. 8 in Panama at 9 p.m. and Oct. 10 in El Salvador will follow, before the U.S. closes with consecutive home games: Oct. 13 in D.C. against Panama and Nov. 17 against Jamaica at Crew Stadium.

The Sept. 4 game vs. El Salvador will be shown live on Fox Sports World at 4 p.m. and can be viewed in the Stadium Club at Crew Stadium. The Sept. 8 game in Panama will also be shown live on FOX Sports World at 9 p.m. and can be viewed in Crew Stadium's Huntington Club. Admission is free for both viewing parties.

The Crew also has a home game on Sept. 4 vs. Los Angeles which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Crew Stadium will also host viewing parties for the Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 World Cup qualifying games.

The U.S. solidified its spot in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying by completing a two-game sweep of Grenada via a 6-2 aggregate score, including a 3-0 win at Crew Stadium on June 13. Qualifying in the CONCACAF region in the semifinal stage consists of three groups of four teams each, playing six round-robin games (one home and one away against each opponent). The top two teams from each four-team semifinal round groups (six teams) will advance to the final round of qualifying in 2005.

The Nov. 17 match vs. Jamaica at Crew Stadium could be a chilly affair, similar to the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier at Crew Stadium on February 28, 2001. U.S. Soccer chose Crew Stadium as the venue to play a warm-weather opponent in a cold climate and the plan worked as the temperature at kickoff for the U.S.-Mexico game was 27 degrees. Before a pro-American crowd the U.S. downed Mexico 2-0 in one of the most famous victories in U.S. history. According to the National Weather Service, the average low temperature in Columbus on Nov. 17 is 34 degrees, compared to 77 in Kingston, Jamaica. Ticket information for the Nov. 17 match vs. Jamaica will be announced in the near future.

Since opening in 1999, Columbus Crew Stadium has hosted the U.S. national team five times, including three World Cup qualifying games. The U.S. has never lost a game or surrendered a goal at Crew Stadium, compiling a 3-0-2 lifetime record.


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