CHICAGO, ILL. - The U.S. men's national team's road to the 2006 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to stop in the nation's capital as the USA will take on Panama on Wednesday, October 13, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Kickoff for the USA's fifth semifinal round FIFA World Cup qualifying match is still to be determined, but the match will be broadcast delayed on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips.
The U.S. solidified their spot in the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying on Sunday by completing their two-game sweep of Grenada via a 6-2 aggregate score. Qualifying in the CONCACAF region now moves to the semifinal stage, where three groups of four teams each will play six round-robin games (one home and one away against each opponent) from Aug. 18 through Nov. 17. The top two teams from each four-team semifinal round group will advance to the final round of qualifying in 2005.
The match at famed RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., is the fifth in the USA's six-game semifinal round group, and the second of three home games.
The USA will open their semifinal group action in Jamaica on Aug. 18, and will play their first semifinal home match against El Salvador on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass. After road games on Sept. 8 in Panama and Oct. 10 in El Salvador, the U.S. will close with consecutive home games: Oct. 13 in D.C. against Panama and Nov. 17 against Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio.
For information on how you can buy advance tickets to each of the USA's FIFA World Cup qualifying home matches before they go on sale to the public, log on to ussoccer.com and register at ussoccerfan.com. Next up for the U.S. is a match on July 11 against Poland at Chicago's Soldier Field (6 p.m. CT on ESPN2), the team's final preparation match before the semifinal round begins.
"RFK Stadium has consistently demonstrated that it is one of the premier soccer facilities in the United States," said U.S. manager Bruce Arena, whose qualifying record improved to 10-4-4 with the Grenada sweep. "We are hoping to return to a winning tradition in qualifying at RFK, and expect the fan support to be a large part of that effort."
RFK Stadium has been kind to the United States in the past - both in the stands and on the field. Since 1990, the U.S. has posted a 9-3-3 record at RFK Stadium, however, the team is just 2-1-1 all-time in World Cup qualifiers at the 43-year old venue. In their 15 all-time matches at RFK, the U.S. has averaged 33,450 fans per games, with crowds topping 40,000 on five occasions.
In their history, the U.S. has played Panama just one time, a 2-1 win in the 1993 Gold Cup in Dallas, which featured goals from Eric Wynalda and Thomas Dooley.
U.S. men's national team World Cup Qualifying schedule
Date Match-Up Venue Kickoff / TV Aug. 18 at Jamaica Kingston, Jamaica TBD / TBD Sept. 4 vs. El Salvador Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass. TBD/TBD & Telemundo Sept. 8 at Panama Panama City, Panama TBD / TBD & Telemundo Oct. 10 at El Salvador San Salvador, El Salvador TBD / TBD & Telemundo Oct. 13 vs. Panama RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. TBD / ESPN (delay, 9 p.m. ET) Nov. 17 vs. Jamaica Columbus Crew Stadium TBD / ESPN2 & Telemundo