COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. Men's National Team manager Bruce Arena announced today that four Columbus Crew players are among the 22 players called into camp to begin preparations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico on March 27 and Guatemala three days later, on March 30.
The 22-man training camp squad that will gather in Carson, Calif. on Sunday, Feb. 27, is composed entirely of domestic-based players. The European-based players are expected to begin arriving into camp March 20.
Kickoff for the March 27 match vs. Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is set for 1 p.m. ET, while the match against Guatemala is set for 8 p.m. ET on March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
The four Crew players in camp are goalkeeper Jon Busch, defender Chad Marshall, midfielder/defender Frankie Hejduk and midfielder Kyle Martino. Hejduk has 61 caps and five goals and Martino three caps, while Busch and Marshall have yet to make senior national team appearances. The four Columbus players in camp are tied for the most of any team with Colorado and New England.
The team will play two preparation matches in advance of the qualifiers. The U.S. first hosts Colombia on March 9 in Fullerton, Calif. Kickoff at Titan Stadium is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. The USA then makes its third-ever appearance in Albuquerque, N.M. as they welcome Honduras for a 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff at University Stadium on March 19.
More than a month of continuous activity for the national team begins in Carson where the team will remain until March 10. From there it is off to Colorado Springs, where the squad will undergo high altitude training until a short flight south to Albuquerque for the March 19 match vs. Honduras. The next day, the U.S. will return to Colorado Springs to complete their preparations before departing for the March 27 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Mexico in Mexico City.
Tickets for the Colombia match at Titan Stadium are on sale and range in price levels from $15 to $40, while tickets for the Honduras match in Albuquerque range in price levels from $18 to $60. Visit ussoccer.com for information or to purchase tickets.
After Mexico, the USA will open its home schedule of final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Tickets ranging in price from $18 to $55 are also available online at ussoccer.com.
The U.S. will play 10 games in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup from Feb. 9 - Oct. 13, 2005. 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. opened final round qualifying play with a 2-1 victory in Trinidad on Feb. 9.