Archive for the ‘Friendly’ Category

USA To Play Sweden In January Friendly

November 22, 2008
U.S. To Kick Off Busy 2009 with Friendly in Southern California;Final Round World Cup Qualifying, Gold Cup, Confederations Cup on Tap

I’ve got to say I like the selection of teams the U.S. Soccer Federation is picking for friendlies these days and Sweden is a good example. Strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Larssson (pictured to the right) will be a stiff test for the US defense, not to mention winger “Kongo” Kim Källström (Olympique Lyon) , who serves up beautiful crosses to the forwards and can take powerful and accurate shots from distance (he earned his nickname for knocking a teammate out cold with a shot during a practice at the 2006 World Cup).

The well-organized Swedes, always tough to score against, will test the US midfield and attack to the hilt. Their central defense including Carlos Bocanegra’s partner at Rennes, Peter Hansson and Juventus’ Olof Mellberg have proven tough to crack behind a strong spine of Anders Svensonn and holding midfielder Daniel Andersson. When you lose possession against this crew, its a real dogfight to get it back. All in all, a good test for a US National Team which has been a juggernaut in CONCACAF this year but with remaining questions about how well they’ll compete against teams from Europe.

This match will give Bob Bradley a much clearer picture of where his team stands going into the next round of World Cup qualifying and next summer’s Confederation’s Cup.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off a busy 2009 schedule when they face Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 5:30 p.m. PT. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.The game follows a training camp that begins the first week of January as the U.S. team prepares for CONCACAF Final Round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the 2009

FIFA Confederations Cup.

Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $60, plus special edition U.S. Soccer on-field seats for $150, go on sale to the public Monday, Nov. 24, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com, by phone (213-480-3232 in L.A.; 714-740-2000 in Orange County; 619-220-8497 in San Diego), and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Macy’s, FYE and Ritmo Latino). Fans can also buy tickets at The Home Depot Center Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

As a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa® is pleased to offer all Visa cardholders access to an advance ticket sale for this match before the sale to the general public. This advance sale will take place from Sunday, Nov. 23, at 8 a.m. PT until Monday, Nov. 24, at 8 a.m. at ussoccer.com. Visa will be the only payment method accepted through the Visa presale and is the preferred card of U.S. Soccer. Terms and conditions apply.

The U.S. will begin CONCACAF Final Round World Cup qualifying on Feb. 11, and along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago will be vying for three automatic spots in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place finisher will enter a home-and-away series with the fifth-place team from South America.

Sweden is also in the midst of FIFA World Cup qualifying, and after three matches is in fifth place in Group 1 despite an undefeated record that includes a win and two ties. Their campaign resumes on March 28, 2009, with a trip to Portugal. The Scandinavians have competed in 11 World Cup finals, highlighted by a second-place finish in the 1958 tournament and a third-place finish in USA ’94. In 2006, they advanced out of Group B along with England before falling in the Round of 16 to hosts Germany.

The USA and Sweden have met six times previously. The U.S. evened the series at 3-3-0 with a 2-0 victory last January in a game that saw Landon Donovan set the all-time U.S. scoring record. The U.S. is making its sixth visit to The Home Depot Center for a match, carrying a 4-0-1 record. Last year, in addition to the victory against Sweden, the U.S. trounced Barbados 8-0 on June 15 in their opening game of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The remainder of the U.S. schedule for 2009 will be determined this Saturday, Nov. 22, when the draw to determine the placement of teams in the CONCACAF Final Round hexagonal for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying will take place at 1 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Teams will learn their opponents as well as home and away dates for all 10 Final Round qualifiers that will determine the three automatic berths for CONCACAF in 2010 in South Africa. The Final Round will kick off on Feb. 11. The U.S. will also have games on March 28, April 1, June 3, June 6, August 12, Sept. 5, Sept. 9, Oct. 10 and Oct. 14.

Following the announcement of the CONCACAF Final Round draw, FIFA will conduct the draw for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup that will be held from June 14-28 in South Africa. The United States will participate along with hosts South Africa, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand and Spain.

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