U.S. will face Norway
CHICAGO -- The U.S. men's national team will face Norway at The Home Depot Center on January 29, 2006, at 2 p.m. PT, as U.S. manager Bruce Arena continues to shape and prepare his team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The match will be televised live on ESPN2 and available online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. The match will be a part of a nearly one-month long training camp for the U.S. that will be held at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., beginning on Jan. 4 to kick off the World Cup year. Tickets begin at $20 and go on sale Thursday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. PT at ussoccer.com. The Jan. 29 fixture will be the ninth game played by a U.S. Soccer team in the main stadium at the Home Depot Center since it opened more than two years ago. This will be the second visit by the U.S. men's national team to the HDC, following a 1-1 draw with Denmark in January of 2004. The U.S. women have won four times at Home Depot Center, and the U.S. U-20 men's national team swept their three world championship qualifying matches there in January of 2005. This will be the 67th match for the U.S. MNT in Southern California, where the team has a 27-19-20 record dating back to 1957. Though the U.S. and Norway have only met four times previously, there is an interesting history between the two nations. The series is the second longest in U.S. history, dating to a Sept. 16, 1916 match in Oslo, Norway, when the U.S. earned a draw in their second ever match. In 1948 the U.S. suffered an 11-0 defeat to the Norwegians, their most lopsided defeat in history. Most recently, the U.S. topped Norway on Jan. 15, 1994 in a World Cup preparation match to improve their series record to 1-2-1 Norway is still alive in their quest to qualify for a fourth FIFA World Cup, with a two-game playoff with the Czech Republic set for Nov. 12 in Oslo and Nov. 16 in Prague. They enter the playoff after finishing second in Group 5 of UEFA World Cup qualifying with 18 points, finishing behind Italy and ahead of Scotland, who the U.S. will face in a friendly on Nov. 12 in Glasgow (11 a.m. ET/Live Fox Soccer Channel). The U.S. is one of 32 finalists that will compete in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, qualifying first from CONCACAF and finishing atop the group in CONCACAF for the first time. The World Cup Draw, which will determine group pairings, will take place Dec. 9 in Leipzig, Germany. The USA has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as its base of operations in Germany.