Open wide for some soccer at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Thursday, October 11! The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Colombia as part of U.S. Soccer’s fall “Kickoff Series", designed to increase the team’s level of competition ahead of next year’s Gold Cup and the start of World Cup qualifying in the summer of 2020.
“As we continue to build into the next [qualifying] cycle, this will be another important experience for the development of this group,” U.S. head coach Dave Sarachan said. “When you talk about exciting, technical and experienced opponents, Colombia ticks all the boxes."
"With players at some of the top clubs around the world, they are fast, physical and skillful. Tampa has been a great host to our national teams, and I know they will come out and show their support in October."
Colombia qualified for the 2018 World Cup and reached the Round of 16, where they were eliminated on penalties by England (another Kickoff Series opponent). Before that, Los Cafeteros had their best World Cup campaign ever in 2014, reaching the quarterfinals before being knocked out by hosts Brazil. James Rodriguez, Colombia’s best player, won the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup, and his absence in the England match due to injury this year was a big reason why his team did not advance.
As you know, the U.S. team did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup. As a result, the USMNT will not play any competitive matches this year, only friendlies. The failure to qualify was a big blow to American soccer fans after the team had played in seven straight World Cups dating back to 1990, but there has been a silver lining. With familiar faces like Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Geoff Cameron aging and unlikely to get another chance in a World Cup final, U.S. Soccer has been given an extended low-risk opportunity to assess their player pool as they look for a new core of talent to lead them into qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
This will be the USMNT’s 19th match all-time against Colombia. They have only won three of the previous 18 matchups, including a pair of defeats at the Copa América tournament in 2016. However, one of U.S. Soccer’s most famous wins was over Colombia in the 1994 World Cup at the Rose Bowl. USA’s 2-1 upset helped the team qualify for the Round of 16 in a major step forward for soccer in the United States.
This will also be the 9th time the USMNT has played a game in Tampa. Three were held at the old Tampa Stadium, and the last six have been at Raymond James Stadium with the most recent being a nervy 3-2 Gold Cup group stage win over Martinique on July 12, 2017. Jordan Morris scored twice, including the game-winner in the 76th minute after the U.S. had squandered a 2-0 lead.
There are a total of six games in the USMNT’s Kickoff Series, including Colombia. Brazil, England, Italy, and Mexico have also been announced as opponents, with the sixth game still to be set.
Tickets to the USA-Colombia men’s soccer friendly at Raymond James Stadium go on sale Thursday, August 9 beginning at 10:00 a.m. You can get tickets at USSoccer.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will remain on sale all the way up to the day of the game, with any remaining tickets available at the stadium box office. This will be the strongest team the USMNT has ever played in Tampa. Don’t miss the opportunity to cheer on your national team against world-class competition on October 11!