U.S. settles exhibition details
NEW YORK -- Rather than make most players from both teams travel from Europe to the West Coast, the United States and Argentina will play their high-profile exhibition game on March 26 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The match figures to feature Argentina's Lionel Messi, who won his second straight FIFA player of the year award this week.
The Americans also will play Paraguay three days later at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., the U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday.
"We have had terrific support for the national team in Nashville, and obviously a game with Argentina in the New York area is a great opportunity for our fans as a showcase," USSF president Sunil Gulati said.
The Argentina Football Association announced on Nov. 24 that the game would be played at Seattle, but the USSF never confirmed that site.
Prices for the Argentina match range from $38 (upper endlines) to $395 (midfield with club access), while Paraguay tickets run from $20-$150.
Meadowlands chief executive Mark Lamping said a temporary grass field will be installed for the game. The Meadowlands had held FIFA fixture dates open, hoping to woo the USSF.
The $1.6 billion stadium also will host the 2014 Super Bowl, and Lamping hopes it one day can stage the European Champions League final, which has never been played outside Europe.
"That's obviously an event that gets the world attention, and those are the types of events we would love to bring to this facility," he said. "If there ever is the possibility of moving that final off of European soil, we certainly would be very aggressive in trying to bring that here."
In 2008, the U.S. and Argentina played a 0-0 tie before 78,682 at old Giants Stadium. This will be the second match for the Americans at the New Meadowlands following a 2-0 loss to Brazil last August before 77,223.
"Argentina continues to be one of the most-talented teams in the world, and we are excited to have the opportunity to compete against them," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "When you talk about the best players around the globe, the Argentines certainly contribute a lot of names to that list."
Paraguay is ranked 24th.
"Paraguay showed during the World Cup that they are a creative and organized team capable of being very dangerous in the attack," Bradley said. "Both of these matches give us a chance to continue to raise the bar for our team."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press