U.S. Soccer: Honduras qualifier at RFK on Sept. 1

The United States will host high-scoring Honduras on Sept. 1 at Washington D.C.'s RFK Stadium in a final round World Cup qualifying match. The game is the seventh in the USA's 10-game quest to qualify for the 2002 World Cup and is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. ET (live on ESPN2 and Telemundo). "RFK Stadium is one of our country's best soccer venues," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "We have had tremendous success there in the past and, obviously, this will be an important match as we try to qualify for the World Cup." The 10 a.m. (7 a.m. PT) kickoff on ESPN2 was necessary for two important reasons: to provide the team with the maximum amount of rest time for a critical match in Costa Rica just five days later on Sept. 5, and to ensure a nationally televised broadcast on the ABC/ESPN network family. While U.S. Soccer had an opportunity to play the match on Sunday afternoon live on ABC, after discussing the needs of the team with coach Arena, the Federation opted to forego that time slot and give the U.S. players an extra day of recovery and preparation between the games. "The fans in D.C. have shown throughout the years that they are among the strongest supporters of U.S. Soccer," said U.S. Soccer Secretary General Dan Flynn. "It is that support, in addition to our belief that, although the 10:00 am kick-off time is unique, the fans in the D.C. area will respond and support the team due to the magnitude of this game." The Sept. 1 showdown will be part of a soccer doubleheader, with Major League Soccer's D.C. United hosting the Tampa Bay Mutiny at 12:30 p.m. ET. The U.S. has a 7-2-3 all-time record at RFK Stadium since 1990, including a crucial 1-0 win against Guatemala in the semifinal round of last year's qualifying on Sept. 3, 2000. Honduras sailed through the semifinal round of qualifying in 2000, winning five of their six matches to easily finish atop Group D. The Hondurans were the highest scoring team in CONCACAF semifinal round qualifying, outscoring their opponents by a whopping 25-5 margin. The Central American squad is led by the dynamic attacking duo of Carlos Pavon and David Suazo. Pavon, the 2000 Central American Player of the Year, led all CONCACAF players with seven goals in the semifinal round of qualifying. Suazo only played in two matches for Honduras in the previous round, but still contributed two goals and is expected to be recalled from Italy, where he plays with Cagliari. The U.S. has only played Honduras three times on U.S. soil in their history, earning a win and two ties. The U.S. beat the Central Americans, 1-0, in group play at the 1993 Gold Cup in Dallas on July 17, 1993, and won the 1991 Gold Cup in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw in the tournament final at the Los Angeles Coliseum back on July 7, 1991. The two teams drew 1-1 in Fullerton, Calif., on Dec. 11, 1994.
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