US-Czech soccer exhibition in East Hartford, Conn. 

The United States will start its World Cup send-off tour by playing the Czech Republic at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on May 25.

The site of the match was announced Wednesday by U.S. Soccer Federation. The U.S. has played at Rentschler Field twice previously, defeating Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in August 2005 and beating Latvia 1-0 in its final warmup before the 2006 World Cup.

The Americans play Turkey at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on May 29 before leaving for South Africa. They also might play fellow World Cup qualifier Australia in an exhibition on June 5 in Johannesburg.

Making its sixth straight World Cup appearance, the U.S. opens June 12 against England, plays Slovenia six days later and completes the first round against Algeria on June 23.

In addition to playing the U.S., the Czechs meet Turkey on May 22 in the first match between national teams at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Czechs outplayed the Americans in the tournament opener for both teams, winning 3-0. In 1990, Czechoslovakia routed the U.S. 5-1 in the Americans’ return to the World Cup following a 40-year absence.

The Czech Republic failed to advance to the 32-nation field for this year’s World Cup in South Africa, finishing behind Slovakia and Slovenia in its European qualifying group.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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