If there is one venue the U.S. Men’s National Team could call home outside United States, it would undoubtedly be Fulham’s Craven Cottage. Plenty of current and former players can find the stadium on the river Thames without a GPS.
The list of U.S. internationals that pulled on the Fulham jersey is long and distinguished, including goalkeepers, goal scorers, FIFA World Cup veterans and aspiring leaders.
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (1999-2002) was the first to don the Cottager’s kit in the modern era and former U.S. MNT midfielder and defender Eddie Lewis arrived a year later (2000-2002). Despite not playing a game the whole season, his coach Jean Tigana insisted on keeping Lewis until season’s end, making him the last to arrive at the USA’s pre-World Cup training camp in 2002. Lewis went on to deliver one of the most famous crosses in U.S. history.
Later in the decade, three-time World Cup veteran Kasey Keller spent a season at Craven Cottage (2007), while striker Eddie Johnson had a three-year spell there (2008-11) spent mostly on loan.
The most accomplished and celebrated U.S. players at Craven Cottage are strikers Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey. McBride (2004-08) scored 33 goals during his tenure and became such a fan favorite that the stadium pub now bears his name. He was a two-time Fulham Player of the Year, and was named captain for the 2007-08 season. Most recently, McBride was named to a special committee to help select the club’s next manager.
“I think it’s the perfect fit. The Fulham supporters are incredibly loyal and have a great appreciation for what the American players bring to the table,” McBride said of Craven Cottage. “For the U.S. players and fans who will be there for the first time, they will experience a very special place. There is a heart and soul to Craven Cottage that goes beyond just a stadium; it’s like playing in front of your family.”
Not to be outdone, Dempsey picked up McBride’s scoring reins at Fulham. In addition to famous goals – the game-winner against Liverpool that saved Fulham from relegation in 2007 and the wonder strike against Juventus in the Europa League Round of 16, among others – the Texan set the team record for the most career tallies in the Premier League (50) by an American, surpassing his 2006 World Cup teammate, McBride.
Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra also made a big impression with the Fulham faithful (2004-08), becoming one of the few MNT players in history playing outside the United States to wear the captain’s armband for both club and country. He was the second leading scorer in the 2006-07 campaign with five goals – behind McBride – and finished his career there with eight total in 116 appearances.
“I’m thrilled that the U.S. Men’s National Team will play at a stadium that has meant so much to the American players who got their chance at Fulham,” Bocanegra said. “The fans there were incredibly supportive of us, and we have so many great memories there. Craven Cottage has one of the most intimate atmospheres I’ve ever played in. Sitting in the Cottage is like having a rooftop seat it Wrigley Field – it’s an experience every fan should have in their lifetime.”
The American line of succession at Fulham has now been passed to 18-year-old Emerson Hyndman, who played extensively in Fulham’s Youth Academy and scored a goal in the U-18 FA Cup Final. Now earning regular minutes for the first time, Hyndman debuted for the senior MNT in the 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in Prague this past September.
U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY
“On the night we weren’t good enough. In the game we had the ball early and a chance to gain control. Panama did a good job defending, and as we’re trying to open them and find spaces, we allow them the first goal. At that point their game plan becomes stronger. We still have the same approach, but the second goal makes it hard. In the second half we put a lot into it. We had some good chances, but nonetheless we weren’t sharp enough in the areas that mattered.”
On whether the heat was a factor and if there will be changes for the next game:
“I don’t think the heat was a factor. On the night we’re not sharp enough. With the fast turnaround, we’re clearly going to consider some changes and be ready to go Tuesday night in Kansas City.”
On whether the performance of the referee affected the result:
“At this time we just look at ourselves and see the areas where we think to improve in order to continue to move forward in this tournament.”
On the adjustments he made at halftime:
“We have to push the game harder, and that accounts for a lot of us pushing them back. They are ahead, so they are dropping deeper. In the first half as the game is developing, we have the ball a lot but we weren’t able to take advantage of some situations. What you don’t want to do in that situation is go down a goal. You want to keep controlling the game and controlling the ball with the idea that opportunities will come. When you put yourself behind, you make it much harder to do that.”
On what he said to the team after the game:
“We spoke quickly about some of things I said here. On the night, I don’t think it’s our best. We talk about the kind of game we were just in, and now the ability to push forward understanding that the road to move through this tournament is now a little different.”
U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On the match:
“First of all, give Panama a lot of credit. They started the game well, took the initiative to be aggressive and made some early plays. It took us a while to get into the game and our second half was very good, but when you dig yourself a hole that deep sometimes you can’t get out of it.”
On why the team started slow:
“It’s hard to know. Sometimes you just come out flat for whatever reason. At this level and against a good team, you can’t do that. Some nights you come out flat and you don’t get punished and other nights you do. We learned a valuable lesson tonight. We have got to make sure we take that with us.”
On the team getting beaten for the first time in Gold Cup group play:
“It’s bound to happen at some point. CONCACAF teams are getting better and better. That’s a pretty good team that we played against. It’s disappointing but the reality is that it is over now and we‘ve got to learn something from it but that doesn’t help us for Tuesday. We have got to turn around and make sure that we are ready to play. We’ve got to win Tuesday, see what else happens and see where we end up. We’re still fine. We just have to make sure we learn some lessons.”
On the lessons the team learned:
“You can’t start that way. I think for some reason we were just a little lackadaisical, a little complacent early. We had some of the ball and we felt OK about ourselves, but they put us on our heels a few times and they made a play that changed the game. The penalty is a little fluky and now we’re chasing the game. We can’t start that way; that’s the overwhelming, obvious point.”
U.S. defender STEVE CHERUNDOLO
On the game:
“I think a 2-0 hole was just too big for us to get ourselves out of tonight. Nonetheless, I think the effort in the second half was very good and is something we wouldn’t like to build on, but we’re going to have to build on.”
On what the U.S. needs to do in the next game:
“To go out and play the soccer that we want to play, that we can play, and obviously to win. Nothing less than a win works for us, so we have to win the last game and go from there. It’s going to be the hard route to the final now but we’re ready for it, and we have to get this loss behind us and focus on the next game.”
What the team does from here:
“Spend as little time is possible analyzing this game, and start preparing for the next game. That starts with a good recovery tonight."
U.S. defender TIM REAM
On the start:
“We just came out slow, with not enough energy from the get go and it kind of put us on our heels. That’s what happens: if you come out slow, you are going to get punished for it.”
Comparing the first two Gold Cup matches:
“It was completely different than the way we came out against Canada in Detroit. It’s not like we were looking past this game. For whatever reason we didn’t move the ball quick enough and put enough pressure on and come out with enough energy.”
U.S. forward CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI
On if Panama’s style caught the U.S. off guard:
“Absolutely not. We’re used to that. It wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before and we were prepared for that coming in. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We gave them three or four early chances and they put one of them away and we were behind all game. That’s going to cost you.”
• Another goalkeeping success story, Hahnemann has undertaken a career spanning from the A-League to the MLS to the English Premier League, to the English Championship and now back to the Premier League with Wolverhampton Wanderers
• Had the longest layoff from U.S. National Team duty ever, with an eight-year, five-month, 28-day break spanning appearances between 1994 and 2003
• Made the leap from MLS to Europe in 1999, joining Fulham for three years before being loaned out and finally signing a deal with Reading in 2002
Nicknames include ‘Red Bird’ and ‘Boomer’ … Likes to work on his Porsche, play video games, and ride dirt bikes with his kids … Famous for throwing his jersey into the crowd at all his matches in England … Intensely patriotic, he has a tattoo of the American flag on his left arm … He and wife Amanda have two boys, Hunter and Austin … Holds a German passport … Rides his bike to training with Wolves.
As Seattle Pacific’s only three-time All-American, Hahnemann helped the Falcons capture the 1993 NCAA Division II Championship in his senior year ... Named Defensive MVP of the 1993 Final Four ... A four-year letterman at Seattle Pacific, Hahnemann holds school records for consecutive scoreless minutes (944), consecutive shutouts (10) and career shutouts (46) ... Rated among the nation’s top 10 in shutouts and goals-against average in all four of his collegiate seasons.