For its second group game, the U. S. Men’s National Team will battle Portugal in the Arena Amazonia, while immersed in the steamy, jungle conditions of Manaus. The matchup on Sunday, June 22, which is live on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision, brings up memories of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, when these two combatants met in group play, with the United States knocking off Portugal 3-2. ussoccer.com caught up with players and coaches involved in the 2002 victory to reflect on one of the most memorable days in USMNT history.
CHICAGO (Dec. 20, 2013) – U.S. Soccer unveiled its All-Time Men’s National Team Best XI to wrap up the Federation’s celebration of its Centennial anniversary.
For the MNT Best XI, Landon Donovan leads the way with 52 votes. He and Clint Dempsey represent the two players currently active with the National Team through 2013.
The MNT Best XI also features five members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame: defenders Marcelo Balboa (2005) and Eddie Pope (2011), midfielders Tab Ramos (2005) and Claudio Reyna (2012) and forward Eric Wynalda (2004).
Three-time FIFA World Cup goalkeeper Brad Friedel received 25 votes from the panel (44 percent of the vote).
Calculated by total votes, U.S. Soccer’s All-Time Men’s Best XI is arranged in a 4-4-2 formation and listed below in alphabetical order by position:
Goalkeeper – Brad Friedel 1992-2004 (25 votes)
Defender – Marcelo Balboa
1988-2000 (35 votes)
Defender – Carlos Bocanegra 2001-2012 (25 votes)
Defender – Steve Cherundolo 1999-2012 (25 votes)
Defender – Eddie Pope 1996-2006 (33 votes)
Midfielder – Clint Dempsey
2004-present (25 votes)
Midfielder – Landon Donovan 2000-present (52 votes)
Midfielder – Tab Ramos 1988-2000 (42 votes)
Midfielder – Claudio Reyna 1994-2006 (45 votes)
Forward – Brian McBride
1993-2006 (45 votes)
Forward – Eric Wynalda 1990-2000 (43 votes)
Complete voting results are listed below.
In an effort to create a fair and reasonable process to determine the All-Time Best XI, U.S. Soccer appointed a committee of soccer historians and former players, coaches, media members and administrators at the National Team level.
The committee determined the list of eligible players for selection to the Best XI, as well as the criteria to be considered by the list of voters. Voters for the MNT Best XI included 57 former players and administrators, as well as media members. The criteria the voters considered in determining their All-Time Best XI:
- Starter or key contributor to overall success on the field, especially in World Cups
- Longevity, overall performance and talent on the field with the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team
- Impact on the legacy of the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team program
Members of the voting include, in alphabetical order:
Jeff Agoos (former player), Roger Allaway (historian), Bruce Arena (coach), Esse Baharmast (referee), Marcelo Balboa (former player), Roger Bennett (media), Paul Caligiuri (former player), Andres Cantor (media), Jeff Carlisle (media), Dr. Bob Contiguglia (administrator), Rick Davis (former player), Steve Davis (media), Frank Dell’Apa (media), JP Dellacamera (media), Anson Dorrance (coach), Julie Foudy (former player), Werner Fricker Jr. (administrator), Carin Gabarra (former player), Bob Gansler (former coach), Steve Goff (media), Brian Hall (referee), Mia Hamm (former player), John Harkes (former player), April Heinrichs (former player), Chris Henderson (former player), Ted Howard (administrator), Clark Hunt (administrator), Cobi Jones (former player), Grahame Jones (media), Colin Jose (historian), Michelle Kaufman (media), Paul Kennedy (media), Alfred Kleinaitis (referee), Eddie Lewis (former player), Michael Lewis (media), Bob Ley (media), Ridge Mahoney (media), Kyle Martino (former player), Brian McBride (former player), Bora Milutinovic (former coach), Len Oliver (former player), Kevin Payne (administrator), Hugo Perez (former player), Eddie Pope (former player), Tab Ramos (former player), Alan Rothenberg (administrator), Hank Steinbrecher (administrator), Rob Stone (media), Jamie Trecker (media), Jerry Trecker (media), Jim Trecker (administrator), Al Trost (former player), Peter Vermes (former player), Kelly Whiteside (media), Mike Woitalla (media), Alex Yannis (media) and Mark Ziegler (media).
Complete Voting Results for All-Time Men’s National Team Best XI:
Brad Friedel 25, Kasey Keller 14, Tim Howard 13, Tony Meola 4, Arnold Mausser 1, Frank Borghi 0, David Vanole 0
Marcelo Balboa 35, Eddie Pope 33, Carlos Bocanegra 25, Steve Cherundolo 25, Thomas Dooley 20, Paul Caligiuri 18, Jeff Agoos 16, Alexi Lalas 14, Frankie Hejduk 9, Harry Keough 6, Pablo Mastroeni 3, Fernando Clavijo 2, Tony Sanneh 2, Mike Windischmann 2, Gregg Berhalter 2, Desmond Armstrong 0, Jimmy Banks, Brian Bliss 0, Mike Burns 0, John Doyle 0, Mike Lapper 0, Oguchi Onyewu 0, Werner Roth 0
Landon Donovan 52, Claudio Reyna 45, Tab Ramos 42, Clint Dempsey 25, Michael Bradley 20, Cobi Jones 12, Walter Bahr 6, John Harkes 6, Hugo Perez 3, Adolf Bachmeier 2, Rick Davis 2, John O’Brien 2, Al Trost 2, DaMarcus Beasley 1, Ed McIlvenny 1*, Joe-Max Moore 1, Brian Quinn 1, Mike Sorber 1, Chris Armas 0, Chris Henderson 0, Eddie Lewis 0, Preki 0, Ed Souza 0, John Souza 0
Brian McBride 45, Eric Wynalda 43, Earnie Stewart 16, Billy Gonsalves 7, Jozy Altidore 6, Peter Vermes 3, Joe Gaetjens 2, Archie Stark 2, Roy Wegerle 2, Roy Lassiter 1, Clint Mathis 1, Benny McLaughlin 1*, Ed Murphy 1*, Bruce Murray 1, Kyle Rote Jr. 1, Willy Roy 1, David Brown 0, Brian Ching 0, Aldo “Buff” Donelli 0, Frank Klopas 0, Bill Looby 0, Bert Patenaude 0, Josh Wolff 0
*These three players were not on the eligible list, but were write-in votes
Eddie Pope’s successful career for the United States Men’s National Team includes nine World Cup matches played since 1998 and 82 appearances overall. His first appearance for the MNT came against Trinidad in November 1996 and the last was against Italy in June of 2006. Pope ended his eleven-year international career for the U.S. tied with Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna for the most ever World Cup qualifying appearances in U.S. history, playing in 31 matches during three qualifying campaigns. He turned in one of the standout performances for the U.S. defense at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, starting all five matches. He also played two games each at the 1998 and 2006 World Cups.
Pope recorded eight goals for the United States, none bigger than his strike in the USA’s 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw with Mexico on April 20, 1997. Also scoring the game-winner against Mexico on April 28, 2004 in Dallas, he added two goals to his account in 2006, netting in back-to-back games against Norway and Japan. Pope also collected a Gold Cup championship medal in 2005.
In addition to his many accolades for the United States National Team, Pope is the first three-time World Cup veteran to play his entire professional career in Major League Soccer. Pope spent his entire 11-year professional career in Major League Soccer, beginning with D.C. United in 1996. A three-time MLS champion, his greatest professional moment came when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give D.C. United the inaugural MLS Cup title in 1996. Selected for the All-Star game in each of his 11 seasons, the Real Salt Lake defender was named to the league’s All-Time Best XI last in 2005. He was named an MLS all-star four times, 1997 (a season in which he also was a MLS defender of the year), 1998, 2003 and 2004. During his 12 MLS seasons, he played 254 regular-season games and 27 playoff games.
Date of Birth
Dec 24, 1973
High Point, N.C.
Real Salt Lake