A year ago, Eric Wynalda, a former U.S. Men’s National Team player, and Cal FC of the United States Adult Soccer Association made a run to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Now, another team from the USASA, led by another former U.S. international player, hopes to make the same kind of deep run.
New Jersey-based Icon FC defeated the Brooklyn Italians 4-1 for the club’s first win in the U.S. Open Cup.
Danny Szetela, a former midfielder from the U.S. Youth program and veteran of the 2008 Olympic team, is playing with Icon FC after having three knee surgeries in the past two years.
“The coach is a family friend since I was little,” Szetela said. “After I had my surgeries I had to start training, so I started training with them.”
One thing led to another, and now he’s a midfielder who’s played more than 10 games with the team.
Forward Argjent Duka said Szetela is the heart of the team, and the experience and effort he puts forth in practice and in games is rubbing off on the team in positive ways.
“You can tell the experience (he’s had) when he has the ball,” Duka said. “I don’t know if we’d be making this run without him.”
Szetela was a five-semester resident of U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency Program from 2004 until spring 2006, and scored a pair of goals against Poland at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007.
He was called up to the U.S. U-23 MNT for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, making two appearances.
On a team filled with amateur players, Szetela said there are a lot of professional-level players that have boatloads of experience, and he’s doing his best to harness the wealth of experience on the team to propel it forward.
“I want them to play with heart,” he said. “The guys get a little nervous playing in these Open Cup games, and I’m trying to make the guys relaxed as much as I can. We’re on a good run, and I hope it keeps going.”
Argjent Duka, the older brother of Chicago Fire midfielder Dilly Duka, tallied a hat trick in Icon FC’s 4-1 win Tuesday night.
Duka, who’s been at Icon FC for a few years now, said he’s never been on an Icon FC team as good as this year.
“I brought some friends along, and we’ve been playing great,” he said. “We’re not the most athletic team, but we’re a good team. We have a team with a good chemistry and we play well together. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
It’s possible for the club to advance past USL PRO’s Richmond Kickers, but Duka said it will be difficult and will require some luck and not making any mistakes.
Still, he has been getting extra motivation from his younger brother, Dilly, as Icon FC goes deeper and deeper into the tournament.
Dilly tweeted “Watching my bro kill it for Icon FC #USopenCup #firstround 3 goals for AJ Dukes” late during the match Tuesday night.
The two are close, talk all the time, and train together whenever they have the chance.
Dilly said that growing up in a house with two other brothers, sports, and especially soccer, were ways for the three of them to bond.
“We have a pretty tight knit family,” Dilly said. “My brother follows my soccer, as I follow his. Making it to this level, they’re very happy for me. Now with his success and this team from our hometown’s success, we’re happy and hoping that they can make it a little further.”
For most of his youth career, Argjent played in the midfield, but switched to an attacking forward position with Icon FC.
Argjent has a high soccer IQ that Dilly said allows him to play many different positions well and opens the door for other types of teams.
In the end, Dilly is hoping that his brother, friends and Icon FC make it deep into the tournament, but at the same time he knows how the schedule could play out.
“If they could go a little further, I’ll definitely be supporting them,” Dilly said. “But if they somehow play the Chicago Fire, I would definitely cut it out then. That team is a team that has been playing together for several years. Maybe they need a little luck, but they can have a run like Cal FC.”
TIANJIN, China (August 7, 2008) — The U.S. Men’s Olympic Team got off to a fine start in the 2008 Olympic Games by earning a 1-0 victory against Japan before 37,177 fans at the Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium. Stuart Holden fired home the game’s only goal in the 47th minute to hand the U.S. three points and the top spot in Group B following the 0-0 draw between Netherlands and Nigeria.
“The first game in this kind of tournament is very tight and you have to compete,” said U.S. head coach Peter Nowak. “I’m very proud of them, because the first game is never easy and you never know how it is going to be . You train for three weeks and you try to find the right recipe about how the team will play. It was important to get the three points.”
The U.S. next faces 2007 European Under-21 Champions Netherlands on Aug. 10 in Tianjin. Kickoff is set for 7:45 a.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on the USA Network and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The U.S. backline held solid throughout the match, anchored by centerbacks Maurice Edu and Michael Parkhurst while outside defenders Marvell Wynne and Michael Orozco won the flank duels. The combination of Michael Bradley and Sacha Kljestan kept the center of the park tight, with Holden and Robbie Rogers pinching in to deny space to the Japanese attack. Despite delivering a few dangerous crosses, Japan only managed two shots on goal.
At the other end of the park, U.S. captain Brian McBride worked tirelessly throughout the night, earning several fouls and maintaining consistent pressure on the Japanese defense. At 36, McBride is the oldest player in the tournament and the oldest to appear in the Olympic Games since the new format was established in 1992. Rogers troubled the Japanese with several attacking runs with the ball at his feet.
Both sides spent the first 15 minutes settling into the atmosphere in Tianjin, where the temperature reached 92 degrees at kickoff. The match was tightly contested through the midfield, with both teams looking to exploit room on the flanks. The USA’s got their first good look at goal in the 14th minute through a sweet combination play. Sacha Kljestan penetrated the middle of the Japan defense before feeding an entry pass into McBride. The forward laid a back pass off to Michael Bradley, who fired a low line drive that forced the Japanese ‘keeper to make a solid save.
Japan countered with a great chance eight minutes later that began with a cleverly crafted corner kick play. Atsuto Uchida played a short corner to Shinji Kagawa, who quickly played a ball into Keisuke Honda, who was charging from near post. He laid a ball back to Uchida, who delivered a ball across the six-yard box that a diving Brad Guzan just knicked. The changing trajectory fooled Masato Morishige, who was lurking at the far post, and his attempt at goal bounced wide.
The best chance for either team in the opening stanza came in the 41st minute for Japan. After a failed clearance off a corner, Uchida launched a cross into the six-yard box. Hiroyuki Taniguchi - the beneficiary of a missed offsides call - had a clear look at goal, but his glancing header skimmed wide.
The U.S. took the lead for good in the 47th minute on a play began by Marvell Wynne. The right back outpaced his defender down the right flank and whipped a low cross into the box. Japan captain Hiroki Mizumoto attempted a clearance, but his effort fell straight into the path of Holden. The midfielder stepped into a hard drive that snuck under the arms of Shusaku Nishikawa, delivering the U.S. the decisive 1-0 lead.
With the lead in hand, the U.S. was able to maintain possession in several stretches despite pressure from Japan. Nonetheless, the final 30 minutes were not without a couple close calls. A penetrating cross from Shinji Kagawa in the 65th was skimmed out of a danger by a sliding Edu, who also held off Keisuke Honda during a scrum in the box just 10 minutes from the final whistle.
Japan got one more look at goal in the final minute of stoppage time, launching a ball into the area that forced Guzan off his line. The U.S. ‘keeper lost the race to substitute Tadanari Lee, but Lee’s header sailed safely over the bar.
The U.S. used all three of their allotted substitutions. Jozy Altidore replaced McBride in the 74th minute, then Benny Feilhaber came on for Holden in the 83rd minute. Danny Szetela became the USA’s final change in the 87th minute, entering in place of Rogers.
Following the Netherlands match, the U.S. changes venues for their final Group B match when they face 1996 Gold Medalists Nigeria on Aug. 13 in Beijing. The match will be shown live on the USA Network and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel beginning at 5 a.m. ET.
U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Japan
Competition: 2008 Olympics
Venue: Tiajin Olympic Center Stadium; Tianjin, China
Date: August 7, 2008; Kickoff – 5:00 p.m. local / 5:00 a.m. ET
Weather: Hazy, Humid, 92 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
JPN 0 0 0
USA – Stuart Holden 47th minute.
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 2-Marvell Wynne, 6-Maurice Edu, 15-Michael Parkhurst, 3-Michael Orozco; 7-Stuart Holden (10-Benny Feilhaber, 83), 4-Michael Bradley, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 14-Robbie Rogers (8-Danny Szetela, 87); 11-Freddy Adu, 17-Brian McBride – Capt. (12-Jozy Altidore, 74)
Subs: 1-Chris Seitz, 5-Dax McCarty, 9-Charlie Davies,13-Patrick Ianni
Head Coach: Peter Nowak
JPN: 1-Shusaku Nishikawa; 4-Hiroki Mizumoto – Capt., 5-Yuto Nagatomo, 6-Masato Morishige, 7-Atsuto Uchida; 8-Keisuke Honda, 10-Yohei Kajiyama (17-Tadanari Lee, 64), 12-Hiroyuki Taniguchi, 14-Shinji Kagawa (11-Shinji Okazaki, 84), 16-Takuya Honda; 15-Takayuki Morimoto (9-Yohei Toyoda, 73)
Subs: 2-Hajime Hosogai, 3-Maya Yoshida, 13-Michihiro Yasuda, 18-Kaito Yamamoto
Head Coach: Yasuharu Sorimachi
Statistical Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 8 / 8
Shots on Goal: 4 / 2
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 15 / 18
Offside: 2 / 4
USA – Freddy Adu (caution) 51st minute.
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 64.
JPN – Keisuke Honda (caution) 73.
JPN – Takuya Honda (caution) 77.
USA – Brad Guzan (caution) 87.
Referee: Badara Diatta (SEN)
Asst. Referee: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Asst. Referee: Bechir Hassani (TUN)
4th Official: Stephane Lannoy (FRA)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Stuart Holden
2008 Olympic Men’s Soccer Tournament Standings
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
ARG 1 0 0 3 2 1 +1
AUS 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
SRB 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
CIV 0 1 0 0 1 2 -1
Australia 1, Serbia 1
Ivory Coast 1, Argentina 2
Argentina vs. Australia, 5:00 a.m. ET
Serbia vs. Ivory Coast, 7:45 a.m. ET
Ivory Coast vs. Australia, 7:45 a.m. ET
Argentina vs. Serbia, 7:45 a.m. ET
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
USA 1 0 0 3 1 0 +1
NED 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
NGA 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
JPN 0 1 0 0 1 2 -1
Japan 0, USA 1
Netherlands 0, Nigeria 0
Nigeria vs. Japan, 5:00 a.m. ET
USA vs. Netherlands, 7:45 a.m. ET
Netherlands vs. Japan, 7:45 a.m. ET
Nigeria vs. USA, 7:45 a.m. ET
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
BRA 1 0 0 3 1 0 +1
CHN 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
NZL 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
BEL 0 0 1 0 0 0 -1
Brazil 1, Belgium 0
China 1, New Zealand 1
New Zeland vs. Brazil, 5:00 a.m. ET
Belgium vs. China, 7:45 a.m. ET
China vs. Brazil, 7:45 a.m. ET
New Zealand vs. Belgium 7:45 a.m. ET
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
ITA 1 0 0 3 1 0 +3
KOR 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
CMR 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
HON 0 1 0 0 0 3 -3
Honduras 0, Italy 3
South Korea 1, Cameroon 1
Cameroon vs. Honduras 5:00 a.m. ET
Italy vs. South Korea, 7:45 a.m. ET
South Korea vs. Honduras, 7:45 a.m. ET
Cameroon vs. Italy, 7:45 a.m. ET
HONG KONG (August 2, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s Olympic Team fell to Cameroon, 1-0, in their second and final game of the ING Cup in Hong Kong before heading to the Olympic Games. Head coach Peter Nowak used 17 players in the game, once again taking full advantage of the ING Cup’s six allowed substitutions. Every player on the Olympic roster has seen the field over the two games.
“As I said before the start of the tournament, the reason we were here was to make progress in the way we play, said Nowak. “Looking at this game maybe we’re a still a little bit naïve about international football. Going into games like this we have to expect that they’ll be physical, with a lot of contact so we have to prevail. For us, I think the second half we played much better. Progress has been made and we expect to go to Tianjin tomorrow and polish the things that we need to this week.”
In the second game of the night, the Netherlands drew with the Ivory Coast, meaning the U.S. finished the Olympic tune up tournament in third place with two points. The Netherlands were crowned champions with seven points from a 2-0 win over Cameroon and a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast.
The U.S. will travel to Tianjin, their Olympic venue, on Sunday, Aug. 3 for four days of preparation before their opening match of the Olympic Games against Japan on Aug. 7. That match will be shown live in the U.S. on MSNBC at 4:30 a.m. ET.
The penalty kick tally in the 24th minute was the only goal allowed by the U.S. in Hong Kong, which means they did not give up a single goal in the run of play. The back line of Marvell Wynne, Maurice Edu, Michael Parkhurst and Michael Orozco held strong in front of both Brad Guzan and Chris Seitz during the two matches.
The penalty was given after a foul called against Michael Bradley in the area. Aurelien Chedjou Fongang converted from the spot, placing the ball perfectly into the side netting and barely past the outstretched hands of Guzan.
Cameroon came out on the attack, and nearly scored in the fifth minute. After earning a corner that was taken by Fongang, Stephane Bikey got a head to it and snapped his header hard into the crossbar.
The U.S. attack settled into its rhythm shortly thereafter, holding much of the possession throughout the first half. They got their first chance in the 11th minute on a buildup that started all the way at the back line. Sacha Kljestan received the ball in midfield and hit a perfectly placed diagonal ball across for Robbie Rogers. Rogers cut inside past his defender, but his shot went just wide of the near post.
With the score 1-0, Cameroon came close to doubling their lead in the 34th minute off of another corner kick. Fongang curled it to the near post and again was able to find Bikey. This time his header seemed destined for the near post, but Rogers was there holding his defensive position to save the ball off the line.
Minutes later at the other end, Jozy Altidore received the ball from Stuart Holden, touched it in the air over his defender and ripped a low shot from the top of the box that went just high over the goal.
In the second half, the U.S. was looking for the equalizer and came out attacking in full force. Just two minutes after the whistle, Wynne was moving forward and powering through three defenders on his way into the box. He played the ball out to Holden, who crossed it over for Altidore. Altidore slotted the ball in front of goal, but Cameroon ‘keeper Patrick Tignyemb read the ball well and was able to intercept just before it reached the feet of a charging Holden.
Ten minutes later, Bradley whipped in a ball from the touchline right to the head of captain Brian McBride, who had time and space. He snapped his header on frame, but Tignyemb leapt to keep the ball from going just under the crossbar.
Things started to get scrappy as the two teams combined for 25 fouls in the second half, 16 of which were against Cameroon. Late in the game, the U.S. earned consecutive free kicks from within 30 yards of goal. Holden struck one into the charging wall, and then Freddy Adu chipped the second into the box looking for Edu, but Tignyemb was there to pick it out of the air.
The U.S. has been drawn into a difficult Group B of the Olympic Games and will open against Japan on August 7 before facing the Netherlands on August 10, with both games taking place at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin. The team will then travel to Worker’s Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13.
U.S. Men’s Olympic Team Match Report
Participants: U.S. Men’s Olympic Team vs. Cameroon
Competition: ING Cup
Location: Hong Kong Stadium – Hong Kong
Date: August 2, 2008
Weather: Hot, Humid
1 2 Final
USA 0 0 0
CAM 1 0 1
CAM - Aurelien Chedjou Fongang (penalty) 24th minute
USA: 18-Brad Guzan (1-Chris Seitz, 46); 2-Marvell Wynne, 15-Michael Parkhurst, 6-Maurice Edu, 3-Michael Orozco; 16-Sacha Kljestan, 4-Michael Bradley (8-Danny Szetela, 78), 7-Stuart Holden (5-Dax McCarty, 88), 14-Robbie Rogers (10-Benny Feilhaber, 78); 12-Jozy Altidore (11-Freddy Adu, 64), 17-Brian McBride (capt.) (9-Charlie Davies, 69)
Subs Not Used: 13-Patrick Ianni
Head Coach: Peter Nowak
CAM: 16-Patrick Tignyemb (capt.); 2-Albert Legrand Baning, 3-Antonio Ghomsi, 4-Stephane Mbia Etoundi, 6-Stephane Mbia Etoundi (20-Henri Ewane Elong, 90+), 8-Aurelien Chedjou Fongang (11-Songo’o Bangweni, 57), 9-Anicet Bebbe Mbangue (7-Marc Mboua, 80), 12-Roland bebey Kingue, 13-Julio Nkoulou Ndoubena (18-Alexis Enam Mendomo, 71), 17-Alain Junior Olle Olle (14-Constant Mand Jeck, 71), 19-Serge Charles Ngal
Subs Not Used: 1-Joslain Leonnel Mayebi, 21-Ledoux Pokong Moussa
Head Coach: Martin Ndtoungou Mpile
USA / CAM
Shots 7 / 8
Shots on Goal 1 / 5
Saves 2 / 1
Fouls 15 / 22
Corner Kicks 4 / 7
Offside 1 / 2
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 52nd minute
CAM – Stephane Bikey (caution) 52.
CAM – Alain Junior Olle Olle (caution) 67.
CAM – Serge Charles Ngal (caution) 87.
Referee: Kwok Man Liu
Asst. Referee: Ka Yu Fung
Asst. Referee: Sai Yin Pau
Fourth Official: Chun Kit Chow
HONG KONG (July 30, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s Olympic Team earned a scoreless draw with Ivory Coast in the opening match of the ING Cup in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The United States will face Cameroon in their second match of the tournament and their final Olympic tune-up on Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET at Hong Kong Stadium. Fans can follow the action against Cameroon live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Head coach Peter Nowak used all 16 field players during the game, including a complete switch of his midfielders and forwards at halftime, getting a good look at nearly his entire Olympic roster. The two groups of attackers each created dangerous chances throughout the game, despite getting only one shot on goal.
“These matches are tune-ups for the Olympics so we want to make sure the stuff we've been working on will translate into the games,” Nowak said. “We wanted to give time to the whole group to make sure that they're ready for the game on Saturday, and more importantly learn from today's mistakes before our game against Japan. Our preparations, mentally and physically, will show through these two games both offensively and defensively. We want to make sure to get the full package together by next week.”
Ivory Coast used their speed and athleticism to create counterattack opportunities throughout the game, but the U.S. defense was up to the task. Brad Guzan, who earned Man of the Match honors, made four saves throughout the night, including a kick save from point-blank range late in the second half.
Mamadou Bagayoko took the game’s first shot in just the second minute, pouncing on an errant pass and moving upfield before quickly taking a shot that went wide of Guzan’s goal. The Americans, defending in numbers when necessary, escaped two corner kicks in the first seven minutes before settling into their game.
In the 10th minute, midfielder Michael Bradley took the first shot of the game for the U.S. after an impressive buildup out of the back. Sacha Kljestan and Freddy Adu combined in the midfield to get the ball out wide to Jozy Altidore, who knocked it over to Bradley. His one-time shot with the outside of his right foot went wide.
Adu looked to have gotten in behind the Ivory Coast defense in the 29th minute, running onto an Altidore pass in the box. He was taken down, but the referee let play continue. Minutes later, defender Marvell Wynne won a tackle and played the ball forward quickly for Altidore. He and striking partner Brian McBride combined at the top of the box, and McBride touched it ahead for a streaking Kljestan. He took a touch into the box, but defender Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba did well to recover and was able to cleanly tackle the ball away from Kljestan.
The final two chances of the first half belonged to the U.S. as the ball got out wide to midfielder Stuart Holden, who made a cheeky move around his defender and whipped a ball into the box looking for a pair of targets in McBride and Altidore, but neither could get to it. Seconds later, after Adu took a hard foul, Holden chipped in the ensuing free kick, again looking for his strikers at the far post. Altidore got tangled up with his defender, and got his head to it, but only enough to make the ball bounce up and into the hands of Ivory Coast ‘keeper Vincent de Paul Angban.
With Nowak changing his entire attack with five halftime substitutions, the U.S. moved into a 4-5-1 with Charlie Davies as the lone striker. But it was Ivory Coast who came out firing, earning the first truly dangerous chance of the game for either side in the 52nd minute. Kouamatien Kone flew down his right wing and got by defender Michael Orozco before sending a cross to the far post. Teammate Sekou Cisse was at the far post, and snapped his header down and on frame, but Guzan was there to make the diving save.
Guzan’s best save of the night came in the 71st minute, after a quick counter attack from the Ivory Coast. Serge Pascal Wawa, who was one of the best players for the Ivory Coast on the night, broke up a U.S. attack and got the ball forward with speed. Cisse received the ball and powered through Maurice Edu to get into the box alone and hit a low shot to the near post. Guzan was up to the task though, making a kick save to keep the game scoreless.
The U.S. heads into the 2008 Olympic Games having been drawn into a difficult Group B and will open against Japan on August 7 before facing the Netherlands on August 10, with both games taking place at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin. The team will then travel to Workers’ Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13.
U.S. Men’s Olympic Team Match Report
Participants: U.S. Men’s Olympic Team vs. Ivory Coast
Competition: ING Cup
Location: Hong Kong Stadium – Hong Kong
Date: July 30, 2008
Weather: Warm, Humid
1 2 Final
USA 0 0 0
CIV 0 0 0
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 2-Marvell Wynne, 15-Michael Parkhurst, 6-Maurice Edu, 3-Michael Orozco; 16-Sacha Kljestan (10-Benny Feilhaber, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (13-Patrick Ianni, 89), 11-Freddy Adu (5-Dax McCarty, 46), 7-Stuart Holden (8-Danny Szetela, 46); 17-Brian McBride (capt.) (14-Robbie Rogers, 46), 12-Jozy Altidore (9-Charlie Davies, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Chris Seitz
Head Coach: Peter Nowak
CIV: 1-Vincent de Paul Angban, 2-Serge Pascal Wawa, 3-Ousamane Viera Diarrassouba, 5-Brou Benjamin Angoua, 7-Kafoumba Coulibaly (6-Herve Kambou, 67), 8-Salomon Kalou, 9-Franck Dja-Djedje (17-Antoine N’Gossan, 46), 10-Koumatien Kone, 12-Mamadou Bagayoko, 14-Kouassi Gervai Yao (capt.), 18-Sekou Cisse (13-Abraham Guie Guie, 81)
Subs Not Used: 16-Fabrice Okous, 4-Nassa Guy Roland Niangbo, 11-Moura Komenan Anthony, 15-Tamla Ladij
Head Coach: Gerard Gili
Statistical Summary: USA / CIV
Shots on Goal: 1/4
Corner Kicks: 2/6
USA – Marvell Wynne (caution) 52nd minute
CIV – Serge Pascal Wawa (caution) 62.
Referee: Chi Tang Charlton Wong
Asst. Referee: Ka Yu Fung
Asst. Referee: Shing Yan Franky Lam
Fourth Official: Chui Kok Ng
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Brad Guzan
CHICAGO (July 17, 2008) – U.S. Men’s Olympic Team head coach Peter Nowak has named the 18 players who will represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The roster features 12 players who have experience at the full national team level, including the three youngest players on the team, Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, and the most senior member of the team in Brian McBride. The official roster is due to FIFA no later than July 23.
2008 U.S. MEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (5): Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Danny Szetela (Brescia Calcio)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Brian McBride (out of contract), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
The U.S. will begin their final preparation for the Beijing Olympics on Sunday, July 20, with six days of domestic training in San Jose, Calif. The team will then depart for Hong Kong, where they will participate in the ING Cup, facing fellow Olympic participants Ivory Coast on July 30 and Cameroon on Aug. 2.
"After an extensive process of evaluation, we are very excited about the group of players that we have chosen to represent the United States at the Olympic Games,” said Nowak. "It has been a very competitive environment, and we had some tough decisions to make. It's no secret that we have a difficult challenge in front of us with our group, which is one of the most difficult in the tournament. We know that some players are coming in during the off-season, and some are in season so we have to make sure that everyone is on the same page during our preparations. Our senior team plays in a World Cup Qualifier in August, and we wanted to make sure that we have two competitive teams for both the Olympic Games and the World Cup qualifiers.”
A total of 11 players were part of the USA squad that booked the team’s ticket to Beijing in March by finishing in second place in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Adu, Maurice Edu and Michael Orozco were named to the Best XI in that event, while Sacha Kljestan received Honorable Mention.
Eight different leagues from around the world are represented on the U.S. roster, including Major League Soccer, which sends 10 players from six different teams. No more than two players have come from any one team, as the Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC each send a pair to Beijing.
Nowak has enlisted three-time World Cup veteran McBride as one of three overage players, along with goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender Michael Parkhurst. McBride brings a wealth of experience to the young squad having earned 95 caps during 10 years with Men’s National Team. McBride ended his National Team career with 30 goals, and is the only U.S. player to score a goal in multiple World Cups. The next-highest cap-winner is Bradley, who has earned 20 caps with the full side and will turn 21 on July 31. Bradley is coming off a banner year for SC Heerenveen, his 20 goals in all competitions the most for a U.S. player in a major European league in a single season.
“There’s definitely a lot of experience in our group, and a lot of guys who have been able to get good experience with the full National Team,” said Bradley. “Those experiences will be able to help us as a team as we move forward. At this point we’re looking forward to getting together this weekend to start the process of getting ourselves ready for the tournament.”
(To listen to a full podcast with Michael Bradley, click here)
Bradley leads a talented group of midfielders into the tournament, alongside Benny Feilhaber, who has earned 16 caps for the full team and has recently recovered from knee surgery following an injury suffered against Turkey on May 21 in Toulon, France. Adu, who scored four times in three games to lead all goalscorers in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in March, has played in four FIFA youth World Cups, and was the first player to ever score a hat trick in both the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups. Kljestan, who served as the team’s captain during their two-game tour of China in December 2007, was recently named in the First XI for the 2008 MLS All-Star Game, and will be joined by reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Maurice Edu and Houston Dynamo star Stuart Holden as the domestic league’s representatives in the midfield. Former U.S. Under-20 standout Danny Szetela, who has since earned two caps with the full team, rounds out the strong midfield contingent.
Guzan and Chris Seitz hope to continue the U.S. tradition of stellar goalkeepers. The 24-year-old Guzan – honored as the 2007 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year - recently earned a pair of shutouts in the second round of 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying as the U.S. defeated Barbados by a 9-0 aggregate margin over two matches. Seitz was one of the stars of the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, and earned two shutouts in three games during the 2008 Olympic Qualifying campaign.
McBride leads a group of forwards with the potential to form a potent attack in China. Altidore scored four goals at last year’s Under-20 World Cup, including both goals in the 2-1 win against Brazil. He recently signed with Spanish first division side Villarreal, who finished second in Spain’s La Liga last year behind Real Madrid and will participate in the 2008-09 Champions League. Charlie Davies joins the team in midseason form from Sweden, where he is among the leading scorers for a Hammarby IF side off to an 8-0-2 start in the Swedish first division. Columbus striker Robbie Rogers has recorded five goals in 16 matches for the Crew, who currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference.
“I know a lot of guys have had the chance to play together, but there are the guys who haven’t had that chance – me being one of them,” said McBride. “So, you have to have that melding of styles and understanding. Thankfully Peter is a great coach and has been a great player, so I think he understands the ins and outs of everyone’s mental psyche. Those types of things will be a huge factor for the team in this situation.”
(To listen to a full podcast with Brian McBride, click here)
The defensive unit, made up of four players who were part of the team’s qualifying campaign, will be bolstered by the addition of the reigning MLS Defender of the Year in the 24-year-old Parkhurst. The Revs defender earned a medal as part of the USA’s 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup-winning side last summer. Patrick Ianni, Orozco, Nathan Sturgis and Marvell Wynne were all part of the defensive unit that earned three shutouts in CONCACAF qualifying in March.
Nowak has also named four alternates to the squad, should any injuries occur.
U.S. Men’s Olympic Team Alternates List – 2008 Olympic Games
Goalkeeper: Dominic Cervi (Out of Contract)
Defender: Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew)
Midfielder: Dax McCarty (FC Dallas)
Forward: Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)
The U.S. has been drawn into a difficult Group B and will open against Japan on August 7 before facing the Netherlands on August 10, with both games taking place at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin. The team will then travel to Worker’s Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13.
National Team Staff
Head Coach: Peter Nowak Naples, Fla.
Assistant Coach: Lubos Kubik Prague, Czech Republic
Goalkeeper Coach: Tim Mulqueen Bradenton, Fla.
Strength & Conditioning: Randy Rocha Washington, DC
Team Coordinator: Alfonso Cerda Carson, Calif.
Equipment Coordinator: Gabe Vogler Shoreview, Minn.
Team Doctor: Bill Heinz Portland, Maine
Trainer: David Andrews Seattle, Wash.
Trainer: Marcus Holliday Bradenton, Fla.
Videographer: Alejandro Becker Los Angeles, Calif.
Press Officer: Kate McMaster Chicago, Ill.