Bradley Names 20-Man Roster for FIFA World Cup Qualifying Games Against Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago
CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2008) — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 20 players that will train in advance of the pair of FIFA World Cup Qualifying games against Cuba on Sept. 6 in Havana and Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 10 in Bridgeview, Ill. Kickoff at Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana is slated for 8 p.m. ET, and will be shown live on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Four days later, Toyota Park will host its first ever World Cup qualifier when the U.S. takes on T&T on Sept. 10 (tickets.). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be shown live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow both matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
Of the 20 players Bradley has named for the upcoming two fixtures, 16 were part of the squad that claimed an historic 1-0 victory against Guatemala at the Estadio Mateo Flores on Aug. 20 in Guatemala City. The win, the United States' first World Cup qualifying victory in Guatemala, gave Bradley's side an important three points to open the semifinal round. The team will begin gathering in Miami on Aug. 31 and assemble throughout the week before departing on Sept. 4 for Cuba. From Havana, the team will travel to Chicago on Sept. 7, where preparations will continue ahead of the Sept. 10 game against Trinidad and Tobago.
“These next two games are very important to help us position ourselves to advance to the final stage,” said Bradley. “With the win against Guatemala, we have put ourselves in a good situation at the start of the semifinal round. I was very pleased with the way our team stuck together in a difficult environment. We need to have that same type of effort in the matches against Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago.”
Thirteen players on the roster ply their trade overseas, led by defender Carlos Bocanegra and goalkeeper Tim Howard. Bocanegra captained the U.S. side to the victory in Guatemala, the Rennes defender heading in the winning goal off a DaMarcus Beasley corner kick. Howard, who was named Sierra Mist Man of the Match in Guatemala, made an impressive seven saves in the win, good enough for his third clean sheet in four all-time World Cup qualifying appearances.
Over the years, experience has proven to be invaluable during CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, and the U.S. is currently deploying a backline that is growing steadily as a unit. The collection of Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu and Heath Pearce have already started together against Poland, England, Spain, Barbados and Guatemala in 2008, and the four have yet to concede a goal in World Cup qualifying. Cherundolo is not eligible to play against Cuba while he serves a one-match suspension.
The U.S. holds a 5-1-1 record against Cuba, having met twice previously in World Cup qualifying action way back in 1949. The last meeting between the two sides came in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage, with the U.S. prevailing in a 4-1 victory on the strength of a pair of goals by Landon Donovan and strikes by Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley. All three have been named to Bradley's roster for the upcoming game, and they are joined by defender Frankie Hejduk, who also featured in the 2005 match. The Columbus Crew captain is taking part in his fourth World Cup qualifying campaign.
Donovan, who became the fourth youngest male player in history to reach 100 caps when he went 90 minutes on June 8 against Argentina, leads the roster with 22 all-time World Cup qualifying appearances. His eight career goals in World Cup qualifying are also a team best, tied with Eddie Johnson. Donovan staked his own bit of history against Cuba, becoming the fourth U.S. player in history to score four goals in one game when the U.S. downed the Cubans in a 5-0 drubbing in 2003. Eddie Lewis is the second-leading capwinner in qualifying on the roster (20).
Trinidad & Tobago, by comparison, is a much more familiar opponent for the United States. The U.S. holds an unbeaten 8-0-2 record against T&T in World Cup qualifying, the teams having squared off in the final round hexagonal in 2005. The most recent of the 17 total meetings between two countries came in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage, with the U.S. winning 2-0 to improve to 13-1-3 all-time against the island nation. Goals from forwards Brian Ching and Johnson were enough to see out the victory. Both strikers have already opened their scoring accounts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, with Ching grabbing two goals and Johnson one during the USA’s 8-0 victory against Barbados in the first leg of the previous round. Johnson also tallied the first goal in the USA’s 2-1 in Trinidad on Feb. 9, 2005, to open the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, with Eddie Lewis putting home the game-winner.
Six players from the 2008 Olympic Games link up with the full team. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored two goals in China, while Maurice Edu, newly transferred to Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League, played all three games in the U.S. backline. Since the summer of 2007, Michael Bradley has appeared in four international tournaments at both the youth and full national team levels, and this year the Heerenveen midfielder leads the full team in minutes played. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan returns to fold having collected consecutive shutouts against Barbados in the second round series, and defender Marvell Wynne joins the team after first featuring for the U.S. against Argentina at the 2007 Copa America tournament in Venezuela. Michael Orozco, the only uncapped player on the roster, gets his first look in camp at the full international level.
The U.S. has only traveled to Cuba once in its history, losing 5-2 in Havana in 1947. Overall, the U.S. boasts a 9-2-6 all-time record against Caribbean nations during World Cup qualifying, having not lost on Caribbean soil since a 3-0 loss to Canada in Port au Prince, Haiti in 1976. On home soil, the U.S. possesses an unblemished 10-0-0 record against Trinidad & Tobago, with six of the victories coming via shutout.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 2/2 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 4/3 SO)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 14/2), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland: 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96: 16/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 12/1), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 9/0), Michael Orozco (San Luis: 0/0), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 3/0), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 17/4), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen: 3/1), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 1/0), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers: 2/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 1/0), Eddie Lewis (Los Angeles Galaxy: 20/3)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 8/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 22/8), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 9/2), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City: 8/8)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals
U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM STAFF
Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Peter Nowak (Naples, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: Mike Sorber (St. Louis)
Assistant Coach: John Hackworth (Bradenton, Fla.)
Goalkeeper Coach: Zak Abdel (Laverne, Calif.)
Fitness Coach: Pierre Barrieu (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
General Manager: Pam Perkins (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Trainers: Ivan Pierra (Los Angeles)
Bruce Snell (Seattle)
Rudy Rudawski (Wilmington, Del.)
Doctors: Bill Garrett (Bahama, N.C.)
Adam Bennett (Chicago)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Tim Cook (Hermosa Beach, Calif.)
Video Coordinator: Mark Liskevych (Chicago)
Videographer: Alejandro Becker (Hollywood, Calif.)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago)