The 32-year-old Friedel last appeared for the U.S. in the team's 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Germany in the 2002 World Cup. The goalkeeper made history in that tournament against Poland, with his penalty kick save in the USA’s final Group D match against the Poles making him only the second goalkeeper ever to stop two penalties in the first round of a World Cup. (A comprehensive Q&A with Friedel in which he discusses his return to the team is available at ussoccer.com.)
U.S. captain Claudio Reyna will once again lead the nine-man foreign-based contingent. The Manchester City midfielder holds 98 caps for the U.S., just two shy of the century mark. German club Hannover 96 contributes both of their U.S. internationals, sending Steve Cherundolo and striker Clint Mathis, who has four goals in eight matches since joining the club in January. Gregg Berhalter has anchored the Energie Cottbus defense and the club now sits in the top spot in the second Bundesliga. The Fulham duo of Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra also travel to Plock, with McBride still one goal shy of second place on the USA’s all-time goal-scoring list.
"With the crowded club schedule and the approach of the MLS season, we are fortunate to assemble a group of players like this,” said Arena, who is still looking for his first win in Europe since becoming U.S. manager in 1998. ”It’s always a great benefit to get as much of our team together as possible, and the match in Poland will certainly be a good test for us as we move closer and closer to our World Cup qualifying schedule.”
Ten players on the current roster were part of the USA’s historic run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, with six of them having played against Poland in the 3-1 loss in Korea. San Jose Earthquakes forward Landon Donovan, who has 15 goals in 47 appearances for the senior team, scored the lone goal in that match and was on the original announced roster. However, a few days before leaving for Poland, Donovan fell ill and was replaced by Kansas City Wizards midfielder Chris Klein.
Along with Klein, the Kansas City Wizards donates two other players, 2002 World Cup veteran Josh Wolff and midfielder Kerry Zavagnin. The Chicago Fire contributed DaMarcus Beasley and captain Chris Armas, but a day before leaving for Poland Armas was replaced by Tony Sanneh after suffering a strained right hip flexor in Chicago's 4-0 victory over CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh in the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals . Also returning to the fold is Colorado Rapids defender Pablo Mastroeni, who played 11 of 16 games for the senior team in 2003 (including all five matches in their third-place finish in the 2003 Gold Cup), but has yet to appear in a match in 2004. Dallas Burn defender Cory Gibbs made his debut with the national team in 2003, and has started five of the USA’s last seven matches.
With Friedel slated to start the match against Poland, no other European based goalkeepers were called in for the game, and the reigning English Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year will be backed up by MetroStars netminder Jonny Walker, who continues to gain National Team experience in 2004 having earned his first two international caps earlier this year.
The U.S. has played Poland more than any other European team in their history and currently hold a 4-7-1 record against the team, but the two sides have only met four times in the past 15 years, each coming away with two victories. The teams will reconvene on July 11 at the newly renovated Soldier Field in Chicago, the U.S. Men's first appearance in the Windy City in more than 11 years.
After Poland, the U.S. will face 2002 World Cup foe Mexico on Wednesday, April 28 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live coast-to-coast on Telemundo at 7:30 p.m. CT. The team will also play a domestic friendly in the beginning of June, with the site and opponent yet to be determined. The U.S. opens 2006 World Cup qualifying at home against Grenada on June 13, with the return leg scheduled for June 20. Details on those matches have yet to be finalized.
U.S. Men’s National Team Roster v. Holland
March 31, 2004 – Plock Stadium - Plock, Poland
ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (2): Brad Friedel (Blackburn Rovers), Jonny Walker (MetroStars)
Defenders (6): Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew), Clint Mathis (Hannover 96), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), Tony Sanneh (FC Nurnberg), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards)
Forwards (4): Conor Casey (Karlsruher), Chris Klein (Kansas City Wizards), Brian McBride (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
U.S. Men’s National Team Staff
Head Coach: Bruce Arena (Fairfax, Va.)
Assistant Coach: Glenn Myernick (Denver)
Assistant Coach: Curt Onalfo (Fairfax, Va.)
Goalkeeper Coach: Milutin Soskic (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Fitness Coach: Pierre Barrieu (Charlottesville, Va.)
General Manager: Pam Perkins (Los Angeles)
Trainers: Rick Guter (Fairfax, Va.), Todd Daniels (Portland)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Ryan Maxfield (Los Angeles)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago