May 5, 2006 - U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis, who was nominated on Tuesday to be a part of the USA's 23-man roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, netted the equalizer in the 74th minute to deliver Leeds a 1-1 draw against Preston North End in the first leg of the League Championship Promotion Playoff Semifinals. Lewis curled a precision left-footed free-kick from 22 yards over the wall and a bit too tall for PNE defender Graham Alexander, who, mindful of Lewis' notorious ability on set pieces, had dropped to cover the near post. His attempt at a clearance only resulted in re-directing the ball into the upper side-netting, finishing off the sixth goal of the campaign for Lewis.
The sides will meet again May 8 at Deepdale, the winner advancing to the promotion playoff final and a chance to gain entrance into the English Premier League next season.
Lewis and the rest of the U.S. squad will report to Cary, N.C., on May 10 for the USA's pre-World Cup training camp. The United States will then play three matches in the Send-Off Series on May 23 in Nashville (presented by Budweiser), May 26 in Cleveland (presented by Sierra Mist) and May 28 in East Hartford (presented by Hyundai) with all three games airing live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET. The team is scheduled to depart for Germany on June 1 from Newark, N.J., arriving into Hamburg the following day.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Ghana, and Italy. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy on June 17 in Kaiserslautern and then finishing off group play against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg. The U.S. has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as their base of operations throughout the tournament.
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