Arena Calls 18 Players for July 11 Friendly vs. Poland in Chicago
CHICAGO (June 30, 2004) —U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena has selected 18 players to face Poland on Sunday, July 11 in the USA’s final tune-up prior to the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying. Kickoff at the newly renovated Soldier Field in Chicago is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the game live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
The match is part of a unique doubleheader, which includes the Chicago Fire hosting the New England Revolution at 8:30 p.m. CT. Ticket Information
Nine players on the roster appeared in the USA’s 3-2 victory against Grenada on June 20, including eight starters and all three goalscorers. The victory advanced the U.S. to the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying. Seven started the home leg of that series, a 3-0 win on June 13 in Columbus, Ohio.
“This roster is an excellent blend of youth and experience, which is the formula we think will help us be successful in World Cup qualifying,“ said Arena, who can earn his 50th win as manager of the U.S. Men’s National Team with a victory against Poland. “The match against Poland is an excellent opportunity for these players, and will help me finalize my plans for the group that will compete in the next round of qualifying.”
The match will give Chicago Fire stars Chris Armas and DaMarcus Beasley an opportunity to represent the U.S. in front of the Soldier Field faithful. Beasley, who leads the U.S. in scoring in 2004 with four goals, tallied the lone goal of the game against Poland at Kazimierza Gorskiego on March 31 in Plock, Poland. The victory was the first for the U.S. in 2004, and launched a five-game winning streak that included four consecutive shutout victories by four different goalkeepers. The streak also included wins against Mexico (1-0), Honduras (4-0), and a 3-0 World Cup Qualifying win against Grenada. Overall the team looks to improve on its 5-1-2 record in 2004.
Making his return to Chicago will be former Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra. The two-time MLS Defender of the Year signed with Fulham FC of the English Premier League in the beginning of 2004, having capped a remarkable international season in 2003 by becoming the first U.S. defender since 1994 to score four goals in one year. Another Fulham star, Arlington Heights (Ill.) native Brian McBride, will lead the attack against Poland as he looks to add to his 25 career goals, having passed Joe-Max Moore earlier this year to reach second place on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard will marshal the U.S. defense, the 2004 PFA Goalkeeper of the Year in England making his second appearance with the national team this year after posting a shutout in the victory against Honduras on June 2 in Foxboro. Backing up Howard is another familiar face to the Fire faithful, former Chicago ‘keeper Zach Thornton. The former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year returns to Chicagoland after a stint with Benfica of Portugal.
The San Jose Earthquakes make the largest contribution to the roster with three players, led by forward Landon Donovan. The 2003 Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year became the youngest player in U.S. history to reach 50 caps when he started in the USA’s victory against Grenada to open 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying in Columbus. He is joined by ‘Quakes strike partner Brian Ching, the current MLS scoring leader with seven goals and one assist, and midfielder Brian Mullan, who is one of two players on the roster in search of his first cap.
The other potential debutant is MetroStars midfielder Eddie Gaven, who at 17 years and 260 days of age could become the fourth youngest player in U.S. history to make an appearance for the senior team. A member of the U-17 team that took fifth place at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland, he was the youngest player ever to sign a contract with MLS when he inked a deal last year. U.S. teammate Bobby Convey is the third youngest player on the list, appearing against Mexico on October 25, 2000 in Los Angeles, Calif., at the age of 17 years, 151 days. Convey, who is tied for second on team with seven games played in 2004, appeared in all but one of the USA’s matches in 2003.
The U.S. men are making their first appearance in the Windy City since June 13, 1993, a 4-3 loss to Germany. Overall, the U.S. holds a 1-2-1 record in Chicago, including a 1-0 loss to the Poles in 1973. Chicago area soccer fans were honored by U.S. Soccer in 2003 as the Best Soccer Fans in the country in ussoccer.com's annual Best of Series voting.
In their history, the U.S. has played Poland more times than any other European opponent (13, dating all the way back to 1924). Poland leads the all-time series with a 7-5-1 record, including a 3-1 victory in the final Group D match in the 2002 World Cup. However the United States is looking for its second consecutive win against the side this year. The USA took the spoils in the last meeting on U.S. soil, a 3-1 victory on May 9, 1990 in Hershey, Pa. The team will report to training in Chicago on July 5, with players from the Dallas Burn and San Jose Earthquakes arriving July 8 after their league game Wednesday night in San Jose.
Poland will be the final opponent the United States will face before the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying begins on August 18 in Jamaica. The six-game, round robin group continues with the U.S. at home on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass., against El Salvador, and on the road on Sept. 8 in Panama. The four-team group concludes with a road game on Oct. 10 in El Salvador and then consecutive home games on Oct. 13 against Panama in Washington, D.C., and Nov. 17 in Columbus, Ohio against Jamaica.
U.S. MNT Roster vs. Poland
July 11, 2004 - Soldier Field - Chicago
ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard (Manchester United) Zach Thornton (out of contract)
Defenders (6): Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96),
Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Pope (MetroStars)
Midfielders (7): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Landon
Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Brian Mullan (San Jose Earthquakes), Kerry Zavagnin
(Kansas City Wizards)
Forwards (3): Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), 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: Jacob Joachim (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Michael White (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Ryan Maxfield (Los Angeles)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago)