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U.S. Men's National Team 100 Cap Club

When U.S. Men's National Team captain Claudio Reyna plays in his 100th international game on Wednesday night against Honduras in Foxboro, Mass., he will join six American men in the exclusive 100 Cap Club. Each player before him reached the century mark in a unique and, in some cases, historic way. With Claudio’s story yet to unfold, here is a recap of the memorable ways in which the previous six players made their 100th appearance for the United States.

MARCELO BALBOA -- June 11, 1995 v. Nigeria (Foxboro, Mass.)     
Marcelo Balboa became the first American player (male or female) to appear in his 100th international game—and he did it with style. On June 11, 1995, just two years after completely tearing his ACL, Balboa made history by hitting the century mark in the opening game of the U.S. Cup against Nigeria at Foxboro Stadium in Boston.  Playing in your 100th international game is probably enough to steal the headlines in itself, but that didn’t satisfy the long-haired defender.  Down 2-1 just seconds before the halftime whistle, Balboa scored a goal on a header from a Mike Burns free kick to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at two apiece.  The 11th goal of his career helped lift the team to a 3-2 win over the Super Eagles, and eventually win the U.S. Cup title.  Of one of the best games of his career, Balboa said, “To get the 100th cap and to top it off with a goal and a win, you can’t be much happier.”

He also captained the team in the 1995 Copa America tournament and played in the FIFA World All-Star game in the same year.  Balboa would continue playing with the national team through 2000, earning 128 total caps, appearing in three World Cups, and scoring 13 career goals in 12 years with the red, white, and blue.

PAUL CALIGIURI -- July 14, 1995 v. Argentina (Paysandu, Uruguay)
One of the most memorable games in Paul Caligiuri’s career is also one of the most memorable upsets in U.S. Soccer history.  In the first round of the 1995 Copa America Championship, the United States needed a 3-0 win over perennial world power Argentina to win its group and avoid playing Brazil in the quarterfinals- a long shot, to say the least. By starting and playing the entire game, Caligiuri helped solidify the U.S. defense and shutout Argentina’s powerful attack in his 100th game to secure the incredible 3-0 upset victory.  The win against Argentina, which seemed next to impossible on paper, is considered to be one of the greatest and most important victories in the team’s history.  He was just the second player to join the exclusive 100 club for the Americans, and the first to land a Pert Plus commercial.

Caligiuri’s most famous moment however was not running his fingers through his hair. It came against Trinidad & Tobago on November 19, 1989 in what is arguably the biggest moment in U.S. soccer history.  He scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory that sent the United States to the World Cup for the 1st time in 40 years.  His “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” was the biggest of Caligiuri’s five career goals.  One of the best players in U.S. history, the Hall of Fame defender played in the 1985 FIFA World All-Star game and had a career that spanned 14 years (1984-1997) and that included at least one appearance every year.

COBI JONES -- February 10, 1998 v. Brazil (Los Angeles, Calif.)     
Imagine the pressures of playing in semifinals of the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the region’s championship.  Not only in your hometown, not only in the 100th international game of your career, but also against the reigning World Cup champions, Brazil.  The team that knocked you out of the last World Cup on your home turf has not only beaten you in every match-up, but also outscored you 19-0 since 1930.  These are the pressures that faced Cobi Jones as he entered the Century Club on February 10, 1998.  The day turned out better than most Americans expected (and a lot worse than all of Brazil expected) as Preki scored the game’s only goal in the 60th minute to lift the U.S. to a 1-0 victory.  The victory was the first and only win over the South American side, and ranks with the 1995 Copa America Cup victory over Argentina as one of the biggest games in U.S. non-World Cup history.

Jones leads American men with 160 all-time appearances since 1992, and at 27 was the youngest player in U.S. history (and 4th youngest in the world) to reach 100 caps.  He also was one of the first to break into mainstream popularity not only with his patented dreadlocks, but by making a guest appearance on Beverly Hills 90210 in 1994, and hosting a health show on MTV called MegaDose that lasted for 3 years.

ERIC WYNALDA -- June 15, 1998 v. Germany (Paris, France)     
What could be better than playing in your 100th career game while at the same time playing the first game of the first round in the 1998 World Cup? Despite what most fans remember about France ‘98, not everything in Paris was negative.  Eric Wynalda, the all-time scoring leader for the U.S. Men’s National team, hit the century mark in the first-round game against Germany on June 15. Wynalda, the first American to play in the Bundesliga, also played in the FIFA World All-Star game prior to the World Cup draw in France. His most famous international goal came in the previous World Cup, USA ’94, when he fired in a 30-yard free kick against Switzerland in the opening round to help move the U.S. into the second round.

Wynalda played his last game for the stars and stripes in 2000, finishing with 106 total appearances and an all-time leading 34 goals.  He was recently voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in recognition of his 10 record-setting years with the national team and seven years with Major League Soccer.

JEFF AGOOS -- June 3, 2000 v. South Africa (Washington, D.C.) 
In what is still the only match-up between the United States and South Africa, the 2000 U.S. Cup opened with a pre-game ceremony celebrating Jeff Agoos’s 100th career appearance for the national team.  The game was played in Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium, which Agoos had called home for five years while playing with D.C. United.  The celebration was somewhat overshadowed by the play of U.S. forward Cobi Jones, who scored two left-footed goals in the first half and had two assists in the second in the 4-0 win.   Agoos had one of the best games of his career in the shutout though, and said after the game, “I wanted the 100th to be a memorable game and it was.”

Agoos’s first career cap came in January 1988, and even though he had played in all but one qualifier leading up to France ’98, he became the first person in MNT history to reach 100 caps without playing in a World Cup game.  Of course he would eventually play an important role in the team’s 2002 World Cup success, appearing in three games in Korea.

JOE-MAX MOORE -- June 14, 2002 v. Poland (Daejon, Korea Republic)
Another player who earned his 100th cap in a World Cup game was forward Joe-Max Moore in a first-round match against Poland in Korea/Japan 2002. Moore was the sixth and most recent player on the men’s national team to hit triple digits when he entered the Poland game in the 58th minute.  The Americans had already upset Portugal, a Cup favorite, in their opening game, and tied a very determined home team in South Korea.  They entered the game against Poland needing a victory in order to determine their own fate and advance to the second round.  Even though the U.S. lost the game, they reached the second round of the tournament because of a Korea win over Portugal that occurred simultaneously.  The U.S. would go on to beat Mexico in their first knock-out round victory since 1950 and earn respect in a 1-0 loss against world power Germany in the quarterfinals.

Facing a must-win situation in qualifying, Moore had helped the team earn its spot in Korea/Japan by scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over Jamaica in front of his MLS hometown fans at Foxboro Stadium.  The midfielder also notched four goals in the USA's 7-0 thrashing of El Salvador in December of 1993. He actually scored what would have been a U.S. record fifth in the match, but the ball slipped through a hole in the net and the referees disallowed the goal.  Moore has exactly 100 appearances for the U.S. from 1992-2002.