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Separating the Men from the Boys: MNT Continues Gold Cup Preparations

CLAREMONT, Calif. (Wednesday, January 9, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team is currently training in Claremont, Calif., in preparation for the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup being staged from Jan. 19 to Feb. 3 in Miami and Pasadena, Calif.  The U.S. plays the Korea Republic on Jan. 19 and Cuba on Jan. 21 to open group play (both matches available live on pay-per-view at 3 p.m. PT).

SEPARATING THE MEN FROM THE BOYS:  Monday afternoon the men's senior team played a closed-door scrimmage against the U-23's.  Both sides used free substitutions in the well-contested 90-minute match.  Brian McBride would net the game's only goal, a 25-yard rocket that sailed untouched into the upper right corner 10 minutes into the second half.   U-23 'keeper Doug Warren made several fine saves, including one-v-one stops on Jeff Cunningham and Brian West.

USA SHINES IN GOLD CUP HISTORY: The U.S. enters its sixth CONCACAF Gold Cup with an impressive track record.  With a lifetime record of 16-3-1, the USA has not lost a match in group play since the tournament's inception in 1991.  The team won the inaugural tournament in 1991, defeating Honduras in penalty kicks in the final after a 0-0 draw in regulation. Current U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola backstopped the U.S. in that tournament, posting three shutouts.  The USA has reached the finals on two other occasions, falling to Mexico in 1993 and 1998. The '98 tournament witnessed one of the great wins in U.S. history, a 1-0 defeat of Brazil on the strength of goal by Preki Radosavljevic and outstanding goalkeeping by Kasey Keller.

ABOUT GROUP B: The U.S. joins Korea and Cuba in the group, with all matches to played in the Rose Bowl.   The United States has never defeated South Korea, holding a 0-3-1 lifetime record in four previous meetings.  The U.S. will meet South Korea for the second time in six weeks. The teams last met Dec. 9, 2001 in Seogwipo, Jeju Province, as the Koreans snatched a 1-0 victory before a sold-out crowd of 42,256 fans in the opening match at Jeju's World Cup Stadium.  The teams will meet once more on the world stage in 2002, the final time in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  Drawn into Group D along with Portugal and Poland, the teams will meet in the second match of group play on June 10 in Daegu. Korea is participating in their second Gold Cup, after falling out of the 2000 tournament at the loss of a coin toss to Canada. Cuba is also getting their second go-round in the tournament, gaining a rematch of a 1998 Gold Cup first round meeting between the two teams in Oakland, which the U.S. won 3-0 in their first match-up since 1948.  In four all-time appearances against the tiny island nation, the U.S. is 2-1-1.

COBI AND CAPS: U.S. midfielder Cobi Jones is closing in on another milestone in his storied international career.  The 31-year old has appeared in 145 international matches, currently in fifth place on the all-time international cap-winners list.  He's just five caps shy of equaling the total of  legendary German defender Lothar Matthaus.  Jones became the youngest men's player in the world to reach 100 caps at the age of 28. He reached that plateau in the USA's historic 1-0 win against Brazil in the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup.  Jones began his career with the U.S. team in 1992, and has appeared in at least three games in every year since.

ETC: Clint Mathis, the last arrival in the U.S. camp, has begun full training with the team ... Landon Donovan finished best on the team in the "beep test," a fitness evaluation tool ... The team will train once Wednesday, after four days of twice-daily sessions.