EARLY GOAL DOOMS U.S. AT ORANGE BOWL; YOUNG SQUAD HEADS TO KINGSTON: The U.S. Men’s National Team gave up a goal by Luis González in the ninth minute and fell 1-0 to a young, skillful Argentina team at the Orange Bowl in Miami on Saturday. The early strike came on a crafty give-and-go between forward Andrés D'Alessandro and Gonzalez, with the 22-year-old River Plate midfielder finishing from 20 yards on a well-placed soft lob over U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. The loss continued a U.S. trend of dropping games in the city of Miami, where the team is just 2-9-3 in 14 games since 1990, including a 2-5-2 mark at the Orange Bowl. The U.S. Men’s National Team departs tonight for Kingston in advance of their match against Jamaica on Wednesday (Feb. 12) at the National Stadium in Kingston at 7 p.m. ET. U.S. World Cup defender Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96 – Germany) will be joining the team for the trip after MetroStars defender Eddie Pope and D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen returned to their respective clubs to start preparations for the 2003 MLS season, while Los Angeles Galaxy defender Sasha Victorine returned to L.A. yesterday after suffering a right quad contusion against Argentina. Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics, or catch the Telemundo broadcast on tape delay that evening at 11:30 p.m. ET.
CONCACAF APPROVES 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING FORMAT: The CONCACAF Executive Committee has approved and will present a new qualifying format for the 2006 FIFA World Cup for approval by FIFA. The new format will see the U.S. enter into the first phase of qualifying, where previously they had gone straight into the semifinals. With the new format, each team will play up to 20 games to qualify for Germany 2006. The overall plan calls for the following:
- All CONCACAF member national associations will enter at the first phase, with teams in either one of the 11 three-team or one two-team, home and away, round robin series beginning in Spring 2004.
- The teams would be separated into four pots for the draw, which will conducted be FIFA at a later date. The three CONCACAF representatives to FIFA World Cup 2002 -- Costa Rica, Mexico and the USA -- will be placed in Pot A; Honduras, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, the teams placed fourth through sixth in the final group during the last qualifying cycle, in Pot B. Meanwhile, Pot C would consist of Barbados, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Panama and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all of whom reached the semifinal round of qualifying to Korea/Japan 2002, while Pot D would be comprised of the remaining 23 national associations entering in the competition.
- Having all teams enter at the first phase guarantees each of a minimum of four qualifying matches (with the exception of those in the two-team group), as opposed to two in previous World Cup cycles. The winners of each initial round robin tie will advance to one of three groups of four teams apiece, once again to be played in a home-and-home round-robin format.
- The teams finishing in first and second in each four-team group at the second phase are qualified to the final phase, which will be a group of six teams to determine the CONCACAF representatives at Germany 2006.
- The top three finishers in the final group are automatically qualified to the finals, with the fourth place team to meet the fifth-placed team from the Asian Football Confederation in a playoff to determine the last berth at Germany 2006.
HAMM, LILLY AND FOUDY BACK IN FOLD FOR U.S. FOR MATCH IN CHARLESTON: U.S. WNT head coach April Heinrichs has named the 24 players who will train for five days in Charleston, S.C., before facing Iceland in the USA’s second domestic game of 2003 on Sunday (Feb. 16) at Blackbaud Stadium. The Iceland match will give Heinrichs a last look at her player pool before she names the roster for the 2003 Algarve Cup, taking place in Portugal from March 14-20. While defender Joy Fawcett, midfielder Lorrie Fair, and forwards Tiffeny Milbrett and Shannon MacMillan were not called in, legends Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Julie Foudy will return to action after taking the month of January off to rest. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $35 are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Carolinas (including Publix and Cat’s Music Stores), at Blackbaud Stadium during business hours, by phone (843-554-6060), and online at www.ussoccer.com. Below is the complete training camp roster:
Goalkeepers (4): LaKeysia Beene, Siri Mullinix, Briana Scurry, Hope Solo;
Defenders (7): Jenny Benson, Thori Bryan, Brandi Chastain, Heather Mitts, Christie Pearce, Nandi Pryce, Kate Sobrero;
Midfielders (8): Lori Chalupny, Julie Foudy, Devvyn Hawkins, Angela Hucles, Jena Kluegel, Kristine Lilly, Tiffany Roberts, Aly Wagner;
Forwards (5): Mia Hamm, Heather O’Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Lindsay Tarpley, Abby Wambach.
– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
DRAW FOR 2003 FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP TO TAKE PLACE ON WEDNESDAY: The draw for the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France on Wednesday (Feb. 12) at 1 p.m. (ET). The draw will be followed by an international friendly between the France and the Czech Republic. The bi-annual tournament that features the continental champions will have eight teams placed in two groups of four. The host and defending champion France are the number one seed in Group A, while Group B has 2002 FIFA World Cup Champion Brazil with the top spot. Cameroon (Africa), Colombia (South America), Japan (Asia), New Zealand (Oceania), Turkey (Europe) and the USA (CONCACAF) will be drawn into the groups. The exception will be that the seeded teams can not play against a squad from the same confederation in the first round. Therefore, Colombia can not be placed into Group B with Brazil, and Turkey will not be drawn into Group A with France.
SPECIAL ON-FIELD SEATS AVAILABLE FOR USA-JAPAN MATCH IN SEATTLE ON MARCH 29: When the U.S. Men's National Team returns to Seattle to face Japan on March 29 (live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. PT) at Seattle Seahawks Stadium, a limited number of lucky fans will have an opportunity to purchase special on-field seats that will be placed just five yards from the game action. The 100 true field-level seats are available now for $150 and in addition to including a unique chance to be just feet from the world-class soccer action, fans get to keep the commemorative chair, which will be autographed by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena. The USA and Japan have met only one time at the senior international level, with Japan capturing a 3-1 victory on March 14, 1993, in Tokyo. The clash with Japan will be the first international soccer match hosted by the newly minted Seattle Seahawks Stadium. Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $70 are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, at the Seahawks Stadium ticket office, by phone (Seattle 206-628-0888; Tacoma 253-627-8497), and online at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.
– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
2003 ALGARVE CUP SCHEDULE FINALIZED FOR U.S. WOMEN: The schedule and pairings for the 2003 Algarve Cup were finalized last week, with the U.S. Women being placed in a challenging Group A with Canada, Norway and Sweden, while Group B features China, Finland, France and Denmark. All the matches are played in smaller venues located all over the Algarve region of Portugal on the southern coast of the country. The USA opens the 10th Algarve Cup against regional rival Canada on March 14 in Olhao (2 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET), faces Norway on March 16 in Ferreiras (4:15 p.m. local / 11:15 a.m. ET) and then finishes group play on March 18 in Vila Real San Antonio against Sweden (4:15 p.m. local / 11:15 a.m. ET). The winners of both groups A and B will meet for the championship on March 20 in Faro. For the second year, the tournament will feature a Group C with four teams who can finish no higher than 7th if they win their group and then defeat a last place finisher from Group A. Group C features Portugal, Scotland, Wales and Greece, which is preparing to host the 2004 Olympics.
Date Opponent City Kickoff (ET)
March 14 Canada Olhao, Portugal 9 a.m.
March 16 Norway Ferreiras, Portugal 11:15 a.m.
March 18 Sweden Vila Real San Antonio 11:15 a.m.
– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –
UNDER-20s CONTINUE PREPARATION FOR WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: A group of college-based players will join Head Coach Thomas Rongen and U.S. Soccer Strength & Conditioning Coach Pierre Barrieu in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this week, for an intense seven-day conditioning session. The session will run from Feb. 13-19, at which point the group will be joined by Rongen's MLS-based players in Florida. The U.S. team will go through a week of preparation in Florida before departing for Portugal and the 7th Annual Madeira International Tournament on Madeira Island. In Madeira, the U.S. will face Portugal on March 3, Norway on March 5 and a Madeira Regional Select side on March 7. Last year, the U.S. Under-23 MNT finished second in the tournament.
Date Opponent Kickoff (ET)
March 3 Portugal 6 a.m.
March 5 Norway 9 a.m.
March 7 Madeira Select 5 a.m.
U-20s DRAWN INTO GROUP F WITH PARAGUAY, GERMANY & KOREA FOR UAE 2003: The United States Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group F with Paraguay, Germany and Korea for the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in United Arab Emirates. The U.S. opens against Paraguay on March 27, then faces Germany on March 30 and concludes group play on April 2 against Korea, with all three of their first round games at Abu Dhabi’s Al-Nahyam Stadium. Every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The top two teams from each group and the top four (of six) third-place teams advance to the Round of 16. The U.S. is one of only five teams to qualify for the last four World Youth Championships, and one of only two teams (Brazil is the other) to finish in the top 15 in each of the last four tournaments.
Date Opponent Venue Kickoff (ET)
March 27 Paraguay Al-Nahyam Stadium 5:45 p.m.
March 30 Germany Al-Nahyam Stadium 5:45 p.m.
April 2 Korea Al-Nahyam Stadium 8:30 p.m.
U.S. UNDER-17s CRUISE TO 5-0 WIN AS QUALIFYING APPROACHES: The U.S. Under-17 MNT hammered the Florida '87 ODP squad 5-0 at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. John DiRaimondo and Eddie Gaven scored in the first half, and then a pair of diving headers from Rodrigo Hidalgo and Jamie Watson and a goal from Jacob Peterson sealed the match in the second half. The U.S. squad will take on the Chicago Fire on Wednesday (Feb. 12) at 3 p.m. at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., before the players return home for a long weekend. The U.S. team returns to the IMG Academy for training next Monday (Feb. 17).
UNDER-17s LEARN DRAW FOR CONCACAF QUALIFYING IN MARCH: CONCACAF announced the final round pairings for the Group A Under-17 Qualifying Tournament at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala from March 5 -9. The U.S. will open the tournament against Jamaica on March 5 and then face El Salvador on March 7, before ending the tournament against the host nation. The U.S. met Jamaica and El Salvador in the 2001 Group A Under-17 tournament in St. Louis, Mo., grabbing a 2-1 win over Jamaica and thumping El Salvador 4-0 in the deciding game behind an Ed Johnson hat trick. The Group B Under-17 Qualifying Tournament will be take place in Centennial Stadium in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada from March 16-20, with Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica and host nation competing for a world championship spot. The first place teams in Group A and B will automatically advance to the 2003 Under-17 World Championship in Finland in August, while the runner-ups from each group will play a home-and-home play-off for CONCACAF's final spot in Finland '03.
Date Opponent Kickoff (ET)
March 5 Jamaica 6 p.m.
March 7 El Salvador 6 p.m.
March 9 Guatemala 1 p.m.
U-17, U-16 WOMEN WRAP UP SUCCESSFUL WEEK IN SAN DIEGO: The U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team and Under-16 Girl's National Team wrapped up successful weeks of training this weekend as both won their final matches at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The U-16s downed the Southern California Blues Women's Soccer Club 6-0, with midfielder Kim Silos (Ontario, Calif.) providing a hat trick. In a rematch of the U-19 World Championship Final, albeit on the U-17 level, the USA took on Canada, who had also been training all week there. Under new head coach David Smith, the U.S. U-17s were playing just their second ever full international match, and put on a splendid performance in defeating Canada 4-0. After a first half that featured several chances but no U.S. goals, Kia McNeil (Avon, Conn.) opened the scoring in the 54th minute. The USA benefited from an own goal in the 78th minute before McCall Zerboni (San Clemente, Calif.) and Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.) finished the scoring in the 85th and 88th minutes, respectively. The big winners during the week, however, were the Under-16s. Under head coach Sue Montagne Patberg, the U-16s defeated the U-17s 4-3 earlier in the week, and also defeated Canada's U-17s during the week, 2-1, on goals from Jackie Acevedo (Austin, Texas) and Ashley Myers (Bel Air, Md.). Both teams come together again in mid-March for training and matches in Florida, including international contests against Germany.
– AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD –
CONCACAF ANNOUNCES DRAW, FORMAT FOR 2004 OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: The CONCACAF Executive Committee approved formats for a number of future competitions, including both the CONCACAF men’s and women’s qualifying tournaments to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The men’s Olympic qualifying competition will consist of 26 teams that will play head-to-head matches until there are seven remaining. They will then be joined by hosts Mexico, who will receive a bye into the final round. Those eight will be divided into two groups of four, with the first and second place teams in each crossing over in the semifinals and winners of those matches earning the two CONCACAF berths. The U.S., who placed fourth in Sydney in 2000, was drawn into the top quarter of the bracket and received a first round bye to the Round of 16, where they will face the winner of the home-and-home series between St. Kitts & Nevis and Dominica. The women’s tournament will have 17 entrants, with the USA and Canada seeded into the finals along with hosts Mexico. The remaining 14 teams will be divided into four groups of three teams apiece and one group of two teams. The winner of each of the five groups will be through to one of two final round groups, where they will join North Zone representatives Canada, Mexico and the USA. The winner of each final round group will qualify for Athens.
CONCACAF ANNOUNCES 2003 CHAMPIONS CUP PAIRINGS: Results of the draw for the final stage of the 2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup were announced last week. The 16 teams will play a two-leg, home-and-home series on March 12 and 26, with the draw structured so that teams from the same country avoid playing each other for as long as possible. As in 2002, the draw consisted of three pots, one containing the four qualifiers from Major League Soccer of the USA, one containing the four teams from the FMF Primera Division in Mexico, and one containing the eight teams which survived zonal qualifying in Central America (UNCAF) and the Caribbean (CFU). The U.S. teams were drawn against a team from the CFU / UNCAF pot, while the teams from the Mexican pot were drawn against a team from the pot containing the zonal qualifiers.
ROUND-OF-16 (March 12 and 26; must be completed by March 27)
Home team (first leg) listed first
Series 1: CD Toluca FC (MEX) vs. W Connection FC (TRI)
Series 2: CSD Municipal (GUA) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Series 3: Club América (MEX) vs. CD F.A.S. (SLV)
Series 4: LD Alajuelense (CRC) vs. New England Revolution (USA)
Series 5: CSD Comunicaciones (GUA) vs. CA Monarcas Morelia (MEX)
Series 6: Deportivo Árabe Unido (PAN) vs. Columbus Crew (USA)
Series 7: Arnett Gardens FC (JAM) vs. CID Necaxa (MEX)
Series 8: CD Motagua (HON) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
USL ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE FOR 2003 PRO SELECT LEAGUE SEASON: United Soccer Leagues released the 2003 season schedule for the Pro Select League season last week, with the season opening in Modesto, Calif., with three California home games. California opens the season April 5 against the San Diego Gauchos in a match that will double as a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifier and will then play host to the defending two-time regular season and 2001 league champion Utah Blitzz on April 11 and 12. Each team will play four U.S. Open Cup qualification matches, which were selected at random. The top teams, number to be determined, will advance to the tournament based on points. Qualifying for the tournament concludes on May 24. The Long Island Rough Riders are automatic entrants as 2002 league champions. The Rough Riders begin their title defense on the road against the Carolina Dynamo at Macpherson Stadium on April 25 and, in a rematch of the championship match, face the Wilmington Hammerheads on April 26 at Legion Stadium, the site of last year’s final. The 160-game season comes to a close on Saturday, August 2 with a slate of five matches. The regional playoffs will take place the following weekend with the league semifinals the weekend of August 16 and the championship match on Saturday, August 23 live on Fox Sports World.
WEST, EAST TEAMS UNVEILED FOR 2003 MISL ALL-STAR GAME IN MILWAUKEE: The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) announced the squads that will represent the Western and Eastern Conference at the 2003 MISL All-Star Game at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., on March 9. Ten current U.S. Futsal National Team players highlight the 2003 MISL All-Star rosters, as each conference features five U.S. players. The coaches for the Western and Eastern Conference All-Star squad will be announced on Feb. 18 and will be determined by the winning-percentage of the MISL teams through Sunday (Feb.16). U.S. Futsal National Team/Milwaukee Wave head coach Keith Tozer leads the race with a 22-5 record in the 2002-03 campaign.
Western Conference -
Goalkeepers (2): Victor Nogueira* (Milwaukee Wave), Nick Vorberg (San Diego Sockers);
Defenders (6): Lovelace Ackah (Milwaukee Wave), Alejandro Cardenas (San Diego Sockers), Jeff Davis (Kansas City Comets), Troy Dusosky* (Milwaukee Wave), Gaston Pernia (San Diego Sockers), Alex Zotinca* (Kansas City Comets);
Forwards (8): Nino DaSilva (Kansas City Comets), Dino Delevski* (Kansas City Comets), David Doyle (Dallas Sidekicks), Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave), Carlos Farias* (San Diego Sockers), Greg Howes (Milwaukee Wave), Joe Reiniger* (Milwaukee Wave), Tatu (Dallas Sidekicks).
Eastern Conference -
Goalkeepers (2): Peter Pappas* (Philadelphia Kixx), Jim Larkin (Cleveland Force);
Defenders (6): John Ball (Cleveland Force), Sean Bowers* (Baltimore Blast), Glenn Carbonara (Philadelphia Kixx), Genoni Martinez* (Harrisburg Heat), Chris Morman (Harrisburg Heat), Pat Morris (Philadelphia Kixx);
Forwards (8): David Bascome* (Harrisburg Heat), Denison Cabral (Baltimore Blast), Don D’Ambra (Philadelphia Kixx), Ato Leone (Harrisburg Heat), Marco Lopez (Harrisburg Heat), Hector Marinaro* (Cleveland Force), Giuliano Oliviero (Cleveland Force), Joel Shanker* (Philadelphia Kixx).
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Men’s National Team forward Brian McBride continues to impress across the pond, scoring his fourth goal in five games for Everton in a 2-1 loss to Charlton Athletic.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: After a stumble against a young and talented Argentina team, the U.S. Men’s National Team will look to get back to its winning ways on Wednesday against Jamaica at 7 p.m. ET at Kingston’s National Stadium, where the Yanks have never lost in their five games there but have just one win in compiling an all-time record of 1-0-4 at “The Office.”
SOCCER SHOCKER: Michael Owen's goal drought continued this weekend and now Owen has scored just twice in his last 14 games for Liverpool, his second extended slump of the season. Earlier this season he scored only one goal (from the penalty spot) in his first 10 games for Liverpool and England. Not surprisingly, Liverpool's recent slide has coincided with Owen's struggles and the Reds now sit in sixth place. In his illustrious career, Owen has already bagged 127 goals in 244 appearances for Liverpool.
"They played well. They played very well. We could not get around the ball at all, and they had time to do what they wanted, and that hurt us. Against a team like Argentina, you have to be ready to play or you will pay for it."
- U.S. MNT forward Landon Donovan, after the 1-0 loss to Argentina.