CLOSING IN ON FRISCO: The six-week odyssey for the U.S. Men’s National Team in California is nearing an end, with only three days remaining before the group heads to Frisco, Texas, for a key World Cup preparation match against Carlos Ruiz and Guatemala. Kickoff for the USA's first-ever match at Pizza Hut Park is set for 1 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Telemundo, and will be available to fans online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets are available online at ussoccer.com, at all Dallas-Ft. Worth area Ticketmaster outlets (including Foley’s, Fiesta Stores, and Tower Records) and by phone at 214-373-8000. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets through FC Dallas by calling 888-FCD-GOAL.
U.S. MNT Roster vs. Guatemala
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Zach Wells (Houston 1836); DEFENDERS (5): Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake); MIDFIELDERS (6): Brian Carroll (D.C. United), Chris Klein (Real Salt Lake), Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards); FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston 1836), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
INJURY UPDATE: No news is good news this time around as all 17 players currently in camp participated in full training on Tuesday. Frankie Hejduk, Kyle Martino and Santino Quaranta have all sufficiently recovered from the injuries that kept them out of the Japan match. No new injury issues have been reported.
ALL_ACCESS VIDEO – THE QUIET LEADER SPEAKS UP: When grading the performances of the U.S. players over the last three games, veteran defender Eddie Pope has been given an 'A' across the board. The 10-year veteran of the national team has simply been on fire in January '06, demonstrating the speed, intelligence and athleticism that has made him a mainstay of the U.S. backline and a member of two World Cup squads. Adding goals in consecutive matches for the first time in his career, he has proved to be a man on a mission as he seeks a spot on the roster for Germany. Pope sat down with ussoccer.com and opened up on a variety of topics, including his '98 and '02 WC experiences, his generation of players, the next wave of U.S. Soccer stars and offers his thoughts on Bruce Arena, the man who has taught him more than any other coach. The quiet leader on the U.S. team speaks up in this exclusive all_access video.
And in case you missed it, review all the highlights and post-match comments from the locker room to the press room when the U.S. defeated Japan 3-2 on Feb. 10 at SBC Park in San Francisco. See Clint Dempsey break out a new goal-scoring dance, hear Bruce Arena's thoughts on the match and go inside the clubhouse to watch all the halftime and post-game comments. Don’t blink, as all_access video takes you down to the field and behind the scenes of the USA's second victory in 2006.
PODCAST: ARENA ADDRESSES THE MEDIA: Listen in as U.S. boss Bruce Arena talked with reporters on a 30-minute national teleconference call on Tuesday afternoon. Arena talked on a host of issues, evaluating player performances through the first five weeks of camp, discussing the significance of the upcoming game, describing the 'American' style of soccer, and more. Hear the entire call in this exclusive podcast found only on ussoccer.com. (Partial transcript)
NEW NIKE DUDS: Nike and U.S. Soccer have unveiled the 2006 U.S. Men’s National Team jersey, which will be worn this summer by the USA at the FIFA World Cup in Germany. The jersey will debut on the field this Sunday, February 19, as the U.S. faces Guatemala at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The jerseys will hit the shelves in early April, but fans can pre-order jerseys at ussoccerstore.com. To get a view of the new kits, which pay homage to both the 1950 U.S. World Cup team and the 1995 group, scroll through the photo gallery at ussoccer.com.
U.S. CLIMBS BACK TO HIGHEST-EVER SPOT IN FIFA WORLD RANKINGS: The United States has been elevated to No. 6 in the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Wednesday, tied with Mexico and Spain. The sixth position equals the highest-ever ranking for the U.S. in team history, matching the place the side reached in July of 2005 during their run to the Gold Cup championship. Brazil maintained the top spot it has held since July 2002, a month after it won its record fifth World Cup. The Czech Republic remains second, followed by the Netherlands, Argentina and France.
GUATEMALA ROSTER: Guatemala head coach Marlon Ivan Leon has called an experienced 21-man squad to face the United States in Frisco, led by FC Dallas forward Carlos Ruiz. The two-time MLS Golden Boot winner has 33 goals in 64 international appearances for Guatemala. Former Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Guillermo Ramirez joins the ranks, coming off his game-winning goal in overtime of MLS Cup 2005. Three players on the roster - Juan Carlos Plata, Mario Acevedo and Julio Girón - have announced that this match will be their final appearance for the 'Chapines'.
Guatemala Roster vs. United States
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ricardo Jerez, Richard Trigueno; DEFENDERS(6): Marlon Aguirre, Eddy Cabrera, Alvaro Jimenez, Pablo Melgar, Henry Medina, Luis Swisher; MIDFIELDERS (9): Marvin Avila, Carlos Figueroa, Julio Giron, Patrick Howell, Martin Machon, Leonel Noriega, Guillermo Ramirez, Mario Rodriguez, Gonzalo Romero; FORWARDS (4): Mario Acevedo, Juan Carlos Plata, Carlos Ruiz, Hernan Sandoval
PHOTO GALLERY: If you haven't been following along, ussoccer.com has gotten hold of a pretty swanky camera and is now posting daily pictures from training camp. From tight action shots to the beautiful sunsets that coincide with afternoon training, see the best pics we have to offer in the photo galleries on ussoccer.com.
THEY SAID IT: "It's gonna be fun, because I still haven't scored in that stadium yet. Hopefully, I get an opportunity to score and see what it feels like inside Pizza Hut Park to score in front of all the people that have supported me."
U.S. forward Eddie Johnson, on playing in front of his former hometown fans just days after being traded to the Kansas City Wizards
--Order Your Nike 2006 MNT Jersey,
available online at ussoccerstore.com--
ussoccer.com is the official site of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.