With nine national teams holding training camps this January at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., ussoccer.com will be providing you with updates on the progress of each team’s camp with "Notes from the National Training Center." The NTC has gone from three to two as the U.S. Under-23 MNT finished their two-week camp on Saturday (Jan. 17), but both the Men's and Women's National Team are still scheduled to train at the NTC for a few more days. As the Women get set to leave for the Four Nations Tournament in China at the end of the week, the Men will get their first test of 2004 as they take on Denmark later this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET at The Home Depot Center.
Women's National Team Notes
SUNDAY IS A DAY OF REST FOR U.S. WOMEN: The U.S. Women's National Team was given Sunday off after a week of intense training, which included two practice sessions, a weight-lifting session, and two meetings on Saturday (Jan. 17). Most of the U.S. players will take in the U.S. Men's National Team as they face Denmark this afternoon (Sunday) at The Home Depot Center, while some plan to relax and watch the NFL playoffs. Others plan to just sleep. There are some sore muscles and tired legs in the U.S. camp after six days of training coming off the 10-week break, but that did not seem to impact the speed or quality of play during the USA's intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday night, as the team played two competitive and crisp 25-minute halves. The mini-game ended 0-0, not in small part due to several great saves from goalkeeper Siri Mullinix. The USA will jump back into training on Monday, Jan. 19, and train through to Friday morning. A 20-player roster will leave for Shenzhen, China on Friday night to compete in the 2004 Four Nations Tournament featuring China, and three of the four 2003 Women's World Cup semifinalists - Canada, Sweden and the USA. The U.S. team will leave on January 23 and arrive on January 25, spending what is essentially January 24 on an airplane during the long flight to a time zone 16 hours ahead of Los Angeles. The USA will play its first match of 2004 on January 30 against WWC runner-up Sweden.
Under-23 MNT Notes
U-23s EDGE C.D. AGUILA 2-1 IN FIRST EXHIBITION OF 2004, LAST ACTION OF CARSON CAMP: Playing in their first true exhibition match of 2004, the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team edged El Salvador's C.D. Aguila 2-1 in front of approximately 5,000 fans at East L.A. College in Monterey Park. Although they controlled most of the first half and worked effectively up top with the combination of forwards Alecko Eskandarian and Conor Casey, the U.S. could not get on the scoreboard. After subbing out the midfield trio of Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Bobby Convey, who will join the U.S. Men's National Team for today's match versus Denmark (live on ESPN at 12:30 p.m. PT), Aguila quickly struck for the first goal, stringing together an impressive series of passes through the final third of the field that ended with forward Rudia Alberto Corrales striking it past second-half sub D.J. Countess in the 50th minute. The U.S. roared back into the attack and ten minutes later earned the equalizer, with midfielder Kyle Beckerman finding Eskandarian in the box, where the 5'8" striker slipped a shot past Juan Jose Gomez at the near post. The game turned ugly in the final 10 minutes, with each team picking up a red card and having a player sent off. U.S. defender Jose Luis Burciaga received his second yellow card and was ejected from the match in the 80th minute, then minutes later midfielder Ramon Larrosa was shown an automatic red for taking down playmaker Eddie Gaven with a vicious tackle in the penalty box. Casey stepped up to convert the ensuing penalty kick past second-half sub Sergio Munoz in the 85th minute to grab the win.
U-23 Lineup (4-4-2): 18-Doug Warren (1-D.J. Countess, 46); 12-Chris Wingert, 2-Jose Luis Burciaga, 19-Nat Borchers, 8-Logan Pause (3-Ricky Lewis, 62); 5-Kyle Beckerman, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (9-Brad Davis, 46), 15-Bobby Convey (16-Brian Carroll, 46), 10-Landon Donovan (17-Eddie Gaven, 46); 11-Alecko Eskandarian, 20-Conor Casey.
C.D. Aguila (4-4-2): 11-Juan Gomez (25-Sergio Munoz, 81); 6-Nestor Morales, 22-Jorge Rodriguez, 18-Luis Alves, 24-Marvin Benitez; 15-Ramon Larrosa, 12-Ludwin Meraz (2-Edwin Carranza, 72), 7-Kilmar Jimenez (20-Jose Salamanca, 81), 16-Luis Perla; 8-Rudis Corrales, 9-Juan Campos (17-Salvador Corea, 75).
INJURIES PLAGUE U-23s AS CAMP CONCLUDES, TRIP TO MEXICO NEXT WEEK LOOMS: A variety of injuries continue to hinder the U-23s as they broke camp Saturday (Jan. 17) and get ready to head down to Mexico late next week. After losing midfielder Eddie Johnson to the flu and Ricardo Clark to a sports hernia early in the two-week camp, three other key players got nicked up toward the end. Midfielder Kyle Martino (right hip flexor) and forward Edson Buddle (right Achilles tendonitis) missed the last few days of camp, but should be at full health by the time the team departs for Guadalajara. Finally, goalkeeper D.J. Countess tweaked his right quad in the Aguila scrimmage and had an M.R.I. on Saturday to determine how serious it is (results are pending).
MYERNICK: "CAMPS ARE LIKE LABORATORIES: YOU MIX A LITTLE HERE, YOU MIX A LITTLE THERE": U.S. U-23 MNT head coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick had a lot to say about the two-week camp at the National Training Center as they get set for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Guadalajara, Mexico. Mooch talked about everything from what the team accomplished, to what work they still have cut out for them once they arrive to acclimatize in Guadalajara. Click below to read his quotes.
TEAM GETS VISIT FROM SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST TO GET GEARED UP FOR MEXICO: After an exhausting two-week camp that included several two-a-day's and a total of six scrimmages, the team got the psychological boost it needed before getting on flights back home from Dr. Tom Perrin, Ph.D, who spoke Saturday morning at the final team meeting. Perrin, who has known U.S. Men's National Team coach Bruce Arena over the last 20 years, spent the final two days with the team, meeting players on a voluntary individual basis before making a 30-minute presentation to the entire 24-player group. His speech focused on moving along from Past performances, to Present performances, and then to Future performances. The Sports Psychologist specialist impressed the team and staff with tales from his 15 years as an assistant coach with the University of Virginia men's basketball team and two years as a pro scout for the Indiana Pacers. Perrin worked with Arena's ultra-successful UVA teams in the early 1990s, and worked with the Washington Freedom for their final two seasons.
JANUARY ISSUE OF "CENTER CIRCLE" TO FOCUS ON U.S. UNDER-23 TEAM, PREVIEW NEXT MONTH'S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: The January issue of U.S. Soccer's popular online magazine "Center Circle" will feature a special and deserving focus on the Under-23 Men, including a "Where Are They Now?"-type feature on the 2000 U.S. Men's Olympic Team, "Queries & Anecdotes" with German-based forward Conor Casey, and previews of its three Group A opponents in Mexico in "Mark That Calendar." The issue is expected to land in e-mail Inbox's and online at ussoccer.com on Thursday (Jan. 22), the day the team flies out to Guadalajara via Houston.