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U.S. Soccer Wire: U-19 WNT Readies for Qualifying


U-19 WNT GETS SET  FOR CONCACAF WOMEN’S QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team arrived in Ottawa, Canada on May 20 as it prepares to compete for a berth in the 2004 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship at the CONCACAF U-19 Women’s Qualifying Tournament in Ottawa and Montreal from May 28-June 6, 2004. The U.S. has held four days of training as the U-19s arrived a week early in preparation for their first match. Head coach Mark Krikorian’s 18-player roster is led by four members of the 2002 team that won the FIFA U-19 World Championship in goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defender Rachel Buehler and forwards Angie Woznuk and Kerri Hanks, all born after the cutoff date for the 2004 World Championship, which is Jan. 1, 1985. For the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, the United States was drawn into Group B in the eight-team, two-group tournament and will first meet the Dominican Republic on Friday (May 28) before facing Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday (May 30) and Costa Rica on June 1 in first round play. The host Canadians were placed at the top of Group A, along with Mexico, Jamaica and Panama. The top-two finishers in each group will cross over in the semifinals, with the winners of those games earning berths to the second FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship, which will be held in Thailand from November 10-27, 2004.
U-19 WNT Schedule
Date    Opponent    Venue; City    Kickoff (ET)
May 28        Dominican Republic      Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa, Ontario                 7 p.m.
May 30        Trinidad & Tobago        McGill Univ. Molson Stadium; Montreal, Ontario    6 p.m.
June 1          Costa Rica                     McGill Univ. Molson Stadium; Montreal, Ontario    7 p.m.
June 4          Semifinals*                     McGill Univ. Molson Stadium; Montreal, Ontario    5:30/8 p.m.
June 6          Third Place/Final*          Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa, Ontario                     10 a.m./1 p.m.
U-19 WNT Qualifying Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kelsey Davis (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.); DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Nikki Krzysik (Clifton, N.J.), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Stephanie Lopez (Portland), Kia McNeill (Avon, Conn.), Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia); MIDFIELDERS (5): Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.), Stephanie Kron (UCLA), Stacy Lindstrom (UCLA), Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.), Jennifer Redmond (Morristown, N.J.); FORWARDS (5): Bristyn Davis (UCLA), Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.), Angie Woznuk (Portland).

REYNA, HOWARD, FRIEDEL LEAD U.S. ROSTER FOR HONDURAS FRIENDLY:
U.S. Men’s National Team Manager Bruce Arena selected an 18-man roster last week to face Honduras on June 2 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast on Telemundo via tape delay (11:30 p.m. ET/PT).  Once again, the U.S. game will also be available live in high definition format on HDNet.  Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.  The friendly will serve as the USA’s final warm-up before 2006 World Cup qualifying kicks off June 13 against Grenada in Columbus. Players will begin reporting to the Boston area for training on May 28, with the MLS-based players joining the team after their domestic matches on the weekend. U.S. captain Claudio Reyna will reach a career milestone in Foxboro, appearing in his 100th international game for the United States.  A veteran of three World Cups, the 30-year-old from Livingston, N.J., began his international career in 1994, and has served as team captain since Arena took the helm in November of 1998.  In 2002, he became the first American ever named to the FIFA World Cup All-Star team. The U.S. roster boasts a pair of powerhouse goalkeepers.  Brad Friedel, 33, earned the USA’s first win in Europe under Arena, the 1-0 victory against Poland on March 31 his first appearance for the USA since the 2002 World Cup.  Tim Howard is coming off his first season at Manchester United, the 25-year-old following in his elder’s footsteps by becoming the second American in a row to be named the PFA Goalkeeper of the Year in England after Friedel was similarly honored in 2003.  The trip to Boston marks Howard’s first domestic appearance for the national team since departing the MetroStars in July of last year.
U.S. MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Friedel (Blackburn Rovers), Tim Howard (Manchester United); DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Tony Sanneh (FC Nürnberg), Greg Vanney (FC Bastia); MIDFIELDERS (6): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United);
FORWARDS (3): Conor Casey (Karlsruhe), Clint Mathis (Hannover 96), Brian McBride (Fulham FC).

– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

THREE PLAYERS JOIN OLYMPIC RESIDENCY CAMP IN CARSON: U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs has called in three new players for the USA's next training block during Olympic Residency Camp starting today at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., all with considerable time spent previously with the U.S. Women's National Team programs.  Heinrichs has called in 2000 Olympian and current ESPN sideline reporter Lorrie Fair, goalkeeper Hope Solo, who is currently playing in the Swedish First Division with Kopparbergs/Goteborg and the 2001 Chevrolet U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year, midfielder Aleisha Rose (nee Cramer).  Fair has 114 caps with the U.S. Women's National Team and was a starter in the midfield at the 2000 Olympics. Solo has 12 caps with the senior team, but won several Nordic Cup titles with the U-21s and was a first-round pick by the WUSA's Philadelphia Charge in 2003. She has started for Kopparbergs/Goteborg from the beginning of the season, recording five shutouts so far as her club has won four, lost one and tied one out of six games and sits third in league standings, losing only to perennial champion Umea. Rose has 19 caps for the full national team, but has not played for the USA since January of 2002. Heinrichs has also invited back Rutgers and U.S. U-21 star midfielder Carli Lloyd who trained with the USA from May 11-16 during its last training block before the team went on a week-long break.  In addition, former University of Virginia midfielder Lori Lindsey has been offered a full-time contract and will train with the USA for the duration of the Olympic Residency Camp. Midfielder Jacqui Little was released from training camp, as was defender Nancy Augustyniak, who returned to Germany to continue playing for her Women's Bundesliga club outside of Berlin. The above transactions brings the total number of players in Olympic Residency Camp to 33.

U.S. WOMEN’S “QUEST FOR SUMMER GLORY” TOUR SET THROUGH AUG. 1 SEND-OFF: The next stop on the U.S. Women's National Team’s “Quest for Summer Glory” Tour is a stop in Louisville, Ky., where they’ll meet Japan at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at 4 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2). Tickets for USA-Japan range in price levels from $18 to $45 and are on sale now at all area Ticketmaster outlets (including Kroger’s stores), as well as the University of Louisville athletic ticket office in the Student Activities Center (open Mon. through Fri. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Tickets can also be ordered by phone at 502-361-3100 (Louisville) or 859-281-6644 (Lexington) and online at ussoccer.com. The USA also has matches on July 3 vs. Canada in Nashville, Tenn. (7 p.m. CT on ESPN), July 21 vs. Australia in Blaine, Minn. (6 p.m. CT on ESPN2), and an Olympic send-off match on Aug. 1 in Hartford, Conn., against China (3 p.m. ET on ESPN2). Ticket information for the final three matches is available online in the Tickets section of ussoccer.com. The U.S. began the tour with an impressive 5-1 win over Brazil in Birmingham, Ala., with 2004 leading scorer Abby Wambach pumping in a pair of goals and Mia Hamm providing a goal and three assists in the win. The U.S. improved to 12-1-1 on the year and 13-0-0 all-time against Mexico with a 3-0 win in front of almost 18,000 fans in its second domestic match.
U.S. WNT “Quest for Summer Glory” Tour
Results
Date    Opponent    Result    U.S. Goal Scorers                Attendance
April 24    Brazil    5-1 W    Foudy, Wambach (2), Welsh, Hamm        11,527
May 9    Mexico    3-0 W    Parlow, Hamm, Chalupny            17,805
Schedule
Date    Opponent    Venue; City            Kickoff (Local) / TV
June 6    Japan    Cardinal Stadium; Louisville, Ky.    4 p.m. ET / ESPN2
July 3    Canada    The Coliseum; Nashville, Tenn.    7 p.m. CT / ESPN
July 21    Australia    National Sports Center; Blaine, Minn.    6 p.m. CT / ESPN2
Aug. 1    China    Rentschler Field; Hartford, Conn.    3 p.m. ET / ESPN2

– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR U.S. MEN’S QUALIFIER ON JUNE 13 IN COLUMBUS: Single-game tickets for the U.S. Men's National Team first match on the road to the 2006 World Cup against Grenada on June 13 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, are on sale now. The match, which will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2 and Telemundo), is the first of a two-game World Cup qualifying series that will conclude in St. George's, Grenada on June 20. Tickets for the USA's first 2006 World Cup qualifier range from $25-$65. Tickets are available at all local Ticketmaster outlets (including all Kroger stores), online at ussoccer.com or by phone at 614-431-3600.
2004 U.S. MNT Schedule
Date     Opponent    Venue         Kickoff/TV
June 2    Honduras     Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.     7:30 p.m. ET / Telemundo (11:30 p.m. ET/PT)
June 13    Grenada     Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio     1 p.m. ET / ESPN2 & Telemundo
June 20    Grenada     St. George's, Grenada     4 p.m. ET / ESPN2 & Telemundo
July 11    Poland     Soldier Field; Chicago     6 p.m. CT / ESPN2
Aug. 18    Jamaica or Haiti *    TBD (away)     TBD
Sept. 4    El Salvador or Bermuda *    Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass    TBD
Sept. 9    Panama or St. Lucia *    TBD (away)     TBD
Oct. 10    El Salvador or Bermuda *    TBD (away)     TBD
Oct. 13    Panama or St. Lucia *    TBD (United States)     TBD
Nov. 17    Jamaica or Haiti *    Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio     TBD
* Should the U.S. advance past Grenada to the semifinal round

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-21 WOMEN DEFEAT PAULISTANA 4-0, GET SET FOR CATARATAS TOURNAMENT:  The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team dominated a group of all-stars from Sao Paulo yesterday, defeating the Paulistana Selection 4-0 at Lindoia Stadium on goals from Natasha Kai, Tara Hurless, Nikki Thaden and Joanna Lohman. The goal was the fifth of the year for Kai and the fourth for Lohman, who spent two weeks training with the senior team at Olympic Residency Camp earlier this year.  Hurless and Thaden both tallied for the U-21s for the first time in their young international careers.  The match was preparation for the U-21s, who arrived in Brazil on May 21, for the Cataratas Tournament this week in the state of Parana, which borders Paraguay and Argentina in the south of Brazil. The U-21s will kick off the tournament on Wednesday (May 26) against a Brazilian League All-Star Team. On Friday (May 28), the USA will then face China's Under-21 WNT, which they defeated 2-0 this year during a March trip to China, and finish the tournament with a cracker of a match against the Brazilian Olympic Team on Saturday (May 29). All the matches will take place at Cataratas Stadium. Head coach Chris Petrucelli has called in an 18-player roster that features two players currently in Olympic Residency Camp with the senior national team in midfielder Leslie Osborne and defender Amy LePeilbet, both key members of the U-21s over the last two years.
U-21 WNT Result
Date             Opponent        Result    U.S. Goal Scorer
May 23        Paulistana Selection    4-0 W    Kai, Hurless, Thaden, Lohman
U-21 WNT Schedule – Cataratas Tournament
Date             Opponent
May 26        League All Star Team
May 28        China U-21
May 29        Brazil Selection

U-18 MNT TO PLAY ARGENTINA, BOCA JUNIORS, AND RIVER PLATE: The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, late last night as it gets set to play the Argentina U-18 MNT and two local club youth teams – Boca Juniors and River Plate – during its weeklong trip. Bob Jenkins’ squad will first face Argentina on Wednesday (May 26), before meeting Boca Juniors on Friday (May 28) and River Plate on May 31. Jenkins is bringing 18 players for the trip, half of which recently graduated from U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program. MetroStars midfielder Michael Bradley is the only professional on the roster, while University of Virginia midfielder Drew Harrison is the lone college player.
U-18 MNT Schedule
Date              Opponent
May 26          Argentina U-18
May 28          Boca Juniors
May 31          River Plate
U-18 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Marcus Rein (Modesto, Calif.), Steve Sandbo (Columbus, Ohio); DEFENDERS (6): Greg Folk (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Mike Orozco (Stanton, Calif.), Karl Schilling (Canton, Conn.), Kwame Siriboe (Chino Hills, Calif.), Nathan Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.); MIDFIELDERS (5): Michael Bradley (MetroStars), Drew Harrison (University of Virginia), Christian Jimenez (San Dimas, Calif.), Dax McCarty (Maitland, Fla.), Danny Szetela (Clifton, N.J), FORWARDS (5): Ely Allen (Kent, Wash.), Rich Costanzo (Jefferson Hills, Pa.), Charlie Davies (Manchester, N.H.), Mike Grella (Glen Cove, N.Y.), Rodrigo Hidalgo (Atlantis, Fla.).

U-17 MEN HEAD TO NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER FOR TRIO OF MATCHES: The U.S Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team will travel to Carson, Calif., this Friday (May 28) for a week-long training camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center. The U-17s will have six days of training and will play four games during the week. The U-17 ’88s are coming off their best performance since beginning Residency last fall, earning second place at the Ballymena International Tournament in Northern Ireland earlier this month. The U.S., lead by Tournament MVP Preston Zimmerman, won their group before falling to Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout after just missing chances to win the game in regulation. Head coach John Ellinger brought in 21 players that are currently in Residency, and also seven local California players that he is looking at to possibly invite into Residency next fall. The ‘88s will take on the Irvine Strikers on Saturday (May 29) and then again on June 1, the BlueStars on June 2 and PDP U-18 All-Stars (AEG’s new player development team) on June 3.
U-17 ’88 MNT Schedule
Date     Opponent
May 29     Irvine Strikers
June 1     Irvine Strikers
June 2     BlueStars
June 3     PDP U-18 All-Stars
U-17 ’88 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Evan Newton (Virginia Beach, Va.), Bryant Rueckner (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.); DEFENDERS (7): Michael Balogun (Houston, Texas), Carlos Borja (Anaheim, Calif.), Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.), Jeremy Hall (Tampa, Fla.), Eric Lichaj (Downers Grove, Ill.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Taylor Waspi (Deer Park, Ill.); MIDFIELDERS (7): Kevin Alston (Silver Spring, Md.), Nicolas Besagno (Maple Valley, Wash.), Michael Dal Pra (Bronxville, N.Y.), Michael Farfan (San Diego, Calif.), Cameron Jordan (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes East, Calif.), Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.); FORWARDS (4): Amaechi Igwe (Belmont, Calif.), Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.), Michael Stephens (Woodridge, Ill.), Preston Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.).

– LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATE –

ALL BUT TWO TEAMS QUALIFIED FOR 2004 U.S. OPEN CUP; DRAW TUESDAY IN CHICAGO: The first round and second draw for the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be held at Soccer House in Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday (May 25) as 38 of the 40 teams have qualified for the expanded tournament this year. Only the amateur teams from the United States Adult Soccer Association from Region III are left to qualify, as their tournament will be held Memorial Day weekend. This year there will be eight first round games, as teams from the USASA Regions will face teams from the Premier Development League. None of the six PDL teams from the 2003 Open Cup return in 2004, as the eight-team contingent is led by 2003 PDL champion Cape Cod Crusaders. With the USASA qualifiers expanded from four to eight teams, the Chico Rooks (Region IV) and the Milwaukee Bavarians (Region II) will be booking their tickets for the second consecutive year. Last year it was the Bavarians who topped teams from the PDL and the United Soccer League's Pro Select League before falling in a Milwaukee derby to Wave United of the A-League as they brought home the prize money as the top amateur team. First Round U.S. Open Cup games will be played on June 2 and 8, with the second round being played one week later on June 15. Pairings for the third round will be announced after the first round is completed.
2004 U.S. Open Cup Schedule
Qualifying: Ends May 23*
Pairings Announcement: May 25
First Round: June 2 & 8 – Eight USASA regional qualifiers vs. eight PDL teams
Second Round: June 15  First Round winners vs. six USL PSL, two A-League teams
Third Round: June 30  Second Round winners vs. two MLS, six A-League teams
Fourth Round: July 20  Third Round winners vs. remaining eight MLS teams
Quarterfinals: Aug. 4   Fourth Round winners
Semifinals: Aug. 24 & 25 Quarterfinal winners
Final: Sept. 22 Semifinal winners
*Qualifying for USASA Region III does not end until May 31

2004 U.S. Open Cup Qualifiers
MLS (10): Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, D.C. United, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, MetroStars, San Jose Earthquakes;
A-League (8): Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Syracuse Salty Dogs, Virginia Beach Mariners;
Pro Select (6): Charlotte Eagles, New Hampshire Phantoms, San Diego Gauchos, Utah Blitzz, Western Mass Pioneers, Wilmington Hammerheads;
Premier Development (8): Boulder Rapids Reserves, Cape Cod Crusaders, Carolina Dynamo, Chicago Fire Reserves, Cocoa Expos, DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth) Tornadoes, South Jersey Barons, Spokane Shadow;
USASA (6 of 8): Allied F.C. (Md.; Region I), Chico Rooks (Calif.; Region IV), Milwaukee Bavarians (Wisc.; Region II), N.Y. Greek-American-Atlas (N.Y.; Region I), S.A.C. Wisla (Ill.; Reg. II), Sacramento Knights (Calif.; Region IV).

– AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD –

FUTSAL TEAM ADVANCES TO FINAL CONCACAF QUALIFYING: The U.S. Futsal National Team downed Honduras 2-0 on May 20 to win its two-game Preliminary Round CONCACAF qualifying series 7-1 on aggregate. The victory moved the U.S. into the eight-team CONCACAF Final Qualifying Tournament, which will be played in Costa Rica from July 23-31 and will determine the region’s two participants in the FIFA Futsal World Championship in Chinese Taipei from Nov. 21-Dec. 5. Entering the match with a 5-1 advantage after their victory on May 18, the U.S. picked up a second-half goal from Lee Edgerton in the 25th minute and an own goal after a shot by Lee Tschantret in the final minute of play to ease into the next round of qualifying.  In the other two match-ups between Northern Zone and UNCAF representatives in the Preliminary Round, Panama won the North/Central Zone Series 1 with an 11-6 aggregate victory over Canada and Mexico defeated El Salvador on aggregate 17-9. The U.S., Panama and Mexico join host Costa Rica and the four other countries that previously qualified: Cuba, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Surinam. The U.S. is looking to get back to the World Championship after not reaching the final tournament four years ago when they finished in third place at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in 2000. With the two-game sweep, head coach Keith Tozer improved his overall record to 16-8-3 since taking over the U.S. Futsal reigns in 1996. Tozer is the winningest coach in U.S. indoor history with over 500 victories.

BOXX, WAMBACH HELP FIFA WORLD STARS DOWN GERMANY 3-2 IN PARIS: U.S. Women's National Team standouts Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx both played all 90 minutes for the FIFA Women's World Stars in an exhibition match at Stade de France in Paris on May 20 as the World Stars came from behind to record a 3-2 victory over reigning Women's World Cup champion Germany. Boxx captained the World Stars, and Nigerian striker "Marvelous" Mercy Akide scored the winning goal in the first match of an historic doubleheader commemorating FIFA's Centennial Celebration that also featured the men's national teams of Brazil vs. France in the second game. Wambach created the first goal just 15 minutes into the game with a nifty dribbling run from midfield before springing Sweden's Malin Mostrom behind the defense with a perfect pass. Mostrom, Sweden's captain, hit her shot off the hands of German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg and into the net from 15 yards out. German striker Birgit Prinz equalized in the 26th minute, hammering a clinical shot across the goal into the lower left corner from 16 yards out. Germany took the lead just before halftime as Kerstin Garefrekes finished a quick German counterattack, knocking a cross in from close range to send her team into the break with a 2-1 advantage. The winning goal came in the 70th minute as a bit of Pichon magic allowed her to work herself free in the left side of the penalty area.  Her shot was off the mark, and would have rolled wide right, but the crashing Akide powered the rolling ball into the net at the far post from four yards out past sprawling German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.

STRICKLAND, SEITZ TO REF AT OLYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Soccer's strong placement of referees in international soccer tournaments continued this week with the announcement that both Chris Strickland and Kari Seitz have been named to officiate games at the upcoming Men's and Women's Olympic Football Tournaments in Greece, respectively. Additionally, Seitz and Karalee Sutton have also been assigned to work games at the CONCACAF U-19 Women's World Championship Qualifying Tournament that kicks off this week in Canada. Seitz is a member of the International Panel of Women's Referees and Strickland is a member of the International Panel of Assistant Referees, while Sutton is a member of the International Panel of Women's Assistant Referees.  Nelson Rodriguez has also been added as a Game Commissioner for preliminary World Cup qualifying. All of these assignments come on the heels of a number of World Cup appointments announced last week. (Read more: /articles/viewArticle.jsp_63216.html).

U.S. REFEREES TO BE INVOLVED IN PRELIMINARY ROUND OF WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: U.S. Soccer learned last week that the organization's Referee Department will be well represented when the next phase of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region begins in June. After already participating in the start of qualifying play for Germany 2006 earlier this year, the U.S. Soccer Referee Department and the Federation’s referees will have seven referees, three assessors and one commissioner working six games during the preliminary competition which commences the second weekend in June. Kevin Stott, in his 10th year as a FIFA referee, will lead a four-person U.S. crew during the Haiti-Jamaica match on June 12 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., and the June 27 match between Mexico and Dominica in Aguascaliente, Mexico, at Estadio Victoria. Working alongside Stott in Mexico will be assistants Robert Fereday and George Vergara, and fourth official Ricardo Valenzuela. In Miami, Stott will have an entire new crew with assistants Chris Strickland and Craig Lowry, and fourth official Ali Saheli working with the man in the middle. In addition to those on the field, three U.S. Soccer representatives will serve as referee inspectors, including two members of the U.S. Soccer Referee Department. U.S. Soccer Director of Advanced and International Referee Development Esse Baharmast and Manager of Referee Development and Education Alfred Kleinaitis, along with fellow inspector Vincent Mauro will each handle at least one match.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Although he wasn’t called on to do much in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Millwall, U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard became the first American player to lift the F.A. Cup trophy in England with the victory in the 123rd edition of the prestigious tournament on May 22. The former MetroStars goalkeeper did not earn a complete-game shutout, though, coming out of the match in the 85th minute to allowed back-up Roy Carroll to earn minutes in the final.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: It’s time to make some more history for the U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team, as they open Group A action of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Canada this weekend with matches against the Dominican Republic in Ottawa on Friday (May 28) at 7 p.m. ET and play T&T in Montreal on Sunday (May 30) at 6 p.m. ET before finishing round robin play versus Costa Rica on June 1. Fans can follow both weekend matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER:  After scoring just three across its first six games, the Columbus Crew broke out of a season-long scoring slump by putting a trio of goals on the normally defensively sound Chicago Fire at Soldier Field yesterday. It was their first win in Chicago since 1999 and helped the Crew stay unbeaten (2-0-2) in its last four matches after opening the season with three losses.

QUOTABLE:   “Keep the ball out of the net, that's all that matters."
             --Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch, after saving a shot with his face, reiterating to reporters the ultimate job of a goalkeeper.

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