U.S. Men's National Team Training Camp Update
March 12, 2004
ONE TO GO: The U.S. will hold its final training session of the week this afternoon at the Orange Bowl, just over 24 hours prior to kickoff against Haiti. The match will be shown live on HDNet beginning at 8 p.m. ET, and is available to DirecTV viewers via pay-per-view (www.ppvsports.com). Fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. U.S. Manager Bruce Arena is expected to finalize the 18-man roster later this evening.
- Bobby Convey suffered a bone bruise in his right thigh during the MNT’s scrimmage with the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, but continues to improve and should be available for selection tomorrow night. No other significant injuries have been reported from the U.S. camp.
- MetroStars captain Eddie Pope will reprise that role for the U.S. team Saturday, sporting the armband for the second time in his eight-year career with the MNT. Pope, the second-most capped player on the roster (58), first captained the side in the 1-1 draw against Denmark on Jan. 18 earlier this year.
- The U.S. has met Haiti 14 times in their history, and despite holding an overall record of 5-6-3, the teams have played only twice since 1983. The sides’ last meeting also took place at the Orange Bowl, with the U.S. collecting a 3-0 victory in front of 49,000 fans on Feb. 12, 2000, in the opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
- Tomorrow's telecast on HDNet marks the first time in history a U.S. national team game will be broadcast in high definition. Veteran anchors Glenn Davis and Marcelo Balboa will share the commentary duties.
- The USA has played nine times at Miami's Orange Bowl, compiling a 3-6-2 lifetime record, which includes the 3-2 win against Costa Rica on July 26, 2003, in the third place match of the 2003 Gold Cup.
- With Saturday’s match not falling on an international fixture date, only Fulham FC defender Carlos Bocanegra and FC Nurnberg defender Tony Sanneh were the only foreign-based players available for selection to the U.S. roster.
- Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jovan Kirovski returns to the national team fold after playing five matches in 2003, scoring the USA’s game-winning goal against Venezuela on March 29 in Seattle. Kirovski also scored the game-winning goal in the USA’s last meeting against Haiti, a 3-0 win in the Gold Cup on Feb. 12, 2000.
- Chris Armas is the only other U.S. player on today’s roster to have faced Haiti at the senior level, having started along side Kirovski in the opening-game Gold Cup matchup.
- Carlos Bocanegra will look forward to returning to the field which witnessed his goalscoring prowess, the defender scoring twice at the Orange Bowl last year during the 2003 Gold Cup. Bocanegra nodded home the USA's go-ahead goal in the 2-1 semifinal loss against Brazil, then got the U.S. scoring started in the 3-2 victory against Costa Rica in the third place match. The 24-year-old finished 2003 with four goals, becoming the first U.S. defender since Marcelo Balboa in 1994 to reach that mark.
- Haiti has advanced to the second stage of 2006 World Cup qualifying after defeating Turks and Caicos by an aggregate score of 7-0. The Haitains turned in a dominating performance in the 5-0 victory in the first meeting at the Orange Bowl on Feb. 18, then followed with a 2-0 victory in Hialeah, Fla., three days later. Haiti moved on to face Jamaica this coming June, with the winner advancing into the same semifinal bracket as the United States.
- Bruce Arena has continued a policy of searching far and wide for America’s best talent, that process hitting a small milestone in the USA’s first match of 2003. With his selection to the first XI in the Denmark match on Jan. 18, MetroStars goalkeeper Jonny Walker became the 50th player during Arena’s tenure to earn his first cap. Walker joined the Metros in the summer of 2003, replacing departed Man. United goalkeeper Tim Howard. New England Revolution forward Pat Noonan and Rapids defender Richie Kotschau are the only two players on this roster yet to receive their first cap.
- U.S. soccer fans are very familiar with the man sitting in Haiti’s coaching chair, former U.S. international Fernando Clavijo. Clavijo made 61 appearances for the MNT over a five-year international career, starting three of four matches in the 1994 World Cup. Most recently, Clavijo served as an assistant to Thomas Rongen for the U.S. Under-20 MNT prior to their trip to the 2003 World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates in November. Clavijo took the reigns of the Haitian MNT on Oct. 15, 2003.
- With qualifying dates already in place, the U.S. will finally know the name of their first opponent after Sunday, as Grenada and Guyana play the second-leg of their first-round series on March 14 in Guyana. Grenada won the first match 5-0 on Feb. 18.
- In the 436-game history of the U.S. MNT dating back to 1916, the team has only played on other time on March 13, a 2-1 loss against Mexico in San Diego in 1999.
THEY SAID IT: "To get back and actually play, even though the game isn’t that significant, will go down as one of the five biggest games of my career. Even if I only played this one game and never played again, it will still mean a lot to me. It’s something that you miss so much, and for me, it’s one more chance.”
--U.S. defender Tony Sanneh, on the possibility of playing for the U.S. against Haiti. To read the full interview with Sanneh, click here