CARY, N.C. (Tuesday, May 7, 2002) - The U.S. Men’s National Team will face the A-League’s Richmond Kickers tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. ET at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The match will be free and open to the media and the public. Aside from tomorrow's exhibition game, all training sessions in North Carolina are CLOSED to fans and media.
TUESDAY'S TRAINING: Today's training session started under overcast skies, but as the session heated up, so did the weather. After beginning with fitness work led by Strength and Conditioning Coach Pierre Barrieu, the team played a large possession game. As the week has gone on, the pace of play and the quality of play has picked up, and there was no better example than today's possession game. Following the game, the team split up with defenders taking one end of the field and the goalkeepers and attacking players taking the other side. The defense worked on playing the ball out of the back and possession in the defending third, while the attacking players peppered the goalkeepers with a variety of shots. For the second straight day, Josh Wolff's finishing skills were on display. Wolff used finesse and power - as well as the crossbar - to ruffle the nets. Joe-Max Moore also seemed to find his mark today, finishing many chances past the talented trio of U.S. goalkeepers. The session ended with a crossing and finishing drill, with Tony Sanneh and Frankie Hejduk firing crosses from the right wing, and Jeff Agoos and David Regis supplying balls from the left side. The goal of the day came from a Tony Sanneh cross in the final exercise. Sanneh's cross went across the goalmouth, where Moore somehow stretched out and managed to get the outside of his right foot on the still-airborne ball. Moore flicked the ball back into the center of the penalty area, where Chris Armas cracked a full volley into the upper right corner past a helpless Kasey Keller. Arena then gave the squad 10 minutes to work on their own before wrapping up practice until tomorrow's scrimmage.
BON VOYAGE: Kasey Keller returned to England following training today in advance of Tottenham Hotspurs final league match against Leicester City this weekend. Keller is penciled in to start against his former club, who have been relegated to the First Division for next season. Keller and Claudio Reyna will rejoin the U.S. camp in New Jersey on May 13.
LOOKING AHEAD: After tomorrow’s scrimmage, the U.S. Men’s National Team will resume their traditional mid-morning training sessions on Thursday and Friday morning, before boarding a flight north to the Washington, D.C. area on Friday evening. The U.S. MNT will train at RFK Stadium on Saturday, May 11 at RFK Stadium before facing Uruguay on May 12 at RFK Stadium at 2 p.m. ET.
USMNT IN STYLE: For the past two days, members of the U.S. team have been posing up for an upcoming fashion essay in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Clint Mathis, Brian McBride, Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Pablo Mastroeni were all photographed for the spread that will appear in the May 26 issue.
FORE! With training sessions taking place only once a day, the players have had the majority of their afternoons free. To the surprise of no one, golf has become one of the frequent diversions for some of the players in the empty afternoons. Nearby Prestonwood Country Club has earned compliments from the players, and it was frequented by several foursomes again on Tuesday afternoon.
TOP TEAM, TOP FACILITY: While the U.S. MNT was wrapping up its training session on one of the training fields at SAS Soccer Park, the WUSA’s Carolina Courage began a training session on the adjacent field. An onlooker at the MNT training session asked another if that was the “Carolina Cougars” training on the adjacent field. Cougars or Courage, this team is an improvement over last year's squad that finished at the bottom of the WUSA standings. The Courage are currently undefeated with three wins in the first three games of the 2002 season. With the completion of the SAS Soccer Park – which hosted its first game on Saturday, May 4, a 1-0 Courage win over Atlanta – the Courage now play in the top facility in the league.
HOLLAND ANNOUNCES STRONG TEAM FOR WORLD CUP SEND-OFF: Holland has announced an impressive squad to face the U.S. Men’s National Team in the USA’s World Cup send-off match on May 19 at CMGI Field in Foxboro, Mass., and live on ABC at 2 p.m. ET. England’s PFA Player of the Year Ruud van Nistelrooy highlights a talented team that will face the U.S. in their final match before the U.S. kicks off the World Cup on June 5 against Portugal in Suwon, Korea. The Netherlands are currently ranked 9th in the FIFA world rankings and lost in penalty kicks in the semifinals of the 2000 European Championship and the 1998 World Cup. Holland failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup after finishing in third place in a group that included Portugal and Ireland. However, the Holland team does not lack talent, and the team announced for the May 19 friendly includes Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona), Edgar Davids (Juventus), Jaap Stam (Lazio Roma), and van Nistelrooy (Manchester United). John O’Brien’s Ajax of Amsterdam teammate Andy van der Meyde was also named to the Holland team.
Goalkeepers: Ronald Waterreus (PSV - Holland), Sander Westerveld (Real Sociedad - Spain); Defenders: Frank de Boer (Barcelona - Spain), Arthur Numan (Rangers FC - Scotland), André Ooijer (PSV - Holland), Michael Reiziger (Barcelona - Spain), Fernando Ricksen (Rangers FC - Scotland),
Jaap Stam (Lazio Roma - Italy);
Midfielders: Phillip Cocu (Barcelona - Spain), Edgar Davids (Juventus - Italy), Denny Landzaat (Willem II - Holland), Boudewijn Zenden (Chelsea - England);
Forwards: Pierre van Hooijdonk (Feyenoord - Holland), Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona - Spain), Roy Makaay (Deportivo la Coruna – Spain), Andy van der Meyde (Ajax - Holland), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United - England), Victor Sikora (Vitesse - Holland).
T-MINUS: Exactly 29 days remain before the USA's opening match of the FIFA 2002 World Cup against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon. The countdown happens to correspond today with the average age of the U.S. 23-man roster.
THEY SAID IT:
"I feel like a character in the movie 'Chariots of Fire.'"
- Jeff Agoos, describing the fitness program during training camp.
MEDIAWORLD: Fans and media can access the latest audio and photos from the MNT training camp in Cary, N.C., by visiting MediaWorld at ussoccer.com. By clicking on the MediaWorld icon, fans have access to hundreds of pictures from your favorite MNT stars from the current camp, past matches and more. Check in daily to also catch the latest sound bites as the MNT prepare for the "Nike Road to Korea" and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.