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U.S. MNT Shifts Focus to Mexico Qualifier Set for Sunday at Noon

U.S. Men's National Team Training Camp Update
March 22, 2005
Colorado Springs, Colo.

NO MORE FRIENDLIES: After getting through the important preparation matches against Colombia and Honduras, the U.S. national team (and the rest of CONCACAF) can start focus on the games that truly matter.  Only five days remain before World Cup qualifying returns to center stage, the main event a showdown between the United States and Mexico at the Estadio Azteca on March 27 live on ESPN2 and Telemundo at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT.  It's no rest for the weary as the team then heads back to the States to host Guatemala on March 30 live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.  Fans can follow both matches live on's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

ARENA SPEAKS ABOUT MEXICO CLASH:  U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Bruce Arena was featured in a media teleconference on Tuesday (March 22) in advance of the World Cup qualifying match against Mexico on Sunday (March 27) at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. He spoke about the rivalry between the two teams, the challenges of playing at the Estadio Azteca, Eddie Johnson emerging as a U.S. goal scorer and various other topics.

ESPN TAKES USA V. MEXICO OUTSIDE THE LINES:  The U.S. Men's National Team's rivalry with Mexico will be the featured topic this Sunday morning on ESPN's acclaimed series "Outside the Lines" at 9:30 a.m. ET. Hosted by Bob Ley, the show will examine the intense, sometimes intimidating and volcanic atmosphere that exists in games played in Mexico. "Outside the Lines" will also take a historical look at past games played between the two countries and will offer viewers a unique, behind the scenes look at the U.S. team as they prepare for their World Cup qualifying match against their biggest rival. Two former U.S. National Team standouts will preview the latest installment of the rivalry during the show: Marcelo Balboa (the current color analyst for U.S. MNT matches on ESPN) and Alexi Lalas (currently the general manager of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes). A second version of the show, recapping Sunday's result, will also air on "Outside the Lines" daily episode at 11:58 p.m. ET on Monday evening (March 28).

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED TO PREVIEW U.S. V. MEXICO CLASH:  This week's edition of Sports Illustrated takes an  in-depth look at the most heated rivarly in the region in advance of the USA's World Cup qualifier in Mexico this Sunday.  Soccer reporter Grant Wahl has interviews with former players, fans, and experts to examine why the intensity of the rivalry extends well beyond the lines on the field, and why getting a win in Azteca may be one of the hardest task in sports. The four-page article appears in the March 28 edition that hits news stands this Thursday.

FINAL ROUND RECAP: Matchday 1 for the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying kicked off February 9 in what turned out to be a day for the visitors. The United States and Trinidad were the first two get underway, as goals by Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis paced the U.S. to a 2-1 win away victory in Port-of-Spain.  In Panama City, the Guatemalans were able to hold off the Panamanian attack and secure an important road point from their scoreless draw.  Meantime in San Jose, Mexico was able to neutralize the intimidating atmosphere of Estadio Ricardo Saprissa with a pair of goals from Jaime Lozano within the first ten minutes as they held on for a 2-1 victory in Costa Rica.

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Standings
Team    GP    W    L    T    GF    GA    GD    Pts.
USA     1        1    0     0      2       1      +1      3
MEX    1        1    0     0      2       1      +1      3
GUA    1        0     0    1       0       0       0       1
PAN    1        0     0    1       0       0       0       1
CRC    1        0     1    0       1       2      -1       0
TRI      1        0     1    0       1       2      -1       0

Matchday 2
March 26    Costa Rica vs. Panama                     Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose           6 p.m. ET
March 26    Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago   Estadio Mateo Flores Guatemala City       9 p.m. CT
March 27    Mexico vs. USA                               Estadio Azteca; Mexico City                12 p.m. CT

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Four players from the original training camp roster have returned to their clubs after serving duty for the first two friendlies.  Colorado Rapids defender Ritchie Kotschau is home spending time with his wife and new baby, while teammate Nat Borchers heads back to the Rapids after getting his first-ever start for the senior team in the 1-0 win against Honduras in Albuquerque.  San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Brian Mullan is recovering from an ankle sprain suffered March 18, while Columbus Crew midfielder Kyle Martino joins his side for the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C.

ALL_ACCESS - HONDURAS REWIND: All_Access, the exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the U.S. MNT, will track the team's progress throughout this exciting month of action.  In the latest installment, go inside the locker room after the USA's 1-0 victory against Honduras on March 19 and catch all the highlights and post-game reaction.  And for those who don't think this is a competitive group, find out how a friendly walk in the woods in Colorado Springs turned into a massive snowball fight. Watch Now!

HAPPY 100TH: Already the all-time leader in wins (55) and winning percentage of .660, U.S. Manager Bruce Arena reached another unprecedented milestone when he presided over his 100th career game as the leader of the national team in the Honduras victory March 19.  Now holding a lifetime record of 55-23-22 over a seven-year tenure, Arena is currently guiding the team through a 16-match unbeaten run that goes back over a year, as well as a 31-match unbeaten run against CONCACAF opponents dating back to Sept. of 2001.  Congratulations, Bruce ... [to see video of the team presentation in the locker room, click here]

JOURNALISTS JOURNEY TO MEXICO: More than 35 television reporters, print journalists and photographers are credentialed to travel to Mexico for the March 27 qualifier, the largest traveling contingent of U.S. media since the 2002 World Cup.  In addition to the regular beat writers from the Associated Press, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, newspapers from every region in the United States are represented. 

COMING UP: You want numbers?  We've got numbers. will present a comprehensive look at the U.S.-Mexico rivalry, with all the stats, history and records we can muster.  On the video front, All_Access goes another 'mile in my boots' with Chris Albright, and a Center Circle Spotlight focuses on Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston.  And that's all before Thursday ...