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U.S. Soccer Wire: April 13, 2009


USA BID COMMITTEE CONTACTS 70 POTENTIAL FIFA WORLD CUP VENUES;
TICKETS SURPASS 24,000 MARK FOR U.S. MNT FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
AGAINST HONDURAS ON JUNE 6 AT SOLDIER FIELD

USA BID COMMITTEE CONTACTS 70 POTENTIAL FIFA WORLD CUP VENUES: The USA Bid Committee mailed letters to public officials and stadium operators in metropolitan markets across the United States in an initial and important step toward preparing a formal bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The 70 stadiums identified by the USA Bid Committee as candidates to host World Cup matches in 2018 or 2022 include National Football League stadiums, college football stadiums, and domed and retractable roof stadiums. The 70 stadiums represent more than 50 metropolitan markets in 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. FIFA has set May 2010 as the deadline for countries to submit their final paperwork to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will then study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR MNT QUALIFIER AGAINST HONDURAS: More than 24,000 tickets have been sold for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 6. Kickoff at Soldier Field is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can also follow along live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets are available by visiting ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Chicagoland, including Carson Pirie Scott, Hot Tix, FYE and Ritmo Latino stores (Note: Tickets are not sold at Soldier Field except on the day of the event). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages which include a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits), are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

U.S. WOMEN TO HOST JAPAN IN MAY: The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Japan, the 2008 Olympic semifinalists, on Wednesday, May 20, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, and Saturday, May 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The game in Texas kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and fans can follow the action live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match in Utah will kick off at 4 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español, with fans also able to follow online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets for both matches are now on sale and more information is available in the Schedule & Tickets section of ussoccer.com.

U.S. TO FACE GRENADA, HONDURAS AND HAITI IN GROUP B: The United States will kick off its Gold Cup title defense against Grenada, Honduras and Haiti after being drawn into Group B of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. will first take on Grenada on July 4 at 6 p.m. PT at Qwest Field in Seattle. The team then crosses the country to face Honduras on July 8 at 9 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., before rounding out group play against Haiti on July 11 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. ET. The U.S. has never lost a match in Gold Cup group play, holding a 21-0-1 lifetime record. The U.S. is seeking to become the second team to win three consecutive Gold Cups, having claimed the crown in 2005 and 2007. Prior to the Gold Cup opener in Seattle, the U.S. will be coming off a stretch of at least five games in the previous 31 days. The U.S. plays at Costa Rica on June 3 in FIFA World Cup qualifying, before returning home to host Honduras in Chicago on June 6. Then the U.S. heads to South Africa for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup – a tournament for which the U.S. qualified as 2007 Gold Cup champions – for matches against Italy, Brazil and Egypt in the group stage.

U.S. Men’s National Team 2009 Schedule 

Date Opponent Time / Result TV / U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue; City
Jan. 24 Sweden 3-2 W Kljestan (3) The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Feb. 11 Mexico* 2-0 W Bradley (2) Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio 
March 28 El Salvador* 2-2 T Altidore, Hejduk Estadio Cuscatlán; San Salvador, El Salvador 
April 1 Trinidad & Tobago* 3-0 W Altidore (3)  LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.
June 3 Costa Rica* TBD TBD Away (Venue TBD) 
June 6 Honduras* 7 p.m. CT ESPN Classic/Galavision Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.
June 15 Italy # 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET TBD Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria
June 18 Brazil # 4 p.m. / 10 a.m. ET TBD Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria
June 21 Egypt # 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET TBD Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace; Rustenburg 
July 4 Grenada ^ 6 p.m. PT  TBD Qwest Field; Seattle, Wash.
July 8 Honduras ^ 9 p.m. ET TBD RFK Stadium; Washingon, D.C.
July 11 Haiti ^ 7 p.m. ET TBD Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.
Aug. 12 Mexico* TBD TBD Away (Venue TBD)
Sept. 5 El Salvador* 5:30 p.m. MT ESPN Classic/Galavision Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Sept. 9 Trinidad & Tobago* 7 p.m. ET ESPN Classic/Galavision Away (Venue TBD)
Oct. 10 Honduras* TBD TBD Away (Venue TBD)
Oct. 14 Costa Rica* TBD ESPN2/Galavision RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.
* FIFA World Cup Qualifier
# FIFA Confederations Cup
^ CONCACAF Gold Cup

U.S. U-20 MNT DRAWN WITH GERMANY, CAMEROON AND KOREA REPUBLIC FOR 2009 FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group C alongside Germany, Cameroon and Korea Republic for the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, which will take place from Sept. 24-Oct. 16. The U.S. will open against Germany on Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET), before facing Cameroon on Sept. 29 at 6:45 p.m. local time (12:45 p.m. ET) and rounding out group play against Korea Republic on Oct. 2 at 6:45 p.m. local time (12:45 p.m. ET). All three of the USA’s group matches will be played at the brand-new Mubarak Stadium in Suez. Every U.S. match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The field of 24 teams is broken up into six groups of four teams each, with the top two finishers in each group, plus the four best third-place finishers, advancing to the Round of 16. The 52-match tournament will take place across seven venues in five cities in northwestern Egypt: Alexandria, Cairo, Ismailia, Port Said and Suez. The 74,000-seat Cairo International Stadium will host both semifinals on Oct. 13, and the third-place game and final on Oct. 16.

U.S. U-20 MNT 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup Group C Schedule
Date Opponent Time (Local/ET) Venue
Sept. 26 Germany 4 p.m. / 10 a.m. Mubarak Stadium; Suez
Sept. 29 Cameroon 6:45 p.m. / 12:45 p.m. Mubarak Stadium; Suez
Oct. 2 Korea Republic 6:45 p.m. / 12:45 p.m. Mubarak Stadium; Suez

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. U-23 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TRAVELS TO PORTLAND; WILL FACE PILOTS, BEAVERS AND HUSKIES: The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team gathered for a training camp in Portland, Ore., on April 11 that will last until April 19 and feature a match against the University of Portland Pilots on April 18 at 7 p.m. PT at Merlo Field. Tickets are on sale through all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or over the phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will also be available in person at the Pilot Box Office Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. PT. Ticket prices range from $7-12 for adults and $5-12 for youths. Group packages of 10 or more are available at $5 per ticket (General Admission only). Admission is free for all UP students. Prior to the match with the Pilots, the U-23s will play two matches against other college teams, taking on Oregon State on April 14 in Corvallis at 7 p.m. and the University of Washington on April 16 at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton at a time TBD. The U.S. U-23 women are coached by Bill Irwin, who is Portland’s Director of Soccer and men’s head coach. With this year’s Nordic Cup cancelled, Irwin is preparing the players for a potential European tour this summer. Irwin led the U-23s to their second consecutive Nordic Cup title in 2008 and 10th in the last 12 years. Irwin’s strong roster for this training camp features four players from the U.S. team that won FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup last year in Chile, including stand-out goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defenders Lauren Fowlkes and Nikki Marshall, who both played well in the center of the U.S. defense, and forward Alex Morgan, who won the Silver Ball and the Bronze Shoe in Chile. Irwin’s roster also includes six-foot goalkeeper Kristin Olsen, who helped lead USC to the NCAA title in 2007, as well as Katie Oakes, sister of former U.S. WNT Player Jill Oakes, and long-time youth national team standout Kelley O’Hara.

U.S. U-23 WNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kristin Arnold (Texas A&M; Centennial, Colo.), Alyssa Naeher (Penn State; Seymour, Conn.), Kristin Olsen (USC; Orange, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (9): Lauren Barnes (UCLA; Upland, Calif.), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Kimberly Germain (James Madison; McLean, Va.), Nikki Marshall (Colorado; Mead, Colo.), Lizzy Nichols (Harvard; Princeton, N.J.), Carly Peetz (Nebraska; Lincoln, Neb.), Kat Reynolds (Santa Clara; Medina, Wash.), Brittany Taylor (Connecticut; Campbell Hall, N.Y.), Brianne Young (Texas A&M; Castle Pines North, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Sinead Farrelly (Virginia; Havertown, Pa.), Ali Hawkins (North Carolina; Encinitas, Calif.), Kelly Isleib (Utah; Park City, Utah), Katie Oakes (California; West Hills, Calif.), Sophie Reiser (Columbia; Seattle, Wash.), Kylie Wright (UCLA; R. Santa Margarita, Calif.)
FORWARDS (6): Kiki Bosio (Santa Clara; Mission Viejo, Calif.), Melissa Henderson (Notre Dame; Garland, Texas), Alex Morgan (California; Diamond Bar, Calif.), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford; Fayetteville, Ga.), Christen Press (Stanford; PV Estates, Calif.), Katie Schoepfer (Penn State; Waterford, Conn.)

U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM COMES TO THE HDC FOR TRAINING CAMP: U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Jillian Ellis will bring 24 players to a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from April 25-May 3. The roster includes eight players who were a part of the USA’s 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup Team that took second place in New Zealand last year. Those players include team captains Amber Brooks and Cloee Colohan, as well as Kristie Mewis, who won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament, forward Courtney Verloo who scored four times in New Zealand, and goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, who won the Golden Glove as the top ‘keeper during the competition. Ellis has called in eight players who are currently freshman in college while the remaining 16 are still in high school. Players eligible for the next FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Germany, are born on or after January 1, 1990. Dates and venues for CONCACAF qualifying for the next U-20 Women’s World Cup have yet to be set.

U.S. U-20 WNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Taylor Vancil (Louisville; South Elgin, Ill.), Chante Sandiford (UCLA, Owensville, Md.), Kelsey Wys (Parkland Predators; Coral Springs, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Jazmyne Avant (Florida; Coppell, Texas), Amber Brooks (Arsenal World Class; New Hope, Pa.), Zakiya Bywaters (Neusport SC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Cloee Colohan (Black Diamond SC; West Point, Utah), Crystal Dunn (Albertson SC; Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Melinda Mercado (Oklahoma State; Sapulpa, Okla.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Katy Frierson (Auburn; Birmingham, Ala.), Maya Hayes (Aristics Club; West Orange, N.J.), Olivia Klei (Pleasanton Rage; Pleasanton, Calif.), Teresa Noyola (Stanford; Palo Alto, Calif.), Alev Kelter (Alaska Rush; Eagle River, Alaska), Jenna Richmond (McLean SC; Centreville, Va.), Erika Tymrak (IMG Academy; Lakewood Ranch, Fla.), Beth West (Texas A & M; Centennial, Colo.)
FORWARDS (6): Lauren Alwine (Virginia; Elizabethtown, Pa.), Kim Castleberry (Dallas Texans; McKinney, Texas), Elizabeth Eddy (So Cal Blues; Costa Mesa, Calif.), Courtney Jones (UNC; Danville, Calif.), Kristie Mewis (South Shore Select; Hanson Mass.), Chioma Ubogagu (D’Feeters; Coppell, Texas), Courtney Verloo (South Side Strikers, Tualatin, Ore.)

MATKOVICH TO HOLD 26-PLAYER CAMP FOR U-18 MNT AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team head coach Mike Matkovich has called 26 players, all born in 1991, to a domestic training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from April 18-26. Gale Agbossoumonde and Amobi Okugo were both part of the U.S. U-20 MNT that recently qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup with a second place finish in the CONCACAF Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Including that duo, nine players on the roster were part of the U-17 Men's National Team Residency Program, including 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup veterans Gregory Garza and Kofi Sarkodie. Garza, currently part of Sporting Lisbon's youth system, is also the only European-based player on the roster. Matkovich's group includes 17 players who are currently part of U.S. Soccer's Development Academy, representing 15 different clubs. Arsenal FC and the Columbus Crew Juniors are the only two Academy clubs to send more than one player with Dion Acoff and Miles Byass, and Chad Barson and Ben Speas, respectively.

U.S. U-18 MNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alex Long (CASL Chelsea FC Academy; Cary, N.C.), Zachary MacMath (Maryland; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (unattached; Syracuse, N.Y.), Chad Barson (Columbus Crew Juniors; Lewis Center, Ohio), Peabo Doue (D.C. United Academy; Germantown, Md.), Gregory Garza (Sporting; Grapevine, Texas), Kofi Sarkodie (Akron; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (PA Classics; Lancaster, Pa.);
MIDFIELDERS (11): Jose Altamirano (Del Mar Sharks; San Diego, Calif.), Steven Birnbaum (Pateadores; Irvine, Calif.), Leon Carby (Oakwood SC; West Hartford, CT), Adam Jahn (San Juan Lightning Crew; El Macero, Calif.), Nicholas Millington (Wake Forest; Raleigh, N.C.), Amobi Okugo (San Juan Lightning Crew; Sacramento, Calif.), Dillon Powers (Andromeda; Plano, Texas), Jossimar Sanchez (PDA; Rocky River, Ohio), Anthony Salciccia (De Anza Force; San Jose, Calif.), Ben Speas (Columbus Crew Juniors; Akron, Ohio), London Woodberry (FC Dallas Juniors; McKinney, Texas)
FORWARDS (7): Dion Acoff (Arsenal FC; Upland, Calif.), Will Bates (Richmond Strikers; Chester, Va.), Josh Beard (Sockers FC; Schaumburg, Ill.), Miles Byass (Arsenal FC; San Bernardino, Calif.), Scott Caldwell (Akron; Braintree, Mass.), Hasani Sinclair (Schulz Academy; Coral Springs, Fla.), Justin Watson (Bridge FA; Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

U-18 WNTs END HDC TRAINING CAMPS WITH 1-1 DRAW WITH U-17 WNT: The U.S. Under-18 finished up a week-long training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. this past weekend with a morning training session on Saturday. On Friday night, the U-18s squared up against the U-17 WNT, which was also in camp, getting a late penalty kick goal from substitute Rachel Nuzzolese to equalize after Hawaiian Caprice Dydasco struck just 13 minutes into the match to put the U-17s ahead 1-0. The U-18s had a good string of results in their other matches during the week, downing the L.A. Rampage of the WPSL, 5-2, as five different players scored. After giving up a 1st minute goal, the U.S. U-18s rebounded to get scores from Kate Bennett in the 20th minute and Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick seven minutes into the second half. The Rampage equalized in the 73rd minute, but the young U.S. team closed the game out with three goals in the final 10 minutes, by Rebecca Twining in the 80th, Hayley Brock in the 85th and Kelly Cobb in the 89th. The U.S. U-18s also defeated UCLA, 3-1, as USC-bound and 2008 U.S. U-17 Women’s World Cup Team forward Elizabeth Eddy recorded a hat trick.

U.S. U-18 WNT Results

Date Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
April 6 LA Rampage 5-2 W Bennett, Fitzpatrick, Twining, Brock, Cobb Carson, Calif.
April 8 UCLA 3-1 W Eddy (3) Carson, Calif.
April 10 U.S. U-17 WNT 1-1 T Nuzzolese (PK) Carson, Calif.

 

U.S. U-17 WNT TIES 1-1 WITH U.S. U-18 WNT TO WRAP UP HDC TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team wrapped up a week-long training camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center with a 1-1 draw against the U.S. U-18 WNT, who was also in training camp in Carson, Calif. Caprice Dydasco struck first, putting home a wind-aided wonder strike from 30 yards out just 13 minutes into the match to put the U-17s up 1-0 before Rachel Nuzzolese equalized with a late penalty kick.

U.S. U-17 WNT Results
Date Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
April 10 U.S. U-18 WNT 1-1 T Dydasco Carson, Calif.

U.S. U-15 GIRLS’ NATIONAL TEAM HEADS TO TRAINING CAMP AT STANFORD: The U.S. Under-15 Girls’ National Team, under the direction of head coach Mike Dickey, came together in Palo Alto, Calif., on April 11 for a training camp that lasts until April 19 at Stanford University. Dickey is bringing in 24 players, almost all born in 1994 (with one ’95), with this group of players in the very early evaluation stages for possible roles in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. This will be the first U-15 training camp of the year, although some of the players invited to Palo Alto, most notably forward Ashley Spivey, defenders Maya Theuer and Haley Washburn, and midfielders Ashley Meier and Makenzy Doniak, were part of the U.S. U-17 Super Camp held earlier this year in Sunrise, Florida. The one player born in 1995 at the camp, defender Miranda Freeman, was also at the Super Camp. The U.S. U-15s will scrimmage two top northern California clubs during the week, taking on the U-18 Pleasanton Rage on Tuesday, April 14 and the U-18 Mustang on Thursday, April 16.

U.S. U-15 GNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Mackenzie Karas (Premier ’95 Black; Las Vegas, Nev.), Katelyn Rowland (San Juan Soccer; Vacaville, Calif.), Morgan Ruhl (Baltimore Bays Heat; Monkton, Md.)
DEFENDERS (8): Miranda Freeman (Boca Youth Club; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Laura Liedle (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Rachel Price (Space Coast United; Melbourne Beach, Fla.), D’Yonna Riley (Arsenal World Class; Washingtonville, N.Y.), Maya Theuer (San Diego Surf; Carlsbad, Calif.), Bria Washington (North Atlanta SA; Kennesaw, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Makenzy Doniak (Slammers; Chino Hills, Calif.), Miranda Galvan (Santa Clara Sporting; San Jose, Calif.), Alex Gjonaj (Michigan Hawks; Novi, Mich.), Kelli Hubly (Stockers FC Chicago; Elk Grove, Ill.), Lindsay Horan (Colorado Rush; Golden, Colo.), Jana Jeffrey (Dallas Texans; Richardson, Texas), Savannah Laursen (Capitals; Boise, Idaho), Ashley Meier (Cleveland Whitecaps; Strongsville, Ohio), Reilly Parker (Mustang Blast; Danville, Calif.), Haley Washburn (San Juan Soccer Club; Folsom, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Alex Anthony (Real Colorado; Littleton, Colo.), Lauren D’Amico (Hershey YSA; Hummelstown, Pa.), Jasmine Paterson (Kendall Soccer Shores; Key Largo, Fla.), Brittany Ratcliffe (FC Pennsylvania Strikers; Williamstown, N.J.), Ashley Spivey (Baltimore Bays Heat; Baltimore, Md.)

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

RUSSELL LATAPY TO COACH TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Colombian Francisco Maturana resigned last week as head coach of the Trinidad & Tobago Men’s National Team after three matches of the Final Round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation named legendary T & T player Russell Latapy as head coach on an interim basis. Latapy had served as an assistant coach under Maturana, joining the technical staff for matches in which he wasn’t listed as one of the available players on the roster.

USL FIRST DIVISION KICKS OFF 2009 SEASON: Defending USL champions Vancouver Whitecaps kicked off the 2009 season with a scoreless draw as they hosted the Charleston Battery on Saturday, April 11 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, B.C. The match was one of two opening day encounters, with the Carolina RailHawks defeating the Minnesota Thunder 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. USL-1 action continues with five matches on Saturday, April 18, including Vancouver traveling to face the Puerto Rico Islanders, the Carolina RailHawks hosting the Rochester Rhinos, the Montreal Impact visiting the Charleston Battery, Miami FC hosting the Cleveland City Stars and the Minnesota Thunder traveling to face the Austin Aztex.

CRUZ AZUL AND ATLANTE TO FACE OFF IN CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: Cruz Azul overcame a two-goal deficit from the first match of the semifinal series against Puerto Rico Islanders on Tuesday, April 7, going the distance in the second leg and advancing 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 3-3 tie on aggregate. The Mexican club will face Atlante, also from Mexico, in the two-game tournament final. Atlante advanced after also coming from behind, defeated Santos Laguna 4-3 on aggregate after falling 2-1 in the first leg. Cruz Azul and Atlante will meet at 9 p.m. CT on Wednesday, April 22, and again on Wednesday, April 29, also at 9 p.m. CT, to determine the champion of the CONCACAF region.

*** CENTER CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: This week's Peak Performer honors go to Clint Dempsey, who scored twice in the second half of Fulham's 3-1 victory over Manchester City on Sunday. After going behind before the break, the Cottagers fought back with Dempsey leveling the score in the 50th minute. Dickson Etuhu's well taken strike gave Fulham the lead before Dempsey capped the scoring with an insurance goal in the 83rd minute. Check out the MNT Blog for clips of Dempsey’s goals.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The clock is threatening to strike midnight for quintuple-chasing Manchester United, as the defending European Champions face the difficult task of grabbing a victory in Portugal against a stingy FC Porto side. The first game in the two-legged UEFA Champions League quarterfinal finished 2-2, and one would bet there are goals to be had at the Estadio Dragao on Wednesday, April 15. Just whose goals those are remains to be seen, but with the game airing on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. ET, U.S. fans could take a long lunch and head to their local U.S. Soccer Official Bar to see who advances to the next round.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Soccer fans will see a familiar face on the sidelines of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa: Bora Milutinovic. The iconic Serbian coach will take the helm of the Iraq National Team as it prepares for the 2009 tournament. Iraq, which has already been eliminated from contention for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is the eighth national team to be coached by Milutinovic, who had two stints with Mexico in 1983-87 and 1995-97. He also served as head coach of the United States from 1991-1995, Costa Rica in 1990, Nigeria in 1997-98, China in 2000-02, Honduras in 2003-04 and Jamaica in 2006-07.

QUOTABLE: “If we look back at the 2006 World Cup, you’ll note that while Germany clearly had Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, they also had had Kaiserslautern as a site, and we’re evaluating this as what kind of legacy this event leaves behind, both to the sport in the United States and the impressions of the world. I think all forms of American life should be considered, not just major markets.”
-- USA Bid Committee Executive Director David Downs on having a national footprint for the FIFA World Cup.

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