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U.S. Soccer Wire: May 26, 2009


BOB BRADLEY NAMES 24-MAN ROSTER TO TRAIN FOR UPCOMING U.S. MNT
FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING MATCHES AGAINST COSTA RICA AND HONDURAS;
U.S. WNT DEFEATS CANADA 4-0 AT BMO FIELD IN TORONTO, CANADA;
DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY SPRING SHOWCASE WRAPS UP IN SARASOTA, FLA.

BRADLEY NAMES 24-MAN ROSTER TO TRAIN WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 24 players that will train in advance of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras. In addition to the 24-man roster, two players have been invited to participate in their first camp with the full team: Aston Villa defender Erich Lichaj and Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Luis Robles. The U.S. will be seeking its first-ever victory away to Costa Rica when they meet at Estadio Saprissa in the fourth match of the 10-game final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Kickoff on June 3 is set for 8 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on the ESPN Networks and Galavision. Three days later, the city of Chicago will host its first World Cup qualifier when the U.S. welcomes Honduras to Soldier Field (tickets). More than 44,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s third home match of the final round, where the U.S. will face the team who delivered them their last home loss in World Cup qualifying, a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. is in first place in the final round hexagonal with an undefeated 2-0-1 record. Costa Rica sits one point behind, while Honduras holds the third position. The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

U.S. MNT 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Roster (Club: World Cup Qualifying Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 9/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 19/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA: 1/0), Danny Califf (Midtjylland: 4/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 17/2), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 14/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 9/0), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United: 2/1), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Freddy Adu (Monaco: 5/1), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers: 24/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 9/4), Maurice Edu (Rangers: 4/0), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus: 0/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 9/0), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 13/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez: 6/5), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (Hammarby: 1/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 15/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 28/9)

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 Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose, Costa Rica
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

ussoccer.com’s MNT Coverage – May 18-26 

U.S. WOMEN DEFEAT CANADA 4-0 AT BMO FIELD IN TORONTO: The U.S. Women’s National Team scored twice in each half, getting goals from four different players to defeat Canada 4-0 in front of 10,255 fans at BMO Field. It was the USA’s first match in Canada since 2001. Midfielder Shannon Boxx opened the scoring just 93 seconds into the match and midfielder Megan Rapinoe added a second just before the halftime. The USA put two more in the net during a four-minute span late in the game. Both second-half goals came from substitutes, as Lindsay Tarpley scored her 30th career goal in the 77th minute and 21-year-old Lauren Cheney knocked in a fantastic header in the 80th minute. The U.S. players now head back to join their WPS clubs and will not coming together against until mid-July for two more matches against Canada, on Sunday, July 19, at Rochester Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., and then again three days later on Wednesday, July 22, at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. These will be the USA’s first domestic matches of the year after playing the first five on the road and compiling a record of 4-0-1. The game in Rochester kicks off at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN. The match in Charleston kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español. Both matches will be available online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

U.S. WNT 2009 Schedule
Date Opponent Result/Time U.S. Goal Scorer(s)/TV Venue
May 25 Canada 4-0 W Boxx, Rapinoe, Tarpley, Cheney BMO Field; Toronto, Canada
July 19 Canada 3 p.m. ET ESPN Rochester Rhinos Stadium; Rochester, N.Y.
July 22 Canada 8 p.m. ET FSC, Fox Sports en Español Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

ussoccer.com’s WNT Coverage – May 18-26 

2009 DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY SPRING SHOWCASE WRAPS UP IN FLORIDA: The final full day of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Spring Showcase concluded with nearly 70 interconference Academy matches. The Sarasota Polo Grounds also played host to an international match, as the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team defeated Costa Rica 2-1 in the day’s Showcase Game. The first and second day of the Showcase were highlighted by matches between the U.S. U-17 MNT and two Development Academy Select teams which resulted in two victories for the U-17 Men. Every Academy club played three matches over the course of four days at the Showcase. Between games, participants spent time in the two-story athletes’ lounge that features a free Gatorade Drink Bar and the EA Sports lounge equipped with FIFA ‘09. On Saturday and Sunday, teams went through the SPARQ testing for the second time this season. The teams were tested back in December at the Winter Showcase in Lancaster, Calif., and this second round of testing provides the teams with benchmarks for the players to continue improvement over time. Teams will now return to their respective hometowns to finish up their regular season action and build toward Academy Playoffs in June. The top three teams in each division, along with the top five fourth-place teams, will qualify for the 32-team Academy Playoffs at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C. from June 26-29. The top eight teams from each age group will then qualify to compete at the Academy Finals Week at the National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. in July.

ussoccer.com's Development Academy Coverage – May 18-26

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-20 MNT TOPS COSTA RICA AT DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY SHOWCASE IN SARASOTA: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team defeated Costa Rica 2-1 in front of hundreds of fans at the Sarasota Polo Grounds as part of the Development Academy Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Fla. A full crowd was on hand to watch as Michael Stephens and Jared Jeffrey lifted the U.S. to a come-from-behind win against the CONCACAF U-20 Champions. Costa Rica netted its goal just minutes into the second half when Josue Martinez ripped a high shot that slipped just under the crossbar from close range. In the 60th minute, the home side equalized. Peri Marosevic ripped a shot from 20 yards out that Costa Rica's goalkeeper did well to make a play on, but Stephens pounced on a huge rebound and tapped it into the goal. It was Stephens first international goal at the U-20 level. Two minutes before the final whistle, Tony Taylor sped down the left side and got to the endline. He cut the ball back and past his defender to get a low, driven cross off. Jeffrey, who plays for Belgian side Club Brugge, was there to finish at the back post and make it a 2-1 final. The U.S. U-20s will match up against Costa Rica against on Wednesday morning in Sarasota.

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Sean Johnson (Central Florida; Lilburn, Ga.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (unattached; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jose Gonzalez (Atlante FC; Soquel, Calif.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Gerson Mayen (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), Alfredo Morales (Hertha BSC Berlin; Berlin, Germany), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Michael Stephens (Naperville, Ill.; UCLA), Guillermo Torres (Longview Lobos HS; Longview, Texas)
FORWARDS (3): Fuad Ibrahim (Toronto FC; Richfield, Minn.), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.) Tony Taylor (Jacksonville University; Jacksonville, Fla.)

U.S. U-20 WNT COMES BACK TO THE HDC FOR TRAINING CAMP: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team head coach Jillian Ellis kicked off an eight-day training camp for 24 players at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on May 24 as early preparations for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup continue. Thirteen of the players participated in the USA’s training camp at The HDC in late April, but Ellis will get a chance to see some new players as well as bringing back a few players that traveled to Spain for the La Manga tournament earlier this year. That group includes forward Sydney Leroux, the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe winner as the top player and top scorer at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup where she helped the USA to the world title by scoring five times. Ellis called up five members of the USA’s 2008 U-17 team that finished second in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, including Golden Glove winning goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, defender Crystal Dunn, midfielder Samantha Mewis, midfielder Elizabeth Eddy, and forward Courtney Verloo, who saw some action at defender during the last training camp.

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bianca Henninger (Santa Clara; Los Gatos, Calif.), Cat Parkhill (Minnesota; Apple Valley, Minn.), Taylor Vancil (Louisville; South Elgin, Ill.)
DEFENDERS (5): Zakiya Bywaters (Neusport SC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Crystal Dunn (Albertson SC; Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Cami Levin (Stanford; Newport Coast, Calif.), Bailey Powell (Georgia; Fayetteville, Ga.), Toni Pressley (Florida State; Melbourne, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Charney Burk (Portland; North Tuscan, Calif.), Kelly D’Ambrisi (Georgetown; Turnbull, Conn.), Katy Frierson (Auburn; Birmingham, Ala.), Maya Hayes (Aristics Club; West Orange, N.J.), Alev Kelter (Alaska Rush; Eagle River, Alaska), Teresa Noyola (Stanford; Palo Alto, Caif.), Samantha Mewis (SC Scorpions; Hanson, Mass.), Jenna Richmond (McLean SC; Centreville, Va.), Beth West (Texas A & M; Centennial, Colo.)
FORWARDS (8): Lauren Alwine (Virginia; Elizabethtown, Pa.), Kim Castleberry (Dallas Texans; McKinney, Texas), Elizabeth Eddy (So Cal Blues; Costa Mesa, Calif.), Courtney Jones (North Carolina; Danville, Calif.), Sydney Leroux (UCLA; Phoenix, Ariz.), Tiffany McCarty (Florida State; Laurel, Md.), Courtney Verloo (South Side Strikers, Tualatin, Ore.)

U.S. U-18 WNT HEADS TO HOME DEPOT CENTER FOR TRAINING CAMP: U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team head coach Dave Chesler will bring 24 players to a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from May 30-June 7. Chesler brings back 14 players that attended the U-18 training camp at The HDC in early April, but will also get a look at some additional players as U.S. Soccer continues to keep this active this group of players, mostly born in 1992. The 1992s will make up the core of the player pool that will compete for spots on the USA’s 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Team. Chesler has also brought five 1991s into camp. All of the players in this training camp are age-eligible for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany should U.S. U-20 head coach Jillian Ellis choose to include any in her future training camps or events.

U.S. U-18 WNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Emily Lilliard (K.C. Comets; Overland Park, Kan.), Lindsey Luke (Slammers; Newport Beach, Calif.), Anna Sieloff (Vardar; Troy, Mich.)
DEFENDERS (7): Torri Allen (Mclean; Stafford, Va.), Julie Johnston (Sereno SC; Mesa, Ariz.), Mollie Pathman (Triangle FC; Durham, N.C.), Rachel Quon (Eclipse Select; Lake Forrest, Ill.), Kendall Romine (So Cal Blues; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Courtney Smith (Dallas Texans; Houston, Texas.), Carrie Whigham (Sereno SC; Phoenix, Ariz.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kate Bennett (Crossfire; Clyde Hill, Wash.), Alex Crown (Space Coast United; Orlando, Fla.), Juliann Jeffrey (Dallas Texans; Richardson, Texas), Mandy Laddish (Blue Valley Stars; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Lauren Matheson (So Cal Blues; Mission Viejo, Calif.), Wendy Travis (CASL Spartan Elite; Cary, N.C.)
FORWARDS (8): Kelly Cobb (Cook Inlet Velocity; Chugiak, Alaska), Michelle Cruz (Slammers; Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Kylie Facinelli (So Cal Blues; Del Mar, Calif.), Samantha Johnson (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Natalia Ledezma (Slammers; La Mirada, Calif.), Rachel Nuzzolese (Rockville Centre; Melville, N.Y.), Kealia Ohai (Utah Avalanche; Draper, Utah), Chioma Ubogagu (D’Feeters; Coppell, Texas)

SPLIT SQUAD OF U-17 MNT EARNS TWO WINS AGAINST DEVELOMENT ACADEMY SELECT TEAMS: The U.S. U-17 MNT took on two Development Academy Select Teams as part of the Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Fla. Hundreds of Academy participants were on hand to watch as 36 players chosen by the U-17 coaching staff and the DA technical advisors battled Wilmer Cabrera’s squad. On Friday, the two teams battled to create numerous chances at both ends of the field and the Select Team scored first when Riley Wolfe finished a breakaway in just the ninth minute. Five minutes later, George Malki equalized for the U.S. and Andrew Craven and Stefan Jerome added second-half goals to make it a 3-1 final. On Saturday, an entertaining match saw the U.S. and the Select Team exchange goals in what finished as an eight-goal affair. Christian Velez, Zack Foxhoven and Joseph Schmid scored for the Select Team and Dustin Corea, Emilio Orozco for the U.S. to make it a level game into the 88th minute. Second-half substitute Sebastian Lletget took control, forcing an own goal in the 88th and netted one of his own from 25-yards away to make it a 5-3 final just before the whistle.

U.S. U-17 MNT Results

Date Opponent Results U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
May 22 DA Select Team 3-1 W Malki, Craven, Jerome Sarasota Polo Grounds; Sarasota, Fla.
May 23 DA Select Team 5-3 W Corea, Orozco, Sarle, own goal, Lletget Sarasota Polo Grounds; Sarasota, Fla.

U-18 MNT ARRIVES IN PORTUGAL AHEAD OF LISBON INTERNATIONAL: The U.S. U-18 MNT has arrived in Lisbon, Portugal and is preparing for its first game at the Lisbon International Tournament against Finland, which will take place on May 27. The U.S. will then meet Germany on May 28 and finish the round-robin tournament by matching up with hosts Portugal on May 30. Seven players on the roster are current Development Academy players, with Arsenal FC contributing two players, Dion Acoff and Miles Byass, to the squad. Six players hail from collegiate soccer and Gregory Garza is the only professional player in the ranks. Garza, a veteran of U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Men’s National Team Residency Program plays for Sporting CP in Portugal. Defender Gale Agbossoumonde, who played in the U.S. U-20 MNT's successful run through World Cup qualifying, is the only player who is unattached. The games in Portugal will be the first for the U-18s since Matkovich's team successfully captured the Australian Youth Olympic Festival Title in January. The U.S. defeated Australia and China while tying Chile en route to victory in the four-team round robin tournament earlier this year.

U.S. U-18 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Justin Luthy (Columbus Crew Academy; Dublin, Ohio), Zachary MacMath (Maryland; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (unattached; Syracuse, N.Y.), Chad Barson (University of Akron; Lewis Center, Ohio), Paolo Del Piccolo (Colorado Rush; Lakewood, Colo.), Gregory Garza (Sporting CP; Grapevine, Texas), Kofi Sarkodie (Akron; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (PA Classics; Lancaster, Pa.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Jose Altamirano (Del Mar Sharks; San Diego, Calif.), Steven Birnbaum (California; Irvine, Calif.), Miiles Byass (Arsenal FC; Highland, Calif.), Nicholas Millington (Wake Forest; Raleigh, N.C.), Amobi Okugo (San Juan Lightning Crew; Sacramento, Calif.), Dillon Powers (Andromeda; Plano, Texas),
FORWARDS (3): Dion Acoff (Arsenal FC; Upland, Calif.), Will Bates (Richmond Strikers; Chester, Va.), Hasani Sinclair (Schulz Academy; Coral Springs, Fla.)

U.S. U-18 MNT Lisbon International Schedule
Date Opponent Venue
May 27 Finland Lisbon, Portugal
May 28 Germany Lisbon, Portugal
May 30 Portugal Lisbon, Portugal


– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

2009 CONCACAF BEACH SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 17-21: The qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF region for the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will take place June 17-21 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The tournament was originally scheduled for April 29-May 3 but was postponed due to concerns over the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in Mexico. The U.S. was drawn into Group B of the tournament, along with Costa Rica and Bahamas. Group A consists of defending champion and host Mexico, El Salvador and Canada. The U.S. will kick off the tournament against Bahamas at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, June 17, and will close out the group at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 19, against Costa Rica. The semifinals, along with the match for fifth place, will be held on Saturday, June 20, and the two finalists will face off on Sunday, June 21.

CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship Schedule

Date Opponent Time Location
June 17 Bahamas 5 p.m. CT Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
June 19 Costa Rica 5 p.m. CT Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
June 20 Fifth Place 3 p.m. CT Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
June 20 Semifinals 4:15 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. CT Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
June 21 Third Place 4:15 p.m. CT Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
June 21 Championship 5:30 p.m. CT Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

RACHEL QUON NAMED GATORADE HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Defender Rachel Quon, a standout player on the U.S. team that finished second at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and a current member of the USA’s U-18 and U-20 Women’s National Team player pools, has been named the 2008-09 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Quon, who is a senior at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, Ill., had an excellent performance at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, playing every minute of the five games she started at right back while successfully marking numerous talented, and much larger, forwards. Quon is currently seeing most of her national team action with the U.S. Under-18s, but is also competing for a spot on the USA’s 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team.

US CLUB SOCCER KICKS OFF NATIONAL CUP VIII MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: The 2009 edition of National Cup, US Club Soccer’s signature national championship competition, kicked off on Memorial Day weekend with a Regional event in LaGrangeville, N.Y. Regional events will be held through July 7, with the tournament Finals taking place July 25-28 for boys and July 31-Aug. 3 for girls. Follow the action at each National Cup VIII Regional event via the National Cup Online Headquarters at www.usclubsoccer.org, your source for event information, scores, features, photos and more.

USL SOCCERFEST SET FOR NOV. 19-24: United Soccer Leagues announced the 2009 USL SoccerFest will be held Nov. 19-24 in Tampa, the home of the organization’s headquarters, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. The USL SoccerFest, launched in the fall of 2005, is comprised of the USL Annual General Meeting, the Super Y-League’s 11th Annual North American Finals, and the Five-A-Side Frenzy.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION RAISING FUNDS FOR GRANTS: The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 2009 Spring Fundraising Campaign is underway as the Foundation works to raise money to provide grants to support urban soccer programs throughout the U.S. Donate today to help the U.S. Soccer Foundation provide children with safe places to play and opportunities to live healthy and active lives. Visit ussoccerfoundation.org/donate to learn more or sign up for the Foundation’s eNewsletter to find out how your club can give back to the game: ussoccerfoundation.org/enews.

*** CENTER CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: It was a big weekend for a trio of U.S. national teamers in Europe. In addition to their formal invitation to the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu and Oguchi Onyewu have also been crowned league champions. In Scotland, Rangers captured their 52nd league title with a 3-0 victory against Dundee United. Maurice Edu went the distance for the eighth straight game in the victory that pushed Rangers four points clear of rivals Celtic. In addition their first league trophy in four years, Rangers receives an automatic berth into the group stage of next year's Champions League. They will be joined in that stage by Standard de Liege, who after a 25-year drought has now captured the last two Belgian league titles. Gooch helped Standard get the shutout in a 1-0 victory against Anderlecht in the second leg of their playoff series, giving Standard a 2-1 aggregate victory.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: With the English Premier League season behind him and FIFA World Cup qualifying ahead of him, U.S. MNT goalkeeper Tim Howard has one more piece of business to take care of before joining the MNT Stateside: the FA Cup final. Howard will lead Everton against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. ET. Fans can watch the match live on Fox Soccer Channel or head over to their local Official U.S. Soccer Bar to catch all the action.

QUOTABLE: “I like the academy a lot because it pushes you to another level. At showcases you know [national team] coaches are going to be at games, and before it wasn’t like that. You want to compete, to show you deserve to be at a higher level. The training is pushing me by playing with older kids, to play with them I have to pick my level up if I want to be better than them. It’s not as easy as playing with kids my age, but from the beginning of the season until now I think I’ve really improved because I’m playing kids that are better, stronger, and faster.”
-- F.C. Westchester forward Brian Span, who played with a Development Academy Select team during the 2009 Spring Showcase, on how it feels to be one of the younger kids on both F.C. Westchester and the Academy Select team.

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