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U.S. Men Arrive in Cleveland Ahead of May 26 Send-Off Series Match vs. Venezuela


MUSIC CITY TO ROCK AND ROLL CITY: After playing their first match of the three-game Send-Off Series in Nashville, the U.S. Men’s National Team held a practice at The Coliseum on Wednesday morning before heading to the airport to catch their flight to Cleveland. The U.S. will continue their final preparations for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Friday, May 26, when they take on Venezuela (tickets) at Cleveland Browns Stadium (presented by Sierra Mist) at 7 p.m. ET, live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo. Fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The team will conduct its final practice on Thursday afternoon before taking on the South American nation at Cleveland Brown Stadium.
 
QUICK HITS
• The U.S. will dress 24 players for the match and the maximum number of substitutions will be six
• U.S. captain
Claudio Reyna received good news on Wednesday morning after an MRI examination revealed no muscle damage to his right hamstring. While there is no specific time frame set for his return, the prognosis is very positive
• The U.S. holds a 4-2-2 record in 2006, outscoring their opponents 15-8 and posting four shutouts
• The U.S. has faced Venezuela twice at the senior international level, coming away with a victory and a draw for a undefeated 1-0-1 record. The first match against Venezuela took place during the CONMEBOL Copa America on June 22, 1993, in Quito, Ecuador, when the two countries battled to a high-scoring 3-3 draw. The next meeting did not occur until almost 10 years later, this time the
U.S. coming out ahead, 2-0, on March 29, 2003, in Seattle, Wash.
• No player on the current roster appeared in the 1993 draw, but 10 players did take the field during the 2003 match-up. Kasey Keller was in goal for the shutout, while Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Eddie Pope, Bobby Convey, Pablo Mastroeni, John O’Brien, DaMarcus Beasley and Brian McBride all started the match. Landon Donovan came on as a reserve for Jovan Kirovski and scored the second goal on a stunning 50-yard dribbling run that ended with him slotting it past the goalkeeper in the 76th minute
• The starting line-up for that Venezuela match featured the 2003 debut of four 2002 World Cup veterans, including Keller, Pope, O’Brien and McBride
• Venezuela finished eighth in the 10-country South America qualifying group for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, compiling a 5-10-3 record for 18 points. Venezuela is the only country in South America not to have competed in a FIFA World Cup
• The U.S. MNT will play its first full international match in Cleveland after hosting U.S. vs. Bayern Munich prior to the 1994 World Cup. The U.S. has played seven full internationals in Ohio since 2000, every match taking place at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, compiling a 4-0-3 record
• Josh Wolff is the only player on the U.S. roster to appear in all eight of the team’s matches in 2006, including seven starts. Donovan holds the lead in minutes played, reporting for 540 minutes during six matches
• Six players on the roster have scored at least one goal in 2006, three players having recorded a pair in Pope, Clint Dempsey and Ben Olsen. Dempsey’s deuce includes the game-winner in the
1-0 shutout against Poland on March 1 in Kaiserslautern; Olsen netted the USA’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw against Jamaica on April 11 in Cary; and Pope scored in back-to-back games for the first time in his international career, against Norway and Japan, respectively. Cherundolo got his first-ever goal for the national team in the 4-1 loss to Germany, while Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson round out the ’06 goal scorers
• Eleven players heading to Germany return from the 2002 World Cup roster. Reyna will be joined by U.S. Soccer's
2005 Male Athlete of the Year Kasey Keller as the only players in U.S. Soccer history to appear on four World Cup rosters. Reyna, Pope and McBride boast the most appearances in World Cup matches on the roster, each having appeared in seven contests
• Reyna is the leading cap winner on the World Cup roster with 109 international appearances, while goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann has the fewest with six caps. The field player with the lowest cap total is defender Oguchi Onyewu with 13 appearances. Keller is the oldest player at 36 years, 154 days (as of May 2, 2006), while the youngest is Johnson at 22 years, 32 days
• In total, nine MLS teams are represented on the World Cup roster, with an additional 10 teams sending at least one player from clubs in Belgium (1), England (7), Germany (2) and Holland (2)
• Keller leads the goalkeeping trio as the USA’s all-time leader for goalkeepers in wins (50), shutouts (44) and World Cup qualifying appearances (31)
• Donovan, a two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, is already the leading assist man in U.S. history (23), and has led the team in points the last three years running. His 25 goals are good for third place on the U.S. goal-scoring charts
• McBride is the only player in U.S. history to score goals in multiple World Cups, his three career World Cup tallies include the game-winners in the
3-2 opening match victory against Portugal in the 2002 World Cup and the impressive 2-0 win against Mexico in the Round of 16. Just one shy of the USA’s all-time leader in World Cup goals, his 29 international strikes also put him in second place on the all-time U.S. list
• Olsen is the only player on the 23-man World Cup roster not to play in a single World Cup qualifier in the 2006 campaign, assuming the mantle occupied by Mastroeni in 2002
• Heerenveen midfielder Michael Bradley has been training with the team since camp kicked off on May 11 in Cary. The U-17 residency alumni will dress for all three of the Send-Off Series matches

HARTFORD SEND-OFF: After the match in Cleveland, the U.S. will head to East Hartford, Conn., for their final match against Latvia (tickets) at Rentschler Field (presented by Hyundai) on Sunday, May 28, at 7 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2, delayed on Telemundo). Fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. At the game, Nike will distribute 30,000 red ‘Don't Tread on Me’ rally towels bearing the snake and ball mark. All fans attending the game are encouraged to wear red to celebrate the U.S. Soccer team's final game in the U.S. before leaving for Germany on June 1.

RELIEVED REYNA: U.S. captain Claudio Reyna received good news on Wednesday morning after an MRI examination revealed no muscle damage to his right hamstring. While there is no specific time frame set for his return, the prognosis is very positive. "I am relieved that there is no serious damage," said Reyna. "I'll be working with the trainers on a daily basis and will be focused on getting back on the field as quickly as possible." Reyna felt tightness in his hamstring around the 11th minute of the USA's 1-0 loss to Morocco on Tuesday night, and was replaced by Sierra Mist Man of the Match Pablo Mastroeni five minutes later.

ESPN TO AIR U.S. MNT BEHIND-THE-SCENES FEATURES NIGHTLY FROM MAY 24-29 ON SPORTSCENTER: Sports fans are getting another view inside the locker room of the U.S. Men’s National Team as ESPN’s SportsCenter kicked off a series of daily behind-the-scenes features on Wednesday evening. SportsCenter’s World Cup reporter Shelley Smith will deliver the 90-second segments that will be shot and aired the same day from now until May 29, showing scenes from training, team meetings, locker rooms and wherever else the cameras might make their way during the five-day window. For even more exclusive coverage of the team’s build-up to Germany, tune into the extensive all_access videos found only on ussoccer.com.
 
ALL_ACCESS ON SEND-OFF SERIES: ussoccer.com's all_access video continues to be the best source for an inside look into the U.S. MNT's pre-World Cup Send-Off Series. The latest installment features Claudio Reyna having his foot cast for a bronze sculpture as part of a World Cup captains exhibit. Catch all of the highlights at ussoccer.com.
 
U.S. FANS TO SEE RED ‘DON'T TREAD ON ME’ JERSEY IN HARTFORD: In their final match of the Send-Off Series in advance of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the United States will take the field in a red, limited edition "Don't Tread on Me" jersey. This smart new kit will only be worn in the USA's May 28 match against Latvia in East Hartford, Conn., as part of the team's World Cup send-off celebration. This is a true limited edition, one-of-a-kind item. The red jersey features the USA's classic diagonal sash across the chest, reminiscent of the 1950 U.S. World Cup squad. The white-and-blue sash is offset by a 1950 era crest over the left chest. The right sleeve features the popular "Don't Tread" snake logo. The uniform is made of Nike Dri -FIT Mesh and features a polo-style collar. Be sure to pre-order your “Don't Tread on Me” jerseys now at ussoccerstore.com.

LEEDS FALLS IN FINAL: Eddie Lewis and his Leeds United teammates were unable to move up to the English Premier League after falling, 3-0, to Watford in the League Championship Promotion Final on Sunday (May 21) at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Lewis had helped Leeds United advance to the final by scoring the lone goal in their 1-1 first leg draw against his old club Preston North End, then going the distance in the 2-0 victory on May 8 that secured their place in the final match. Lewis re-joined the national team in Nashville on Monday, having spent the first four days of training camp in Cary before heading back to England to prepare for the final. Last week, Lewis talked about his side's promotion playoff run and joining up with his old mates on the national team in this exclusive audio podcast (listen).

'DON'T TREAD' MUSIC VIDEO AVAILABLE ON USSOCCER.COM: You've watched U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Clint Dempsey perform on the soccer field, and now's your chance to see him in action off the field. Well-known as a freestyle rapper, Clint put his words down on paper to record a hip-hop track for Nike's "Don't Tread on Me" soccer campaign, titled "Don't Tread," collaborating with Texas rappers Big Hawk and XO, and Boston-based producer Da BeatzSmith (
listen). Dempsey, a.k.a Deuce, shot a video for the track in his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas, which you can now check out on ussoccer.com (watch). If you look closely, you can also see one of Dempsey's teammates and closest friends on the MNT, Eddie Johnson.

KASEY KELLER PODCAST: Out of the 736 players participating in this summer’s FIFA World Cup, seven are taking part in their fourth tournament, including two from the U.S. – Claudio Reyna and Kasey Keller. Keller was part of the team in 1990, but missed out on 1994 before rejoining the U.S. for the 1998 and 2002 tournaments. Keller is the only player in Germany that was involved with the 1990 World Cup. In this
extended one-on-one interview, Keller discusses his career in Europe, his goals for the World Cup and the possibility of returning to play in the U.S.

GETTING BACK IN THE SWING: Unlike four years ago, when the FIFA international calendar included three match dates that allowed the European-based players more time with the national team, this year’s schedule only included a single match date prior to the naming of the World Cup roster. Additionally, the CONCACAF Gold Cup was held in January of 2002, giving a couple players – most notably Eddie Lewis – the opportunity to play their way onto the World Cup roster. This time around, the three matches in six days during the Send-Off Series provides a bit of a personnel challenge for U.S. boss Bruce Arena, who must juggle playing time for 24 players over the critical three-match swing. 
 
DAILY ‘CENTER CIRCLE’ LAUNCHED: For more than four years we’ve tortured you with a vicious cycle. You’d receive our monthly Center Circle in your e-mail inbox and it would make you laugh, cry and give you that much needed pick-me-up. But all that laughter, all that enlightenment would fade after a week and you’d have to wait until the next month to be re-energized. Well, no more. The Center Circle e-magazine has transformed from the once-a-month newsletter on ussoccer.com, to an interactive page that will be updated on a regular basis with new features on all the U.S. National Teams. All your favorite CC sections will still be available, such as Armchair Midfielder, In 3s and You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall) trivia, mixed in with more podcast interviews, new video segments, a chance for you to rant opinions and ask questions, and much, much more. Our little Center Circle baby is all grown up. Come check it out.
 
GROUP E GERMAN PLAYERS: While the U.S. might get some support in their first round games at the 2006 FIFA World Cup from German fans attending the matches as Steve Cherundolo (Hannover) and Kasey Keller (Borussia Monchengladbach) ply their trade in the German Bundelsiga, they’re not the only teams in Group E with German-based players. The Czech Republic has five players in the Bundesliga: Tomas Rosicky and Jan Koller (Borussia Dortmund), Jan Polak (Nuremberg), David Jarolim (Hamburg) and Jiri Stajner (Hanover). Ghana has three players: Matthew Amoah (Borussia Dortmund), Hans Sarpei (Wolfsburg) and Otto Addo (Mainz). All of Italy’s players are with clubs in Italy. 
 
TRAINING CAMP PHOTOS: ussoccer.com continues in the tradition of bringing you the U.S. Men’s National Team photos from training camp and matches. Check out some of the pics from the team’s match against Morocco, plus the extensive collection shot on the practice fields in Cary.

McBRIDE HONORED AS FULHAM’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR: U.S. MNT forward Brian McBride was named the Fulham FC Player of the Season at the club’s end of the season dinner. Voted on by Fulham supporters, McBride was running neck and neck in the poll with teammate Steed Malbranque, but was able to squeak by in the end to win the award. McBride scored 10 goals and three assists in 39 games to help Fulham finish 12th in the English Premier League.

GETTING OLDER: The U.S. roster’s average age has steadily increased since the beginning of camp on May 10 as a number of players have celebrated birthdays. U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu was the first, celebrating his 24th birthday on May 13, followed by Eddie Lewis (32) on May 17, DaMarcus Beasley (24) and Brian Ching (28) on May 24, and Carlos Bocanegra (27) on May 25. The team won’t have to wait much longer to sing another rendition of “Happy Birthday to You…” at lunch as Bobby Convey turns 23 on May 27. After celebrating four in four days, there’s a bit of a layoff until the middle of June when Marcus Hahnemann turns 34 on June 15 and Brian McBride catches up to the U.S. goalkeeper four days later on June 19.

ESPN/ABC ANNOUNCE FIFA WORLD CUP BROADCAST TEAMS: ESPN/ABC Sports have announced their broadcasters for the network’s 64-game coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup beginning June 9 in Germany. Below is a list of broadcast pairings for the World Cup:

BROADCAST TEAMS
Play-by-play, Analyst
Dave O’Brien, Marcelo Balboa
JP Dellacamera, John Harkes
Rob Stone, Robin Fraser
Glenn Davis, Shep Messing
Adrian Healey, Tommy Smyth

In addition to the five teams above, Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas and Julie Foudy will serve as studio analysts from the United States.

 LAST TIME…

On the field for the USA

May 23, 2006 – The Coliseum, Nashville, Tennessee – International Friendly
USA 0
Morocco 1 Mohamed Madihi 90’


USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 22-Oguchi Onyewu (8-Clint Dempsey, 74), 23-Eddie Pope, 12-Cory Gibbs; 10-Claudio Reyna (Capt.) (4-Pablo Mastroeni, 16), 5-John O’Brien (15-Bobby Convey, 46); 21-Landon Donovan; 16-Josh Wolff (9-Eddie Johnson, 60), 20-Brian McBride (11-Brian Ching, 83), 17-DaMarcus Beasley

MAR: 12-Tarek El Jarmouni; 3-Hicham Mahdoufi, 4-Abdeslam Ouddou (7-Ahmed Ajeddou, 76) , 5-Talal El Karkouri (capt.), 6-Aziz Ben Askar; 2-Walid Regragui, 13-Moubarek Boussoufa (9-Bouchaib El Moubarki, 70), 16-Soufiane Alloudi, 17-Zakaria Aboub (15-Hassan Alla, 87), 18-Adil Ramzi (11-Nabil Mesloub, 60); 10-Sektioui Tarik (14-Mohamed Madihi, 60).


On the field for Venezuela
May 5, 2006 – Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California – International Friendly
Mexico 1 Omar Bravo 58’
Venezuela 0


MEX: Oswaldo Sánchez; Andrés Guardado (Antonio Naelson, 46), Carlos Salcido, Ricardo Osorio, Claudio Suárez (Francisco Javier Rodríguez, 60), José Antonio Castro, Gerardo Torrado (Gonzalo Pineda, 46), Luis Pérez (Israel López, 46), Pável Pardo (Jesús Arellano, 46), Ramón Morales (Jaime Lozano, 46), Omar Bravo.
 
VEN: Renny Vega; Oswaldo Viscarrondo, Jonay Hernández (Andrés Rouga, 65), Leonel Vielma (Pedro Fernández, 56), Héctor González (Gerzon Chacón, 67), Alejandro Cichero, Jorge Rojas (Alejandro Guerra, 59), Ricardo Páez, Miguel Mea Vitali, Daniel Arizmendi (Armando Maita, 62), Giancarlo Maldonado (Jesús Gómez, 68).
 
vs. Venezuela
March 29, 2003 – Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington – International Friendly
USA 2 Jovan Kirovski 52’, Landon Donovan 76’
Venezuela 0

USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 15-Bobby Convey, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 23-Eddie Pope (3-Nick Garcia, 85), 6-Steve Cherundolo (2-Frankie Hejduk, 66); 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 5-John O’Brien, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 17-Chris Klein (8-Earnie Stewart, 46); 20-Brian McBride (11-Edson Buddle, 80), 9-Jovan Kirovski (10-Landon Donovan, 60).
 
VEN: 1-Gilberto Angelucci; 2 -Luis Vallenilla (4-Wilfredo Alvarado, 81), 3-Jose Manuel Rey, 13-Leonel Vielma, 17-Jorge Rojas; 8-Luis Vera (capt.; 5-Javier Villafraz, 46), 14-Leopoldo Jimenez, 10-Gabriel Urdaneta (15-Giovanni Perez, 67), 11-Ricardo Paez; 7-Daniel Noriega (18-Christian Casseres, 67), 9-Juan Garcia (16-Wilfredo Moreno, 46).

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