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Under-23 MNT Arrives In Nashville Ahead Of Thursday Semifinal vs. Canada


U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team
Olympic Qualifying Notes
Nashville, Tenn.
March 17, 2008

ON TO MUSIC CITY: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team traveled to Nashville on Sunday, a day after capturing first place in Group A by defeating Honduras, and has begun preparations to take on Canada in the all-important semifinals. Head coach Peter Nowak gave the players the day off, and the team will have three days of training before taking on their northern neighbors with a berth to the 2008 Beijing Olympics on the line. Kickoff at LP Field in Nashville is set for Thursday, March 20 at 8 p.m. CT.

SPECTOR ARRIVES: With the arrival of Jonathan Spector on Sunday in Nashville, the USA’s 20-player roster is now complete. Due to club commitments, the West Ham defender was unable to join the team until just prior to the semifinals. This past weekend, Spector went 90 minutes in helping West Ham earn a big win against Blackburn.

STUDIO 90 IN NASHVILLE: The Studio 90 crew followed the U.S. team to Nashville, and has a Studio 90 News update that includes quotes from Jonathan Spector when he arrived to the team hotel to meet up with his teammates. Check out today's episode for all the latest on the Under-23 Men's National Team, and you can look forward to a full Studio 90 episode on Wednesday.

PETER AND JOZY SPEAK: U.S. head coach Peter Nowak and forward Jozy Altidore met with a handful of Nashville media this afternoon to talk about their upcoming match against Canada. Click here to find out what they had to say with just three days before the semifinal matchup.

PHOTO FINISH IN CARSON: Guatemala was the only Group B team who was assured of a place in the semifinals heading into Sunday night’s final group games at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The other three teams were battling for the final spot in Nashville, and their fate literally came down to the wire. Canada topped Guatemala, 5-0, in the first game of the doubleheader, meaning Mexico needed to win their game by at least five goals to advance with a better goal differential. With Haiti playing down a man for a majority of the game, and then going down to nine near the end, Mexico was on the verge of pulling off what seemed unlikely before kickoff. But Haiti goalkeeper Johnny Placide had different ideas, coming up with some enormous saves that included a penalty kick and a point blank shot with his foot in extra time to keep Mexico from tallying enough goals to move on.

MATCHUPS SET: Both semifinal matches have been set, with Guatemala taking on Honduras and the U.S. facing Canada on Thursday, March 20, at LP Field in Nasvhille. The first match kicks off at 5 p.m. CT with Guatemala taking on Honduras, and the USA meeting Canada at 8 p.m. ET.

Thursday, March 20

Semifinal Matchup Time Location
Guatemala vs. Honduras 5 p.m. CT LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)
USA vs. Canada 8 p.m. CT LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)


Sunday, March 23

Matchup Time Location
Third Place Game 1 p.m. CT LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)
Final 4 p.m. CT LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)


2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying
Group A Final Results/Standing

Team

GP

W

L

T

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

USA

3

2

0

1

7

3

1

+2

HON

3

2

1

0

6

3

1

+2

PAN

3

1

2

0

3

4

2

+2

CUB

3

0

2

1

1

2

7

-5


Tuesday, March 11
Honduras 1, Panama 0
USA 1, Cuba 1

Wednesday, March 13
Honduras 2, Cuba 0
USA 1, Panama 0

Friday, March 15
Panama 4, Cuba 1
USA 1, Honduras 0

Group B Final Results/Standings

Team

GP

W

L

T

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

GUA

3

2

1

0

6

3

6

-3

CAN

3

1

1

1

4

7

3

+4

MEX

3

1

1

1

4

7

4

+3

HAI

3

1

2

0

3

3

7

-4


Wednesday, March 12
Guatemala 1, Haiti 0
Mexico 1, Canada 1

Friday, March 14
Haiti 2, Canada 1
Guatemala 2, Mexico 1

Sunday, March 16
Canada 5, Guatemala 0
Mexico 5, Haiti 1

CATCH THE SEMIFINALS LIVE ON FSC AND ESPN DEPORTES: Live coverage of the USA’s path towards an Olympic berth continues on Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes as the English-language and Spanish-language exclusive rights holders, respectively. Along with ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com is also showing the full schedule of games live online, and the online provider will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion.

Final Stage (Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field)

Date Matchup Kickoff (CT)  Television
March 20 Semifinal 1 * 5 p.m. FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 20 Semifinal 2 * 8 p.m. FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 23 Third-Place Match 1 p.m. FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 23 Final 4 p.m. FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com


* Winner advances to 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

SMOOTH ROTATION: Peter Nowak used three different starting lineups through its three group games, with no one starting each match and only five players taking the field in all three games – Sacha Kljestan, Eddie Gaven, Robbie Findley, Charlie Davies and Dax McCarty. Both goalkeepers have seen time, as Chris Seitz played the first two games, while Dominic Cervi earned his first-ever cap for the U.S. at any national team level when he earned a shutout and Man of the Match honors against Honduras. The only player who did not see the field was Jonathan Spector, who did not arrive until the team advanced to the semifinals.

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Dominic Cervi (not under contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

CANADIAN ROAD TO SEMIS: After opening its campaign with a draw against Mexico and a surprise loss to Haiti, Canada needed to win its final game against Guatemala to have a chance to advance. Will Johnson scored a pair of goals in leading his team to a 5-0 win while assuming the lead as the tournament’s top scorer through the group phase with four finishes.

AMERICAN CONNECTIONS: Two players on the Canadian roster are in college in the United States –Jehan Jakovic at the University of Alabama and Kyle Hall at Syracuse. Two others, Tyler Hemming and Andrea Lombardo, join a pair of American players, Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne, on the roster of Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.

A LOOK AT THE ROSTER: In addition to those who play in the United States, the Canadian roster features 10 players who earn their living abroad. Four players – Marcus Haber, Graham Ramalho, Jacob Lensky and Will Johnson - ply their trade in the Netherlands. Nikolas Ledgerwood and Ryan Gyaki play in Germany, while England, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Scotland are represented by Portsmouth’s Asmir Begovic, Sparta Prague’s Andrew Hainault, Esbjerg FB’s Andrazes Ornoch and the Berwick Rangers’ Keegan Ayre respectively.

Canada Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Asmir Begovic (Portsmouth FC), Joshua Wagenaar (no club), David Monslave (no club)
DEFENDERS (7): Graham Ramalho (FC Groningen), Andrew Hainault (Sparta Prague), Nikolas Ledgerwood (1860 Munich), Andrazes Ornoch (Esbjerg FB), Ryan Gyaki (Hansa Rostock), Diaz Kambere (Vancouver Whitecaps), Tyler Hemming (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Jacob Lensky (Feyenoord), Jehan Jakovic (University of Alabama), Tyler Roselund (no club), Keegan Ayre (Berwick Rangers), Isidro Sanchez (no club)
FORWARDS (5): Andrea Lombardo (Toronto FC), Will Johnson (de Graafschap), Tosaint Ricketts (UW-Green Bay), Kyle Hall (Syracuse University), Marcus Haber (FC Gronengen)

TICKETS STILL ON SALE: Tickets are still available for the remaining four matches of 2008 Olympic Qualifying. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament ($25 to $70 on day of game) are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 615-255-9600 and at all Nashville Ticketmaster ticket centers.

INSIDE STUFF: Despite all the attention being focused on this qualifying tournament, no source can provide an inside look at the team in the way like the YNT Blog. Check out the information you can’t get anywhere else, including behind-the-scenes videos, laughs and inside scoop at http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/  

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