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U.S. Under-23 Men Face Mexico Tonight in Guadalajara

ESTA NOCHE: After just two days of training for each team this week in Mexico, the Under-23 Men's National Teams of the United States and Mexico are set to extend the long-time rivalry in tonight's friendly at Estadio 3 de Marzo in Guadalajara. The 22,000-seat stadium, which is located about 20 minutes from the team hotel in a part of the city called Zapopan, serves as the home stadium for the hapless Tecos (de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara), who sit in last place in La Liga Mexicana with a meager seven points on a 1-13-4 record. Tonight's USA-Mexico match, which is to kickoff at 7 p.m. CT and to be televised within Mexico on a station to be determined, marks the first time that the two countries have met at the U-23 level since the U.S. suffered a 4-0 loss at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Canada with a team that featured current players Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley.

HERE COMES THE 3-5-2: Staying with the normal formation of the full Mexican National Team, Mexico U-23 MNT head coach Ricardo Lavolpe will likely employ a 3-5-2 for tonight's match, with two dangerous forwards (delanteros, en Espanol) in Adolfo "El Bofo" Bautista and Ismael Iniguez, both of the Mexican club Morelia.  You may remember Bautista for the wicked cutbacks, improbable bicycle kick, bald head and white shoes that caught everyone's attention as the Mexico could only muster a 0-0 draw with the U.S. in "La Revancha en la Cancha" in Houston last Thursday at Houston's Reliant Stadium. Midfielder (volante) Juan Pablo Garcia of Atlas, dubbed "El Loco" by some fans, is expected to be a key part of the potent Mexico attack as either a right flank midfielder or a third forward. Defender (defensa) Hugo Sanchez (of Tigres; no relation to the Mexican legend and 1986 World Cup hero) should anchor the familiar three-man back line, while Jose Corona of Atlas will patrol the goalmouth. Below is the probable starting lineup for the Mexican U-23 MNT:
MEX -- Jose Corona*; Leonel Olmedo (right back), Hugo Sánchez (center back), Ismael Rodríguez (left back); Cosme Castro (right defensive midfielder), Eduardo Rergis* (left defensive midfielder), Joel González (attacking midfielder), Alberto Medina** (left wing midfielder), Juan Pablo García (right wing midfielder); Adolfo Bautista** (forward), Ismael Íñiguez (forward).
* made the final roster for the USA-Mexico match in Houston on May 8, but did not appear
**appeared in the USA-Mexico match in Houston on May 8

WHAT USA-MEXICO MEANS TO ME: A number of players in the current U-23 camp have mixed it up with Mexico at some point in their National Team career, youth or otherwise. So we asked them what the rivalry between the two soccer powers, both ranked in the Top 10 in the most recent FIFA World Rankings, means to them:

"I'm sure that USA-Mexico now at every age level will become an extension of what has happened at the senior level (with the U.S. posting a 5-1-1 record in the last seven meetings). Our rivalry with Mexico is a natural one, and as we continue to narrow the gap in this long-time rivalry, it will only intensify."
--U.S. U-23 MNT head coach Glenn Myernick, who faced Mexico twice in August 1975 as a member of the Olympic Qualifying team as the U.S. lost 8-0 in Toluca, Mexico and 4-2 in  Wilmington, Del.

"It's pretty simple, really. We know they just don't like us, and the feeling is mutual. No matter what the level or what the situation, it's always an all-out battle. There's never an easy game out there with them."
--Forward Landon Donovan, who has scored two goals in four career matches against Mexico as a member of the full U.S. MNT. [Donovan scored his first international goal in his first cap back in a 2-0 win over Mexico on October 25, 2000, then supplied the clinching goal in the 2-0 win over Mexico in the Round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup last summer on June 17]

"If you can't get up for games against Mexico, you just shouldn't be playin' at this level. Every time we play them it's a battle."
--Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who has faced Mexico twice as a member of the full MNT (a 1-0 win on April 1, 2002 in Denver, Colo., and last week's 0-0 tie in Houston) and once as a U-23 (a 0-4 loss in the semifinals of the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Canada)

"It's definitely a big game for us, no matter what level we play on. For the two games I've played against them with the U-20s, they've been pretty heated matches and they're fans have been pretty crazy. I expect the same thing tonight."
--Midfielder Ricardo Clark, who played on the U.S. Under-20 MNT that lost to Mexico 3-1 in January 23 of this year in Homestead, Fla., and tied Mexico 0-0 last year on August 3 as part of the 2002 U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival in Houston

IS IT IN YOU?: Apparently, it (Gatorade) is the only thing that is good enough for DaMarcus Beasley when he needs to quench his thirst after an intense, 90-minute practice.  Following Monday morning's session, which featured more than its fair share of water breaks due to the sticky 90-degree heat, the Chicago Fire midfielder was kindly offered a water bottle by a teammate. His response? "Hell, no, man. You know I don't drink that stuff! Where the Gatorade at?"  Of course, the "stuff" he was referring to was nature's greatest resource, which just so happens to be necessary for human survival. Maybe he doesn't like the taste.

GATORADE PLUG, PART DOS: U.S. defender Chris Wingert got caught in the crossfire of a poorly executed Gatorade shower that was intended for birthday boy Oguchi Onyewu, who celebrated his 21st birthday today. Despite being the tallest (6'4") and heaviest player (212) on the team, he was somehow able to elude the impromptu celebraton. Onyewu later received a rousing pots-and-pans birthday clatter from the kitchen staff at dinner, followed by the wheeling out of a personalized chocolate cake and an off-key song from teammates and staff.

U-23s IN THE PROS: The current U.S. Under-23 MNT player pool features players with a wide range of experience -- from four games to four seasons -- and Success -- from still looking for their MLS debut to winning an MLS Cup -- in the professional ranks. Below is a breakdown of both those elements in these players' young careers, separated by number of years as a pro. [Editor's note: Yearly stats include both regular season and playoffs. Also, each player's totals only include stats from years in MLS. (A)=A-League, (G) = Germany]

DaMarcus Beasley, Midfielder, Chicago Fire (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2000 Chicago (25/17) 1,641-2/5
2001 Chicago (27/27) 2,448-3/7
2002 Chicago (22/22) 1,989-3/4
2003 Chicago (4/3) 390-1/0
Totals (78/70) 6,468-9/16

Kyle Beckerman -- Midfielder -- Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2000 Miami (2/1) 110-1/0
2001 Miami (1/0) 14-0/0
2002 Colorado (14/5) 477-0/1
2003 Colorado (3/1) 133-0/0
Totals (20/7) 734-1/1

Edson Buddle -- Forward -- Columbus Crew (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2000 Long Island (A) (26) n/a-11/4
2001 Columbus (19/5) 587-3/2)
2002 Columbus (24/16) 1,548-10/7      
2003 Columbus (3/3) 196-1/0
Totals (46/24) 2,321-14/9

Bobby Convey -- Midfielder -- D.C. United (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2000 D.C. (22/18) 1,614-0/2
2001 D.C. (12/11) 992-1/7
2002 D.C. (26/25) 2,248-5/3
2003 D.C. (5/5) 482-0/0   
Totals (65/59) 5,336-6/12

Landon Donovan -- Forward -- San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
'99-2000 Bayer Leverkusen (G) - Did not play
2001 San Jose (28/23) 2,201-12/12
2002 San Jose (22/20) 1,861-8/4
2003 San Jose (5/5) 415-1/2  
Totals (55/48) 4,477-21/18

Santino Quaranta -- Forward -- D.C. United (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2001 D.C. (16/10) 949-5/1
2002 D.C. (11/11) 949-3/4      
2003 D.C. (5/5) 407-1/1   
Totals (32/26) 2,305-9/6

Eddie Johnson -- Forward -- Dallas Burn (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2001 Dallas (13/1) 325-2/0
2002 Dallas (11/2) 326-2/1
2003 Dallas (4/3) 240-0/0
Totals (28/6) 891-4/1

Jose Burciaga, Jr. -- Defender -- Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2002 Kansas City (3/2) 93-0/0
2003 Kansas City (4/4) 347-0/0
Totals (7/6) 440-0/0

D.J. Countess -- Goalkeeper -- Dallas Burn (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-Shots-Saves-GAA
2002 Dallas (1/1) 100-7-6-0.90
2003 Dallas (3/3) 270-16-12-1.29
Totals (4/4) 370-23-18-1.13

Brad Davis -- Midfielder -- Dallas Burn (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2002 MetroStars (24/12) 1,246-4/3
2003 Dallas (4/1) 183-0/1
Totals (24/12) 1,429-4/4

Kelly Gray -- Defender/Midfielder -- Chicago Fire (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2002 Chicago (25/20) 1,780-2/5    
2003 Chicago (3/1) 113-0/0
Totals (28/21) 1,893-2/5

Justin Mapp -- Midfielder -- Chicago Fire (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2002 D.C. (3/0) 28-0/0
2003 Chicago (2/0) 41-0/0
Totals (5/0) 69-0/0

Kyle Martino -- Midfielder -- Columbus Crew (MLS)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2002 Columbus (22/15) 1,455-2/5
2003 Columbus (6/6) 552-1/0
Totals (28/21) 2,007-3/5

THE FROSH (in order of draft pick from 2003 MLS SuperDraft):
Alecko Eskandarian -- Forward -- D.C. United (MLS) -- 1st Overall Pick
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 D.C. (3/1) 97-0/0 

Ricardo Clark -- Midfielder -- MetroStars (MLS) -- 2nd Overall Pick
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 MetroStars (5/5) 460-0/0

Nate Jaqua -- Forward -- Chicago Fire (MLS) -- 3rd Overall Pick
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 Chicago (2/0) 40-0/0

Mike Magee -- Midfielder -- MetroStars (MLS) -- 4th Overall Pick
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 MetroStars (5/3) 290-1/0

David Stokes -- Defender -- D.C. United (MLS) -- 5th Overall Pick
[Has not appeared in 2003]

Brian Carroll -- Midfielder -- D.C. United (MLS) -- 10th Overall Pick
[Has not appeared in 2003]

Ricky Lewis -- Defender -- Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) -- 20th Overall Pick
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 Los Angeles (1/0) 17-0/0

Logan Pause -- Midfielder -- Chicago Fire (MLS) -- 24th Overall Pick
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 Chicago (3/3) 275-0/0

David Testo -- Midfielder -- Richmond Kickers (A-League) -- Undrafted
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2003 Richmond (4/3) 284-1/0

Oguchi Onyewu -- Defender -- FC Metz (France)
Year Team (GP) Minutes-G/A
2002-03 Metz (6) 322-0/0

Alex Yi -- Defender -- Royal Antwerp FC (Belgium)
Year Team (GP/GS) Minutes-G/A
2002-03 Antwerp (3/3) 199-0/0

HAY CARAMBA!: In yesterday's notes, a reference was made to the USA's 2-1 win over Mexico in the bronze medal match of the 1999 Pan American Games, when in fact Canada was the opponent that the U.S. defeated to match their best ever finish at the quadrennial event.