Only Match on International Fixture Date Prior to the FIFA World Cup to Be Hosted
by the U.S. at Fritz-Walter-Stadion; Kickoff set for 2 p.m. ET Live on ESPN2
CHICAGO (February 22, 2006) — U.S. Men’s National Team Manager Bruce Arena has selected 20 players to face fellow FIFA World Cup finalists Poland on March 1 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Kickoff at Fritz-Walter-Stadion, the site of the USA’s highly anticipated FIFA World Cup match against Italy on June 17, is set for 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Tickets range in price levels from 15 € to 125 € and are available on-line via the FC Kaiserslautern website, by phone from Germany at 01 805 3188 00 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CET / .12 € charge per minute), and at FCK Fan Shops and the Fritz-Walter-Stadion Ticket Office (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CET, Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CET). For fans in the United States, log onto ussoccer.com for more information.
The match falls on the lone international fixture date set aside by FIFA prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, allowing Arena the opportunity to call upon a full complement of European-based players for the only time prior to naming a roster for Germany.
"With only one international fixture date prior to the World Cup, this is an important opportunity for our players based in Europe to demonstrate their form and fitness,” said Arena. “The match is extremely valuable as we continue to evaluate players with an eye towards finalizing our 23-man roster for Germany.”
The roster boasts a wealth of experience, led by Fulham forward Brian McBride. With 90 caps to his credit, the USA’s second all-time leading scorer (29 goals) is just five shy of the team record. At the other end, veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller (Borussia Mönchengladbach) has collected an amazing 44 shutouts in 89 career matches, an average of nearly one shutout for every two games played.
PSV Eindhoven midfielder DaMarcus Beasley had a banner year for both club and country in 2005, posting career highs in goals (4) and assists (4) for the national team while becoming the first American ever to play in the semifinals of the prestigious UEFA Champions League. Eddie Lewis (Leeds United) sits third on the all-time U.S. assist list with 16 total, while Bobby Convey enjoys regular starting time on a Reading FC side sitting atop the League Championship table.
The U.S. backline looks to have a largely European flavor as well, with 2002 World Cup veterans Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus) and Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96) being called upon along with Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham) and Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege).
Landon Donovan heads the domestic-based contingent. The two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year now sits tied with Cobi Jones for the all-time U.S. assist lead (22) after setting up the final U.S. goal in the 5-0 win vs. Norway on Jan. 29 in Carson. Calif. The 2005 MLS MVP, Taylor Twellman, has scored four goals and tallied two assists in his last two matches for the U.S., recording the USA’s ninth-ever hat trick in the Norway victory. Kansas City Wizards striker Josh Wolff is the only player on the roster to start all four of the USA’s matches in 2006, while teammate Kerry Zavagnin has appeared in every match as either a starter or a reserve.
The U.S. has begun 2006 in solid form, going 3-0-1 and netting 12 goals while surrendering only two. After drawing with Canada on Jan. 22 in San Diego, the U.S. has produced three straight comprehensive wins against Norway, Japan (another FIFA World Cup finalist) and Guatemala, including two by shutout.
Against Poland, the United States has an all-time record of 5-7-2 in 14 meetings. The teams have met once before on neutral soil, a 3-1 victory for Poland in the teams’ final Group D match at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Daejeon, Korea Republic.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy and then finishing off group play against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg. The U.S. has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as their base of operations throughout the tournament.
ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (2) – Tim Howard (Manchester United), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Defenders (7) –Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Todd Dunivant (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (Leeds United), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Jonathan Spector (Charlton Athletic)
Midfielders (6) –DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards)
Forwards (5) – Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Brian McBride (Fulham FC), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
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