%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. ARRIVES IN MIDWEST: The United States team arrived in St. Louis on Thursday afternoon, with 16 players flying in from the residency program in Florida and two others joining the team from the northeast. The U.S. team flew from Tampa to Atlanta, before catching a plane to St. Louis. The USA's flight touched down in Missouri at 12:16 p.m. and the team was greeted at the gate by a local news crew. Santino Quaranta, who spent the past week with D.C. United, flew in from his hometown of Baltimore, and Erwin Diaz, the only member of the 18-man qualifying roster not in the residency program in Florida, flew in from his hometown of Washington D.C. The U.S. is the first of the four teams to arrive in St. Louis.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. TAKES ON SAINT LOUIS IN SHORTENED SCRIMMAGE: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team got their St. Louis stay off to a brilliant start today with a great performance and a 2-1 win against Saint Louis University in a 60-minute scrimmage. After a frantic first 10 minutes, the U.S. team settled down and looked comfortable playing a much older Saint Louis squad.
"I thought we played real well against an older, experienced team," U.S. head coach John Ellinger said. "I was very happy with the effort the guys gave and thought it was a great way to start our time in St. Louis."
U.S. goalkeeper Adam Schuerman kept the scorecard clean with a brilliant save in the 8th minute. A SLU forward broke through the U.S. backline for a one-on-one with the U.S. 'keeper, but Schuerman blocked the initial shot and then, while on his backside, alertly knocked the ball over the endline. Ed Johnson put a shot just over the bar in the 13th minute, before SLU went on the board 11 minutes later.
After the Billikens' goal in the 24th minute, the U.S. strung together five brilliant minutes of soccer that concluded with a highlight-reel strike from Santino Quaranta. Quaranta played a combination with Johnson before dribbling toward to the top of the penalty box and unleashing a right-footed laser that bent away from the goalkeeper and into the upper right corner of the net from 24 yards out.
After making six changes in the line-up before the start of the second 30-minute half, the U.S. side got on the board again in the 36th minute. Paul Johnson, one of the half-time replacements, flicked on a corner kick from the near post and Erwin Diaz found space at the far post to knock the ball into the net.
The U.S. almost got on the board again in the 46th minute when Chris Lancos' header glanced off the right post and into the goalkeepers' arms. U.S. goalkeeper Ford Williams, another second-half replacement, made a brilliant one-on-one save in the 58th minute to preserve the 2-1 final score.
Note: The teams played a 60-minute scrimmage divided into two 30-minute halves.
SLU - n/a, 24.
USA - Santino Quaranta (Ed Johnson), 29.
USA - Erwin Diaz (Paul Johnson), 36.
USA - 18-Adam Schuerman (1-Ford Williams, 31); 6-Chris Lancos, 14-Chad Marshall (5-Tyson Wahl, 31), 12-Gray Griffin, 6-Jordan Harvey (11-Chefik Simo, 31); 15-Jordan Stone, 16-Craig Capano (13-David Johnson, 31), 7-Mike Magee, 9-Santino Quaranta (3-Justin Mapp, 31); 17-Erwin Diaz, 10-Ed Johnson (4-Paul Johnson, 31).
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUARANTA SHINES IN D.C. UNITED WIN: Santino Quaranta, who made his D.C. United debut in a 3-0 win in Jamaica against Arnett Gardens in a CONCACAF Giants Cup quarterfinal fixture on April 4, got his first professional start in the return leg of the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Quaranta played the entire 90 minutes on the right wing and looked nothing like a 16-year old making his first professional start and playing in his first home game. With D.C. United down 1-0 in the 30th minute, Quaranta was taken down in the penalty box and Carey Talley converted the ensuing penalty to even the match at 1-1. In the 86th minute, Quaranta received a ball on the right wing from Bryan Namoff and sent in a curling cross that Mark Lisi headed home for the United win. With Quaranta's help, D.C. won the series by an aggregate 5-1 score and advanced to the semifinals, where on August 3 they will face the winner of the quarterfinal series between Guatemala's Comunicaciones and Mexican power Chivas.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY'S ROBERT R. HERMANN STADIUM: The CONCACAF qualifying tournament will be played as three doubleheaders and will be played on Saint Louis University's recently renovated and renamed Robert R. Hermann Stadium. Formerly the Billiken Sports Center, Robert R. Hermann Stadium has become one of the top collegiate soccer facilities in the nation. The Billiken's men's soccer team led the nation in home attendance in their first season at Hermann Stadium. The seating capacity has been increased to 6,050 with the addition of permanent seating on the east side. The grand stand seats 2,400 and includes a concession stand, locker rooms, press facilities and a rooftop area for press cameras and videotaping. The stadium houses a regulation 120 x 75-yard soccer pitch. The U.S. team trained on the adjacent practice field Thursday afternoon and will continue to train on the practice field throughout the tournament.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%PLAY BALL! The U.S. will train tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at SLU before taking a break from soccer in the afternoon. The U.S. team and staff will take in a St. Louis Cardinals' game in the afternoon. The Cards and record-breaking slugger Mark McGwire take on the Houston Astros at 1:10 CT. The Astros entered Thursday night as the Central Division leaders.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%IN MY WORDS: In each update, one of the Under-17 players will tell the stories of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in their own words. Today, the words of...
Height: 5'10" Weight: 180
Birthdate: June 4, 1984
Hometown: Brookfield, Wis.
Club Team: Elmbrook United
We have been in residency for a year-and-a-half, and the toughest thing at first was leaving home. Now that we are here - almost 17 months later - everyone can see the big picture and everyone is ready to qualify for the World Championships.
Jamaica, Canada and El Salvador are three quality teams, and these will definitely be three tough games, but we have prepared enough that we feel confident going into the tournament. We know that as long as we stick together and play as a team, then we will take care of business.
I dont think there is any nervousness going into the tournament, just a lot of confidence. We have been preparing for a year and a half for this, and we have gelled as a team in that period. In the past year-and-a-half that we have been together, a lot of things have happened. A lot of these things have made us stronger, and a lot of these things that have given us confidence - like the recent wins against Honduras and Guatemala. We have played well in a lot of games and we have played poorly in a lot of games, but we have learned from our poor performances and our mistakes.
I think we are real confident going into these matches, and we are just excited to get it on. We've got a lot of family and friends coming in, and hopefully it will be a very pro-American crowd. We are ready to play, and we would love to be able to play Jamaica today. We are ready and excited, and the match against Saint Louis today got us even more excited for the chance to finally kick this tournament off and get on the field. We realize we've been training the last year and a half for this, so now it is time to have fun on the field and show the other countries that we are ready.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%STARTING XI STATS OF THE DAY (from International Matches in 2000 and 2001):
I - While the 1999 Under-17 National Team ran off a 25-match unbeaten streak, the current squad has quietly started a streak of their own, winning their last five international matches.
II - Craig Capano and Jordan Harvey are the only players to play every minute of all three international matches in 2001.
III - In two of the USA's first three internationals of 2001, the USA has scored in the first eight minutes of the match. Mike Magee tallied seven minutes into the January 29 match against Honduras, and Gray Griffin scored in the eighth minute of a 4-0 win against Guatemala on February 3.
IV - Eight of the team's 11 international goals in 2001 have come in the first half.
V - The U.S. has played six international matches against CONCACAF opponents in the last two years. The U.S. has posted a 5-1 record in those matches, losing only to Mexico (0-1) in Trinidad on March 28, 2000.
VI - Heading in to the CONCACAF qualifying tournament that will be held in St. Louis, the U.S. has only played three internationals on American soil in the past two years - all in 2001. The U.S. is undefeated in internationals on its home turf, topping Honduras 4-1 (January 29) and 3-0 (January 31) and topping Guatemala 4-0 on February 3.
VII - In 2001, three players on the U.S. qualifying roster have as many international goals as international starts: Ed Johnson (6 goals, 3 starts), Gray Griffin (2, 2) and Mike Magee (2,2)
VIII - The U.S. has scored 11 goals in three international matches in 2001 and has recorded an amazing 10 assists. Justin Mapp and Santino Quaranta lead the way for the U.S. with three assists each. Ed Johnson's third goal on January 29 is the only unassisted goal the U.S. has scored in an international match in 2001.
IX - In each of the three internationals of 2001, the U.S. has had one player score multiple goals. In the January 29th 4-1 win against Honduras, Ed Johnson produced a hat trick and he scored two goals in the shutout against Honduras two days later. In the team's most recent international, against Guatemala on February 3, Gray Griffin scored two goals.
X - In the USA's last five international matches, the USA has only trailed 16 minutes of a possible 450 minutes. The U.S. trailed from the 20th to the 36th minute on August 12 in a match against Canada. The USA answered with four goals to win 4-1.
XI - Ed Johnson has scored in seven of the USA's 15 international matches in the last two years, with a total of 14 goals. In the seven matches Johnson has scored in, the USA is 6-0-1. The lone tie came on April 28 against England, and the USA would win the penalty shootout 5-3 to advance in the Ballymena Tournament. Johnson scored on the USA's first penalty in the shootout.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Somehow we managed to fit 90 minutes of effort into a 60-minute scrimmage, but I liked the result."