U.S. MNT FALLS TO ITALY 1-0 IN FRIENDLY IN CATANIA, SICILY: The U.S. Men’s National Team battled valiantly last Wednesday in a 1-0 loss to three-time World Cup champion Italy at Stadio Cibali in Catania, Sicily. Despite a strong first-half performance for the U.S., which saw the team outshoot the Italians 9 to 3 in the first 45 minutes, the USA fell victim to second-half substitute Alessandro Del Piero’s 62nd-minute goal. “We missed opportunities in the first half,” said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. “There were many positive things for us in the game today, but it would be foolish to look at this game as a moral victory.” In the first half the U.S. played cohesively, creating the game’s best chances with Landon Donovan hitting the post on a breakaway in just the eighth minute of the game. On the play, the 19-year-old Donovan knocked a well-placed shot off the lower left side of the post after pouncing on a poor back-pass from the Italian midfield, which forced defender Marco Materazzi to slip as he went for the ball. Donovan beat Inter Milan goalkeeper Francesco Toldo on the shot, but could not beat the post. Donovan had another excellent chance in the 36th minute, taking a ball from Earnie Stewart down the left wing and then skillfully dribbling around world-renown defender Fabio Cannavaro in the penalty area to set himself up for a bending right-footed shot that just missed the upper-right corner of the goal. The U.S. is now winless in five full internationals against the Italians, losing three times in Italy, and earning two draws on U.S. soil.
HEINRICHS ANNOUNCES ROSTER FOR ALGARVE CUP; KICK-OFF TIMES SET FOR TOURNEY: U.S. Women’s National Team head coach April Heinrichs named the roster that will represent the USA at the 2002 Algarve Cup in Portugal from March 1-7, 2002. The USA will face Sweden, England and Norway as it attempts to win the Algarve Cup for just the second time. Heinrichs named 14 WUSA players to the roster, including the #1 and #3 picks in last week’s WUSA Draft, Danielle Slaton (Carolina Courage) and Jena Kluegel (Boston Breakers), as well as five amateurs. Mia Hamm (knee) and Aleisha Cramer (ankle) were left off the roster, as they are both nursing injuries. Brandi Chastain was originally scheduled to make the trip, but is now scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on Thursday to repair a cartilage tear in her left knee and will not travel to the Algarve Cup. U.S. head coach April Heinrichs will name a replacement shortly. Chastain was diagnosed with a medial meniscus tear resulting from an injury in the 21st-minute of the Feb. 10 WUSA World Stars match in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She is scheduled to be back on the field for her WUSA Club, the San Jose CyberRays, in four weeks and ready for the season opener against the Boston Breakers on April 13.
Goalkeepers: LaKeysia Beene (San Jose), Hope Solo (Univ of Washington);
Defenders: Kylie Bivens (Atlanta), Thori Bryan (San Jose),
Joy Fawcett (San Diego), Jena Kluegel (Boston Breakers ), Cat Reddick (UNC), Danielle Slaton (Carolina), Kate Sobrero (Boston);
Midfielders: Lorrie Fair (Philadelphia), Julie Foudy (San Diego), Devvyn Hawkins (Santa Clara), Kristine Lilly (Boston), Aly Wagner (Santa Clara);
Forwards: Danielle Fotopoulos (Carolina), Shannon MacMillan (San Diego), Tiffeny Milbrett (New York), Heather O’Reilly (PDA Splash), Cindy Parlow (Atlanta).
UPDATE ON EUROPEAN-BASED MNT PLAYERS: Earnie Stewart started and played the first 79 minutes in NAC Breda’s 2-1 win against FC Twente this weekend. With the win, Breda stay in fifth place in the league. John O’Brien played all 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against Fortuna Sittard on Sunday, keeping Ajax at the top of the Dutch Honor Division. Brad Friedel and Blackburn lost 1-0 to Middlesboro in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Friedel and Rovers are now prepping for the Worthington Cup final, which takes place on Feb. 24 against Tottenham. Joe-Max Moore played the final 20 minutes and was cautioned in Everton’s 0-0 draw with Crewe Alexandria in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Gregg Berhalter came on for the final two minutes in Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw at Wimbledon. Greg Vanney played another 90 minutes in Bastia’s 3-0 win against Sochaux. Vanney has played all 90 minutes in each of Bastia’s last six matches (three wins, two draws, one loss). Tony Sanneh scored a late goal in Nurnberg’s 1-2 loss to third-place FC Kaiserslautern. The loss ends a three-game winning streak for Nurnberg, who sit in 16th place in the Bundesliga, two points from climbing out of the relegation zone. The goal was Sanneh’s second of the season. Cory Gibbs and Dema Kovalenko both started and were both cautioned in St. Pauli’s 2-2 draw with second-place Bayer Leverkusen. Gibbs’ played the entire match and received his fourth caution in seven matches and his fifth of the season. He will serve a one-match suspension. Kovalenko was subbed out at halftime. Steve Cherundolo and Conor Casey both saw time in Hannover’s 2-1 comeback win against Karlsruher SC on Sunday. Cherundolo went 90 minutes, and assisted on Conor Casey’s 62nd-minute equalizer, which Casey scored after coming on for the game’s final 30 minutes. Hannover is now seven points clear at the top of Germany’s second division.
WHAT THEY WERE SAYING IN ITALY: Following is a collection of quotes from Italian newspapers following the U.S.–Italy match last Wednesday:
"A 1-1 result would have been fairer. This is a much improved American team. The Americans started off brilliantly and won the midfield battle. Often we found ourselves outnumbered there.”
- Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni
“We were all wrong in our approach without taking anything away from the excellent play of the U.S. We think our soccer is the best in the world but this game is the proof that when you don't work as hard as your opponents, problems can arise.”
- Trapattoni in the Gazzetta dello Sport - Feb. 14, 2002
“For the entire first half, Italy was never able to take control of the ball dominated in every respect by the United States, which came to show how soccer should be played to the country which thinks it plays the best in the world. … The U.S. players also showed good individual technique, quickness in execution and running off the ball and a physical presence (Vieri was constantly beaten to balls in air by Berhalter). There were no casual or vain efforts by the Americans. It was therefore no surprise that until halftime the U.S. not only held the game in its
hand and not only had more scoring chances, but they also came within inches of taking the lead (Donovan - 8th minute).”
- Corriere della Sera - Feb. 14, 2002
“The Italian Head Coach, however, can thank the Maltese referee who did not call a clear foul by Zambrotta which led to the Del Piero game-winning goal.”
- La Repubblica - Feb. 14, 2002
“We hate to say it, but the first half for the azzurri was simply disastrous. First of all, the Americans showed a great sense of sporting pride, inspired also by a different culture, which has no ritual to it. You play, you win, you lose. And nothing more. Always with one's head held up high. And besides, open your eyes azzurri … Yesterday, Reyna and Co. put on quite the show".
- Front-page editorial by Candido Cannavo, editor of the Gazzetta dello Sport - Feb. 14, 2002
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE FOR “NIKE ROAD TO KOREA”: With the “Nike Road to Korea” less than three months away, U.S. Soccer announced ticket information for the USA’s final three domestic World Cup preparation matches. The “Nike Road to Korea” will include three games before the U.S. departs for Korea and the 2002 World Cup in late May. Before playing their World Cup send-off match against Holland in Foxboro, Mass., on May 19, the U.S. will face Uruguay on May 12 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C and then travel north to face Jamaica on May 16 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Including the Gold Cup, the U.S. will have faced seven World Cup-bound sides in 2002 prior to kicking off the World Cup on June 5 against Portugal.
— U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —
U.S. CAPTAIN JULIE FOUDY FLIES WITH NAVY'S BLUE ANGELS: Last Friday, U.S. Women's National Team catpain Julie Foudy got the ride of a lifetime, enjoying (or perhaps enduring) a celebrity ride-along with the Blue Angels, the Navy's famous aerobatic Flight Demonstration Squadron. Marine Corp pilot Capt. Len Anderson took Foudy up in the F-18 Hornet (a $28 million aircraft) for a 55-minute jaunt through the aqua blue skies of El Centro, Calif. (about two hours east of San Diego) during which she reached a top speed of 638 MPH and endured one maneuver that put a force of 7.26 Gs on her body without passing out, or in other words, felt 7.26 times her body weight, making her weigh about 943 pounds. Upon takeoff, the F-18 (which launches off aircarft carriers) goes straight up into the sky, and with a climb rate of 30,000 feet per minute is the ultimate roller coaster, getting Foudy up into the clouds in a matter of seconds. About 80% of the celebrities and civilians who get ride-alongs with the Blue Angels do "lose their lunch." Foudy almost made it into the 20% group, but not quite. Said the midfielder: "I shouldn't have had those donuts."
— U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —
U.S. UNDER-23s BLANKED 2-0 BY ITALY TO CLOSE EUROPEAN TOUR: The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team fell 2-0 to an older and more experienced Italian Under-21 MNT on Tuesday at "G. Celeste" Community Stadium in Messina, Italy. The match concluded the U.S. team's two-week foreign tour of Portugal and Italy, in which they posted a 1-1-1 international record against three of the top youth national teams in Europe. The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team played their first internationals since the 2000 Olympics, posting two draws against Slovakia and Portugal, before closing out the trip with the loss to Italy. Alecko Eskandarian led the U.S. attack, scoring two goals at the Madeira International Tournament and winning Golden Boot honors. He scored the lone U.S. goal in a 1-1 draw with Portugal and also tallied in a 2-1 win against a Madeira Regional Team to open the tournament.
LOLLA ANNOUNCES ROSTER FOR UNDER-16 BOYS’ CAMP: The U.S. Under-16 Boy’s National Team will take part in their second training camp of 2002, from Feb. 24 – March 3 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. U.S. head coach Ken Lolla has called in 24 players for the camp, which is scheduled to include five matches against local club teams. Following is the 24-man roster for the camp:
GOALKEEPERS: Chay Cain (Aurora, Ill.), Marcus Rein (Modesto, Calif.), Steve Sandbi (Columbus, Ohio);
DEFENDERS: Lamar Chancey (Meriden, Conn.), Leonel Cruz (Round Rock, Texas), Greg Folk (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Grayson Glass (Auburn, Calif.), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Penn.), Tim Ward (Waukesha, Wisc.), Ryan White (Eugene, Ore.);
MIDFIELDERS: Angelo Amato (Livingston, N.J.), Chris Andaur (Kendall, Fla.), Michael Konicoff (Suffern, N.Y.), Brian Mascarenas (Atlanta, Ga.), Michael McCarty (Maitland, Fla.), Doug Rodkey (Jackson, N.J.), Jay Singh (San Bruno, Calif.), Adam Sloustcher (Pleasanton, Calif.), Daniel Szetela (Clifton, N.J.);
FORWARDS: Michael Bradley (Palatine, Ill.), Mohammad Mashriqi (Queens, N.Y.), Robbie Rogers (Palos Verdes, Calif.), Steve Werbner (Manchester, Conn.), Travis Young (Lake Forest, N.C.).
— AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —
AVAYA JOINS U.S. SOCCER FAMILY OF SPONSORS: Avaya, a leading global provider of voice and data networks to businesses and an official sponsor for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, announced that it is broadening its comprehensive support for soccer through a new sponsorship and technology agreement with U.S. Soccer. To mark the occasion, Don Peterson, chairman and CEO, Avaya, joined Cobi Jones, Brandi Chastain, and Dan Flynn, secretary general, U.S. Soccer Federation, at the New York Stock Exchange today to ring the opening bell. Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Avaya will become the “Official Provider of Voice and Data Communications” for U.S. Soccer.
WUSA ANNOUNCES 21-GAME NATIONAL TV DEAL WIH PAX: The WUSA's 2002 national television schedule will feature 21 games live on Saturday afternoons at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, providing world-class women's soccer to PAX TV's 84 million homes. The PAX TV schedule begins April 13 with the defending Founders Cup Champion San Jose CyberRays hosting the Boston Breakers and ends with Founders Cup II on August 24, featuring 20 consecutive weekends of live WUSA matches. All eight teams will appear on the on PAX TV during the first six weeks, highlighted by a rematch of Founders Cup I when San Jose hosts the Atlanta Beat on May 18.
MLS ANNOUNCES RETURN OF “SOCCER SATURDAY” ON ABC, ESPN2: MLS and broadcast partners ABC and ESPN2 will team up to televise 30 matches in 2002. The "Soccer Saturday" format returns for the league's seventh season with 24 broadcasts, including the 2002 MLS All-Star Game, on Saturday, August 3. In addition, as the September playoff races tighten, the "Soccer Saturday" format will be complemented with a prime-time bonus game on each Thursday night of the season's final three weeks. ABC Sports will televise four of the league's marquee 2002 events: the 2002 MLS Season Opener on Saturday, March 23, the 2002 MLS All-Star Game on August 3; MLS Cup 2002; and an MLS Cup playoff contest on Sunday, October 6. ESPN2 will televise 22 "Soccer Saturday" matches on Saturday, with 19 of the games kicking off at 4 p.m. ET - the most games in a single time slot since the League's inception.
MLS CUP 2002 AWARDED TO NEW CMGI FIELD IN FOXBORO, MASS.: For the third time in league history, the MLS’ biggest prize will be won in Foxboro, Mass., as the New England Revolution and the new CMGI Field will host the league's seventh championship game, MLS Cup 2002, on Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The championship match will be broadcast live on ABC. The league's inaugural Cup (MLS Cup '96) and MLS Cup '99 were both played at the Revolution's former home, Foxboro Stadium. CMGI Field will be christened on May 11, when the revamped Revolution squad hosts the Dallas Burn at 7:30 p.m. ET.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FEATURED ON FROSTED FLAKES BOX: The Kellogg Company has launched a special edition of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal featuring the San Jose Earthquakes following their MLS Cup 2001 championship. Approximately two million limited edition 25-ounce boxes of the cereal will hit retail outlets and supermarkets this week. The front of the box features San Jose Earthquake players Landon Donovan, Jeff Agoos and goalkeeper Joe Cannon alongside Tony the Tiger, who is hoisting the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy.
WYNALDA, MCKINLEY SELECTED IN MLS WAIVER DRAFT: In Thursday’s waiver draft, the Los Angeles Galaxy picked up the U.S. National Team's all-time leading scorer Eric Wynalda, while D.C. United head coach Ray Hudson called on left back Ivan McKinley, who has recently been training with the club. Wynalda, in joining the Galaxy, moves to the fifth club in his MLS career. McKinley, a 32-year-old former South African National Team member, played for Hudson with Fusion FC.
— WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN —
HONDURAS WINS CARLSBERG CUP IN HONG KONG: Prior to meeting the U.S. MNT in Seattle next month, Honduras traveled to Hong Kong and captured the 2002 Carlsberg Cup by posting a 1-0 win over the host Hong Kong Select XI in the championship match with a goal by forward Saul Martinez last Thursday. In the earlier third-place match, Slovenia defeated China 4-3 on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw after regulation play. Honduras advanced to the final match after a four-goal performance by Martinez guided the Central Americans to a easy 5-1 victory over Slovenia on Tuesday, while Hong Kong Select XI topped China on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
WEDNESDAY OF WORLD CUP FRIENDLIES: Wednesday, February 13 was a busy day in international soccer, as teams continued World Cup preparations with a number of high-quality friendlies. Spain and Portugal drew 1-1 in Spain, and England used a gorgeous equalizer from England debutante Darius Vassell to draw 1-1 with Netherlands in Amsterdam. Uruguay topped South Korea 2-1, and France used the same scoreline to top Romania. Wales and Argentina drew 1-1, while Poland cruised to a 4-1 home win against Northern Ireland.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMER: Honduran forward Saul Martinez scored five goals in two matches to lead Honduras to two wins and the championship at the Carlsberg Cup. Martinez scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Slovenia on Tuesday, before scoring the game’s only goal against a Hong Kong select side in the tournament final on Thursday.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Brad Friedel and Blackburn look to lift the first trophy of the English season, when they take on Kasey Keller and Tottenham in the Worthington Cup final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Sunday. The Worthington Cup winner gains an automatic spot in the 2002-2003 UEFA Cup.
SOCCER SHOCKER: World Cup favorite Argentina had to come-from-behind to produce a 1-1 draw against lowly Wales in Cardiff on Wednesday. Julio Ricardo Cruz scored in the 61st minute for Argentina to cancel out Craig Bellamy’s 34th minute strike.
“For the entire first half, Italy was never able to take control of the ball dominated in every respect by the United States, which came to show how soccer should be played to the country that thinks it plays the best in the world.”
- Corriere della Sera – Feb. 14, 2002