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U.S. Men's National Team Gears up for Costa Rica Match This Saturday

June 3, 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah

ALMOST GAME TIME: It's just over 24 hours to kickoff as the U.S. resumes its 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, playing their second home match of the final round hexagonal against Costa Rica this Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah.  U.S. Manager Bruce Arena will put the team through one final session on the newly installed turf at Rice-Eccles Stadium before finalizing the roster.  Kickoff for the crucial qualifier is set for 5:30 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.  Fans can also follow the match live on's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics

ALL_ACCESS VIDEO - PRE-GAME SOUND: Listen to a host of U.S. personnel preview the Costa Rica match as All_Access Video brings you highlights of the MNT's media session prior to kickoff.  Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan, and DaMarcus Beasely are just a sample of the sound you can pick up in today's edition of's exclusive video content.  For a look at all of the clips from this week, click here.

BY THE NUMBERS: Do you know the USA's all-time record against Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying?  How about the team's record against the Ticos under Arena? Can you guess who holds the edge in goals scored?  For these stats, and a few suprising numbers, step inside the complete statistical breakdown as goes By The Numbers.

MLS CONNECTIONS: Seventeen players on the U.S. roster are current or former members of MLS sides, while Costa Rica lists four.  Landon Donovan and Michael Umana are the only teammates, lining up on the same side with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Despite the USA's friendly loss to England - only their second home defeat in two years - the home venues have proved to be a venerable fortress for the national team, particularly when it comes to defending. In addition to the team not having been shutout in any game in 19 overall matches (a team record, with the previous streak of 13 games coming from 1925-1947), the U.S. has not been held scoreless at home in 21 matches. The list goes on. The U.S. national team has not:

  • Been shutout at home in World Cup Qualifying in 10 qualifiers (10/11/2000 vs. Costa Rica, 0-0 T) or suffered a shutout loss at home in World Cup Qualifying in 27 qualifiers (5/31/85 vs. Costa Rica, 0-1 L)
  • Suffered a shutout loss at home in 23 matches (2/8/2003 vs. Argentina, 0-1 L)
  • Lost by more than one goal in 40 matches (6/14/2002 vs. Poland, 1-3 L)
  • Lost at home by more than one goal in 26 matches (5/19/2002 vs. Holland, 0-2 L)
  • Lost at home vs. CONCACAF opponent in 23 matches (9/1/2001 vs. Honduras, 2-3 L)

DONOVAN AT HEAD OF THE QUALIFYING CLASS: Landon Donovan has been nothing short of consistent in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying. In addition to being the only U.S. player to start and appear in all 11 matches thus far, the USA's leading scorer for the last two years has collected at least one point in 10 of 11 qualifying matches. With four goals and seven assists in qualifying, he is tied with Eddie Johnson (7G, 1A) with 15 points at the top of the U.S. scoring charts.

SNAPSHOT – COSTA RICA: The Costa Ricans enter Saturday’s match in fourth place in the hexagonal, holding a 1-1-1 record after three games.  Brazilian-born head coach Alexandre Guimaraes begins his second stint with the team, having guided the Ticos to the 2002 FIFA World Cup after finishing in first place in CONCACAF qualifying.  Costa Rica are led by goalscoring terror Paulo Wanchope, who has 41 goals in 61 international matches.  Seven players on the roster hail from Deportivo Saprissa, winners of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.  Six players come from recently-crowned league champion Alajuela.  Team captain Luis Marin is the all-time capwinner for Costa Rica, having collected 111 caps.

MLS BEST ON DISPLAY: The U.S. boasts the class of MLS scorers, with three of the top five marksmen on the roster.  Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Eddie Johnson are all tied for third on the goalscoring chart with five apiece, while Dempsey and Donovan have each added four assists to the ledger.

  • The U.S. team arrived into Salt Lake at approximately 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon.  Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones has returned to his club for this weekend’s match against the MetroStars; otherwise, the entire roster remains in camp and available for selection
  • Eddie Johnson (turf toe) remains a question mark for Saturday’s game, while John O’Brien is not expected to participate
  • Seven players are carrying cautions into Saturday’s match: Gregg Berhalter, Conor Casey, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Frankie Hejduk, Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Pope. The next caution for any of these players will result in a one–match suspension in qualifying
  • The U.S. holds a lifetime record of 10-9-4 against the Ticos, including a 4-1-1 record at home in World Cup qualifying.  The lone loss came in a 1-0 shutout loss on May 31, 1985 in Torrance, Calif.
  • In their last 10 meetings, the U.S. holds a 6-3-1 advantage against Costa Rica, with all six wins coming in the U.S. and all three losses coming in San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Kasey Keller holds an astounding 22-2-4 record on U.S. soil since 1998.  The 15-year veteran has made 27 appearances in World Cup qualifying, posting 15 shutouts.  He’s already the USA’s all-time leader for goalkeepers in wins (43) and shutouts (38)
  • At the other end of the spectrum, only two players on the 24-man roster have never appeared in a World Cup qualifier: D.C United’s Clyde Simms, and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann
  • Eddie Johnson and Brian McBride are tied for second place behind Earnie Stewart on the USA’s all-time scoring list in World Cup qualifying, each having seven goals to his credit.  Johnson has played in seven qualifiers, while McBride has 21 appearances
  • Real Salt Lake defender Eddie Pope has 28 caps in World Cup qualifying, good for third-best in U.S. history.  With an appearance against Costa Rica, Pope would be level with Claudio Reyna.  Earnie Stewart and Cobi Jones share the top spot, each with 30 games
  • Eleven players on the roster saw action in the USA’s last World Cup qualifier, a 2-0 win against Guatemala on March 30 in Birmingham, Ala.: Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Dempsey, Donovan, Gibbs, Johnson, Keller, Onyewu, Noonan, Ralston, Wolff
  • Eddie Johnson and Steve Ralston were the goalscorers that day, Johnson recording his seventh World Cup qualifying goal while Ralston netted his first
  • Only three players appeared in the USA’s last qualifier against Costa Rica, a 2-0 loss on Sept. 5, 2001 in San Jose: Donovan, Pope, Vanney
  • Eight players on the roster appeared in the last meeting between the U.S. and Costa Rica, when the United States overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit to earn a bronze medal in the 2003 Gold Cup.  The 3-2 comeback win represents the only time in Bruce Arena’s tenure that the team has won a match after trailing at halftime (1-13-4 overall). The players on the pitch that day: Beasley, Bocanegra, Convey, Donovan, Hejduk, Keller, Ralston, Vanney
  • Bobby Convey netted the game-winner in that match, tucking a curling, left-footed strike just inside the near post in the 67th minute for his first career international goal
  • Josh Wolff has proved a nemesis to the Costa Ricans, having scored two big goals in games that mattered.  He netted the lone goal in the USA’s 1-0 qualifying win on April 25, 2001 in Kansas City, then added the insurance goal to secure the 2003 Gold Cup Championship in the 2-0 win on Feb. 3. 2002 in Pasadena, Calif.
  • Chicago-area native Brian McBride is the top capwinner in the U.S. group, having collected 86 international appearances while tallying 26 goals.  Now second on the USA’s all-time scoring chart (26), McBride finished the English Premier League campaign on a goalscoring tear, recording six goals in his last nine games for Fulham
  • When Nat Borchers entered the Colombia game in the 86th minute, he became the 100th player to play at least one game during the seven-year tenure of U.S. Manager Bruce Arena.  With his appearance against England on May 28, Clyde Simms became #101
  • This is the first trip for the U.S. Men’s National Team to both Salt Lake City and Utah. In 2003, the U.S. Women’s National Team topped Ireland 5-0 in preparation for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in front of 19,584 fans


On the field for the USA
May 28, 2005 – Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill. – International Friendly
USA                      1                Clint Dempsey 79’
England                 2                Kieran Richardson 4’, 49’
Att: 47,637

USA – 18-Kasey Keller (Capt.); 2-Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope (4-Carlos Bocanegra, 73), 12-Cory Gibbs, 21-Greg Vanney; 14-Steve Ralston (15-Bobby Convey, 73), 2 5-Kerry Zavagnin, 2-Clint Dempsey (19-Clyde Simms, 91+); 10-Landon Donovan; 16-Josh Wolff, 20-Brian McBride (11-Conor Casey, 81)
Subs not used: 1-Marcus Hahnemann, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 8-Jonathan Spector

 ENG – 1-David James; 2-Glen Johnson, 5-Wes Brown, 6-Sol Campbell (capt.) (15-Zat Knight, 46), 3-Ashley Cole (16-Jermain Defoe, 63); 7-Jermaine Jenas, 4-Michael Carrick, 11-Joe Cole, 8-Kieran Richardson (14-Phil Neville, 59); 9-Alan Smith, 10-Andy Johnson (12-Luke Young, 76)
Subs not used: 13-Robert Green, 16-Jermain Defoe, 17-Peter Crouch, 22-Scott Carson

On the field for Costa Rica
May 24, 2005 – Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo, Norway – International Friendly
Norway               1                Frode Johnsen 77’
Costa Rica           0

NOR – Espen Johnsen; Jon Inge Hoeiland (Marius Johnsen 46), Brede Hangeland, Bard Boergersen, André Bergdoelmo; Martin Andresen (Kristofer Haested 46), Jan Gunnar Solli, Tommy Svindal Larsen (Raymond Kvisvik 43), Morten Gamst Pedersen; Steffen Iversen (Frode Johnsen 46),Bengt Saeternes (Ole Martin Aarst 46)

CRC – Alvaro Mesen; Cristian Bolanos (Jervis Drummond 59), Mauricio Wright,Víctor Cordero, Michael Umana, Leonardo Gonzalez; Jose Luis Lopez, Cristian Badilla (Ronald Gómez 59), Oscar Rojas, Jafet Soto (Alonso Solis 72); Paulo Cesar Wanchope.

vs. Costa Rica
July 26, 2003 - The Orange Bowl, Miami, Fla. - CONCACAF Gold Cup, Third Place Match
USA             3                Carlos Bocanegra 29’, Earnie Stewart 56’, Bobby Convey 67’
Costa Rica    2                Rolando Fonseca 24’, 39’

USA – 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Danny Califf, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 3-Greg Vanney, 17-DaMarcus Beasley (7-Eddie Lewis, 78), 15-Bobby Convey (25-Pablo Mastroeni, 88), 13-Richard Mulrooney, 19-Steve Ralston (11-Clint Mathis, 70), 8-Earnie Stewart, 21-Landon Donovan.

CRC — 1-Alvaro Mesen; 3-Luis Marin (capt.), 4-Alexander Castro (16-Tray Bennett, 35) 19-Mauricio Wright, 12-Leonardo Gonzalez (21-Winston Parks, 76), 20-Pablo Chinchilla, 6-Wilmer Lopez (14-Erick Scott, 60), 8-Mauricio Solis, 10-Walter Centeno, 17-Steven Bryce, 7-Rolando Fonseca

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