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Camp Underway as U.S. MNT Prepares for March Friendlies vs. Ecuador and Guatemala


U.S. MNT Notes
Bradenton, Fla.
March 20, 2007

OFF AND RUNNING: With Tuesday morning’s session, the first two days of training camp for the U.S. Men’s National Team are in the books (photos) at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., where Bob Bradley’s 24-player squad is stationed as the team prepares for their upcoming friendlies against 2006 World Cup finalists Ecuador and regional rivals Guatemala. The actual number of bodies on the training field increased from 16 to 23 on Tuesday with the arrival a day earlier of Benny Feilhaber, Kasey Keller, Oguchi Onyewu and Heath Pearce from across the Atlantic and the MLS trio of Jimmy Conrad, Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan. Everton FC goalkeeper Tim Howard, fresh off a 1-0 shutout win against Arsenal, will complete the camp roster when he arrives on Tuesday afternoon.

NEW ROYAL BLUE MNT JERSEY DEBUTS IN BACK-TO-BACK MARCH MATCHES: U.S. Soccer and Nike will unveil a new 2007 U.S. Men's National Team Third Jersey on Wednesday, when the team's striking royal blue and white pin-striped jersey becomes available for purchase at ussoccerstore.com. The U.S. will wear the impressive new uniform on Sunday against Ecuador in Tampa, Fla., and on March 28 against Guatemala in Frisco, Texas. The 2007 MNT Third Jersey is another example of Nike's worldwide commitment to providing players with garments that are both comfortable and technically advanced. Nike fabric technology wicks sweat away from the body through the shirt while featuring raised nodes on the underside that lift the shirt away from a players' body to keep the skin drier and reduce shirt cling. The jersey also features breathable weave side panels that help keep a player cool. The Nike MNT 2007 Third Jersey has an embroidered U.S. Soccer Men's National Team crest logo over the left chest and the Nike swoosh design trademark on the upper right chest.

GRAB YOUR TICKET: The U.S. visits Raymond James Stadium, where more than 23,000 tickets have already been sold, for the first time when they face Ecuador on March 25 at 12 p.m. ET. The U.S. then returns to Pizza Hut Park for the second consecutive year to face Guatemala when they meet in Frisco, Texas, on March 28 at 8 p.m. CT. Both matches will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision, and will be available to fans online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. MatchACCESS will also have extended coverage of both matches available exclusively at ussoccer.com. Tickets for both matches are also available at ussoccer.com.

ROSTER CHANGES: Injuries over the last few days forced two changes to the 24-man roster, initially announced last week. Ricardo Clark suffered a sprain in the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his right knee during the Dynamo's 2-0 win against Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and will be sidelined up to four weeks. Fire striker Chris Rolfe has also incurred a sprained knee and has been ruled out for the upcoming matches. Bradley has added a pair of Houston players as reinforcements, summoning Wade Barrett and Brian Mullan.

Bradley Discusses the U.S. Roster (listen) | SUBSCRIBE

U.S. Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard* (Everton FC), Kasey Keller* (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
DEFENDERS (9): Wade Barrett (Houston Dynamo), Carlos Bocanegra* (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo* (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad* (Kansas City Wizards), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Oguchi Onyewu* (Newcastle United), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (7): DaMarcus Beasley* (Manchester City), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Brian Carroll (D.C. United), Clint Dempsey* (Fulham FC), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburger SV), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Brian Mullan (Houston Dynamo)
FORWARDS (5): Brian Ching* (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Landon Donovan* (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson* (Kansas City Wizards), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
* Member of 2006 World Cup team

WORLD CUP FEEL: The U.S. and Ecuador rosters both feature a number of players that proudly wore their country’s colors during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Bradley invited in 11 players from the 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, including five players – Beasley, Cherundolo, Donovan, Keller and Onyewu – who appeared in all three matches. Of those five players, only Donovan has played for the U.S. since the World Cup with appearances in both of the USA’s matches in 2007. Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching will also make his first appearance in camp with the national team since the World Cup. On the other side of the field, Ecuador has also brought 11 players that were on its World Cup roster and helped the South Americans to a second place finish in their group before falling to England in the Round of 16.

Ecuador Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Rorys Aragon (Standard Liege), Daniel Viteri (Deportivo Quito)
DEFENDERS (7): Oscar Bagui (Olmedo), Segundo Castillo* (Red Star Belgrade), Ulises De La Cruz* (Reading), Giovanny Espinoza* (Vitesse), Jorge Guagua* (Colon), Ivan Hurtado* (Nacional), Neicer Reasco* (Sao Paulo)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Caicedo (Olmedo), Edison Mendez* (PSV Eindhoven), Luis Saritama* (Club America), Edder Vaca (Deportivo Quito), Luis Valencia* (Wigan Athletic)
FORWARDS (4): Felix Borja* (Olympiakos), Felipe Caicedo (FC Basel), Carlos Tenorio* (Al-Saad), Edmundo Zura (Imbabura)
* Member of 2006 World Cup team

FEELS LIKE HOME: The U.S. will train for the Ecuador match at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, location of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program, until traveling an hour north to Tampa on Friday, March 23. For eight players - Beasley, Bradley, Donovan, Johnson, Mapp, Onyewu, Pearce and Spector – training at IMG Academies will feel like home as each came through the U-17 Residency Program. Out of the eight, Bradley and Pearce are the only U-17 alums on the roster that did not play in a FIFA U-17 World Cup. Beasley, Donovan and Onyewu were part of the 1999 team that finished in fourth place, the best showing ever for a U.S. team at a U-17 World Cup. Johnson and Mapp were members of the ’01 squad that finished in 15th place, while Spector helped the U.S. back into the top five in 2003 in Finland.

CAP LOOKING: There are also plenty of fresh faces getting a look with three players – Jay DeMerit, Benny Feilhaber and Frank Simek – looking for their first-ever cap with the full team. While this is the first-ever MNT camp for DeMerit and Simek, it is actually the second for Feilhaber as the former U-20 standout was called in for the team’s match against Scotland in Glasgow in November of 2005, but didn’t see the field.

CHERUNDOLO PODCAST: For U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo, getting back into the national team camp couldn't come soon enough. A starter in the 2006 World Cup, Cherundolo is gearing up for his third World Cup cycle with a lot more experience and appreciation under his belt. Firmly entrenched in Hannover's first XI as they fight for a place in next year's UEFA Cup, Cherundolo offers his thoughts on the state of U.S. Soccer and where he thinks it’s headed (listen).

BLOG NATION: Looking for those little nuggets on the MNT that you’d only know if you were on the training field, in the lunch room, riding in the team vans or just hanging out in the players’ lounge in the hotel? We’ve got you covered with the latest MNT blog. Unless you’re actually here, it’s the best way to find behind-the-scenes updates as the U.S. gets ready to face Ecuador and Guatemala.

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