U.S. Soccer Wire: Men's National Team Cruises in 2-0 Win Over Venezuela in Seattle, Next Face Mexico and Wales in May
KIROVSKI, DONOVAN STRIKE IN SECOND HALF AS TEAM IMPROVES TO 3-1-0 IN 2003: The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Venezuela on Saturday afternoon 2-0 behind second-half goals from forward Jovan Kirovski and Landon Donovan in front of 17,819 fans at Seattle Seahawks Stadium in the picturesque Pacific Northwest. After an even first half, the U.S. took control in the second 45 minutes, outshooting Venezuela 15-7. The U.S. starting line-up featured the 2003 debut of four 2002 World Cup veterans, including goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defender Eddie Pope, midfielder John O’Brien and forward Brian McBride. In addition to those four, World Cup veterans Frankie Hejduk and Earnie Stewart also made their 2003 debuts alongside Kirovski, who was playing with the U.S. for the first time since March 27, 2002, a 4-2 loss in Germany. It was Kirovski who broke the match open in the 52nd minute after an uneventful first half, finishing a flurry of shots in front of the goal to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. The series was set-up after Venezuelan Luis Vallenilla received a yellow card after a foul on the left flank to DaMarcus Beasley. U.S. midfielder Earnie Stewart took the restart and found Brian McBride alone in the area. McBride cranked a first-time volley off the post, followed by a Carlos Bocanegra header off the crossbar that fell to the feet of Kirovski, who sent a rocket off the hands of a helpless Gilberto Angelucci. Second-half substitute Landon Donovan sent the Seattle crowd into a frenzy with a 50-yard dribbling run that ended with him slotting an easy shot past Angelucci in the 76th minute.
U.S. TO FACE REJUVENATED WALES AT SPARTAN STADIUM IN SAN JOSE ON MAY 26: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Wales on Memorial Day, May 26, at Spartan Stadium in San Jose in a historic first-ever meeting between the two countries. Kickoff for the match is set for 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the Radio Unica network (and shown via tape delay on Telemundo). Fans can also follow live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Wales, a small country of 2.9 million people, has been one of the sport’s biggest stories in qualifying play for the 2004 European Championship and easily defeated Azerbaijan 4-0 on Saturday to improve their perfect record to 4-0 at the top of Group Nine. With four games remaining in their qualifying group, Wales has 12 points and is closing in on their first trip to the finals of a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. On the field, the Welsh are led by legendary Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs, who has amassed 40 caps and eight international goals for Wales. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $25 to $70 go on sale starting Monday, April 7, at 10 a.m. PT at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Tower Records and Rite-Aid), by phone (San Jose 408-998-8497; San Francisco 415-421-8497; Oakland 510-625-8497), and on-line at www.ussoccer.com.
MORE THAN 26,000 TICKETS SOLD FOR U.S.-MEXICO REMATCH ON MAY 8 IN HOUSTON: Tickets for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2002 World Cup rematch against Mexico on May 8 at Reliant Stadium in Houston are still selling at a blistering pace, with more than 26,000 tickets sold and all of the tickets in the $150, $75, and $60 range completely sold out since opening sales to the general public on March 15, making this one of the fastest selling games in U.S. Soccer history. Kickoff for the game, which is being staged in conjunction with Major League Soccer and Houston Texans Entertainment, is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast via tape delay on ESPN2 beginning at 10 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on Telemundo and the Radio Unica network, and fans can also follow live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Tickets for the biggest soccer game in Houston history, which is being presented by Budweiser, are still available in the $27-$50 range and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Texas (including Fiesta, Foley’s and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 713-629-3700 and on-line at ussoccer.com. Groups of 30 or more can order tickets by calling toll free at 877-635-2002. Tickets are also available at the Reliant Stadium ticket office.
-- U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --
U.S. TO FACE TWO WORLD CUP SEMIFINALISTS IN 2003 CONFEDERATIONS CUP IN JUNE: The U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group B for the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cups and will face Brazil, Cameroon and Turkey at the sixth edition of the prestigious tournament, which will be played from June 18-29 in three cities in France. The U.S. opens the tournament against two World Cup semifinalists, facing Turkey on June 19 in St. Etienne at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET), and then taking on Brazil on June 21 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). The U.S. concludes group play against Cameroon on June 23 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on June 26. The third-place match is scheduled for June 28, and the final takes place on June 29 in Paris. “We are arguably in the toughest group in the tournament,” said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. The U.S. has played in two previous Confederations Cup Tournaments, finishing third at both the inaugural event in 1992 and again in 1999 in Mexico. The field at the Confederations Cup is comprised of the six confederation champions (Cameroon, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the USA), the World Cup Champions (Brazil) and a guest team (Turkey).
2003 FIFA Confederations Cup – France
Group B – Opening Round
Date Opponent Location/s Kickoff (ET)
June 19 Turkey St. Etienne 1 p.m.
June 21 Brazil Lyon 3 p.m.
June 23 Cameroon Lyon 3 p.m.
June 26 A1 vs. B2 Paris 3 p.m.
June 26 A2 vs. B1 Lyon 3 p.m.
Third Place / Final
June 28 Semi losers St. Etienne 12 p.m.
June 29 Semi winners Paris 3 p.m.
CONCACAF ANNOUNCES GROUPS, MATCH SCHEDULE FOR 2003 GOLD CUP: The U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group C, along with El Salvador and a still-to-be-determined opponent from the second of the Interzone playoff qualifiers, for the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is set to take place from July 12-27 at three venues: Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., and Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, with the U.S. based in Foxboro for group play. This year’s event marks the first time that the Gold Cup will be played outside the U.S. since the tournament held matches at Estadio Azteca in 1993. Twelve teams will again take part, including two guest teams from CONMEBOL, the South American confederation: 2002 FIFA World Cup champion Brazil, and 2001 Copa America champion Colombia. The tournament begins on July 12, with first-round matches played over six successive days. Quarterfinal matches will be played on July 19 and 20, with the semifinals set for July 23 and 24. If the U.S. qualifies for the quarterfinals they are assured to play in Foxboro on July 19, while the two semifinal games will take place at the Orange Bowl in Miami and Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on July 23. The third-place match will be held on July 26 and the final is scheduled for July 27, at Estadio Azteca, the only stadium in the world to have played host to two FIFA World Cup finals. The format for the tournament will be similar to the 2002 event, won by the USA in a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in the final. The following is the U.S. schedule for the Gold Cup:
U.S. Gold Cup Schedule
Group C – Opening Round
Date Opponent City Kickoff (ET)
July 12 El Salvador Foxboro 6:30 p.m.
July 14 (Interzone 2) Foxboro 8:30 p.m.
July 19 Foxboro 3 p.m.
July 20 Mexico City 1 p.m.
July 20 Miami 4 p.m.
July 23 Miami 8 p.m.
July 26 Miami 8 p.m.
July 27 Mexico City 1 p.m.
-- U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --
U.S. WOMEN TO MEET NIGERIA NEXT ON APRIL 26 AT RFK STADIUM IN D.C.: The U.S. Women’s National Team will continue its 2003 Women’s World Cup preparations with a match on Saturday, April 26, against African champion Nigeria at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The U.S. match will be televised live on ESPN at Noon ET and is part of a WUSA doubleheader featuring the host Washington Freedom taking on the Atlanta Beat at 2:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the doubleheader ranging in price levels from $20 to $40 are on sale at all Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster outlets, at the RFK Stadium box office, on-line at www.ussoccer.com, and by phone at 202-432-7328 (Washington), 410-481-7328 (Baltimore), 703-573-7328 (Northern Virginia) and 800-551-7328 (out-of-state). Washington Freedom full season ticket packages (which include a ticket for the doubleheader) and group discounts are available through the Freedom at 202-547-3137. Nigeria will bring a strong team to Washington, D.C., as the Super Falcons qualified for their fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup this past December by winning the African Women’s Championships convincingly at home.
-- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --
CONCACAF UNVEILS UNDER-23 OLYMPIC QUALIFYING BRACKETS, SCHEDULE: The dates have been set for the first round of CONCACAF qualifying for both the men's and women's Olympic Football Tournaments for Athens 2004. The men's tournament, which is an Under-23 competition (for players born on or after Jan. 1, 1981), will be scheduled in coordination with the FIFA International Match Calendar. The first two rounds of men's qualifying will be played on a home-and-away basis, as a result of the draw held on Feb. 7. The first-round series are to be completed by Oct. 12, with first-leg matches played on Sept. 6, 7 or 10 and return matches on Sept. 10 (if not used for first leg), or Oct. 11 or 12. The men’s second-round must played by Nov. 20, with the home leg scheduled for Nov. 15 or 16 and the return matches on Nov. 19. The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team is set to meet the winner of the first-round series between Dominica and St. Kitts. In other news, FIFA has accepted the late inclusion of Suriname into the tournament, and they will now play Guatemala, which previously had a bye, in the first round. A draw was held to determine the order of those matches, and Suriname will host the first match, while Guatemala will host the return leg. FIFA has also accepted the inclusion of Suriname into the women's competition, replacing Dominica, which had previously withdrawn. As a result, women's qualifying will initially be divided into four preliminary round groups of three teams each, to be hosted by Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, as well as a single two-leg series to be played between Haiti and Puerto Rico. All of the matches in the preliminary round must be played between Oct. 1 and Dec. 14. The final rounds of both the men’s and women’s competitions will be hosted by Mexico from February 2-12, 2004.
U-21 WOMEN HEAD TO CHULA VISTA FOR 10-DAY TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team will be heading to Chula Vista, Calif., for their upcoming training camp from April 11-20. During the camp, the team will play the WUSA’s San Jose CyberRays and the San Diego Spirit. U.S. head coach Steve Petrucelli has called in a 23-player roster full of college standouts, with the exception of a pair of teenagers: forward Heather O’Reilly and defender Kim Bingham.
Under-21 WNT Schedule
April 12 San Jose CyberRays
April 15 San Diego Spirit
Under-21 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Karen Bardsley (Cal State-Fullerton), Nicole Barnhart (Stanford), Kim Bingham (San Ramon, Calif.); DEFENDERS (8): Jenna Cooper (University of Nebraska), Keeley Dowling (University of Tennesse), Hayley Hunt (Stanford), Amy LePeilbet (Arizona State), Ally Marquand (Stanford), Kristin Moore (University of Portland), Nandi Pryce (UCLA), Natalie Spilger (Stanford); MIDFIELDERS (8): Lori Chalupny (North Carolina), Lindsey Huie (University of Portland), Carli Lloyd (Rutgers University), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Kati McBain (University of Texas), Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara), Kim Yokers (UC Berkley); FORWARDS (4): Ali Andrzejewski (University of Maryland), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Caroline Smith (University of Kansas), Marcie Ward (Stanford).
UNDER-18 MNT COLLECTS TWO WINS IN BRADENTON, BUT FALLS IN U-17 REMATCH: The Under-18 MNT grabbed two victories in three games during a week-long training camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., last week. In the U-18 MNT’s first game against the IMG Academy U-19 on March 25, Adam Cristman put home the first goal in the 20th minute and Danny Vasquez, Marc Burch and Sergio Flores (2) all added goals as they rolled to a 5-2 victory in the win. Two days later the U-18 MNT went up against the Under-17 MNT in a rematch of the teams’ last meeting on Feb. 9, 2002, which the Under-18s won 5-0. The score was flipped this time, with the Under-17s winning 5-0. In their third game, the U-18s bounced back behind Burch and Chad Barrett for a 3-1 victory over the University of South Florida. Burch scored the first goal off an assist from Barrett in the 12th minute before USF was able to tie it up in the 35th minute. Barrett answered two minutes later with an unassisted goal before Burch finished up the scoring in the 60th minute off an assist from Jed Zayner.
U.S. Under-18 MNT Results
Date Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorers
March 25 IMG U-19 5-2 W Cristman, Vasquez, Flores (2), Burch
March 27 U-17 MNT 0-5 L ---
March 28 Univ. of South Florida 3-1 W Burch (2), Barrett
UNDER-17 MNT GOES 3-1-1 IN BUSY WEEK IN BRADENTON & GEORGIA: The Under-17 Men’s National Team had a busy week, playing two games against the Under-15 and Under-18 Men’s National Teams on March 27, before traveling to St. Simons, Ga., for three 50-minute games on Saturday. Before the trip to the Georgia coast, the U-17s shutout both the Under-18 and Under-15 Men’s National Teams at IMG Academy in Bradenton. In their last encounter on Feb. 9, 2002, the U-17s lost to the U-18s 5-0, but this time the score was switched, as the U-17s rolled to a 5-0 victory. L.A. Galaxy forward Guillermo Gonzalez got the scoring started by finishing a penalty kick in the 22nd minute and then put the U-17s up 3-0 with a free kick goal in the 43rd minute. In the second half, forward Freddy Adu set up goals by Michael Harrington and Jamie Watson. Against the U-15s, the U-17s picked up a 3-0 victory, with goals from Robbie Rogers, Chase Wileman and Tomiwa Ogunsola. On Saturday, the U-17s drew 0-0 with the College of Charleston before getting their only victory on the trip against Clemson University, 3-1. Gonzalez was involved in the first two goals, driving home a free kick in the 6th minute and setting up Eddie Gaven in the 16th minute. The U.S. got its third goal when a Corey Ashe cross was deflected into the goal by a Clemson defender. The U-17s dropped their final game, giving up a goal on a header to fall 1-0 to Stetson University.
U.S. Under-17 MNT Results
Date Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorers
March 27 U-18 MNT 5-0 W Gonzalez (2), Spector, Harrington, Watson
March 27 U-15 MNT 3-0 W Rogers, Wileman, Ogunsola
March 29 College of Charleston 0-0 T ---
March 29 Clemson University 3-1 W Gonzalez, Gaven, (own goal)
March 29 Stetson University 0-1 L ---
UNDER-15 BOYS GRAB TWO WINS IN BRADENTON, BUT FALL 3-0 TO U-17s: The U.S. Under-15 Men’s National Team completed a successful week of training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, collecting a pair of wins against older U-16 competition sandwiched around a 3-0 loss to the talented U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team. In their first match, Jose Angulo opened the scoring with a goal in the 3rd minute off an assist from Mike Dalpra, then set-up the second U.S. goal in the 14th minute, assisting on Ryan Soroka’s goal. The U.S. kept up the intensity in the second half as substitutes Juan Guzman (46th minute) and Bruce Ayala (70th) finished off the scoring for a 4-0 victory. In their third game, the U-15s posted a 2-1 win over the IMG Academy U-16, as Angulo converted a penalty kick after being pulled down in the box and Kyle Nakazawa dribbling around three defenders and scored inside the near post for their second goal.
U.S. Under-15 MNT Results
Date Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorers
March 25 Blackwatch U-16 4-0 W Angulo, Soroka, Guzman, Ayala
March 27 U-17 MNT 0-2 L ---
March 29 IMG U-16 2-1 W Angulo, Nakazawa
-- AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD --
CUBA, JAMAICA QUALIFY FOR 2003 CONCACAF GOLD CUP: Cuba and Jamaica claimed the two automatic Caribbean berths for the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup this past weekend, joining the 12-team field that will compete in the regional championship from July 12-27, 2003 in Foxboro, Mass., Miami, Fla. and Mexico City, Mexico. Cuba came back from a goal down to shock the home-standing Soca Warriors and claim the top spot in the Group B qualifying tournament. Jamaica cruised to a 3-0 home victory against Haiti to finish atop Group A. In the earlier match in Kingston, Saint Lucia led by 4-1, only to remarkably blow the lead and lose by a 5-4 scoreline to Martinique. The victory left St. Lucia with four points in Group A and alone in second place following Jamaica's triumph, putting Martinique into next month's Interzone Playoff. They will be joined by Trinidad & Tobago, which still has its hopes alive for a sixth appearance in the Gold Cup finals despite the loss. T&T and Martinique will compete with Honduras, the fourth-place finisher in Central Zone qualifying, for the two places available in the round-robin Interzone Playoff, to be played at the end of April on one of the two Caribbean islands. The defending champion USA is set to meet El Salvador and the second team from the Interzone Playoff in Group C first round action.
COSTA RICA QUALIFIES FOR U-17 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP; MEXICO, JAMAICA TO PLAYOFF: Costa Rica, Mexico and Canada all finished atop Group B of the CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, with six points over the weekend, but only Costa Rica was guaranteed an automatic berth to the FIFA World Championship based on superior goal differential. Costa Rica joins the U.S., who qualified in March after finishing atop qualifying Group A in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Mexico, who lost their first game to Costa Rica, was able to post wins in its next two games against Cuba and Canada and finished in second place with a higher goal differential than Canada. Mexico will now face Jamaica, the runner-up in Group A, in a home-and-home series for CONCACAF’s third and final spot in the World Championship, which will take place in Finland this August 13-30.
REVS, QUAKES BOTH WIN SECOND LEG, BUT FAIL TO ADVANCE IN CHAMPIONS CUP: A week after the L.A. Galaxy and Columbus Crew won their respective series and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup, two other MLS clubs came up short in trying to erase first-leg deficits with wins in the second meeting last week. The New England Revolution defeated Alajuelense (CRC) 3-1 on Saturday with goals from Taylor Twellman, Wolde Harris and Pat Noonan, but lost 5-3 on aggregate score after falling 4-0 in the first match on March 23. The San Jose Earthquakes edged Municipal (GUA) 2-1 on goals from forwards Landon Donovan and Brian Ching, but fell one goal short in the aggregate, losing 5-4 due to a 4-2 loss in the first meeting on March 16. In the other second-leg matches last week, a pair of Mexican club teams rebounded from first-leg losses to advance, as Club America (MEX) dispatched F.A.S. (SLV) 3-0 and advanced 4-3 on aggregate, while Monarcas Morelia pounded Comunaciones (GUA) 4-0 to win 4-1 on aggregate. The final series, which pits Toluca (MEX) against W Connection (TRI), will be decided on Wednesday (April 2).
2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup
March 5 F.A.S. (SLV) 3, Club América (MEX) 1
March 26 Club America 3, F.A.S. 0
March 5 Arnett Gardens (JAM) 0, Necaxa (MEX) 0
March 19 Necaxa 1, Arnett Gardens 0
March 12 Comunicaciones (GUA) 1, Monarcas Morelia (MEX) 0
March 26 Monarcas Morelia 4, Comunicaciones 0
March 12 CD Toluca FC (MEX) 3, W Connection FC (TRI) 2
April 2 (@ Trinidad)
March 16 Municipal (GUA) 4, San Jose Earthquakes (USA) 2
March 26 San Jose Earthquakes 2, Municipal 1
March 16 Motagua (HON) 2, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) 2
March 23 Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Motagua 0
March 16 Deportivo Árabe Unido (PAN) 2, Columbus Crew (USA) 1
March 23 Columbus Crew 3, Deportivo Arabe Unido 0
March 23 Alajuelense (CRC) 4, New England Revolution (USA) 0
March 26 New England Revolution 3, Alajuelense 1
MLS, WUSA TO OPEN 2003 SEASONS THIS SATURDAY: MLS will open its eighth season with a match between two teams defending hard-earned titles, as the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion Columbus Crew host the 2002 MLS Cup champion L.A. Galaxy at Crew Stadium on Saturday (April 5), live on ABC at 4 p.m. ET. The remaining eight MLS teams kick off their 2003 season next weekend with games on April 12 and 13. All eight WUSA teams will take the field to begin the league’s third campaign, highlighted by a rematch of the Founders Cup II that has the Washington Freedom traveling to Cary, N.C., to face the 2002 WUSA champion Carolina Courage on Saturday (April 5) at 2 p.m. ET.
WUSA ANNOUNCES SITE OF FOUNDERS CUP III, 2003 ALL-STAR GAME: WUSA announced last week that the league's championship game will be held on the West Coast for the first time, as Founders Cup III will be played at San Diego's Torero Stadium on August 24 at 1 p.m. PT. WUSA officials are reviewing options to increase the 7,035-seat venue for the event. Meanwhile, the WUSA All-Star Game is headed to Cary, N.C., on Thursday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET for the special mid-season match to be played at SAS Stadium, home of the defending champion Carolina Courage. The match will again feature a “U.S. vs. the World” format, providing a look at all of the top players who are expected to compete in the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup in China in September and October. Complete details on both Founders Cup III and the 2003 All-Star Game, including ticket information, the official logo and national television network, will be announced in the near future.
2002-03 MISL CHAMPIONSHIP FINALISTS TO BE DETERMINED THIS WEEKEND: The finalists for 2002-03 Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) championship will be determined this weekend, as the Cleveland Force take on the defending champion Philadelphia Kixx for the Eastern Conference crown on Thursday (April 3), while the winner of the Kansas City Comets-San Diego Sockers match on Wednesday (April 2) travels to take on the Western Conference regular season champion Milwaukee Wave on Sunday (April 6).
Cleveland Force 16, Baltimore Blast 13
Cleveland Force @ Philadelphia Kixx
San Diego Sockers @ Kansas City Comets
San Diego / Kansas City Winner @ Milwaukee Wave
U.S. SOCCER . . . . . . . . . . SPOTLIGHT . . . . . . . . . . U.S. SOCCER
PEAK PERFORMER: Although he turned 34 on Friday, midfielder Earnie Stewart was the catalyst that energized a youthful lineup and spurred the U.S. Men’s National Team to a one-sided 2-0 victory over Venezuela at Seahwks Stadium in downtown Seattle. After more than a dozen seasons playing in Holland, the three-time World Cup vet has returned to the States and will look to help D.C. United return to the MLS playoffs.
SOCCER SHOCKER: 2002 World Cup finalist Germany could only muster a 1-1 draw at home against Lithuania on Saturday in qualifying play for the 2004 European Championship, to be played in Portugal. Lithuania, ranked 106th in the world, withstood an early German goal and tied the game in the 73rd minute on a goal by Tomas Razanauskas. The tie puts Germany in second place in their group, behind Scotland (on goals scored).
QUOTABLE: “Jovan is only 27 years old, and I think he still has a future with the national team. He just needs to get into a club environment where he is playing more consistently."
--U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, after Kirovski scored his first U.S. goal since Feb. 15, 2000, a string of 15 appearances