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Under-23 MNT Prepped for Panama


U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team
Olympic Qualifying Notes
Tampa, Fla.
March 12, 2008


NO REST FOR THE U.S.: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team has little time to rest after its 1-1 draw with Cuba, with Thursday night’s game against Panama lurking. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Panama lost to Honduras in the first game of Tuesday night’s double-header, meaning both teams will be looking for maximum points in Thursday’s contest. Group B action kicks off tonight with Haiti taking on Guatemala at 5:30 p.m. PT, and Mexico pitted against Canada at 8 p.m. PT at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

HONDURAS SITS ON TOP: The U.S. currently sits in a tie for the second spot in Group A in 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying with Cuba, as both teams picked up one point in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw. Honduras leads the group as the lone team with a win, picking up three points in their 1-0 victory against Panama. With a victory against Cuba on Thursday in the first game of the doubleheader, Honduras would be in a prime position to finish first or second in the group and move on to the semifinals.

2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying
RESULTS / STANDINGS
Team     GP    W    L    T    GF    GA    GD    Pts.

HON         1     1     0     0    1       0       +1    3
CUB         1      0    0     1    1       1        0      1  
USA          1      1    0     1    1       1        0      1
PAN          1      0    1     0    0       1       -1      0

Tuesday, March 11
Honduras 1, Panama 0
USA 1, Cuba 1

Thursday, March 13
Honduras vs. Cuba (5:30 p.m. ET)
USA vs. Panama (8 p.m. ET)

Saturday, March 15
Cuba vs. Panama (4:30 p.m. ET)
USA vs. Honduras (7 p.m. ET)

GROUP B KICKS OFF TONIGHT: Group B will get their chance in the spotlight tonight as the first of three doubleheaders taking place at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., will be played. Haiti takes on Guatemala in the early match at 5:30 PT, while Mexico and Canada will face off in the night cap beginning at 8 p.m. PT.

Wednesday, March 12
Haiti vs. Guatemala (5:30 p.m. PT)
Mexico vs. Canada (8 p.m. PT)

Friday, March 14
Canada vs. Haiti (5:30 p.m. PT)
Mexico vs. Guatemala (8 p.m. PT)

Sunday, March 16
Guatemala vs. Canada (3:30 p.m. PT)
Mexico vs. Haiti (6 p.m. PT)

CATCH THE GAMES LIVE ON FSC AND ESPN DEPORTES: Live coverage of the USA’s path towards an Olympic berth continues on Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes as the English-language and Spanish-language exclusive rights holders, respectively. FSC will broadcast six upcoming games live, including all the remaining two USA group games, both semifinal matches and the final and third-place games. ESPN Deportes will broadcast all 16 matches of the tournament, including tonight’s Group B matches. Along with ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com will also show the full schedule of games live online, and the online provider will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion.

Group A (Tampa, Florida; Raymond James Stadium)
Date           Home             Visitor          Kickoff                Television

March 13   Honduras      Cuba            5:30 p.m. ET      ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 13   USA                Panama       8 p.m. ET           FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 15   Cuba              Panama      4:30 p.m. ET      ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 15   USA                Honduras   7 p.m. ET            FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com

Final Stage (Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field)
Date            Matchup                     Kickoff (local)                  Television
March 20    Semifinal 1 *               5 p.m. CT                          FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 20    Semifinal 2 *               8 p.m. CT                          FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 23    Third-Place Match     1 p.m. CT                          FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 23    Final                              4 p.m. CT                         FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
* Winner advances to 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

A LOOK AT THE DEPTH: Head coach Peter Nowak may have to rely on a deep roster as Thursday night’s contest is in the middle of a stretch of three games in five days. With 20 professional players on the roster, and all but Jonathan Spector available for the match against Panama, Nowak will utilize his team’s experience throughout the group phase.

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Dominic Cervi (not under contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Panama fell to Honduras, 1-0, its first qualifying game on Tuesday on a 90th minute strike from Hendry Thomas in an otherwise evenly played contest. Panama was the final team to qualify for this final round of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, narrowly edging out Costa Rica for the last Central American spot. The teams played to a 1-1 aggregate score in their home-and-home series in December, with Panama winning the ensuing penalty kick shootout.

LOOKING BACK: The U.S. also met Panama in 2004 Olympic Qualifying, coming away with a 4-3 victory in Guadalajara, Mexico. Two goals from Bobby Convey led the way to the USA victory, along with a goal each from Brad Davis and Landon Donovan. The teams have met a total of three times previously in this competition, with the other two matches coming in a home-and-away series before the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. After a 1-1 draw in Panama City, the U.S. advanced with and 7-1 win at home and an 8-2 aggregate score.

PANAMA ROSTER: Panama brought a full 20-player roster, including three goalkeepers, six defenders, eight midfielders and three forwards.

Panama Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jose Calderon (Chepo FC), Gilmar Torres (Alianza FC), Guillermo Murillo (Chepo FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Jean Carlos Cedeno (Municipal Chorrillo FC), Reinaldo Anderson (Deportivo Arabe Unido), Roman Torres (CD La Equidad), Erick Vasquez (Municipal Chorrillo FC), Adolfo Machado (Alianza FC), Rolando Algandona (San Francisco FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Cristian Vega (CD Plaza Amador), Nelson Barahona (C. Atletico Fenix), Anibal Godoy (Arsenal Argentina), Juan DeGracia (Chepo FC), Manuel Bonilla (Municipal Chorrillo FC), Reggie Arosemena (Tauro FC), Carlos Rodriguez (Defensor S.C.), Eduardo Jimenez (San Francisco FC)
FORWARDS (3): Edwin Aguilar (Coastzacoalcos), Gabriel Torres (CD La Equidad), Alberto Quinetro (Municipal Chorrillo FC)

PLAYERS TALK PANAMA: The U.S. players met with the media leading up to Thursday night’s game. Charlie Davies and Maurice Edu looked back on Tuesday's match against Cuba, and ahead to Thursday's contest with Panama. To check out what they had to say, click here for a full quote sheet.

TICKETS STILL ON SALE: Tickets are still available for the remaining 14 matches of 2008 Olympic Qualifying. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament ($25 to $70 on day of game) are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities (Tampa | Los Angeles | Nashville).

STUDIO 90 ROLLS ON: Stay up to date on all things Olympic Qualifying with Studio 90, which is back on Wednesday afternoon. The show includes a look at the USA’s preparation for the event, an in-studio interview with Dax McCarty, and sound from the players in advance of tomorrow’s match against Panama.

INSIDE STUFF: Despite the attention being focused on this qualifying tournament, no source can provide an inside look at the team in the way like the YNT Blog. Check out the information you can’t get anywhere else, including behind-the-scenes videos, laughs and inside scoop at http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/

QUICK HITS:
• The USA’s starting lineup on Tuesday night included three players from Florida – Boca Raton’s Jozy Altidore, St. Augustine’s Nate Sturgis, and Winter Park’s Dax McCarty – who are all playing close to home.
• Altidore, who was substituted at halftime of the Cuba match for precautionary reasons, is expected to be available for selection.
• Three players from Panama – Reggie Arosemena, Cristian Vega and Gabriel Torres – come into Thursday’s contest carrying yellow cards. For the U.S., Charlie Davies and Kamani Hill were shown cautions against Cuba. A player who accumulates two yellow cards in the group phase of the tournament would be forced to serve a one-game suspension.
• The 2007 U.S. Under-20 World Cup Qualifying team, which has five representatives on the Olympic Qualifying roster, topped Panama in Panama City, 5-0 during its path to the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Freddy Adu scored two goals and an assist in that game on January 21, 2007.

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