ALL IN: With the arrival of DaMarcus Beasley late last night, U.S. MNT Manager Bruce Arena's 18-man complement is now complete. Standard de Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu arrived late Sunday night, in time to participate in the team's workout Monday morning that spanned just under an hour (photos). This morning, the group experienced bouts of rain as they trained on an artificial surface that duplicates the field conditions the team will face at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa on Saturday (photos). Kickoff for MatchDay 9 of final round qualifying is set for 7 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast via one-hour tape delay beginning at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
BEASLEY UPDATE: According to team trainers, Beasley is experiencing tightness in his right hamstring and is responding well to treatment. He participated in the fitness part of the session this morning, and will continue to receive therapy. Beasley was pulled at halftime of PSV's 3-2 victory against Heerenveen last Sunday after assisting on their goal in the 37th minute.
ALL_ACCESS VIDEO - OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: With the USA's place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup secured, Bruce Arena has shifted his focus to assessing talent that may be helpful in the team's buildup to Germany. Harken back to June 5, 2002, when Pablo Mastroeni, a player who had not played a single minute in the 16-match qualifying process, stood in the USA's starting XI against Portugal in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup. "Discovered" during the 2002 Gold Cup in January, Mastroeni emerged as a force in the six-month run up to Korea. Now four years later, the question on many people's minds is who the next Mastroeni will be. Over the next week, ussoccer.com will talk to several of the players who face the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to snare a place on a World Cup roster. First up is Taylor Twellman, the Revs marksmen who continues to demonstrate his goalscoring prowess in MLS, yet remains in search of his first international goal. With 11 caps under his belt, Twellman is aware that it's time to seize the moment. Check out the first installment of "Opportunity Knocks", part of ussoccer.com's exclusive all_access video.
THE EDDIE LEWIS PROJECT: U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis has always been just that - a midfielder. Lewis has been on a steady rise since playing a key role in the USA's success in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His pinpoint cross to Landon Donovan that ended in the USA's second goal of the 2-0 victory against Mexico in the Round of 16 launched an impressive three-year stretch with both Preston North End in England and the national team, a period which saw Lewis hone his dribbling skills, crossing accuracy and finishing abilities on the left flank. Switching to Leeds United this summer has been an adjustment, and now the 31-year old has been asked to make an even bigger change at the international level - a shift in positions. ussoccer.com talked with Lewis about the potential move to left back in this exclusive podcast.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: While the U.S. roster has a host of players in search of more international experience - eight players have 10 caps or less - it's no surprise to see variety in the roster. Over 16 games in World Cup qualifying, Arena has used 41 different players, with 22 players earning given their first World Cup qualifying cap. For the Costa Rica game, no one is making his debut in a national team camp. Ricardo Clark, the only uncapped player on the roster, was part of the 24-man group that trained in advance of the final semifinal round qualifier against Jamaica on Nov. 11, 2004 in Columbus.
RESIDENCY REPRESENTATION: If you’re wondering where to look for the next possible crop of talented U.S. players that will emerge onto the MNT in the coming years, all you needed to do was tune into the U.S. Under-17s strong run through the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru last month. On the current U.S. Men’s National Team's 18-man roster selected for the qualifier against Costa Rica, five players - DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu, Bobby Convey, Santino Quaranta and Jonathan Spector – were members of U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency Program at some point during the past six years and represented the U.S. in a U-17 World Championship. Since the Residency Program began in 1999, nine players have gone on to earn a cap with the first team. Along with the above mentioned, Landon Donovan, Eddie Gaven, Eddie Johnson and Chad Marshall have all suited up for the MNT.
DID YOU KNOW?: The U.S. Men’s National Team has not allowed a goal in World Cup qualifying in six straight matches, a shutout streak stretching all the way back to the 33rd minute of the 2-1 loss on March 27 in Mexico City. All told, they have only surrendered six goals in the 14 qualifying games they’ve played during World Cup semifinal and final round qualifying.
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