CHICAGO (Tuesday, February 5, 2002) - United States Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has named an 18-man roster to face three-time World Champion Italy on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Catania, Sicily. Kickoff at the Stadio Cibali is set for 2:45 p.m. ET (8:45 p.m. local). Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s Match Tracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
"This match is another important step in our preparations for Korea/Japan," said Arena. "Many of these players are likely to play an important role in the World Cup, so to have an opportunity to bring them together for a few days and be challenged by a world class team is extremely valuable."
U.S. captain Claudio Reyna will lead a largely European-based squad that gathers for the first time in 2002. The team represents much of the side that succeeded in leading the U.S. to its fourth-consecutive World Cup finals. Earnie Stewart, the 2001 Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year, was one of two U.S. players to appear in every match of final round qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. Brad Friedel joins Kasey Keller as the USA’s goalkeeping tandem. Keller is coming off a stellar performance in the 2002 FC Gold Cup, having posted four straight shutouts in marshalling the U.S. to its second Gold Cup championship.
Six domestic-based players fill out the roster, the MLS contingent coming off a tremendous performance in Gold Cup play. Chicago Fire forward Josh Wolff continued his return to form, scoring the first goal in the USA’s 2-0 win against Costa Rica in the championship final Feb. 2. Veteran defensive stalwart Jeff Agoos added the insurance goal with a brilliantly taken free kick in that match, while Cobi Jones collected his 150th international cap on the same day. Jones is now tied for fourth on the all-time cap-winners list with German legend Lothar Matthaus.
The United States and Italy have met just four times in their history, with the Italians holding a 2-0-2 record against the U.S. The first meeting between the sides took place in 1934 at the second World Cup, and the Italians cruised to a 7-1 win in Rome. The capital city also hosted the teams’ second meeting in a World Cup, when Italy topped a young U.S. team 1-0 on June 14, 1990. The teams’ most recent match took place on June 6, 1992 in Chicago, a come-from-behind 1-1 draw for the U.S.
Italy has lifted the World Cup three times, most recently in 1982, and is currently ranked sixth in the world by FIFA. The Italians also reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup, losing to Brazil in penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl. Led by veteran captain Paolo Maldini, the Azzurri qualified for their 15th World Cup and will appear in their 11th straight tournament in Korea/Japan. In 2002, the Italians world-renowned defense allowed just two goals as the team finished atop Group 8 in UEFA World Cup qualifying with a 6-0-2 record. Italy boasts a dizzying array of attacking options, led in qualifying by A.C. Milan’s Filippo Inzaghi, Inter Milan’s Christian Vieri and Juventus’ Alessandro del Piero. The Azzurri are coached by Giovanni Trapattoni, the most successful club coach in Italian history, who has won seven Serie A championships.
Following the Italy match, the U.S. continues action with a pair of domestic matches in early March. Seattle will host its first USMNT match since 1994 when the U.S. meets Honduras on Saturday, March 2 at Safeco field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. PT and the match will be broadcast live in ESPN. Eight days later, the USA takes on South American rival Ecuador at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. That match is slated for a 3 p.m. CT kickoff and will be broadcast live on ABC.
U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena will discuss the U.S. team's Gold Cup success and preview the upcoming match against Italy during a live online chat Friday, February 8 at 12 p.m. (noon) ET. Fans can register and log on to the chat at ussoccerfan.com.
U.S. Men's National Team Roster
|Agoos, Jeff||D||5'10"||175||05/02/68||122/4||Dallas||San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)|
|Armas, Chris||M||5'7"||150||08/27/72||40/2||Brentwood, N.Y.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Berhalter, Gregg||D||6'1"||175||08/01/73||21/0||Tenafly, N.J.||Crystal Palace (England)|
|Donovan, Landon||F||5'8"||148||03/04/82||14/2||Redlands, Calif.||San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)|
|Friedel, Brad||GK||6'4"||202||05/18/71||72/0||Bay Village, Ohio||Blackburn Rovers (England)|
|Hejduk, Frankie||D/M||5'8"||155||08/05/74||35/5||Cardiff, Calif.||Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)|
|Jones, Cobi||M||5'7"||145||06/16/70||150/14||Westlake Village, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Keller, Kasey||GK||6'2"||190||11/29/69||55/0||Lacey, Wash.||Tottenham Hotspur (England)|
|Kirovski, Jovan||F||6'1"||175||03/18/76||52/7||Escondido, Calif.||Crystal Palace (England)|
|Lewis, Eddie||M||5'10"||155||05/17/74||33/2||Cerritos, Calif.||Fulham FC (England)|
|Mastroeni, Pablo||M||5'10"||170||08/26/76||6/0||Phoenix, Ariz.||Colorado Rapids (MLS)|
|Moore, Joe-Max||F||5'9"||150||02/23/71||92/24||Irvine, Calif.||Everton (England)|
|O'Brien, John||M||5'9"||150||08/29/77||11/1||Playa del Rey, Calif.||Ajax (Holland)|
|Regis, David||D||5'11"||160||12/02/68||23/0||Valenciennes, France||F.C. Metz (France)|
|Reyna, Claudio||M||5'9"||160||07/20/73||84/8||Springfield, N.J.||Sunderland (England)|
|Sanneh, Tony||D/M||6'2"||190||06/01/71||26/1||St. Paul, Minn.||F.C. Nürnberg (Germany)|
|Stewart, Earnie||M/F||5'9"||145||03/28/69||74/15||Point Arena, Calif.||NAC Breda (Holland)|
|Wolff, Josh||F||5'8"||160||02/25/77||13/4||Stone Mountain, Ga.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Head Coach||Bruce Arena||Fairfax, Va.|
|Assistant Coach||Dave Sarachan||Ashburn, Va.|
|Assistant Coach||Glenn Myernick||Denver|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Milutin Soskic||Bakersfield, Calif.|
|General Manager||Pam Perkins||Evanston, Ill.|
|Athletic Trainers||Dave Andrews||Seattle|
|Team Doctor||Dan Kalbac||Miami|
|Chiropractor||George Billauer||Los Angeles|
|Equipment Manager||Aaron Barrett||Chicago|
|Director of Security||Gene Williams||New York|
|Press Officer||Michael Kammarman||Chicago|