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Arena Selects 24 Players as Final Countdown to February 28 World Cup Qualifier Against Mexico Begins


CHICAGO (Thursday, February 15, 2001) - U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena has selected 24 players to represent the United States as the team prepares to battle Mexico in its first match of the final qualifying stage for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. The match, which will be played at Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 28, will be broadcast to a national television audience on ESPN2 and Telemundo.

The United States will look to extend its 16-game home qualifying unbeaten streak in the match against Mexico, having last lost a World Cup qualifying game on home soil on May 31, 1985 against Costa Rica in Torrance, California.

"This is a very talented group, with a good mix of European and MLS players, and after a few days of training together we should be in great shape for the Mexico match," said Arena, who has guided the USA to an impressive 16-7-8 record since taking over as National Team head coach in October 1998. "Most people would rate Mexico as one of the top teams in our group, so to be able to get three points in that game would be a major plus for our team. That's certainly what we're shooting for."

Of the 24 players on the roster, 15 currently play for Major League Soccer teams in the United States, while four others (Ante Razov, Joe-Max Moore, Tony Sanneh, and Brad Friedel) starred in the league before moving to European club teams.

The European contingent is led by U.S. captain Claudio Reyna (Glasgow Rangers), forwards Moore (Everton) and Landon Donovan (Bayer Leverkusen), and goalkeeper Friedel, who has registered seven shutouts in 13 matches since joining England's Blackburn Rovers in November 2000.

Two players selected by Arena, 18-year-old attackers DeMarcus Beasley and Donovan, will look to make their qualifying debut in the match against Mexico.

The USA and Mexico have met 43 times in a series that played its first game in 1934. Although Mexico holds a 27-7-9 record in all games played, the United States has lost only four of the last 12 meetings between the two border rivals and shutout the Tri-Colores twice in 2000.

Columbus Crew Stadium, which will once again be overflowing with a pro-American audience for the game, hosts its second consecutive home qualifying match for the USA. The American squad earned an important point in its last trip to Ohio, a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica before a sold-out crowd of 24,430 in semifinal Group E action on October 11, 2000.

The February 28 game against Mexico will mark the USA?s first step on the final road to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. The United States will play each team in its group (Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago) twice, once each home and away, to determine the three CONCACAF participants in the next World Cup.

The U.S. squad will begin training for the Mexico match in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday, February 16 before relocating to Columbus on Saturday, February 24. Following the match against Mexico the United States will head west to California for an international friendly against top-ranked Brazil at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, March 3 at 4 p.m. PT on ABC-TV.

United States Men's National Team Player Roster
World Cup Qualifier vs. Mexico
February 28, 2001
Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
NamePos.Ht.Wt.BirthdateCaps/G*HometownClub*
Agoos, JeffD5'10"17505/02/68106/3DallasS.J. Earthquakes (MLS)
Armas, ChrisM5'7"15008/27/7224/2Brentwood, N.Y.Chicago Fire (MLS)
Beasley, DaMarcusF5'7"12605/24/822/0Ft. Wayne, Ind.Chicago Fire (MLS)
Berhalter, GreggD6'1"17508/01/7318/0Tenafly, N.J.--
Donovan, LandonF5'8"14803/04/823/1Redlands, Calif.Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Friedel, BradGK6'4"20205/18/7166/0Bay Village, OhioLiverpool (England)
Jones, CobiM5'7"14506/16/70136/14Westlake Village, Calif.Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Klein, ChrisM6'1"18001/04/764/0St. Louis, Mo.Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
Llamosa, CarlosD5'11"16606/30/6916/0Maspeth, N.Y.Miami Fusion (MLS)
Mathis, ClintM/F5'10"17011/25/767/1Conyers, Ga.NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS)
McBride, BrianF6'1"17006/19/7246/14Arlington Heights, Ill.Columbus Crew (MLS)
Meola, TonyGK6'1"20502/21/6996/0Kearny, N.J.Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
Moore, Joe-MaxF5'9"15002/23/7183/22Irvine, Calif.Everton (England)
Olsen, BenM5'8"14005/03/7719/3Middletown, Pa.D.C. United (MLS)
Pope, EddieD6'1"18012/24/7337/4High Point, N.C.D.C. United (MLS)
Razov, AnteF6'1"17503/02/7413/4Whittier, Calif.Racing de Ferrol (Spain)
Regis, DavidD5'11"16012/02/6815/0Valenciennes, FranceFC Metz (France)
Reyna, ClaudioM5'9"16007/20/7378/8Springfield, N.J.Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)
Sanneh, TonyD/M6'2"19006/01/7115/1St. Paul, Minn.Hertha Berlin (Germany)
Stewart, EarnieM/F5'9"14503/28/6964/10Point Arena, Calif.NAC Breda (Holland)
Thornton, ZachGK6'3"21010/10/736/0Edgewood, Md.Chicago Fire (MLS)
Vanney, GregD5'11"16906/11/7412/0Tempe, Ariz.Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Williams, RichieM5'5"14506/03/7014/0Middletown, N.J.NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS)
Wolff, JoshF5'8"16002/25/774/1Stone Mountain, Ga.Chicago Fire (MLS)

Team Staff
Head CoachBruce ArenaFairfax, Va.
Assistant CoachDave SarachanAshburn, Va.
Goalkeeper CoachMilutin SoskicBakersfield, Calif.
General ManagerPam PerkinsEvanston, Ill.
Equipment ManagerAaron BarrettChicago
Director of SecurityGene WilliamsNew York
Press OfficerRich SchneiderChicago

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