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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Men Head Back to Europe to Meet Germany Wednesday


U.S. LOOKING FOR THREE IN-A-ROW AGAINST GERMANS: The U.S. MNT will be looking to extend an unprecedented streak against one of the top teams in the world when the U.S. travels to Rostock, Germany, to face the three-time world champions on Wednesday (March 27) at 2:45 p.m. ET.  The match will be televised via tape delay at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and at 11:30 p.m. ET on Telemundo. The U.S. has shutout Germany in their last two encounters, winning 3-0 on Feb. 6, 1999, in Jacksonville, Fla., and 2-0 on July 30, 1999, at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Those matches mark the only time the U.S. has posted consecutive shutouts against a European team in a calendar year and account for the team’s only two wins against Germany. The March 27 match marks the first USA-Germany game on German soil since the country’s unification.  The U.S. and Germany became familiar foes in the 1990s, playing seven times (including two U.S. matches against East Germany). The U.S. holds a 2-3-0 record against Germany, and a 0-2-0 record against East Germany.  The Germans last lifted the World Cup in Italy 1990 and are the only team in history to reach the championship game in three straight tournaments (1982, 1986 and 1990). In addition, they are three-time winners of the European Championship (1972, 1980 and 1996.)

INJURED GIBBS LEAVES CAMP AS U.S. MNT ARRIVES IN GERMANY:  St. Pauli defender Cory Gibbs left the U.S. Men's National Team training camp today in Rostock, Germany with a slight right hamstring strain suffered prior to his arrival yesterday. The 22-year-old defender had been called into a full U.S. camp for the first time, but was unable to train with the squad.  He will not be replaced on the USA's 19-man roster. The U.S. conducted a media availability for the German press earlier today, with three German-based professionals and U.S. head coach Bruce Arena addressing a crowd of reporters at the team hotel.  Curiously, the three players doing interviews were Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen) and Tony Sanneh (FC Nurnberg), and it was not lost on the German media that they are all vying for the USA's starting right back position. Cherundolo did his interviews completely in German. The contingent of seven Major League Soccer players arrived this morning and trained with the team late this afternoon at the team's first full training session. From head coach Bruce Arena in Germany: "We have had a great run so far this year, and this game is going to give us another chance to see our European players together. This is going to be a difficult match for us for a number of reasons: the travel for our MLS players has been difficult, we are playing on the road in Europe, and, obviously, because Germany is one of the top teams in the world."

TICKET SALES SURPASS 25,000 FOR APRIL 3 U.S.-MEXICO FRIENDLY IN DENVER: Off to the best start in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team with a 6-1-1 record, the U.S. team plays their next four matches against teams that have qualified for the 2002 World Cup.  After Wednesday’s match versus Germany, the U.S. regroups on Sunday (March 31) to get ready for next Wednesday’s (April 3) match against border rival Mexico at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Over 25,000 tickets have been sold for the friendly, which kicks off at 8 p.m. MT and will be televised live on Telemundo and the Futbol de Primera radio network. For tickets, call TicketMaster at 303-830-TIXS.

MNT EURO UPDATE: After missing two games due to injury, Claudio Reyna made his return for Sunderland, going all 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Southampton. After appearing in his club’s last two games as a second-half sub, Jovan Kirovski got the start and played 69  minutes in Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over Walsall. John Thorrington earned his seventh consecutive start for Huddersfield Town, playing 73 minutes in the club’s 2-0 win over Northampton. The win was the team’s fourth consecutive, giving them a 4-0-3 record in their last seven matches in the England’s Second Division. Greg Vanney made his 11th straight appearance for FC Bastia of the French First Division as they defeated Montpelier 3-0.  In the Netherlands, John O'Brien put in another 90 minutes for league-leading Ajax, who are now unbeaten in their last 10 matches with a 1-1 draw at PSV. Earnie Stewart played all 90 minutes of NAC Breda's 3-3 draw with Vitesse and was carded in the 35th minute. In Germany, Tony Sanneh started and played a full 90 minutes, but FC Nurnberg suffered its fourth consecutive loss, falling 2-0 to Hertha Berlin. Cory Gibbs earned his third consecutive start for FC St. Pauli, but they fell 2-1 to VfB Stuttgart and Gibbs received a yellow card in the 8th minute.

— U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —

U.S. UNDER-17s HEAD TO FRANCE FOR MONTAIGUE TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team, fresh off placing fifth in the Mundialito Joao Havelange two weeks ago, headed overseas this weekend for the four-team Montaigue Tournament in Montaigue, France.  The U-17’s will kick off tomorrow (March 26) against Portugal, followed by a match versus Tunisia on Wednesday (March 27). The semi-finals and tournament final are set for March 30 and April 1, respectively. The following is a complete match schedule:
Montaigue Tournament – Montaigue, France
Date         Opponent      Kickoff (local)  Location
March 26  Portugal                   6 p.m.     Montaigue, France
March 27  Tunisia                     4 p.m.     Montaigue, France
March 30  Semifinals / placement TBD   Montaigue, France
April 1  Final / placement        TBD       Montaigue, France

U-21 AND U-19 WNTs FINISH WUSA TRAINING CAMP: The WUSA West Coast Pre-season Tournament, featuring the San Diego Spirit and the San Jose CyberRays, as well as the U.S. Under-21 and U.S. Under-19 Women's National Teams and the U.S. Amateur Team, concluded this weekend after running from March 17-23 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The U.S. U-19 WNT finished with an undefeated record of 2-0-2, including a 5-1 win over the San Jose Cyber Rays split-squad on March 19 and a 3-0 win over the U.S. U-21 WNT on March 23.  U-19 stars Lindsey Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Angela Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.) had two-goal games is in the big win over the CyberRay reserves, while Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.) notched a pair in the win over the U-21s. The following are the final results of the WUSA West Coast Pre-season:
WUSA West Coast Pre-season Tournament Results
March 17-23, 2002 – ARCO Olympic Training Center

Sunday, March 17
U-19 WNT 1, U-21 WNT 1
Tuesday, March 19
U-19 WNT 5, San Jose CyberRays 1
San Diego Spirit 2, U-21 WNT 0
U-21 WNT 1, San Jose CyberRays 1
San Diego Spirit 6, U.S. Amateur Team 0
Thursday, March 21
 U-19 WNT 2, San Diego Spirit 2
U-21 WNT 0, U.S. Amateur Team 0
Saturday, March 23
U-19 WNT 3, U-21 WNT 0
San Diego Spirit vs. San Jose CyberRays  (in Las Vegas, Nev.)

— AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —

YEAR SEVEN OF MLS KICKS OFF WITH SOLID ACTION, CROWDS: The 2002 MLS season kicked off this week, with all 10 teams in action. The L.A. Galaxy used two goals in a span of eight minutes from newcomer Carlos “El Pescado” Ruiz, who struck in the 85th minute and added a penalty kick goal in the second minute of overtime, to upend D.C. United 2-1 in front of more than 20,000 fans at the Rose Bowl. The Chicago Fire benefited from a Chad McCarty own goal and added a late Josh Wolff strike to beat Columbus 2-0 at Crew Stadium. The new forward combination of Landon Donovan and Dwayne DeRosario looked dangerous as both players found the net to help the defending MLS Cup champions San Jose down Dallas 2-0. In Kansas City, a crowd of 11,769 welcomed home Preki, who provided the assist on the Wizards only goal in a 1-1 draw with the revamped Colorado Rapids. The MetroStars continued their winning ways with a 3-1 win over the much-improved New England Revolution, with newly-acquired forward Diego Serna providing both assists on goals from Clint Mathis and Rodrigo Faria. The 28-game regular season will run through Sept. 22, with 85% of the league’s matches will take place on weekends.
MLS 2002 Opening Weekend Results / Attendance
Date      Result                         Attendance

March 23 L.A. 2, D.C. 1 (OT)       20,602 (Rose Bowl)
March 23 Chicago 2, Columbus 0   18,450 (Crew Stadium)
March 23 San Jose 2, Dallas 0      15,214 (Cotton Bowl)
March 23 Kansas City 1, Colorado 1   11,769 (Arrowhead Stadium)
March 23 NY/NJ 3, New England 1   13,214 (Giants Stadium)

U.S. FUTSAL TEAM CRUSHES CANADA, TIES MEXICO IN FIRST-EVER DOMESTIC MATCHES:  After an intense three-day training camp, the U.S. Futsal National Team played their first-ever matches on American soil last week crushing Canada 10-0 in Baltimore, Md. then battling Mexico to a 1-1 tie.  The young U.S. training camp roster, under Head Coach Keith Tozer, featured only seven players with international experience and nine Americans earning their first futsal cap in the encounter against Canada at the UMBC's (University of Maryland Baltimore County) Retriever Activity Center Arena in Baltimore.  Forward Bernie Lilavois (Buena Park, Calif.) led the offense against Canada last Wednesday notching three goals (hat trick) and dished out two assists, while defender Pat White (Milwaukee Wave-MISL) also had three tallies and forward Mark Thomas added a goal and two assists for the USA.  The 10-0 result is the largest margin of victory by the USA since the program’s inception in 1986.  It was also the most goals scored by the U.S. since November 28, 1996, in a 10-2 victory over Malaysia during the FIFA World Championship in Spain.  The Americans concluded the home-stand the following night with an exciting 1-1 draw against Mexico at American University's Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. With the two results, the Americans improve their overall record against CONCACAF teams to 8-2-1. Mexico defeated Canada 7-1 in the final game of the three-team invitational, giving the U.S. the title on goal differential (+10 to Mexico’s +6). The U.S. squad will travel to Belgium for their next international event at the 2002 Genk Cup from May 8-11.

IOWA REFEREE TERRY VAUGHN RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT:  U.S. Soccer referee Terry Vaughn has received a unique selection to officiate in Northern Ireland by the organizers of the Under-17 Ballymena International Tournament taking place from April 28-May 7.  The international selection is the first for the 28-year-old Vaughn, who will celebrate a birthday next week.  A National Referee for U.S. Soccer since 1998, Vaughn hails from Marion, Iowa, where it is very rare to receive this type of distinction because of the scarcity of high-level international and professional games near his home.  Currently working the middle of the field for Major League Soccer and games across the United States, Vaughn used to drive from Iowa to Chicago to serve as a fourth official to gain the experience to eventually earn professional assignments.  In addition to MLS matches, he also works Women's United Soccer Association games.  The eight-team Ballymena International Tournament will feature teams from Austria, Belgium, England, Israel, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales competing in two groups of four. The U.S. are in a group with Austria, Scotland and Wales.

SEITZ TO OFFICIATE AT U-19 WOMEN'S QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT IN MAY: U.S. Soccer referee Keri Seitz has been selected by FIFA to officiate at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Trinidad & Tobago in advance of the first FIFA Under-19 Women's World Cup championship.  The U-19 qualifying in T&T will take place from May 5-12, and will feature two groups of four teams each in which the first-place finisher will qualify for the U-19 Women's World Championship in Canada in August.  The 31-year-old Seitz is from California and has been a FIFA official since 1999.  Last year she worked the 2001 Nordic Cup for Under-20 women's teams in Norway.

INTERNATIONAL SPORTS MEDICINE CONFERENCE IN BEVERLY HILLS: The leaders from the world of soccer and medicine came together this weekend at the first ever International Football and Sports Medicine Conference that was staged at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. With  the world’s foremost experts addressing long-term health and safety issues for athletes worldwide at every level of soccer competition, the conference was an educational experience for over 300 coaches, trainers and doctors. The conference was open to practicing professionals in the field of Sports Medicine.

— A LOOK AHEAD —

A quick glance at U.S. National Team games taking place over the next two weeks:
Date        Match-up                                 Location
March 26  U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Portugal    Montaigue, France
March 27  U.S. MNT vs. Germany              Rostock, Germany
March 27  U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Tunisia     Montaigue, France
March 30  U.S. Under-17 Placement Match     Montaigue, France
April 1      U.S. Under-17 Placement Match     Montaigue, France
April 3      U.S. MNT vs. Mexico                 Denver, Colo.

U.S. SOCCER . . . . . . . . . .  SPOTLIGHT  . . . . . . . . . . U.S.
SOCCER

PEAK PERFORMER: Bernie Lilavois notched his first international hat trick for the U.S. Futsal National Team in the 10-0 blanking of Canada in the first-ever futsal international match played in the U.S. last Wednesday in Baltimore, Md.  The former Harrisburg Heat forward also dished out two assists to lead the U.S. offense in snapping Canada's four-game international unbeaten streak.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Three in a row? That’s what the U.S. Men’s National Team will be working for when they face Germany on Wednesday (March 27) at 2:45 p.m. ET. (Televised on tape delay at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and 1:30 p.m. ET on Telemundo). With the win, the U.S. could even its al-time record against unified Germany at 3-3-0 and earn a first-ever rifecta against a European opponent.

SOCCER SHOCKER:  The two teams that gained the most from the contraction f the two Florida teams in the off-season and went into the 2002 loaded on paper – the Colorado Rapids and the New England Revolution – only mustered one point between them this weekend. Despite both teams leading in the second half, the Rapids could only muster a 1-1 tie with K.C. and the Revs gave up three goals to fall 3-1.

QUOTABLE: “The shot was deflected by one of our defenders and I didn’t really get a good look at it until it was right on me. So I did what I thought I could do and got my (left) leg out and I’m lucky I have size 12 feet.  I needed all of it to get it.”
-- U.S. Futsal National Team goalkeeper Dan Green, who made a crucial kick save at the game's end to preserve the 1-1 draw against Mexico.

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