The 22-man squad will look to continue the USA's unbeaten 4-0-1 record in the final round of qualification. Earnie Stewart became the U.S. all-time leading scorer in World Cup qualifying competition when he netted his seventh career goal in the USA's 2-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago on June 20. Veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller, coming off his fifth consecutive shutout in World Cup qualifying competition, will have the chance to earn his 50th international cap for the United States.
"We are pleased with the team's performance so far, and now face a tremendous challenge in playing against Mexico," said Arena. "Azteca is one of the most difficult stadiums in the world to play in. Certainly the Mexicans have had a lot of success there. We hope to have a solid week of preparation in Ft. Lauderdale and will try to earn a positive result in Mexico City."
Arena has called on 13 players from MLS squads, led by Chicago fire midfielder and Chevrolet 2000 Player of the Year Chris Armas. Miami Fusion FC once again makes the largest contribution, sending four players. Fusion midfielder Chris Henderson makes his first appearance in training camp since the USA's last meeting against Mexico in October 2000. San Jose Earthquakes defender Jeff Agoos earned Chevrolet Man of the Match honors in anchoring the U.S. defense to its eighth shutout in the 2002 qualifying campaign.
The United States are 2-12-5 all-time in qualifying against the Tri-Color, and have never defeated Mexico in Mexico City (earning just a single draw in 10 matches at Azteca, including a crucial point in their last qualifying match in Mexico back on Nov. 2, 1997, while playing with 10 men). The USA captured the first qualifying leg earlier this year, with Josh Wolff netting his first career-qualifying goal in the 2-0 win before a raucous crowd of 24,624 in Columbus, Ohio on February 28. While that match was billed as "La Guerra Fria" ("the cold war"), Sunday's contest is being hailed as "revancha" ("revenge match").
The Mexicans boast an imposing 44-1-5 all-time home record in World Cup qualifying, their lone loss coming to Costa Rica just last week. Newly appointed head coach Javier Aguirre has made several changes to a side that has struggled through the final round. Aguirre, who led Pachuca to the 2000 Mexican league championship and the finals this past season, has recalled U.S. nemesis Juan Garcia Aspe and added three players from Mexican Torneo de Verano champion Santos and six players from Copa Libertadores finalists Cruz Azul. Still leading the charge for Mexico is Claudio Suarez, the world's all-time leading cap-winner with 161 appearances for the national team.
The match will mark the first time in U.S. Soccer history that ESPN has acquired the English-language broadcast rights for an away qualifier in Mexico. With two other road games scheduled for broadcast in September and October, fans of the U.S. men will have seen 7 of 8 road qualifiers broadcast in either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, with the eighth going to fans live on pay-per-view.
The U.S. will train June 25-30 in Ft. Lauderdale prior to departing for Mexico City. The full training schedule will be released Monday, June 25.
|United States Men's National Team Player Pool|
|Agoos, Jeff||D||5'10"||175||05/02/68||111/3||Dallas||S.J. Earthquakes (MLS)|
|Armas, Chris||M||5'7"||150||08/27/72||30/2||Brentwood, N.Y.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Berhalter, Gregg||D||6'1"||175||08/01/73||21/0||Tenafly, N.J.||Crystal Palace (England)|
|Cherundolo, Steve||D||5'6"||145||02/19/79||6/0||San Diego, Calif.||Hannover 96 (Germany)|
|Fraser, Robin||D||6'1"||175||12/17/66||28/0||Denver, Colo.||Colorado Rapids (MLS)|
|Henderson, Chris||M||5'10"||150||12/11/70||78/3||Everett, Wash.||Miami Fusion (MLS)|
|Jones, Cobi||M||5'7"||145||06/16/70||139/14||Westlake Village, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Keller, Kasey||GK||6'2"||190||11/29/69||49/0||Lacey, Wash.||Rayo Vallecano (Spain)|
|Kirovski, Jovan||F||6'1"||175||03/18/76||48/7||Escondido, Calif.||Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)|
|Klein, Chris||M||6'1"||180||01/04/76||5/0||St. Louis, Mo.||Kansas City Wizards (MLS)|
|Llamosa, Carlos||D||5'11"||166||06/30/69||21/0||Maspeth, N.Y.||Miami Fusion (MLS)|
|Mastroeni, Pablo||D/M||5'10"||170||08/26/76||1/0||Phoenix, Ariz.||Miami Fusion (MLS)|
|McBride, Brian||F||6'1"||170||06/19/72||48/14||Arlington Heights, Ill.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|Moore, Joe-Max||F||5'9"||150||02/23/71||87/22||Irvine, Calif.||Everton (England)|
|Presthus, Tom||GK||6'4"||205||04/05/75||1/0||Dallas||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|Razov, Ante||F||6'1"||175||03/02/74||17/5||Whittier, Calif.||Racing de Ferrol (Spain)|
|Regis, David||D||5'11"||160||12/02/68||20/0||Valenciennes, France||FC Metz (France)|
|Rimando, Nick||GK||5'11"||181||06/17/79||0/0||Montclair, Calif.||Miami Fusion (MLS)|
|Sanneh, Tony||D/M||6'2"||190||06/01/71||22/1||St. Paul, Minn.||FC Nürnberg (Germany)|
|Stewart, Earnie||M/F||5'9"||145||03/28/69||69/13||Point Arena, Calif.||NAC Breda (Holland)|
|Vanney, Greg||D||5'11"||169||06/11/74||13/0||Tempe, Ariz.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Williams, Richie||M||5'5"||145||06/03/70||16/0||Middletown, N.J.||NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS)|
|Head Coach||Bruce Arena||Fairfax, Va.|
|Assistant Coach||Dave Sarachan||Ashburn, Va.|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Peter Mellor||Tampa, Fla.|
|General Manager||Pam Perkins||Evanston, Ill.|
|Trainers||Jim Hashimoto||Wilmington, Del.|
|David Andrews||Seattle, Wash.|
|Equipment Manager||Aaron Barrett||Chicago|
|Director of Security||Gene Williams||New York|
|Press Officer||Michael Kammarman||Chicago|