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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. On to Final Round


U.S. MEN QUALIFY FOR FINAL ROUND OF QUALIFYING WITH ROUT OF PANAMA IN D.C.: The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region with an authoritative 6-0 trouncing of Panama on October 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The victory was paced by two goals from Landon Donovan and hat trick from second-half sub Ed Johnson. With one-game remaining in the semifinal round of qualifying, the U.S. is now 3-0-2 with 11 points, clinching first place outright in Group 1. The victory extended the USA’s record unbeaten streak to 12 games and improved the team’s 2004 record to 8-1-5. For Donovan, the goals were the 18th and 19th of his international career, moving him into fifth place all-time on the U.S. goal-scoring list, two ahead of Earnie Stewart. The goals were also his team-leading fourth and fifth tallies of the year and his third and fourth in World Cup qualifying play. Oguchi Onyewu came on in the 86th minute and is the 57th player under Manager Bruce Arena and the fourth this year to earn his first cap. The final U.S. semifinal round qualifying match is set for Nov. 17 against Jamaica at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio at 7:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips, and tape delayed on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

JOHNSON HAT TRICK THE FIRST FOR A SUB FOR THE U.S.: Landon Donovan’s double would have been enough for the U.S., but sub Ed Johnson’s hat trick made the night of October 13 a truly historic one for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Johnson’s hat trick was the eighth in U.S. MNT history and the first for a player entering a game as a substitute. The hat trick was also the third for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying history, with the previous two being a four-goal game from Aldo “Buff” Donelli vs. Mexico on May 24, 1934, and three-goal game from Peter Millar vs. Bermuda on Nov. 2, 1968. He became the eighth player in team history to score goals in his first two matches, and is just the third player in U.S. MNT history with as many as four goals in his first two games. Donelli scored five in 1934, and Bert Patenaude had four in 1928, but no other player has more than two. Additionally, Johnson is the third player in MNT history to score goals in his first two World Cup qualifying appearances, joining Brian Ching (who accomplished the feat just six weeks ago) and Eric Wynalda (who did it in 1996). Of the eight players with hat tricks in MNT history (no one has more than one), four of them were scored in the players’ first two games. Looking ahead, only one player in MNT history has scored in his first three caps, something which Ed Johnson will have a chance to do the next time he takes the field for the U.S.  Alexander Rae scored in his first three matches for the U.S. from Sept. 12-26, 1937, all against Mexico.

U.S. WOMEN CLOSER TO WIN RECORD AFTER ANOTHER “FCT” VICTORY: The U.S. Women's National Team earned a deserved 1-0 shutout in front of 20,435 fans at Arrowhead Stadium as Angela Hucles scored in the first half to lift her team over Mexico in the fifth match of the 10-game "Fan Celebration Tour." It was the largest crowd to watch the U.S. women in 2004, besting the previous high of 18,806 that saw the USA defeat New Zealand, 6-0, last weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio. The win moved the USA to 5-0-0 during the 10-game tour and 25-1-3 on the year.  The USA is now within two wins of breaking the record for most victories in a calendar year for the U.S. women (26, set in 2000), with five matches remaining on the "Fan Celebration Tour." On a chilly night in front of an appreciative crowd, the U.S. came up against a young, but pesky Mexican side that battled well against the Olympic champions on both ends of the field, The USA, which created nine corner kicks in the first 30 minutes, and 13 for the match, finally broke through in the 36th minute off a great build-up instigated by a dynamic penetrating dribble from Hamm.  The world's all-time leading scorer then sent a nice pass down the left flank to Aly Wagner, who bent a pin-point early ball on the ground into the penalty area to the streaking Hucles, who ripped her shot off of Mexico goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar's hands and into the lower right corner for her fifth career goal. Hucles rolled her ankle in the 81st minute and had to leave the match, and back-up goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was sent into the game to play forward (marking an extremely unique first cap for the 23-year-old Barnhart, a Stanford University senior). The "Fan Celebration Tour" stops next in Chicago as the USA plays the first of two matches against Ireland on Wednesday (Oct. 20) at Soldier Field (7:30 p.m. CT).  The team then travels to Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Saturday (Oct. 23, 7 p.m. CT) for the second leg.

NikeGO DONATING $1 FOR EVERY FAN CELEBRATION TOUR TICKET SOLD: For every ticket purchased during the 10-game U.S. Women's National Team "Fan Celebration Tour," NikeGO is donating $1 of Nike soccer product to support the increase of girls soccer participation in each city. NikeGO is a grassroots community outreach program designed to achieve Nike's overarching corporate goal of promoting youth health and fitness through sport. The donation of Nike soccer product is designed to support the increase in soccer participation among young girls in each city. Nike has also purchased 50 tickets for each game for youth involved with the recipient organization. Through the first five games of the tour, Nike has committed more than $77,000 in sports equipment toward this initiative.
2004 U.S. WNT “Fan Celebration Tour”
Game    Date                     Match-up / Result          Venue                              City                                Kickoff/Attendance
   1         Sat., Sept. 25      USA 4, Iceland 3             Frontier Field                  Rochester, N.Y.           14,870 (SO)
   2        Wed., Sept. 29    USA 3, Iceland 0             Heinz Field                      Pittsburgh, Pa.             6,386
   3         Sun., Oct. 3        USA 5, New Zealand 0   PGE Park                          Portland, Ore.              16,554
   4         Sun., Oct. 10      USA 6, New Zealand 0   Paul Brown Stadium      Cincinnati, Ohio          18,806
   5         Sat., Oct. 16       USA 1, Mexico 0             Arrowhead Stadium       Kansas City, Mo.        20,435
   6         Wed., Oct. 20    USA vs. Ireland               Soldier Field                   Chicago, Ill.                   7:30 p.m. CT
   7         Sat., Oct. 23       USA vs. Ireland               Reliant Stadium              Houston, Texas            5 p.m. CT
   8         Wed., Nov. 3     USA vs. Denmark           Giants Stadium               East Rutherford, N.J.   7:30 p.m. ET
   9         Sat., Nov. 6        USA vs. Denmark           Lincoln Financial Field  Philadelphia, Pa.           4 p.m. ET
   10       TBD                    TBD                                  TBD                                  TBD                                TBD

-- WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

U.S., MEXICO & GUATEMALA SECURE FIRST THREE SPOTS IN FINAL ROUND: With their 6-0 victory over Panama, the U.S. was the first team to clinch a spot in the final round of qualifying on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Later that night, both Guatemala (Group 2) and Mexico (Group 3) came away with victories in their respective qualifying group to also clinch spots in the final round. Canada and St. Kitts & Nevis have been eliminated. With one game left to play for every team (except Mexico and St. Kitts), seven teams will be vying for the final three spots in next year’s hexagonal. In Group 1, the race for second place is open to all three teams. Jamaica advances with a win, or a tie coupled with a Panama tie or loss. Panama clinches with a win and a Jamaica loss or tie, or a tie and a Jamaica loss. El Salvador can still sneak in with a win and a loss by Jamaica. In Group 2, Honduras needs a win at home vs. Costa Rica to go through, while the Ticos need a win or tie to make it to the next round. In Group 3, St. Vincent & the Grenadines are holding on, but will need a three-goal victory on the road to beat out Trinidad & Tobago for the second spot in a group dominated by Mexico.
MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Results
Date             Opponent      Venue; City                                                                         Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 18       Jamaica           National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                             1-1 T      Ching
Sept. 4         El Salvador    Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass                                      2-0 W    Ching, Donovan
Sept. 8         Panama           Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama      1-1 T      Jones
Oct. 9          El Salvador     Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador              2-0 W    McBride, Johnson
Oct. 13        Panama           RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.                                     6-0 W    Donovan (2), Johnson (3), Own Goal
MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule
Date        Opponent       Venue; City                                        Kickoff (local)    TV
Nov. 17    Jamaica           Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio    7:30 p.m. ET        ESPN2 (Live); Telemundo (TD-11:30 p.m. ET/PT)
Group 1 Standings
Teams           GP    W    L    T    GF    GA    GD    Pts.
y-USA           5      3     0     2    12       2     +10    11
Jamaica          5      1     1     3     6        4     +2       6
Panama          5      1     2     2     5      11      -6      5
El Salvador    5      1     2     1     2        8      -6       4

Group 2 Standings                  
Team               P    W    L    T    GF    GA    GD    PTS  
x-Guatemala    5     3     1     1      7       8       -1      10  
Costa Rica      5     3     2     0     12       8      +4       9  
Honduras       5     1     1     3      9       7       +2       6  
z-Canada        5     0     3     2      3       8       -5       2  

Group 3 Standings
Team                         P    W    L    T    GF    GA    GD     PTS
y-Mexico                  4     4     0    0     14      1      +13     12
Trinidad/Tobago    5     3     2     0    10       8      +2        9
St. Vincent/Gren.    5     2     3     0     4       10      -6       6
z-St. Kitts/Nevis     4     0     4     0     2       11      -9       0

x – clinched final round berth  
y-clinched top group spot
z- eliminated

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

KRIKORIAN SELECTS U-19 SQUAD FOR FIFA U-19 WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:  U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team head coach Mark Krikorian named the 21 players that will represent the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, to be played from Nov. 10-27 in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. The tournament is just one of three FIFA-sanctioned world championship tournaments for women after the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics, and the only FIFA-sanctioned world championship for youth women. The second FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship will feature players born on or after January 1, 1985. The naming of the roster culminates almost two years of preparation for the young U.S. players, which make up a talented and deep squad featuring four members of the U.S. team that won the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in 2002.  Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defender Rachel Buehler, midfielder Angie Woznuk and forward Kerri Hanks will get the chance to play in their second youth world championship tournament.  Harris and Buehler were starters on the 2002 team while Hanks and Woznuk, the two leading scorers for the USA this year with 12 and eight goals respectively, were reserves who will likely get their chance to make their mark on the world’s stage.
U-19 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Laura Comeau (Virginia), Kelsey Davis (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Ashlyn Harris (North Carolina); DEFENDERS (5): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Meagan Holmes (Timinium, Md.), Nikki Krzyski (Clifton, N.J.), Stephanie Lopez (Portland), Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia); MIDFIELDERS (8): Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.), Sheree Gray (Penn State), Stephanie Kron (UCLA), Stacy Lindstrom (UCLA), Stephanie Logterman (Texas), Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.), Jen Redmond (Virginia), Angie Woznuk (Portland); FORWARDS (5): Kerri Hanks (Notre Dame), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Megan Rapinoe (Portland), Jessica Rostedt (Kent, Ohio), Meghan Schnur (UConn)

U-17 ’88 MNT SHUTOUT AJAX ORLANDO TWICE WITH DOMINATING VICTORIES: The U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team came away with two blowout victories on Oct. 16, defeating the Ajax Orlando U-18s 6-0 in their first match before doubling that scoreline with a 12-0 victory against the Ajax Orlando U-17s. Combining players from both age groups in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program (‘88s and ‘89s) for the two games, the USA’s victories were never in doubt against the local club program. In the first match against the Ajax Orlando U-18s, five different players scored for the U.S. before an own goal in the 75th minute capped off the 6-0 rout. Forward Quavas Kirk and Kyle Nakazawa led the way with a goal and an assist each, while Gabriel Farfan, Josmer Altidore, and Kevin Alston also found the back of the net, and Michael Balogun assisted on two of the goals. In the 12-0 drubbing against the Ajax Orlando U-17s, midfielder Drew Yates led the way with seven points (2 goals, 3 assists), while the top goal scorer was Eric Avila who notched three on the afternoon. Six other players scored for the U.S., including Eddie Ababio (2 goals, 1 assist) who broke open the scoring in the fourth minute after collecting a punt from goalkeeper Evan Newton and beating his defenders and slipping it past the Ajax ‘keeper. The U-17s will play two more games this weekend as they take on Florida International University on Saturday (Oct. 23), before taking on Weston SC U-18s on Sunday (Oct. 24).
U.S. U-17 ’88 MNT Results
Date        Opponent                      Result       U.S. Goal Scorers
Oct. 16    Ajax Orlando U-18s     6-0 W        G. Farfan, Kirk, Nakazawa, Altidore, Alston, Own goal
Oct. 16    Ajax Orlando U-17s     12-0 W      Ababio (2), Sarkodie, Arvizu, Avila (3), Nunez, Subotic, M. Farfan, Yates (2)
U.S. U-17 MNT Schedule
Date            Opponent
Oct. 23        Florida International Univ.
Oct. 24        Weston SC U-18

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

MLS PLAYOFFS SET; BUDWEISER SCORING CHAMPION IS CROWNED: The dates for the first round of the MLS Cup Playoff Conference Semifinals are now set following the regular season finale between D.C. United and the MetroStars on Oct. 17. The 3-2 victory by D.C. United at RFK Stadium allowed them to overtake the MetroStars for second place in the Eastern Conference, securing home field for Game 2 of the home-and-home, aggregate goal Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Also last weekend, the Chicago Fire were held out of postseason play for the first time in club history as New England was able to leap-frog the Fire in the standings with a 2-1 victory. In the Western Conference, the San Jose Earthquakes tied the Dallas Burn 2-2 to hold onto the final playoff spot in the West as the Burn missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season. MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara (10 goals, 10 assists for 30 points) did not figure in the scoring over the weekend, thus failing to break a tie with New England Revolution forward Pat Noonan (11 goals, 8 assists for 30 points) in the Budweiser scoring table. Both players will share the crown awarded to the player with the highest point total at the end of the regular season (two points for a goal and one point for an assist). It marks the first time in MLS history that the Budweiser scoring title is shared.
2004 MLS Cup Playoff Schedule
Eastern Conference
Date        Match-Up                                                                Venue; City                                            Kickoff (local)     TV
Oct. 23    Columbus Crew at New England Revolution     Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.       7:30 p.m. ET         TBD
Oct. 23    D.C. United at MetroStars                                     Giants Stadium; E. Rutherford, N.J.   7:30 p.m. ET         TBD
Oct. 30    MetroStars at D.C. United                                     RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.       7 p.m. ET              TBD
Oct. 31    New England Revolution at Columbus Crew     Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio          5 p.m. ET              ESPN2
Western Conference
Date        Match-Up                                                                    Venue; City                                                   Kickoff (local)     TV
Oct. 22    Los Angeles Galaxy at Colorado Rapids                Invesco Field; Denver, Colo.                     7:30 p.m. MT       MLS DK (TD)
Oct. 24    Kansas City Wizards at San Jose Earthquakes    Spartan Stadium; San Jose, Calif.               2 p.m. PT             ESPN2
Oct. 30    San Jose Earthquakes at Kansas City Wizards    Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, Mo.    7:30 p.m. CT        TBD
Oct. 30    Colorado Rapids at Los Angeles Galaxy               The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.    7 p.m. PT             TBD

 
*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: MNT Manager Bruce Arena was able to push the right buttons through the first five games of the semifinal round of qualifying. Newcomers Brian Ching and Ed Johnson scored five of the team’s 12 goals, old standby Cobi Jones came back into the fold to score an important goal in Panama, and Landon Donovan stellar performances wearing the captain’s arm band for the first time. Six of the 12 U.S. goals were scored by substitutes, including three of the team’s four goals away from home.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Congratulations to the U.S. Open Cup champion Kansas City Wizards for winning the MLS Western Conference. Your reward? You get to play the defending champion San Jose Earthquakes next Sunday at 2 p.m. PT live on ESPN2. The Wizards already had to go through San Jose en route to their first championship of 2004, and now will have to face a pair of players in Landon Donovan and Brian Ching who have a knack for the big goals in big games (see World Cup Qualifying).

SOCCER SHOCKER: Liechtenstein, which boasts a population similar to New York City circa 1776 (33,000) and has only played in international soccer tournaments since 1994, shocked Portugal with a 2-2 tie last weekend. Not yet satisfied, on Oct. 13, they upset Luxembourg 4-0 for the country's first road win since their soccer federation was established 70 years ago. Another European minnow, Andorra, picked up its first victory in either a World Cup or European qualifier since joining FIFA in 1996 with a 1-0 win over Macedonia.

QUOTABLE:  “The ball came in, I went for the near post and I got up for the ball and headed it down. It hit off a defender's foot and went in. They called it an own goal, but I'm claiming it. He (the defender) didn't know anything about it."
          --U.S. MNT defender Oguchi Onyewu, who directed a cross toward the goal before it was deflected into the net by Panama defender Jose Torres. The referee ruled that the tally was an own goal.

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