U.S. Under-23 MNT One Day Away From Opening Olympic Qualifying Campaign
U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team
Olympic Qualifying Notes
March 10, 2008
A DAY AWAY: After all the preparation and hard work, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team is just a day away from its opening game of 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying against Cuba, on Tuesday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET in Tampa, Fla. Following tomorrow’s match, the U.S. continues Group A play against Panama on March 13 at 8 p.m. ET, and Honduras on March 15 at 7 p.m. ET. All three U.S. games will be played as second legs of Group A doubleheaders taking place at Raymond James Stadium.
CATCH THE GAMES LIVE ON FSC AND ESPN DEPORTES: Live coverage of the USA’s path towards an Olympic berth will be provided by Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes as the English-language and Spanish-language exclusive rights holders, respectively. FSC will broadcast seven games live, including all three USA group games, both semifinal matches and the final and third-place games. ESPN Deportes will broadcast all 16 matches of the tournament. Along with ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com will also show the full schedule of games live online, and the online provider will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion.
Group A (Tampa, Florida; Raymond James Stadium)
Date Home Visitor Kickoff (local) Television
March 11 Panama Honduras 5:30 p.m. ET ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 11 USA Cuba 8 p.m. ET FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 13 Honduras Cuba 5:30 p.m. ET ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 13 USA Panama 8 p.m. ET FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 15 Cuba Panama 4:30 p.m. ET ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 15 USA Honduras 7 p.m. ET FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
Final Stage (Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field)
Date Matchup Kickoff (local) Television
March 20 Semifinal 1 * 5 p.m. CT FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 20 Semifinal 2 * 8 p.m. CT FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 23 Third-Place Match 1 p.m. CT FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
March 23 Final 4 p.m. CT FSC/ESPN Deportest/ESPN360.com
* Winner advances to 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
NINETEEN IN TAMPA, ONE ON HIS WAY: Head coach Peter Nowak named the 20-player roster for 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in advance of the team’s first game against Cuba, but not all have arrived. Defender Jonathan Spector is the only player not in Tampa, as he is currently still with his club team, West Ham United, in England. If the U.S. advances to the knockout stage, Spector will meet the team in Nashville in preparation for the semifinal.
U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Dominic Cervi (not under contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)
A LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS: Cuba, the USA’s first opponent, has named an 18-player roster for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The island nation progressed to the final round of the tournament by defeating Grenada and finishing first in its group, ahead of Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada.
Cuba Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): José Miranda, Arael Argüelles.
DEFENDERS (6): Yanier Bermúdez, Raicel Mezquía, Juan Carlos Martínez, Loanny Cartaya, Yendris Díaz, Elis García
MIDFIELDERS (6): Enrique Villaurrutia, Alianni Urgellés, Alexei Carrazana, Yordanis Álvarez, Eder Roldán, Liván Vasconcelos.
FORWARDS (4): Leonel Duarte, Yasnier Rosales, Roberto Linares y Luis Villegas
TICKETS STILL ON SALE: Tickets are still available for all 16 matches being played during 2008 Olympic Qualifying. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities (Tampa | Los Angeles | Nashville).
HIGH-LEVEL EXPERIENCE: Eleven players on the roster have earned full-team caps, with Jonathan Spector’s 11 total appearances for the senior side leading the way amongst full U.S. internationals. Eddie Gaven and Sacha Kljestan have five caps each, while Freddy Adu and Maurice Edu both have four. Five players have less than four, including Kamani Hill, Marvell Wynne, Sal Zizzo, Charlie Davies, Jozy Altidore and Robbie Findley.
STUDIO 90 ON AIR: Studio 90 has been dispatched to Florida to cover the U-23s run towards Olympic Qualification and the popular web show has already checked in with the first in a series of episodes from Tampa. In this edition, the squad of twenty players took time out from preparations to introduce themselves to the fans, and head coach Peter Nowak also sat down for an exclusive one on one interview.
CAPTAIN MO: Midfielder Maurice Edu has been named the team’s captain for the qualifying campaign. The 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year has made four appearances for the Men’s National Team since his debut for Bob Bradley’s team against Switzerland last year, and has become a leader both on and off the field for the Under-23s.
PLAYERS TALK PREPARATION: Forward Jozy Altidore and midfielders Sacha Kljestan and Maurice Edu talked to ussoccer.com in advance of the USA’s opening game of Olympic Qualifying. The players spoke about their nine-day training camp, their experience with the Men’s National Team and how the team has prepared for the qualifying tournament. For a full quote sheet from the interviews click here.
BLOG ROLLS ON: Despite the attention being focused on this qualifying tournament, no source can provide an inside look at the team in the way like the YNT Blog. Catch up on all the exclusive photos, video and behind-the-scenes scoop before, during and after qualifying games at http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/
- Altidore became the youngest U.S. goalscorer of the modern era when he scored his first goal for the MNT in his first start for the team on February 6 against Mexico. He was also the fourth-leading goal scorer overall at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup in Canada, tallying four goals in five games.
- A total of five players, including Altidore, were part of the USA’s quarterfinal run in Canada at the U-20 World Cup last summer. Altidore, Adu, Zizzo, Chris Seitz, and Dax McCarty make up the contingent of players that came within one game of a semifinal appearance in last year’s world championship.
- Five players – Adu, Davies, Hill, Michael Orozco and Zizzo – play for clubs outside of Major League Soccer. Orozco plays for San Luis in Mexico, while the rest of the group play for teams across the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal, Sweden and Germany.
- The MLS contingent is led by Edu, who earned 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year honors and Kljestan, who ranked third in Major League Soccer with 13 assists in 2007.
- Of the 15 domestic-based players in camp, Real Salt Lake has the most representatives with the trio of Robbie Findley, Seitz and Nathan Sturgis.
- Goalkeeper Dominic Cervi made the qualifying roster after being part of his first-ever National Team camp at any level in January.
- The U.S. has never played Cuba at the Under-23 level, but has had seven all-time meetings with the senior side, picking up 5-1-1 record dating back to 1947.