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Futsal Team Arrives in Costa Rica, CONCACAF Championship Begins Friday

U.S. Futsal Team Training Notes
CONCACAF Championship
San Jose, Costa Rica
July 21, 2004

U.S. ARRIVES IN COSTA RICA TO BEGIN TRAINING FOR THE CONCACAF FUTSAL CHAMPIONSHIP: The U.S. staff and players arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Monday night between 8 and 9 p.m. local time to begin preparations for the 2004 CONCACAF Futsal Championship. The half of the contingent based on the East Coast had a flight connecting in Miami, while the balance of the players and staff, including head coach Keith Tozer, connected in Dallas prior arriving in Costa Rica. The first obstacle upon landing was that the modern jet ways were not working, so passengers had to deplane onto the tarmac before boarding a bus for a journey of a few hundred yards to the terminal. The U.S. passed through customs, and, with the help of a skycap who knew how to earn a good tip, passed through baggage screening as a large group, skipping a line that snaked throughout the baggage claim area. A short ride in the 'autobus' and the U.S. was settled in their home away from home for the next two weeks.

TWO TRAINING SESSIONS NOW COMPLETE FOR THE U.S.: The U.S. has completed back-to-back training sessions at the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte y la Recreacion. Located just up the road from the U.S. hotel (across from the McDonald's), the multi-use facility features a hard wood floor lined for several sports, including futsal, basketball and volleyball. More of a small arena, the facility houses the offices of many sports organizations and is just a short walk from the Costa Rican federation's headquarters. Wednesday's training was originally set to be held in the Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia, where the matches will be played, but last minute repairs were being made and a new coat of paint on the floor was drying. During training, the U.S. has focused on offensive and defensive tactics for a majority of the time, with assistant coach "Vava" Marques and Tozer leading the way. With a tournament ahead, each practice concludes with each player taking penalty kicks.

TWO RETURN FROM 2000 THIRD-PLACE TEAM, DUO TO CO-CAPTAIN U.S. SQUAD: Team captains and defenders Sean Bowers and Lee Tschantret are the only players making a return trip as the U.S. finish third at the 2004 championship, and they bring the most experience of any players to the team. Bowers leads the team and is second in U.S. history with 26 caps. Tschantret has 14 caps, second best on the team, and along with Bowers has six career international goals to lead the squad. Bowers currently plays for the San Diego Sockers of the MISL and may be one of the players soccer fans recognize most, as he played 111 games in Major League Soccer with the Kansas City Wizards before returning to the indoor game. Tschantret plies his trade for the Baltimore Blast of the MISL, where he has helped his squad to back-to-back League Championship Series crowns.  

U.S. TOPS TOUGH LOCAL CLUB TEAM 1-0 IN PREPARATION FRIENDLY: Bowers scored the lone goal for the U.S. as they topped a local club team 1-0 on Tuesday night. U.N.E.D. featured at least three players that were members of Costa Rica's CONCACAF Championship team in 2000, the last time the played here. The U.S. goal came in the 11th minute as the team applied high pressure to U.N.E.D. Bowers took the ball off the feet of the U.N.E.D. goalkeeper and put the ball away. The opposing keeper was otherwise stellar - robbing the U.S. more often than the posts, which turned away at least four of the 17 U.S. shots. The starting five were Brett Phillips, Greg Howes, Todd Dusosky, Lee Tschantret and Pat White. Phillips made six saves in the first half and was relieved by Scott Hileman who made 12 saves in the second half. The match was played in a small futsal complex that was a 20 minute drive from the team hotel, a bit off the beaten path. Still in a developed area, the gymnasium was in an industrial zone that included at least one other indoor soccer complex down an narrow road. The floor was poured concrete and tough on on the players' joints, and a crowd of more than 70-80 came and went as other games in the complex were going on.

BALL JOINS TEAM AFTER U.S. OPEN CUP MATCH: Midfielder John Ball joined the team at the tail end of lunch on Wednesday after flying in from Atlanta after an fourth round Open Cup match with his Atlanta Silverbacks (A-League) falling to the Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 4-1. Ball started in midfield for the Silverbacks and played all 90 minutes. The Wizards were led by two goals and one assist from Davy Arnaud. The game was tied 1-1 at the half, but the Silverbacks hit a wall after playing three games in five days in the second half and the Wizards took advantage. Alex Pineda Chacon scored the lone goal for Atlanta.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE TOURNAMENT: The U.S. opens Group B play on Saturday, July 27 at 8 p.m. ET in Palacio de los Deportes vs. Panama at 6 p.m. local time. Costa Rica is in the central time zone, but does not practice Daylight Saving Time so during the summer months is actually equivalent to mountain time in the U.S. The U.S. coaching staff expects Panama to be a tough opponent because of the speed and skill on the ball, despite a lack of tactical organization. The U.S. opener is one day after the opening ceremonies of the tournament, as Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago kick off at 6 p.m. local time on Friday, July 23. Before the tournament, the U.S. will continue preparations, including a Wednesday night match vs. a local club team.

U.S. Futsal Schedule - CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament
Date      Activity  Start Time (Local)
July 21   Exhibition Match 7 p.m.
July 22   Training   11 a.m.
July 23   Training   10 a.m.
July 23   Opening Ceremonies 6 p.m. 
July 24   Training at Stadium 9:30 a.m.
July 24   USA vs. Panama 6 p.m.
July 25   Training  10 a.m.
July 26   Training at Stadium 8 a.m.
July 26   USA vs. Guyana        6 p.m.
July 27   Training  10:15 a.m.
July 28   Cuba vs. USA  8 p.m.
Semifinals / Finals Match Schedule*
July 30        B1 vs. A2        7 p.m.
July 30        A1 vs. B2        9 p.m.
July 31        Third Place Game 7 p.m.
July 31        Final            9 p.m.

* If necessary

- The hotel liaison Ramon repeatedly told the U.S. staff about the cost if the team would like hashbrowns or other potatoes added to the breakfast menu.