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U.S. MNT Arrives in Tampa Ready to Face Ecuador on Sunday at Noon


U.S. Men’s National Team
Pre-Game Notes from Tampa, Fla.
March 23, 2007

QUICK HITS

• Eleven players from the USA’s 2006 World Cup roster will be in uniform vs. Ecuador, including five who appeared in all three games: DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Brian Ching, Jimmy Conrad, Clint Dempsey (1), Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Eddie Johnson, Kasey Keller, Oguchi Onyewu
• Five of those players – Beasley, Ching, Cherundolo, Keller, Onyewu – are in camp for the first time since Germany
• Only two players on the U.S. roster appeared in the last meeting against Ecuador, a 1-0 win on March 10, 2002, in Birmingham, Ala.: Donovan, Howard
• The U.S. trained for the Ecuador match at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, location of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program. For nine players – Beasley, Beckerman, Bradley, Donovan, Johnson, Mapp, Onyewu, Pearce and Spector – training at IMG Academies felt like home as each came through the U-17 Residency Program
• The shutout win came in Howard’s debut with the full team, at the time making him the sixth goalkeeper in U.S. Soccer history to record a clean sheet in his first cap. Two more have matched the feat since
• He now has eight career shutouts following the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 7 in Glendale, Ariz.
• Seven players on the roster appeared in the USA’s 2-0 win that night, including five starters and two goalscorers: Jimmy Conrad (1), Bocanegra, Brian Carroll, Dempsey, Donovan (1), Howard, Johnson
• Conrad headed home the game-winner that night off a corner kick from Donovan, tallying his first goal with the full team
• The goal for Donovan was the 27th of his international career and his second in as many games; his strike against Denmark on Jan. 20 ending his longest-ever goalless drought for the United States at 18 games (a streak that dated all the way back to a 2-0 win vs. Canada on July 9, 2005). The two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year is now third on the USA’s all-time goalscoring chart behind Eric Wynalda and Brian McBride
• Keller is the leading capwinner on the roster with 96 international appearances. Three players on the roster – Jay DeMerit, Benny Feilhaber and Frank Simek – are in search of their first cap. Of those three, Feilhaber is the only player to have spent time with the full team, coming in for the USA’s 1-1 draw against Scotland on Nov. 12, 2005, in Glasgow. DeMerit is the only player on the roster who has never been a part of the U.S. national teams at any level
• Keller is also the oldest player at 37 years of age. At 19, Bradley is the youngest on the block
• March 25 will mark the fourth visit for the U.S. Men’s National Team to Tampa Bay, with the last coming on May 28, 1995, when the U.S. lost to Costa Rica at Tampa Stadium. The first appearance for the U.S. in “The Big Guava” was a 1-1 tie with Switzerland in 1985. Overall in Florida, the U.S. has an 11-13-10 record dating back to 1980
• Keller is the only player on the roster to have played for the U.S. in Tampa. In only the second match of his international career, he manned the nets for the USA’s 2-1 win against Finland on March 10, 1990
• Ecuador, who advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2006 FIFA World Cup before falling to England, has faced the U.S. nine times, and has a 4-1-4 record vs. the U.S. Eight of the nine previous meetings took place in the United States, the only match between the teams in Ecuador coming in the 1993 Copa America tournament where the U.S. fell to the hosts, 2-0, in Quito

TRAINING CAMP ENDS, U.S. FOCUSES ON SUNDAY SHOWDOWN WITH ECUADOR: The U.S. Men’s National Team made the one hour drive to Tampa from Bradenton, Fla., on Friday and will train at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday before Sunday’s high noon showdown with Ecuador (tickets). The game will kick off at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision, and fans can follow along online with ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. U.S. MNT head coach Bob Bradley has a strong 25-man roster to call on for Sunday’s match, which is part of a double FIFA fixture date that also features the U.S. taking on Guatemala in Frisco, Texas, on March 28. These games are the last chance for the U.S. coach to look at his team prior to the June 2 match vs. China (tickets) in San Jose, Calif., which kicks off the USA’s preparations for this summer’s marquee events, the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2007 Copa America. Prior to the full national team game, the U.S. Under-17 MNT will host El Salvador’s U-17 to make Sunday’s event a special doubleheader that begins at 9:15 a.m.

RECORD CROWD TO SEE U.S. VS. ECUADOR: Sunday’s crowd at the U.S. Men’s National Team’s first game at Raymond James Stadium will be the largest ever for a U.S. Soccer event in the Bay Area as more than 26,000 tickets have been sold. The match is also shaping up to be the second largest crowd for a U.S. MNT friendly match in Florida, and the largest since 30,386 saw the U.S. play the Commonwealth of Independent States in Miami more than 15 years ago. The previous largest crowd in the Bay Area was 22,647 on March 10, 1990. Soccer fans from 37 states and the District of Columbia, five countries and three continents have purchased tickets to the match. More than 350 tickets were also sold to Sam’s Army, the vocal U.S. supporter’s group that attends every U.S. game.

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR SUNDAY’S GAME: Tickets for USA vs. Ecuador starting at $18 are still available for purchase through ussoccer.com, all Bay Area Ticketmaster outlets (including the Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa Theater, the USF Sun Dome, and FYE stores) and by phone at 813-287-8844. The box office at Raymond James Stadium will also be open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Fans with tickets at will call can pick them up at the box office during the listed hours.

MatchACCESS PRESENTS SOCCER AND EGGS: Before the U.S. Men face Ecuador at Raymond James Stadium, the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team will kick things off with a match against the El Salvador U-17s at 9:15 a.m. ET (gates open at 9 a.m. ET) and ussoccer.com will broadcast the entire U-17 match live via MatchACCESS. Fans can log on to ussoccer.com at 9 a.m. ET to watch live streaming coverage of the match and watch the U-17s as they continue their preparations for the CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament from April 28-May 6 in Jamaica. MatchACCESS will also include post-match coverage of U.S.-Ecuador, which fans can follow live on ESPN2, Galavision and ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. Coverage on ussoccer.com will include exclusive interviews after the match and the post-game press conference with head coach Bob Bradley, beginning at approximately 2 p.m. ET.

ROSTER CHANGES: Injuries forced two changes to the 24-man roster that was initially announced last week. Colorado Rapids midfielder Kyle Beckerman joined the U.S. camp Friday in Tampa and will remain through both matches, bringing the total number of players up to 25. He earned his first cap for the USA as a reserve in the 3-1 against Denmark on Jan. 20 at The Home Depot Center. At the start of camp, Bradley added a pair of Houston players as replacements for injured players, summoning Wade Barrett and Brian Mullan. Ricardo Clark suffered a sprain in the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his right knee during the Houston Dynamo's 2-0 win against Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and will be sidelined up to four weeks. Fire striker Chris Rolfe has also incurred a sprained knee and has been ruled out for the upcoming matches.

U.S. Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton FC), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Defenders (9): Wade Barrett (Houston Dynamo), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Jay Demerit (Watford FC), Oguchi Onyewu (Newcastle United), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
Midfielders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Manchester City), Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Brian Carroll (D.C. United), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburger SV), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Brian Mullan (Houston Dynamo)
Forwards (5): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (Kansas
Cit y Wizards), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

PODCAST AWAY: There's nothing better than getting to hear your favorite MNT players spat about the current camp, upcoming games, updates from their seasons with their clubs and much, much more. That’s why we’ve supplied you with four exclusive one-on-one ussoccer.com podcasts with Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Kasey Keller and Tim Howard, plus a press conference with Bob Bradley and Oguchi Onyewu. Take a listen to find out all the latest from camp.

SEEING THE DREAM: Sometimes seeing really is believing. The 40 players in U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program are reminded daily of the players that have come through the program as their names are listed on the wall of their equipment trailer near the field they train on every morning. However, it wasn’t until the full MNT actual trained on the same field as the young players that they really understood they could reach their ultimate dreams. In this exclusive U.S. Soccer all_access video, hear from the U-17s as they watch their idols train and from the guys that came through the program and are now living their dreams (watch).

MORE all_access - MISSION...POSSIBLE: In one of the next two games, Feilhaber, DeMerit and Simek will get to see their names on the back of the U.S. jersey and pull the American colors over their heads, but will it be just a tease or will they get to join the MNT club and earn their first cap? For now, they don't know what will happen, but the three uncapped players are hoping they'll either see their name written on the board the night before the game, or get the call off the bench. Their mission is to get their first MNT cap. And they all know it's possible. Look for another exclusive video coming soon in which the three talk about being in camp, playing with their new teammates and about the chance of earning their first appearance for the U.S. squad.

NEW ROYAL BLUE MNT JERSEY DEBUTS IN BACK-TO-BACK MARCH MATCHES: U.S. Soccer and Nike have unveiled a new 2007 U.S. Men's National Team Third Jersey. The U.S. will wear the impressive new uniform on Sunday against Ecuador in Tampa, Fla., and on March 28 against Guatemala in Frisco, Texas. The 2007 MNT Third Jersey is another example of Nike's worldwide commitment to providing players with garments that are both comfortable and technically advanced. Nike fabric technology wicks sweat away from the body through the shirt while featuring raised nodes on the underside that lift the shirt away from a players' body to keep the skin drier and reduce shirt cling. The jersey also features breathable weave side panels that help keep a player cool. The Nike MNT 2007 Third Jersey has an embroidered U.S. Soccer Men's National Team crest logo over the left chest and the Nike swoosh design trademark on the upper right chest. [ORDER YOUR NEW 3RD JERSEY NOW]

UP NEXT – GUATEMALA: Following the Ecuador match, the U.S. team departs Monday for Frisco, Texas, to prepare for the showdown against Guatemala (tickets) on March 28 at Pizza Hut Park. Kickoff for the USA’s second meeting in as many years with the chapines is set for 8 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision, and will be available to fans online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The March 28 match will be the 18th meeting all-time between the U.S. and Guatemala. Guatemala won the first four meetings between the two nations between 1977 and 1988, but since the teams’ second meeting in 1988, the U.S. has a 9-0-4 record including a 4-0-4 mark in World Cup qualifying. The U.S. has also never lost to Guatemala on home soil. Most recently, the U.S. trounced the Central American side, 4-0, on a frigid afternoon on Feb. 19, 2006, at Pizza Hut Park on goals by Ben Olsen, Eddie Johnson, Brian Ching and Chris Klein. Olsen’s 35-yard strike made the final list for ussoccer.com’s 2006 Best Goal of the Year.

ECUADOR GEARING UP FOR COPA AMERICA: Ecuador enters this double-date of friendlies with an eye towards their regional championship this summer, carrying 11 players that were on the 2006 World Cup roster that captured a second place finish in their group before falling to England in the Round of 16. Ecuador head coach Luis Suarez has been at the helm since 2004, collecting an even 14-14-8 record during that span. He has called upon 12 players based outside of Ecuador, led by PSV Eindhoven midfielder Edison Mendez. Ivan Hurtado, brother of former Los Angeles Galaxy and MetroStars forward Eduardo ‘El Tanque’ Hurtado, is Ecuador’s all-time leading capwinner with 135 appearances. Forward Carlos Tenorio has eight international goals to his credit, including tallies against Costa Rica and Poland this past summer in Germany. Ecuador has been drawn into Group B of Copa America along with Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

Ecuador Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Rorys Aragon (Standard Liege), Daniel Viteri (Deportivo Quito)
DEFENDERS (7): Oscar Bagui (Olmedo), Segundo Castillo* (Red Star Belgrade), Ulises De La Cruz* (Reading), Giovanny Espinoza* (Vitesse), Jorge Guagua* (Colon), Ivan Hurtado* (Nacional), Neicer Reasco* (Sao Paulo)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Caicedo (Olmedo), Edison Mendez* (PSV Eindhoven), Luis Saritama* (Club America), Edder Vaca (Deportivo Quito), Luis Valencia* (Wigan Athletic)
FORWARDS (4): Felix Borja* (Olympiakos), Felipe Caicedo (FC Basel), Carlos Tenorio* (Al-Saad), Edmundo Zura (Imbabura)
* Member of 2006 World Cup team

THEY SAID IT:
“This camp provides a great opportunity to see some of our experienced players from Europe, as well as some new faces, and incorporate them into the group and share the ideas that we have been building on since the beginning of the year. By the end of this camp, we will have had the chance to work with a vast majority of our player pool. It will be extremely beneficial when we have to make decisions about the Gold Cup and Copa America.”
-- U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, on the makeup of the roster for these two matches.

"It's been a little odd after the World Cup because we had so many really experienced, well-respected players who have retired. Now it's a very new team. There are still some household names on the team, but back then they didn't have to lead. When I'm sitting in the background and I'm looking at Claudio or Brian or Eddie Pope, it's easy for me because they lead; I just jump on their coat tails. I just had to play my part on the team.

"But with those guys gone, the likes of myself and others have to take on that role. There are going to be times when these younger, inexperienced players are going to look up to somebody. They're not going to have to lead; they are just going to have to follow ... When we get to tournaments like the Gold Cup and Copa America, the true leaders are going to have to stand up and be accounted for."
-- U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, on the evolution of leadership on the national team

"I hear people saying that, because Bob used to work for Bruce, he is a clone. That could not be farther from the truth. You can clearly see from training sessions, meetings and everything else, that Bob is putting his own stamp on this team."
-- U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller on the contrasting coaching styles of Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena

- Order Your 2007 U.S. Men's National Team Third Jersey, Available Now at ussoccerstore.com -

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