“With only two matches remaining prior to the start of World Cup qualifying, we need to start getting these players prepared for this type of competition,” said Arena. “Playing Mexico is always an intense experience, and certainly provides an excellent opportunity to get a taste of what playing in this atmosphere will be like.”
Five players on the roster – Landon Donovan, Eddie Pope, DaMarcus Beasley, Frankie Hejduk and Josh Wolff – were on the USA’s roster for the historic 2-0 victory against Mexico in the Round of 16 of the 2002 World Cup, with Donovan, Pope and Wolff selected to the first XI. While Wolff got his first start of the tournament and earned assist on Brian McBride's opening goal, it was Donovan who added the insurance goal in the 65th minute off a picture-perfect cross from Eddie Lewis to seal the USA’s first shutout victory in the World Cup since 1950.
Cory Gibbs continues his run as the Dallas Burn representative on the U.S. squad, having received invitations to all four of the USA’s matches in 2004. Making two starts, Gibbs turned in a solid marking effort against Manchester United forward and Dutch international Ruud van Nistlerooy in the 1-0 loss on Feb. 18 in Amsterdam.
The U.S team arrives in the Dallas area on April 25, with three training sessions prior to the Wednesday kickoff. The April 28 match marks the men’s national team’s return to the Cotton Bowl after a nine-year absence, with the U.S. collecting a 2-2 draw against Uruguay on March 25, 1995. The Americans hold an undefeated lifetime 4-0-2 record at the home of the Dallas Burn.
The United States has dominated the series against Mexico of late, winning five of the last seven meetings, with all of those victories coming by shutout. Mexico leads the lifetime series with a record of 28-10-10, dating all the way back to 1934, but the Tri-Colores have not scored a goal against the U.S. on American soil across five consecutive games.
MetroStars captain Pope returns to marshal the U.S. defense, joined by goalkeeper Jonny Walker, who became the 50th player to receive his first cap under Arena in the USA’s 1-1 draw against Denmark on Jan. 18 in Carson, Calif. The Los Angeles Galaxy sends the largest contingent, sending four players to Dallas. Jovan Kirovski, the most-capped player on the roster with 60 international appearances, is joined by the defensive trio of Chris Albright, Dan Califf and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Due to the lack of a full international fixture date and the crowded match schedule in Europe, only Karlsruhe forward Conor Casey was available for selection from Europe. Casey sparkled in his first-ever appearance for the full team, earning high marks in the 1-0 win against Poland on March 31 in Plock. Casey has been on form at Karlsruhe, his 13 league goals good for fourth on the scoring charts in Germany’s second division.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Donovan returns to the U.S. fold after missing the Poland match due to illness, his absence marking the first time that the 2003 Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year had not appeared on a U.S. national team roster since June 8, 2003. Already with one goal in three appearances in 2004, Donovan has 15 goals in 47 appearances for the senior team.
The U.S. begins CONCACAF World Cup qualifying June 13 against Grenada in Columbus, Ohio. After Mexico, the U.S. will hold one final tune up match June 2 against Honduras in Foxboro, Mass. Following the MNT World Cup qualifiers against Grenada, the U.S. will meet Poland in a domestic friendly on July 11. Should the U.S. advance through their preliminary qualifying round, their six-game, four-team semifinal round competition will begin in August.
Tickets for the USA-Mexico match are still available at all area Ticketmasters, including Fiesta and Foley's stores. Advance prices range from $28-$90 and can also be charged by phone by calling 214-373-8000.
U.S. Men’s National Team Roster vs. Mexico
April 28, 2004 – The Cotton Bowl (Dallas, Texas)
ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (2): Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Jonny Walker (MetroStars);
Defenders (5): Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Dan Califf (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars);
Midfielders (6): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards);
Forwards (5): Conor Casey (Karslruhe), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards).
- U.S. Men’s National Team Staff -
Head Coach: Bruce Arena (Fairfax, Va.)
Assistant Coach: Glenn Myernick (Denver)
Assistant Coach: Curt Onalfo (Fairfax, Va.)
Goalkeeper Coach: Milutin Soskic (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Fitness Coach: Pierre Barrieu (Charlottesville, Va.)
General Manager: Pam Perkins (Los Angeles)
Trainers: Jim Hashimoto (Wilmington, Del.), Bruce Snell (Seattle)
Doctor: Bert Mandelbaum (Los Angeles)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Ryan Maxfield (Los Angeles)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago)