BUSY TRAVEL DAY FOR U.S. TEAM: The U.S. squad had a busy travel day today, leaving their home base in Seoul for less luxurious digs in Jeonju. Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones held a morning press conference at team hotel in Seoul, before the team boarded two luxury buses for a large police escort on the journey to Jeonju. After 75 minutes, the team buses stopped so players could stretch their legs, use the restrooms and get some refreshments at a rest area along the highway. When the U.S. arrived a crowd of nearly 50 people immediately gathered to check out, talk to and gawk at the U.S. team. After a quick break, the caravan pulled out of the rest area and continued to Jeonju, with the crowd of onlookers wishing them good luck as they left. The U.S. finally arrived in Jeonju just under three hours after leaving Seoul.
NO KITCHEN? NO STAFF? NO PROBLEM: The U.S. MNT is staying at the Samsung Life Institute, a corporate retreat located in Jeonju. While the facilities are more than adequate for the USA’s 24-hour stay, one thing was less than adequate – the kitchen. Eight members of the J.W. Marriott kitchen staff (four chefs, three waiters and one dishwasher) accompanied the team to Jeonju, where they will care for the U.S. during their four-and-a-half meals in Jeonju. The staff brought all of the food and the supplies the U.S. will use and go through in their brief stay in Jeonju - from food and drinks all the way down to dishwasher detergent. The kitchen did not contain enough refrigeration space, so the refrigeration truck that carried the food from Seoul to Jeonju is running 24 hours to keep the food refrigerated.
U.S. UNDERGOES LIGHT TRAINING SESSION AT STADIUM: The U.S. team saw the Jeonju World Cup Stadium for the first time on Sunday afternoon. Bruce Arena led the team through a practice that lasted just over one hour on the stadium field. After a long jogging and stretching session, the U.S. worked on set pieces and then broke up into two sides and played an 11 v 11 scrimmage. The U.S. trained at 5:30 p.m., about 30 minutes after the Mexican team concluded their exercises at the stadium.
AGOOS OUT FOR WORLD CUP WITH CALF INJURY: U.S. veteran defender Jeff Agoos will miss the remainder of the 2002 FIFA World Cup due to a calf injury. Agoos, 34, suffered a moderate strain of the medial gastrocnemius in his right calf during the first half of the USA's 3-1 loss to Poland on June 14. The San Jose Earthquakes defender will be sidelined for approximately 4-6 weeks. With 133 caps, Agoos is second on the USA's all-time cap winners list behind Cobi Jones, and holds the U.S. record for starts with 123, including all three group matches during this year's World Cup.
PORTUGUESE REFEREE NAMED FOR U.S. – MEXICO: Vitor Melo Pereira has been named the referee for tomorrow’s Round of 16 match between the U.S. and Mexico. Melo Pereira, from Portugal, also refereed at the 1998 World Cup. At France ’98, he worked four matches, including Germany’s 2-1 win over Mexico in the Round of 16. Melo Pereira has been praised in Korea for his officiating in the France-Denmark match. Also working with Melo Pereira on Monday will be assistant referees Carlos Matos (Portugal) and Egon Bereuter (Austria) and fourth official Jan Wegereef (the Netherlands).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO COBI ... Today marked Cobi Jones’ 32nd birthday. Jones was born in Detroit, Michigan, but has made his home in Southern California for many years now. Jones is the USA’s all-time leader in appearances, and recently tied Tab Ramos’ mark for most World Cup appearances by a U.S. player (Earnie Stewart also tied the mark on the same day). Next up on the birthday list is Brian McBride, who turns 30 years old on June 19.
JEONJU OVERVIEW: Located in the southwestern part of Korea, Jeonju is the capital of the Jeollabuk-do province. The ancient city dates back to 757 A.D. and is widely regarded as the Gourmet Capital of Korea. Jeonju has long been known as a center of culture and carries on many cultural traditions including the Jeonju Daesasubnori – a traditional music festival – and the special exhibitions and games held on Dano, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Also in Jeonju is the Gangnam Calligraphic Art Gallery, which houses some 1,600 works by many of Korea’s masters of calligraphy, both past and present. The area, though, is best known for its food, and, in particular, for bibimbap. Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish made of boiled rice mixed with meat, seasonal vegetables and the ubiquitous chili sauce. Traditional Jeonju bibimbap is served with as many as 30 different ingredients and side dishes. Another local favorite is gongnamul gukbap, a dish made with rice and bean sprouts and seasoned with dark soy paste, leeks and kimchi.
BREAKING DOWN THE CUP: U.S. Under-17 MNT head coach John Ellinger analyzes the USA’s qualification for the second round and looks ahead to the U.S.-Mexico match as part of ussoccer.com’s “Breaking Down the Cup.” In addition to Ellinger, U.S. Soccer and World Cup referee Brian Hall, WNT star Brandi Chastain and Under-23 goalkeeper D.J. Countess are all sharing their thoughts and opinions on the World Cup with fans at ussoccer.com.
SENEGAL SHOCKS SWEDEN WITH GOLDEN GOAL: African runner-ups Senegal continued to provide the surprises in this World Cup, shocking “Group of Death” winner Sweden, 2-1, with a 104th minute golden goal today in Oita, Japan. After going ahead in the 11th minute through Henrik Larsson’s third goal of the tournament, Sweden began to take control of the game. Henri Camara equalized in the 37th minute with a well-deserved goal for Senegal, and Camara later ended the game with a 104th minute strike.
BRAZIL, BELGIUM BATTLE ON MONDAY: Brazil and Belgium meet on Monday night in a Round of 16 match in Kobe, Japan. Brazil was one of the most impressive teams in the first round, scoring 11 goals and only conceding three. The attacking combination of Ronaldo (4 goals), Rivaldo (3 goals) and Ronaldinho (1 goal in two matches) led the way for Brazil in the group phase, and will be looked to continue their scoring against a Belgium team that conceded five goals in the first three games. As expected, captain Marc Wilmots led Belgium in the first round, scoring once in each match. For an in-depth preview of the match, please visit the “Today at the World Cup” section of ussoccer.com’s “World Cup Plus”.
THEY SAID IT:
“Traditionally, games between the U.S. and Mexico are low scoring and tend to be very defensive, and tend to have very few scoring opportunities. That is my view of this rivalry. So I think you will see a game which will be low-scoring and both teams will play well defensively, and will look to jump on any type of attacking opportunity they can create.”
- Bruce Arena, on how he expects the USA-Mexico match to unfold.