MOVING ON: The U.S. Men’s National Team held its final stateside training session this morning at the University of Miami, going just over 75 minutes in the humid clime of South Florida. All 18 players participated, including midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who shows continued signs of improvement from his hamstring injury. After lunch, the team boarded a charter flight to San Jose and is expected to arrive at Juan Santamaria Airport at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Just over 48 hours remain before the USA's penultimate World Cup qualifier, with kickoff against Costa Rica set for 7 p.m. MT. The match will be shown via one-hour tape delay beginning at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Telemundo. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
ALL_ACCESS VIDEO - OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR 'TINO: Over the next week, ussoccer.com will talk to several players who face the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to snare a place on a World Cup roster. Today's subject is D.C. United youngster Santino Quaranta. The Under-17 Residency Program product now has six caps to his credit with the full team, all coming in 2005. He's already experienced a few moments of a lifetime, including scoring a penalty in the team's 2005 Gold Cup-winning match against Panama and an appearance in the World Cup qualifying clincher against Mexico. The success has given the soon-to-be 21-year-old all the incentive he needs to push for a place on the squad for Germany. But it's been a long road traveled for Quaranta. Turning pro at the age of 16, Quaranta has had a roller coaster ride during his five-year stint with D.C. United, from career threatening injuries, to the birth of his daughter and an MLS title last year. With a new-found perspective, Quaranta discusses the excitement of this year, the differences of playing at the international level and what's he willing to do in order to be one of the final 23 men representing the U.S. at the World Cup. It's all part of the latest installment of the "Opportunity Knocks" series available exclusively on ussoccer.com.
WIN AND THEY'RE IN: As if the Costa Ricans needed any more incentive to down their amigos from the north, a victory on Saturday would secure their place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The Ticos are currently five points clear of fourth-place Guatemala, who head to Mexico for their MatchDay 9 encounter. A result for Costa Rica becomes that much more critical considering the final qualifier on their schedule, a visit to the Estadio Mateo Flores and a showdown against Guatemala.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – CONCACAF Final Round
Team P W L D GF:GA GD PTS
United States * 8 6 1 1 14:3 +11 19
Mexico * 8 6 1 1 16:5 +11 19
Costa Rica 8 4 3 1 11:11 E 13
Guatemala 8 2 4 2 11:12 -1 8
Trinidad & Tobago 8 2 5 1 7:14 -7 7
Panama 8 0 6 2 4:18 -14 2
* clinched spot in FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
Date Match (home teams listed first) Location Kickoff/Result
Oct. 8 Costa Rica vs. USA San Jose, Costa Rica 8 p.m. CT
Oct. 8 Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago Panama City, Panama 8 p.m. ET
Oct. 8 Mexico vs. Guatemala Mexico City, Mexico 8 p.m. CT
Oct. 12 USA vs. Panama Foxboro, Mass. 8 p.m. ET
Oct. 12 Guatemala vs. Costa Rica Guatemala City, Guatemala 6 p.m. CT
Oct. 12 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico Port of Spain, Trinidad 8 p.m. ET
Nov. 12/13 AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 TBD TBD
Nov. 16 AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 TBD TBD
COSTA RICA CALLS 25: Costa Rican head coach Alexandre Guimaeres called 25 players to train for the final two qualifiers against the United States and Guatemala. Defender Luis Marin is the elder statesmen of the group, having collected 114 caps for the Ticos. Paulo Wanchope remains their most potent scoring threat, notching an astounding 42 goals in 65 international appearances, while the midfield engines of Ronald Gomez and Walter Centeno are dangerous in both their distribution and as set up men. The Costa Ricans began training last Friday, with the roster filling out when the last of the "extraneros", Russian-based defender Winston Parks, arrived on Monday.
Costa Rica Training Camp Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Wardy Alfaro, Alavaro Mesen, Jose Porras
Defenders (9): Gabriel Badilla, Jervis Drummond, Leonardo Gonzalez, Luis Marin, Gilberto Martinez, Roy Myrie, Michael Umana, Mario Viquez, Harold Wallace
Midfielders (9): Randall Corrales, Walter Centeno, Danny Fonseca, Ronald Gomez, Carlos Hernandez, Douglas Sequeira, Alonso Solis, Mauricio Solis, Jafet Soto
Forwards (4): Minor Diaz, Winston Parks, Alvaro Saborio, Paulo Wanchope
IT'S GETTING IN THEM: The heat has really been on in Miami, with training time temperatures in the upper 80's and the humidity in the same range (training photos). Particularly for the players coming from Europe, staying hydrated has been key. Thankfully, the good folks at Gatorade have once again come through. The team has drained over 11 cases of Gatorade during the three days in Miami, and that doesn't include during training. They've also gone through an additional 12 cases of water. Fortunately, the game-time temperature in San Jose is expected to be around 70 degrees.
CHANGING SIDES: Splitting sides is a better way of saying it. Los Angeles Galaxy defenders Michael Umana and Chris Albright have been working together to lift the Galaxy into second place in the Western Conference, but Saturday they pull on different kits. In a similar boat of trying to fight their way onto a World Cup roster, Albright and Umana have posted comparable numbers for their respective national teams. Albright has six World Cup qualifying caps to his credit, while Umana has collected three for Costa Rica. They may very well both find their names in the team sheet Saturday night in San Jose. Clearly, we're wishing Chris more luck ...
DID YOU KNOW? A remarkable streak in World Cup qualiyfing for the U.S. ends one hour before kickoff on Saturday. When the 18-man roster is turned into the match commissioner, Landon Donovan’s name will be missing for the first time in the last 20 qualifiers for the United States. Donovan has made an appearance in all 20 of those matches dating back to July 1, 2001, a 1-0 loss in Mexico City. During that span, the two-time U.S. Soccer Player of the Year has tallied seven goals and eight assists.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS: The U.S. returns from Costa Rica directly to Boston for the final match of the Hexagonal on Wednesday, October 12 at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be played in Foxboro, Mass., at Gillette Stadium and be broadcast live on ESPN2 and taped delayed at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Telemundo. Tickets start at just $20 and are available through ussoccer.com, by phone at 508-931-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets in the region (including Filene's Stores) and at the Gillette Stadium Box Office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Discounted tickets (from $16-$28) are available for groups of 20 or more by calling the New England Revolution at 877-GET-REVS.