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A stern reminder about an upcoming U.S. Soccer-related event, whether you plan to check it out live and in person, on the “telly” or that wacky world wide web.

MNT vs. Wales – Mon., May 26 – 7 p.m. PT – ESPN2
MNT vs. New Zealand – Sun., June 8 – 1 p.m. ET – ESPN2

Coming off the anti-climactic “Revancha en la Cancha” in which an all-MLS U.S. squad tamed an increasingly frustrated Mexico 0-0 in Houston, it’s time for Bruce to call in some of the boys overseas and get primed for the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup in mid-June in France. The U.S. MNT has a pair of friendlies over the next three weeks to get some European-based players mixed in and get the team back in form.

The first prep match comes as part of the ol’ three-day Memorial Day weekend and features a first ever match-up against Wales. But when the U.S. takes the field at Spartan Stadium on Monday night (live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. PT and tape delay on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT), they might as well be called San Jose United, as 11 of the 17 players on the final roster hail from either the San Jose Earthquakes (5) or D.C. United (6). That’s NOT including a pair of players making the trip from overseas – 2002 World Cup midfielder Eddie Lewis (of Preston North End) and goalkeeper Joe Cannon (of RC Lens in France) – who made their name with the Bay Area club. And before you start going off on Bruce for calling in Brian Ching or Ramiro Corrales, realize that the other eight MLS teams have games scheduled for either this Saturday or Sunday.

Although the beloved “Giggsy,” perhaps the only Welshman that the average soccer fan knows by name, will not be making the trip, Wales enters the match with a 10-game unbeaten streak and a surprising lead in their Euro2004 Qualifying competition, having posted an eye-opening 4-0-0 record in a Group Nine that includes a 2-1 win over Italy.

Two weeks later, the U.S. Men will be off to quaint Richmond, Va., just an hour down the road from our nation’s capital, to face New Zealand on Sunday, June 8 (live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. ET). Expect Bruce to call in a similar mix of European-based players and MLS studs as this match represents their last chance to get it together before they hop on a plane to go mess with the French (the fans, not the National Team. Unless we do extremely well.)  With all of the European leagues having completed their 2002-03 season by this point, this match could see the return of Ajax ace John O’Brien to the U.S. midfield, where he is sorely needed.

As always, both matches can be followed online at ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. There’s really no excuse to miss either game, so we’ll see you there.

 

Table of Contents
1) At the Movies (w/ WNT midfielder Aly Wagner)
2)
In Threes (w/ Under-23 MNT midfielder Logan Pause)
3)
Queries and Anecdotes (w/ MNT midfielder Claudio Reyna)
4)
Mark That Calendar (MNT vs. Wales – May 26 / MNT vs. N.Z. – June 8)
5) FAN Point/Counterpoint (Who will be the 2003 MLS Rookie of the Year?)
6)
"You Don't Know Jack (Marshall)" (WUSA Firsts)

Download this issue of Center Circle (.pdf).

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