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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Tops the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Tables


U.S. MNT EARNS FIRST THREE POINTS OF FINAL ROUND HEXAGONAL: The U.S. Men’s National Team came away with three important points in their first match of the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region with a 2-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis paced the U.S. with goals in each half as goalkeeper Kasey Keller held off a late offensive surge to be voted ussoccerfan.com Man of the Match. Eddie Johnson continued his stellar output with the U.S. MNT, putting his name into the record book a couple more times after heading home a Steve Cherundolo cross from outside the area to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute. Lewis provided the U.S. with what turned out to be the game-winner in the 54th minute on a 23-yard blast just inside the right post, as Trinidad was able to eventually sneak one past Keller in the 89th minute after the U.S. ‘keeper had come up with a number of vital saves. The U.S. extended their record-setting unbeaten streak to 14 games and now holds a 11-1-3 lifetime record against the Soca Warriors, including an unblemished 7-0-2 mark in World Cup qualifying. Since 1994, the U.S. has played 24 games against Caribbean teams, compiling a perfect 16-0-8 record during that span. The U.S. Men’s next match of the final round of qualifying is against Mexico on March 27 at the dreaded Estadio Azteca in the high altitude of Mexico City. The United States has never beaten Mexico in Mexico, holding on all-time record of 0-21-1, which includes a 0-17-1 mark in Mexico City and a 0-7-1 mark at Estadio Azteca. In World Cup qualifying play, the U.S. is 3-13-5 against Mexico and 0-10-1 in Mexico City. The USA’s last World Cup qualifying match against Mexico was a 1-0 loss in Estadio Azetca on July 1, 2001. Since that 2001 World Cup qualifying match, the U.S. has shutout Mexico in their last four matches, holding the Tricolores scoreless for 434 minutes over the five-game span. Even more impressively, Mexico has not scored a goal against the U.S. in the U.S. in 573 minutes, a span of more than five years and six games.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Standings
Team   GP  W    L  T    GF   GA    GD   Pts.
USA      1     1    0   0     2      1       +1     3
MEX     1      1    0   0     2      1       +1    3
GUA     1      0    0   1     0      0         0    1
PAN     1      0    0   1     0      0         0    1
CRC     1      0    1   0    1       2       -1     0
TRI        1      0    1   0    1       2       -1     0

BEASLEY TO JOIN WORLD STARS IN “FOOTBALL FOR HOPE” BENEFIT MATCH: U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley has been invited to join more than 50 players from around the world to participate in the Football for Hope benefit match for victims of the Asian tsunami. The game will take place at Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium on Tuesday and has been organized by FIFA and UEFA in consultation with the Spanish Football Federation. One team will be led by Brazilian star by Ronaldinho, the FIFA World Player 2004, while the other is captained by Andriy Shevchenko, the European Footballer of the Year 2004. The Football for Hope match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 beginning at 2:55 p.m. ET. Beasley will join Ronaldinho on the “World” team, which will include players such as Argentine Gabriel Heinze of Manchester United and Cafu of Brazil and AC Milan. The “Europe” team, captained by Shevchenko, will include Italian and AC Milan defensive stalwart Paolo Maldini and England captain David Beckham.

U.S. MEN TO MEET COLOMBIA ON MARCH 9 IN WOLD CUP QUALIFYING PREPARATION MATCH: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will face Colombia on Wednesday, March 9 in Fullerton, Calif., at 7:30 p.m. PT at Titan Stadium in an important tune up for the most difficult match of its World Cup qualifying schedule. Tickets ranging in price levels from $15 to $40 go on sale starting this Thursday, February 17, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com. Tickets will also go on sale by phone (213-480-3232 in L.A.; 714-740-2000 in Orange County; 619-220-8497 in San Diego), and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records). Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290. This is the first appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team in Fullerton, Calif., since late 1994. All seven of the U.S. appearances in Fullerton were during a two-year span from 1993-1994, with the U.S. compiling a 3-0-4 record with six of those matches serving as preparation for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. is 2-8-2 all-time vs. Colombia in a series that dates back to a 2-0 loss for the U.S. in Bogata, Colombia in 1961. The biggest game of the series was a 2-1 win for the U.S. in the Rose Bowl during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. An Earnie Stewart goal gave the U.S. its first win in a World Cup match since the famed 1950 U.S. team defeated England 1-0. Since 1994, the U.S. has faced Colombia four times with a 0-2-2 record, including falling on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the 2000 Gold Cup.

U.S. MEN TO FACE HONDURAS ON MARCH 19 IN ALBUQUERQUE: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will face Honduras on Saturday, March 19, in Albuquerque, N.M. at 2 p.m. MT at University Stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico in an important tune up for the most difficult match of its World Cup Qualifying schedule. Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $60 go on sale tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 15) at 9 a.m. MT.  Tickets can be purchased online at ussoccer.com, by calling 505-925-5858 or 800-905-3315, by visiting any Tickets.com retail outlet (including Raley's or Oshman’s stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe), and at the UNM Ticket Offices at The Pit and the UNM Bookstore. A limited number of special "On Field" seats are also available at $125. The U.S. is 5-2-3 all-time vs. Honduras in a series that dates back to a 1-0 win for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying play in 1965. The U.S. is coming off of a pair of 4-0 wins in consecutive friendly matches vs. Honduras in 2002 and 2004, with the most recent being played on June 2 of last year in Foxboro, Mass. In that game, a warm up for the opening match of World Cup qualifying for the U.S., forward Brian McBride scored a pair of goals to move into second on the U.S. career scoring chart and captain Claudio Reyna earned his 100th cap. This is the second trip for the U.S. Men’s National Team to New Mexico. Previously at University Stadium, the U.S. dropped a 2-0 decision to Chile in front of 15,610 fans on April 30, 1994, just two months prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. Women’s National Team played at University Stadium last year for the first time, topping Mexico 3-0 on May 9 with a crowd of 17,805.

-- FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

TICKETS ON SALE FOR U.S. MNT QUALIFYING HOME OPENER IN ALABAMA: Tickets are on sale for the United States Men’s National Team’s first home game of the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Tickets ranging in price from $18 to $55 will be available online at ussoccer.com, all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix and Coconuts), and by phone at 1-800-277-1700.  Groups of 15 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745, ext. 119. Kickoff against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape delayed on Telemundo at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. will be returning to Birmingham’s Legion Field Stadium for the first time since March 10, 2002, when the U.S. defeated Ecuador 1-0 in a World Cup preparation match before 24,133 fans. The team’s only other visit came nearly two years earlier, when the U.S. MNT drew 1-1 with Tunisia in front of 21,637 fans in the team’s first-ever match in Alabama. Birmingham also served as a venue for soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games, where the Bruce Arena-led U.S. Olympic team played two matches at Legion Field, falling to Argentina and topping Tunisia. The U.S. holds a 7-4-3 lifetime record against Guatemala, including a perfect 6-0-0 mark on U.S. soil. The last time the teams met was during semifinal round qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The teams split points in a 1-1 draw in Mazatenango, Guatemala on July 16, 2000, then Brian McBride tallied the lone goal in the USA’s hard fought 1-0 win on Sept. 3, 2000 at RFK Stadium.

U.S. OPENS WORLD CUP QUALIFYING WITH ROAD WIN IN TRINIDAD: The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago have kicked off the 10-game round-robin that will last from Feb. 9-Oct. 12, 2005. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany while the fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.  Drawn as Team 6 in the final round format, the U.S. faces a tricky road to Germany as their first two games take place on the road. The U.S. gets consecutive home dates for Matches 3 & 4 and 6 & 7 and will then face two away matches before concluding final round play in the United States.  The first U.S. home game will be played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. on March 30, with kick off scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s Matchtracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Venues for the remaining four home matches for the U.S. will be announced as they become finalized.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – CONCACAF Final Round
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Feb. 9         Panama 0, Guatemala 0
Feb. 9         Costa Rica 1, Mexico 2
Feb. 9        Trinidad & Tobago 1,  USA 2 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 26   Costa Rica vs. Panama
March 26   Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago
March 27   Mexico vs. USA 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 30   Panama vs. Mexico   
March 30   USA vs. Guatemala   
March 30   Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 4        Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama   
June 4        Guatemala vs. Mexico   
June 4        USA vs. Costa Rica   
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 8        Panama vs. USA   
June 8        Costa Rica vs. Guatemala   
June 8        Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Aug. 17      Guatemala vs. Panama   
Aug. 17      Mexico vs. Costa Rica   
Aug. 17      USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 3       Panama vs. Costa Rica  
Sept. 3       Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 3       USA vs. Mexico  
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 7       Mexico vs. Panama 
Sept. 7       Guatemala vs. USA  
Sept. 7       Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 8         Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Oct. 8         Mexico vs. Guatemala 
Oct. 8/9      Costa Rica vs. USA 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 12       USA vs. Panama   
Oct. 12       Guatemala vs. Costa Rica
Oct. 12       Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico
 
Playoff (*home team will be determined by lottery at the conclusion of the final round)
Date                  Match-up
*Nov. 12/13      AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 
*Nov. 16           AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4

U.S. SOCCER GOALKEEPER BRAD FRIEDEL RETIRES FROM INTERNATIONAL PLAY: After a career spanning 13 years (1992-2004) with the U.S. Men’s National Team, goalkeeper Brad Friedel announced his retirement from international play on Monday (Feb. 7). Friedel, who currently minds the net for Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League, was the United States’ starting goalkeeper at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. A veteran of three World Cups, Friedel retires as the second-most capped goalkeeper in U.S. National Team history with 82 appearances, playing more than 7,000 minutes in goal while collecting 27 wins and 24 shutouts.

-- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U.S. U-16 GNT AND U-17 WNT TO FACE GERMANY U-17s IN MATCHES AT HDC: The U.S. Under-16 Girl’s National Team and U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team will both face Germany’s U-17 women in a pair international exhibitions at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from Feb. 27-March 3, 2005.  The Germans will get a workout on their visit to America, playing four matches in five days, while the U.S. youth teams will each play Germany twice.  These will be the first international matches of the year for U.S. head coach Erica Walsh’s U-17s and U.S. head coach Sue Patberg’s U-16s, giving the young U.S. players the opportunity to face international competition on their home soil.  Germany is the reigning youth world champions, having won the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand last November.  Germany visited Bradenton, Florida, last year and played one match each against the U.S. U-16s and U-17s, both of which were won by the Americans. Following is the match schedule and rosters for both the U.S. U-16s and U-17s.  Several players may be added to the rosters before the teams begin training on Feb. 23 (U-17s) and Feb. 24 (U-16s) at the Home Depot Center.
U-16 and U-17 Schedule
Date            Matchup
Feb. 27       U.S. U-17s vs. Germany U-17s 5 p.m. HDC
Feb. 28       U.S. U-16s vs. Germany U-17s 5 p.m. HDC
March 2      U.S. U-17s vs. Germany U-17s 11 a.m. HDC
March 3      U.S. U-16s vs. Germany U-17s 10 a.m. HDC

U.S. U-16 Girl’s Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kellie Dyer (Germantown, Tenn.), Jorden Kussmann (Lakewood, Wash.), Hanna Messick (Greenwood, Ind.); DEFENDERS (7): Lauren Barnes (Upland, Calif.), Erica Campanelli (Plano, Texas), Hannah Cerrone (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Kate Dienes (Issaquah, Wash.), Gretchen Miller (Fairport, N.Y.), Megan Ohai (Salt Lake City, Utah), Kacey Richards (Williamstown, N.J.); MIDFIELDERS (7): Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas), Emily Esbrook (Novi, Mich.), Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.), CJ Ludemann (Holtsville, N.Y.), McKenna Louise McKetty (Sacramento, Calif.), Casey Noguiera (Cedarburg, Wis.), Sara Salazar (Broken Arrow, Ok.); FORWARDS (5): Amy Caldwell (Braintree, Mass.), Brittani Bartok (Union, N.J.), Bianca D’Agostino (Longmeadow, Mass.), Laura Heyboer (Hudsonville, Mich.), Brooke Knowlton (Rexford, N.Y.).
U.S. U-17s Women’s Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Chantel Jones (Richmond, Va.), Alyssa Naeher (Stratford, Conn.); DEFENDERS (4): Jane Alukonis (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Chelsea Regan (Raritan, N.J.), Lauren Switzer (St. Charles, Ill.), Lauren Wilmoth (Garland, Tex.); MIDFIELDERS (10): Carolyn Blank (Toms River, N.J.), Becky Edwards (Downingtown, Pa.), Kaley Fountain (Austin, Texas), Ali Hawkins (Encinitas, Calif.), Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Yeraldy Hurtado (Ventura, Calif.), Megan Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.), Kristen Stannard (Midlothian, Va.), Annie Yi (Indianapolis, Ind.); FORWARDS (7): Gina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Rachel Givan (Ridgeland, Miss.), Kayanne Gummersal (Wilmette, Ill), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix, Ariz.), Ashley Moore (Clifton Park, N.Y.), Kelly O’Hara, (Fayetteville, Ga.), Nikki Washington (Mesquite, Tex.).  

U-17 MNT FALL 3-2 TO D.C. UNITED AT TOM FITZERGALD MEMORIAL FESTIVAL: The U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team fell to D.C. United 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader in the inaugural Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Soccer Festival at Pepin Stadium on the campus of the University of Tampa. The U.S. fell behind early as U-17 Residency alum Santino Quaranta scored in the ninth minute, but Amaechi Igwe pulled the U.S. even seven minutes later when Eric Lichaj’s long ball freed the midfielder behind the United defense and he finished past Troy Perkins. D.C. regained the lead three minutes before halftime as Ben Olsen fed Eliseo Quintanilla for an easy finish. The reigning MLS champions doubled their lead five minutes into the second half as Olsen once again provided the assist, this time knocking in a cross off short corner-kick for Allen Handy to head home. In the final minute of play, Quavas Kirk was able to pull one back for the U.S. when he converted a penalty kick, but the U.S. was ran out of time to find an equalizer. The Under-17 ’88 MNT also battled MLS newcomer Real Salt Lake last Thursday, pulling out a 1-1 draw. Kirk provided the U.S. with the lead in the 32nd minute and held off Real until the 75th minute when Clint Mathis buried a free kick for the equalizer. The U-17 ’89 MNT were also in competition this past weekend when they defeated the North Carolina ODP team 3-1 behind two goals from Josmer Altidore and another from Peri Marosevic. The U-17 ’88 MNT will play three games this week as they go up against two more MLS squads and the U.S. U-20 MNT, all of which are training in Bradenton. The U-17s will take on the Chicago Fire on Monday (Feb. 14), the U-20s on Thursday (Feb. 17) and the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday (Feb. 19), before leaving for a week of training and games in Guatemala. The U-17 ’89 MNT will take on the USASA National Select Team in Bradenton before the players travel to Argentina with their specific ODP Regional team for training and games.
U-17 ’88 MNT (Team A) Schedule/Results
Date         Opponent           Result     U.S. Goalscorers
Feb. 10    Real Salt Lake    1-1 T      Kirk
Feb. 13    D.C. United          2-3 L     Igwe, Kirk
Feb. 14    Chicago Fire
Feb. 17    U.S. U-20 MNT
Feb. 19    K.C. Wizards

U-17 ’89 MNT (Team B) Schedule/Results
Date       Opponent  Result      U.S. Goalscorers
Feb. 12  N.C. ODP  3-1 W      Altidore (2), Marosevic
Feb. 15  USASA Select

U-17 ’88 MNT HEAD TO GUATEMALA NEXT WEEK FOR TRAINING AND GAMES: The U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team will travel to Guatemala for a week of training that will include three games against youth club teams. The U.S. will leave on Feb. 19 and play games against Municipal (Feb. 22), Aurora (Feb. 24) and Comunicaciones (Feb. 26) before returning home. At the same time the U-17 ‘88s are gone, all the U-17 ‘89s, except Brian Perk, who will travel with the ‘88s to Guatemala, will travel to Argentina with the respective ODP Regional teams. The players will leave on Feb. 19 and return on Feb. 26. The rosters and schedules for the U-17 teams will be available at ussoccer.com later this week.

U-20 MNT FALL TO METROSTARS 2-1 IN FIRST MATCH DURING BRADENTON CAMP: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell 2-1 to the MetroStars on Sunday (Feb. 13) in their first match since coming into camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The U.S. took the lead in the first half when Jay Denny headed home a free kick from Michael Gavin. The MetroStars tied the game in the 37th minute when former U-20 forward Mike Magee’s header got past goalkeeper Justin Hughes. In the second half, Vlade Glusevic scored the game-winner on another header, this time knocking to in off a corner kick. The U.S. will play four more games this week, taking on the San Jose Earthquakes, USASA National Select Team, U.S. Under-17 MNT and the Chicago Fire. Eddie Gaven and Tim Ward, who both were with the U-20s during qualifying for the FIFA World Youth Championship, played for the MetroStars. U-20 MNT head coach Sigi Schmid did not call up any MLS players to allow them the chance to practice with their clubs in the preseason.
U.S. Under-20 Schedule/Result
Date  Opponent  Result  U.S. Goalscorers
Feb. 13  MetroStars  1-2 L  Denny
Feb. 14  San Jose
Feb. 16  USASA National Select Team
Feb. 17  U.S. Under-17 MNT
Feb. 19  Chicago Fire

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

U.S. REFEREES TO OFFICATE WORLD CUP QUALIFIER IN GUATEMALA: The road to Germany continues in Guatemala for U.S. referee Kevin Stott, who will officiate the World Cup Qualifying match between Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago on March 26 at the Mateo Flores stadium in Guatemala City. Stott, who is being considered for one of the 30 officials positions at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, will be assisted on the sidelines by U.S. Soccer Assistant Referees Chris Strickland and Greg Barkey. Roberto Moreno of Panama will be the fourth official. The game between Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago will be Stott’s second World Cup qualifier of 2005, after serving as the referee in the 0-0 draw between Panama and Guatemala at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium in Panama City.

CHASTAIN TO APPEAR ON BRAVO'S CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN: U.S. Women's National Team star Brandi Chastain recently participated in Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown. The episode featuring Chastain taking on four other celebrities (Camryn Manheim, Colin Quinn, Tom Verica & Kevin Weisman) is scheduled to air tomorrow (Feb. 15) on Bravo at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Chastain was playing for the Children's Cancer Research Fund.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: After contributing for 90 minutes in the United States’ World Cup Qualifying victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, defender Cory Gibbs produced for his club on Sunday, scoring the first of Feyenoord’s seven goals in the 21st minute in a win over Willhem II Tilburg. It was Gibbs’ first goal for the Dutch side, and the club’s first ever goal by an American.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: Stars will fill Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium tomorrow (Feb. 15) as FIFA and the Spanish Football Federation join forces with more than 50 of the world’s best known soccer players in a “Football for Hope” match. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Tsunami victims in Asia. World Player of the Year Ronaldinho Gaucho and European Player of the Year Andrey Shevchenko will each captain the “World Team” and the “European Team,” respectively. Ronaldinho’s World Team will include players such as U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, while Shevchenko will count on Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and Italy’s Paolo Maldini. Pierluigi Collina will officiate. The match will be shown live on ESPN2 at 2:55 p.m. ET.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Spanish club Real Madrid only trails league leaders Barcelona by four points after a dismal season start, which included a 3-0 loss to Barca. The star-studded squad’s comeback began shortly after hiring their third coach of the season, Brazilian Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who has seven consecutive victories after taking the reigns of the Galacticos two months ago. Madrid’s most recent victory was a 2-1 win over Osasuna on Sunday in Pamplona.

QUOTABLE: "My first goal and my first assist with Feyenoord so I'm pretty happy with the way things went today. I'm here to do my job. It's important. They bought me for a reason. I am just trying to step up and do my best.”
     --United States and Feyenoord defender Cory Gibbs, after his club’s 7-0 win over Willhem II Tilberg on Sunday, when he scored the team’s first goal.

- ussoccer.com -

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