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U.S. MNT Training Camp Notes from Bradenton - Feb. 9, 2004


IN FULL SWING: The U.S. Men's National Team is well into training camp number two for 2004, Bruce Arena putting the men through the paces of twice-a-day sessions since Feb. 5 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.  The 18-man contingent is receiving a well-earned day off today, and will conduct a series of scrimmages against the MLS teams also in residency for the remainder of the week.  On Thursday, Arena is expected to name the final roster for the match against fourth-ranked Holland on Feb. 18 at the Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam.  Kickoff for the debut of the USA's new Nike uniform is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.  Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

PLUS ONE: Cory Gibbs was added to the training camp roster Thursday, arriving one day late after completing his new contract with the Dallas Burn.  The 24-year old defender made his debut for the MNT in 2003, making seven total appearances, including two starts in the FIFA Confederations Cup last June.  The team also had the benefit of a guest player for part of the week, as local resident and D.C. United forward Freddy Adu joined in sessions when the schedule permitted.  Adu joins United for the opening of their preseason training camp today.

MNT DOWNS FIRE: In the first scrimmage for both teams, the MNT beat Chicago 1-0 yesterday on a 33rd minute penalty conversion by Ante Razov.  Both teams made liberal substitutions in the 60-minute contest, with Razov and Fire captain Chris Armas playing for Chicago in the first stanza.  The U.S. is scheduled to play the MetroStars and D.C. United prior to departing Feb. 13 for Amsterdam.

DUTCH HOME GROWN: The KNVB has released the names of eight domestic-based players who will be on the roster for the match against the USA.  League leaders Ajax contribute four players, led by team leading scorer Wesley Sneijder.  The full roster is expected to be announced Feb. 12.  The domestic player list:

Wilfred Bouma (PSV), John Heitenga (Ajax), Nigel de Jong (Ajax), Arjen Robben (PSV), Wesley Sneijder (Ajax), Robie van Persie (Feyenoord), Rafael van der Vaart (Ajax), Ronald Wattereus (PSV)

KEEPING TRACK OF THE U-23'S: Both players and coaches were affixed to their computer screens Saturday afternoon, following the progress of the U-23's final Olympic Qualifying group match against Honduras on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. Already, the three group matches from Mexico have drawn some of the largest audiences in MatchTracker history.  The team learned the final result at the end of their afternoon training session, with 2002 World Cup veterans Eddie Pope, Frankie Hejduk and Josh Wolff relishing the chance for the U-23's to face Mexico in another key clash between the rival nations.  No doubt the computers will be fired up for the all-important semifinal match tomorrow night, when the U.S. meets Mexico at 8 p.m. CT.

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