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U.S. Soccer Wire: U-17 MNT Set for World Championships


U-17s FINISH ENGLAND TOUR WITH 3-0-1 RECORD BEFORE HEADING OFF TO FINLAND: After opening their 10-day tour of England with wins over the Blackburn U-18s and the U-17 MNT of Australia, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team finished their trip undefeated after pulling out a 2-1 win over the Manchester United U-18s on Aug. 7 and then tying Nigeria 1-1 on Aug. 9. After giving up a goal in the 10th minute, the U.S. used two goals in a 10-minute span from forwards Freddy Adu (40th) and Jamie Watson (50th) to come back and post a 2-1 win over the Man-U youth team. In the fourth and final game, Nigeria struck first in the 25th minute, but the U.S. found the equalizer four minutes before the half as John DiRaimondo jumped on a loose ball in the penalty area and blasted it into the upper right of the goal. With the tour complete, the U.S. traveled yesterday to Lahti, Finland, the location for all three of the team’s U-17 World Championship first round games.  The U.S. will open Group D by facing South Korea on Thursday (Aug. 14) live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, then will meet Sierra Leone on Sunday (Aug. 17) and Spain on Aug. 20 live on Galavision.
U.S. U-17 MNT Results
Date: Opponent - Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 2: Blackburn - 4-2 W    Watson, Adu (3)
Aug. 4: Australia - 1-0 W    Adu
Aug. 7: Manchester United - 2-1 W    Adu, Watson
Aug. 9: Nigeria - 1-1 T    DiRaimondo
U.S. U-17 MNT Schedule – Finland 2003
Date: Opponent - Kickoff - Broadcast Time
Aug. 14: South Korea - 10:30 a.m. ET  - 1 p.m. ET/PT (tape delay)
Aug. 17: Sierra Leone - 7:55 a.m. ET - (live) / 7:55 a.m. PT (tape delay)
Aug. 20: Spain - 12:55 p.m. ET - (live) / 1 p.m. PT (tape delay)

PAIR OF USL TEAMS SURPRISE MLS COUNTERPARTS AS OPEN CUP QUARTERFINALS SET: Two upstarts from the United Soccer Leagues – the Seattle Sounders (A-League) and the Wilmington Hammerheads (Pro Select League) – stole the show in the fourth round of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with upsets of their MLS opponents last week. Seattle pulled out a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, but the bigger upset was Wilmington’s 4-1 drubbing of the Dallas Burn at Legion Sports Complex in Wilmington, N.C.  Already the prize-winner from Division 3, the Hammerheads dominated their higher division opponent. D.C. forward Hristo Stoitchkov narrowly prevented another upset, providing a golden goal in the 97th minute to help defeat the Virginia Beach Mariners. In other action, several MLS teams came back from early deficits to pull out close wins, including the Revolution defeating the Rochester Raging Rhinos 2-1, the L.A. Galaxy finding their way past the amateur Fresno Fuego 3-1, and Chicago rebounding from a 3rd minute goal to win 4-1. In the two all-MLS matches, MetroStars defender Eddie Pope provided two late goals to match Edson Buddle’s two early goals and edge the Crew 4-3 in an offensive onslaught, while John Spencer’s two goals helped the Colorado Rapids down Kansas City 3-2. All four U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal matches are set for Wednesday, Aug. 27.
Fourth Round Results – 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
No Date: Result
19 Aug. 5: Seattle Sounders (A-League) 2, San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 1   
20 Aug. 6: D.C. United (MLS) 1, Virginia Beach Mariners (A-League) 0
21 Aug. 6: Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 3, Fresno Fuego (PDL) 1
22 Aug. 6: Wilmington Hammerheads (USL-PSL) 4, Dallas Burn (MLS) 1
23 Aug. 5: Colorado Rapids (MLS) 3, Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 2
24 Aug. 6: Chicago Fire (MLS) 4, Milwaukee Wave United (A-League) 1
25 Aug. 6: MetroStars (MLS) 4, Columbus Crew (MLS) 3
26 Aug. 6: New England Revolution (MLS) 2, Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) 1   

Quarterfinals Schedule – 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
No Date: Match-Up - Venue; City - Kickoff
27 Aug. 27: Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (A-League) - Seahawk Stadium; Seattle, Wash. - 7 p.m. PT
28 Aug. 27: D.C. United at Wilmington Hammerheads (USL-PSL) - Legion Sports Complex; Wilmington, N.C. - 7:30 p.m. ET
29 Aug. 27: Colorado Rapids (MLS) at Chicago Fire (MLS) - Cardinal Stadium; Naperville, Ill. - 7:30 p.m. CT
30 Aug. 27: New England Revolution (MLS) at MetroStars (MLS) - Yurcak Field; Piscataway, N.J. - 7:30 p.m. ET

– FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP USA 2003 UPDATE –

VENUE SERIES TICKETS NEARING SELL-OUT IN COLUMBUS, PORTLAND AND L.A.: The Women’s World Cup 2003 Organizing Committee announced last week that venue series tickets for the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 are close to being sold out for three of the six venues: Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (capacity: 22,555); PGE Park in Portland, Ore. (capacity: 28,359); and The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (capacity: 27,500). Venue series tickets, which consist of all of the matches scheduled at a single FIFA Women's World Cup venue, went on sale to the public starting on July 19 and are selling quickly in all six venues.  Fans can still purchase these special multiple-game packages, which are priced from $50 to $660 depending on the venue and number of match days included in the series, through FIFAworldcup.com or Ticketmaster.com. They may also be ordered over the phone by calling 1-800-WWCTIKS (992-8457) for five of the six venues and 202-432-SEAT (7328) or 1-800-551-SEAT (7328) for tickets at RFK Stadium.

GROUP TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR U.S. WNT SEND-OFF MATCHES ON SEPT. 1 & 7: U.S. Soccer announced last week that group tickets are now available for the U.S. Women’s National Team’s pair of send-off matches in early September, which will mark the team’s final two games before the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003. After a unique Labor Day friendly between the U.S. and Costa Rica on Sept. 1 (live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET) at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., which will mark the first time that any of U.S. Soccer’s National Teams will play an international game at the state-of-the-art new stadium, the U.S. WNT will head north to meet Mexico on Sept. 7 (live on ESPN at 10 a.m. PT) at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif. USA-Costa Rica discount tickets, which are available for groups of 20 or more, can be purchased by contacting the L.A. Galaxy at 1-877-3GALAXY. Group tickets are available in a wide range of prices including: Midfield - $55, Sidelines - $35, Primary Corners - $28, Secondary Corners - $24 and Endlines - $20. USA-Mexico discount tickets are priced at $25 for East Sideline and $15 for Endline, a savings of $5 per ticket and no per-ticket convenience charge. To order group discount tickets, call 408-985-GOAL (4625).

USA TO FACE SWEDEN, NIGERIA AND NORTH KOREA IN GROUP A PLAY ON EAST COAST: The U.S. Women’s National Team will begin its road toward the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup title in a difficult Group A against Sweden, Nigeria and Korea DPR (North Korea). The top-ranked U.S. WNT will open Group A play against the No. 5 team in the world, Sweden, on Sept. 21 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The U.S. will then meet Nigeria on Sept. 25 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and North Korea on Sept. 28 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Should the U.S. advance to the quarterfinals, the team will play one of the top two teams from Group B at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Both semifinals will be played at PGE Park in Portland, Ore., on Sunday, Oct. 5, while the third place match and final will be played as single games on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12, respectively, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. In the rest of the draw, the other teams ranked in the top four in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking –Norway, Germany and China – were given top seeds in the other three groups. Joining Norway in Group B are Brazil, France and South Korea. Joining Germany in Group C are Canada, Japan and Argentina. And finally, in Group D with China are Ghana, Russia and Australia. The top two teams in Group C and D will face each other in the quarterfinals at PGE Park.
FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 – Groups
Group A: USA, Sweden, Nigeria, North Korea
Group B: Norway, Brazil, France, South Korea
Group C: Germany, Canada, Japan, Argentina
Group D: China, Ghana, Russia, Australia
FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 – U.S. WNT Schedule (* if necessary)
Date: Opponent - Venue; City - Kickoff
Sept. 21: Sweden - RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. - 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Sept. 25: Nigeria - Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa. - 3:45 p.m. (ET)
Sept. 28: Korea DPR - Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio - 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Oct. 1: Quarterfinals* - Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass. - 4:30 / 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Oct. 5: Semifinals* - PGE Park; Portland, Ore. - 4:30 / 7:30 p.m. (PT)
Oct. 11: Third Place* - The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. - 12:30 p.m. (PT)
Oct. 12: Final* - The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. - 10 a.m. (PT)

  – U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

HOWARD SHINES FOR MAN-U IN COMMUNITY SHIELD MATCH; EPL OPENS SATURDAY: U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard made his competitive debut for Manchester United in style, stoning Arsenal's Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Robert Pires in a penalty kick shootout to hand United the 2003 FA Community Shield and their first hardware of the new campaign. The match between England's league winner and FA Cup winner ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving terms to be decided from the penalty spot. Action in England's First Division kicked off this weekend, with Eddie Lewis heading home his first goal of the season just 70 seconds into Preston North End's home opener against West Ham.  The lead didn't stand, though, as West Ham went on to capture a 2-1 victory.  Meantime, U.S. captain Claudio Reyna did not suit up for Sunderland's 2-0 loss to Nottingham Forest, as his future with the club remains undecided.  In Germany, Hannover let a 3-1 halftime lead slip away against defending champion Bayern Munich, with defender Steve Cherundolo going the distance in the 3-3 draw.  Gregg Berhalter started his first game in the Second Division for Energie Cottbus, as the visitors earned their first win of the year in a 1-0 shutout against FC Union Berlin.  Cory Gibbs also saw his first action, as FC St. Pauli posted a 1-1 draw with Münster.  In France, Greg Vanney and Bastia had a similar fate as Hannover, surrendering a 3-1 lead to finish level at 3-3 with newly-promoted FC Metz.  Look for the return next week of the MNT European Update, a weekly summary of the U.S. MNT players in action across Europe, as the English Premier League and the Dutch Eredivisie begin the 2003-04 season.

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

GALAVISION TO BROADCAST SELECT U-17 MATCHES FROM FINLAND 2003: Spanish-language station Galavision announced last week that it will broadcast select matches, including all three U.S. opening round matches (see U.S. schedule on Page 1) as well as the quarterfinals, semifinals and final, from the U-17 World Championship in Finland, which begins on Wednesday (Aug. 13).
Date: Match-up - Broadcast Time
Aug. 13: Mexico-Colombia - 12:55 p.m. ET (live) / 12:55 p.m. PT (delay)
Aug. 16: Finland-Mexico - 10:25 a.m. ET / 7:25 a.m. PT (live)
Aug. 16: Argentina-Costa Rica - 12:30 p.m. ET / 9:30 a.m. PT (delay)
Aug. 19: Mexico-China - 10:25 a.m. ET (live) / 10:25 a.m. PT (delay)
Aug. 23: Quarterfinal: 1B-2A - 10:55 a.m. ET (live) / 11 a.m. PT (delay)
Aug. 24: Quarterfinal: 1D-2C - 10:55 a.m. ET (live) / 11 a.m. PT (delay)
Aug. 27: Semifinal - 12:55 p.m. ET (live) / 12:55 p.m. PT (delay)
Aug. 30: Final - 8:55 a.m. ET (live) / 8:55 a.m. PT (delay) OR 5:55 a.m. PT (live), if USA, Mexico, Brazil or Argentina

2003 WUSA SEASON DOWN TO FOUR TEAMS AS PLAYOFFS BEGIN THIS WEEKEND: The 2003 WUSA season comes down to the single-elimination playoff semifinals this weekend. The Boston Breakers and San Diego Spirit are set to make their first post-season appearances in the league’s three-year history. Boston will host 2002 Founders Cup finalists Washington on Saturday (Aug.16) at 4 p.m. ET live on PAX, while the Spirit will travel to take on perennial powerhouse Atlanta on Sunday (Aug. 17) at 6 p.m. ET live on ESPN2. Following the Semifinals, the winners will advance to Founders Cup III in San Diego on Sunday, August 24 to battle for the WUSA title.  ESPN2 will broadcast the championship game live from Torero Stadium at 4:00 p.m. ET.
2003 WUSA Playoff Schedule
Date: Match-up - Kickoff / TV
Aug. 16: Washington at Boston - 4:00 p.m. ET / PAX
Aug. 17: San Diego at Atlanta - 6:00 p.m. ET / ESPN2

CAPE COD REPEATS AS PDL CHAMPS WITH 2-0 WIN OVER CHICAGO FIRE RESERVES: The Cape Cod Crusaders took advantage of two defensive miscues by the Chicago Fire Reserves to post a 2-0 win and repeat as Premier Development League champions on Aug. 11 in front of approximately 2,700 fans at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill. The Crusaders caught their first break in the 17th minute when a Chicago defender played the ball with his hand in the penalty area. Joseph Ngwenya, who led the league in goals, converted the kick from the spot for the lead. Another defensive miscue in the 81st minute secured the win, as David Bulow dispossessed a defender and rushed in on goal alone and beat goalkeeper Matt Pickens for the insurance tally. Cape Cod becomes the fifth team in USL amateur history to repeat as champions, following the Chicago Sockers (1999-2000), Central Coast Roadrunners (1996-1997), Greensboro Dynamo (1993-1994) and Colorado Comets (1989-1990).

AKIDE DELIVERS GOLDEN GOAL TO LIFT HAMPTON ROADS TO W-LEAGUE TITLE: A strike from Nigerian National Team star Mercy Akide six minutes into golden goal overtime delivered the 2003 W-League championship for the Hampton Roads Piranhas in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cobras last night in front of 1,237 fans at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, Va. The Seattle Sounders defeated the Ottawa Fury, 4-1, to claim Third Place prior to the championship.


- U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT -

PEAK PERFORMER:  Just a week after having his named dropped under “Soccer Shocker” following his pair of outstanding performances with Manchester United, U.S. MNT goalkeeper Tim Howard is back in the spotlight after a terrific effort in Man-U’s penalty kick shootout win over Arsenal last weekend. Howard stopped not one, but two penalty kicks to help the Red Devils edge Arsenal 4-3 in PKs after a 1-1 draw in regulation.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Two years of preparation comes down to the most important week of the budding careers of the members of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, as Freddy Adu & Co. head to Finland to try to match the Class of 1999’s best ever fourth place finish at the U-17 World Championship. The crucial opening match has them pitted against South Korea on Thursday (Aug. 14) in match that can be followed live at 10:30 a.m. ET on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics, and televised on Galavision via tape delay at 1 p.m. ET and PT.

SOCCER SHOCKER:  Past U.S. Open Cup history shows that upsets of MLS teams usually come on overtime goals or by a slim one-goal margin, but the Wilmington Hammerheads blew that notion wide open by destroying the hapless Dallas Burn 4-1 on Aug. 6. After giving up a goal in the 11th minute, the red-hot Pro Select League squad stormed back to equalize in the 33rd minute and then poured in three goals in the second half, including two insurance goals from Glenn Murray, to post one of the biggest upsets in tournament history.

QUOTABLE: "What we put on the field was shockingly awful."
        --Dallas head coach Mike Jeffries, after their season (3-11-4 record in MLS) went from bad to worse with a 4-1 loss to Wilmington

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