U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Men's National Team Qualifies for 2002 FIFA World Cup
2-1 WIN OVER JAMAICA PUTS U.S. IN FOURTH STRAIGHT WORLD CUP: Facing a must-win situation in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, the U.S. Men's National Team earned a berth in the 2002 FIFA World Cup with a thrilling 2-1 win over Jamaica on Sunday (Oct. 7) at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The U.S. has now qualified for seven World Cups, including each of the last four. U.S. forward and Chevrolet Man of the Match Joe-Max Moore scored goals in the 4th and 81st minutes to help the U.S. improve to an insurmountable 16 points on a 5-3-1 record and join Costa Rica as two of the three CONCACAF representatives in the World Cup. "I'm proud of our team. Now we have seven months to produce a better team than we produced in 2000 and 2001," said head coach Bruce Arena. "I'm optimistic that we can put a better team on the field in the World Cup next year."
MEXICO-HONDURAS TO PLAY FOR FINAL CONCACAF WORLD CUP BERTH: Honduras, who had seemed a likely World Cup qualifier after winning back-to-back games in September, now faces a must-win situation on Nov. 11 when they travel to Estadio Azteca to face Mexico in a battle for the final playoff spot. A goal from Stern John for 10-man Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday doomed Honduras to a 1-0 defeat, their third qualifying loss at home. With both teams on 14 points after Mexico's 0-0 draw in Costa Rica, the Tri-Colores' superior goal difference will allow them to draw Honduras and qualify for their third straight World Cup. The top three CONCACAF teams from this final round competition advance to the World Cup.
U.S. QUALIFIES AT HOME FOR FIRST TIME IN HISTORY: For the first time in the U.S. Men's National Team's 86-year history, the team celebrated a berth in the World Cup on U.S. soil when players and coaches learned of the other results in CONCACAF qualifying on Sunday just moments after their 2-1 victory over Jamaica at Foxboro Stadium. In 1997, the U.S. defeated Canada 3-0 in Vancouver to clinch a spot in the 1998 tournament, and in 1989 the team advance through their historic 1-0 win in Trinidad. The only other times the U.S. actually played their way into a World Cup (which doesn't include a spot in the first ever tournament in 1930 and the U.S. hosting the 1994 tournament) came in 1934, when the U.S. defeated Mexico 4-2 in Rome, Italy in a play-in game just prior to the Italian-hosted event, and 1949, when four qualifying matches were played in Mexico City.
ARENA AVAILABLE ON FIRST-EVER www.ussoccer.com CHAT ON THURSDAY: U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena will participate in the first-ever live, online chat on U.S. Soccer's newly re-designed website, www.ussoccer.com, on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Arena will discuss the USA's historic 2-1 win against Jamaica as well as look ahead to next eight months leading up to Korea/Japan 2002. Fans from across the United States can log on to www.ussoccer.com or www.ussoccerfan.com and register online to ask Arena a question. Only registered members of ussoccerfan.com can ask questions. U.S. Soccer's redesigned website, as well as its new address, www.ussoccer.com, will include many new features that will allow fans to get into the U.S. National Teams like never before.
MLS SEMIFINALS KICK OFF ON WEDNESDAY: The MLS postseason resumes on Wednesday as two semifinals kick-off their first-to-five-points series. Landon Donovan leads the San Jose Earthquakes against the MLS' top regular-season team, the Miami Fusion, in a match that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at Lockhart Stadium. The game matches Donovan against Jamaica's Tyrone Marshall, who committed the crucial foul on the U.S. forward to set-up the USA's winning penalty kick on Sunday. The Chicago Fire and the L.A. Galaxy renew their intense rivalry in the second semifinal at Soldier Field in a game that will be shown on tape delay at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Miami and San Jose are two semifinal newcomers who will meet after each team won its first-ever playoff series in the first round. The Fusion topped the ‘Quakes in the only meeting at Lockhart, 2-1 on April 21. San Jose's Jeff Agoos and Donovan missed that match as they were called in to the U.S. training camp prior to the USA's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on April 25. Los Angeles and Chicago have met once before in the MLS postseason, squaring off in the 1998 semifinals. The Fire swept to a series win, taking the first two games and advancing to the MLS Cup , which they won. The clubs have also met in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals in 2000 and 2001. The Fire topped the Galaxy in 2000 and went on to win the Lamar Hunt trophy. This year, the Galaxy won to advance to the Open Cup final with an overtime golden goal from defender Alexi Lalas. The Galaxy and Fire split two regular-season matches this year, with the home team losing both matches. The Fire will be without two regulars, as Diego Gutierrez (yellow card accumulation) and Ante Razov (ankle) will both miss Game One. The Galaxy's Luis Hernandez, who was sidelined during the month of September with a right hip flexor strain, is expected to make a return to the lineup for the series opener.
2002 WORLD CUP UPDATE
MOORE GOALS FOR JOE-MAX: For the second time in three 2002 World Cup qualifying games at Foxboro Stadium, U.S. forward Joe-Max Moore notched two goals and earned Chevrolet Man of the Match honors. Moore's two goals on Sunday, coupled with two he scored in a 7-0 semifinal round rout of Barbados back on August 16, 2000, improved his overall goal-scoring mark for the U.S. to 24 goals, second all-time for the U.S. to Eric Wynalda's 34.
U.S. CLOSES DOORS AT FOXBORO STADIUM IN STYLE: The final international soccer match at Foxboro Stadium was as magical as U.S. Soccer's amazing all-time undefeated record at the stadium. Scheduled to be torn down next year after the opening of CMGI Field next door, the U.S. Men's National Team amassed a perfect 7-0-3 mark at Foxboro Stadium, including a 4-0-1 record in World Cup qualifiers. Combined the U.S. Women's perfect 4-0-1 record (which include a 1999 Women's World Cup opening round victory), Foxboro Stadium has gone 11-0-4 in hosting 15 international U.S. Soccer matches.
21 TEAMS NOW QUALIFIED FOR 2002 WORLD CUP: The biggest weekend in World Cup qualifying saw eight teams, including the U.S., secure spots in Korea/Japan 2002. The final weekend of group qualifying play in Europe produced a dramatic weekend, but no match was more dramatic than England's draw with Greece. David Beckham's added-time free kick gave England a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford and – coupled with Germany's scoreless draw with Finland – saw England into the finals. Bora Milutinovic guided China into the country's first-ever World Cup with a 1-0 win against Oman in front of 60,000 fans in Shenyang. Croatia, England, Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Russia also secured qualification this weekend. Following is a list of the 21 teams that have secured a spot in the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, with 11 spots still up for grabs.
Qualifying Spots Available
South Korea (co-host)
Cameroon (Group A)
CONMEBOL (South America)
CONCACAF (Americas and Caribbean)
France (defending champion)
U.S. IN ELITE CLUB WITH FOURTH STRAIGHT WORLD CUP BERTH: Twelve nations have participated in each of the last three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998), including the United States. With qualifying for the 2002 World Cup winding down, six of those teams have already secured a spot in Korea/Japan 2002: Italy, Argentina, Spain, Cameroon, South Korea and the United States. Three other European teams that have played in each of the last three World Cups — Germany, Belgium and Romania — have advanced to the two-leg playoffs and can still qualify for Korea/Japan. The Netherlands have played in each of the last three World Cups and advanced to the semifinals in 1998, but the Orange have been knocked out of Korea/Japan 2002 after finishing behind Ireland and Portugal in group play. After struggling early, Brazil now seems destined to secure a spot in the World Cup finals and maintain their record as the only team to appear in every World Cup. With two matches remaining, Colombia is on the outside looking in for CONMEBOL qualifying. Colombia sits in sixth place, four points out of fifth place and a play-off against Australia.
T&T FORWARD TROTTMAN DIES IN TRAGIC CAR CRASH: Rochester Rhinos and Trinidad & Tobago forward Mickey Trottman was killed in a car crash in the early morning of October 3 in Trinidad. Trottman was training with the T&T National Team in advance of their World Cup Qualifier against Honduras. Trottman appeared in 30 MLS matches as a member of the Dallas Burn and the Miami Fusion, scoring six goals to go along with five assists. Trottman also has an extensive A-League career that dates back to 1997, when he began his U.S. career with the New Orleans Storm. He tallied 25 points in 27 matches and was named to the All-Star Team. The diminutive striker also played with the Lehigh Valley Steam (19 points in 1999) before joining the Rhinos this past March. Trottman played at every National Team level for T&T and scored in his full international debut in 1999, a 2-0 win against South Africa.
AROUND THE U.S. SOCCER NATION
RHINOS ADVANCE TO FOURTH STRAIGHT A-LEAGUE FINAL, FACE RIVAL WILDCATS: The Rochester Rhinos and the Hershey Wildcats will meet in the A-League post-season for the fourth consecutive year, but this time the A-League Championship will be at stake. The A-League Championship will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 13 at Rochester's Frontier Field. The match will be broadcast on www.uslsoccer.com. Rochester bested Milwaukee in the A-League semifinals, winning both matches to
post a 4-2 aggregate win. The Wildcats beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1 on aggregate, thanks to an opening 4-0 win in Vancouver. The Rhinos have played in the last three A-League finals, winning the championship in 1998 and 2000 and falling in the Championship match in 1999 to the Minnesota Thunder.
A-LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2001 AWARD WINNERS: The A-League announced three award winners last week, honoring the league's top defender, top rookie and top coach. Vancouver Whitecaps defender Rick Titus was honored as the Defender of the Year after becoming just the sixth player in franchise history to play every minute of every regular season contest. He played a total of 2,391 minutes across 26 matches and tallied a goal and an assist. Titus was also named to the A-League All-League First Team, one year after being honored with a second-team selection. The Toronto Lynx's Robbie Aristodemo was named the Rookie of the Year. The 24-year-old midfielder played in every game this season and scored one goal to go along with three assists. The Vancouver Whitecaps' Dale Mitchell was named the A-League Coach of Year in a vote by his peers. In his second year in charge of the club, Mitchell guided the squad to a 16-8-2 record, the Western Conference title and a spot in the A-League semifinals.
Award - Award Winner (Team)
Defender of the Year - Rick Titus (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Rookie of the Year - Robbie Aristodemo (Toronto Lynx)
Coach of the Year - Dale Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps)
"SOCCERVACATIONS.COM" OFFERS UNIQUE USA-TRINIDAD & TOBAGO PACKAGE: Fans of the U.S. Men's National Team have a chance to see the team finish the final round of World Cup qualifying when the U.S. takes on regional rival Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain on Nov. 11. In addition to being on hand for the game, fans can also experience the vacation of a lifetime and enjoy the game day passion at Hasely Crawford National Stadium for as low as $1215 per person. This package includes round-trip air from most major gateways in the USA, two-night hotel accommodations, premiere match tickets, ground transfers, a "Welcome to Trinidad & Tobago" cocktail party, daily buffet breakfast, the service of a SoccerVacations representative and much more. For more information on this package or any other U.S. Soccer event, call toll free at 877-667-5338 or log on to www.SoccerVacations.com.
PRO TEAMS IN N.Y., D.C. JOIN TOGETHER FOR "UNITY GAMES" BENEFIT SERIES: The four Division I professional soccer teams in the New York/New Jersey and Washington D.C. areas, the MetroStars and D.C. United of MLS along with the New York Power and Washington Freedom of the WUSA, will join together to raise funds for those affected by the Sept. 11 tragedy by hosting the "Unity Games," to be held on Oct. 28 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey and on Nov. 3 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Tickets for both double-headers will be $20, with all proceeds going to the relief and recovery effort from the tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C. Tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets in the New York/New Jersey and Washington, D.C. areas. Tickets will also be available in New York by calling the MetroStars ticket office at 888-4-METROTIX, the New York Power ticket office at 866-POWRTIX, or by visiting www.metrostars.com or www.nypower.com.
WUSA'S FREEDOM TOP BREAKERS 3-1 IN HALL-OF-FAME GAME: In an exhibition match played at the National Soccer Hall of Fame, it was a foreigner who stole the show. Brazilian Roseli came off the bench to score twice within 12 minutes in the second half as the Washington Freedom beat the Boston Breakers 3-1 in front of a crowd of 3,257 at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. on Monday. Keri Raygor opened the scoring, putting Boston ahead in the 10th minute. Mia Hamm equalized in the 25th minute and the match was even 1-1 at halftime, when Roseli replaced fellow Brazilian Pretinha. Roseli converted a penalty kick in the 66th minute and finished the scoring with a goal in the 78th minute. Monica Gerardo tallied two assists for the Freedom.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMANCE: Joe-Max Moore got the goals and Chevrolet Man of the Match honors, but it was the smooth nuance of John O'Brien on the left wing that sparked the U.S. offense in their crucial 2-1 World Cup clinching victory over Jamaica on Oct. 7. Time and again it was O'Brien leading the charge down the flank seamlessly linking passes from Claudio Reyna and the U.S. back-line into dangerous goal-mouth opportunities for the U.S. Perhaps most impressive concerning John O'Brien is the USA's undefeated mark of 4-0-1 in qualifiers in which he has played.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Landon Donovan and Tyrone Marshall hook-up for Round Two of head-to-head action starting this Wednesday night, when semifinal newcomers the San Jose Earthquakes and Miami Fusion begin their fight for a spot in the 2001 MLS Cup. It was the Fusion's Marshall who fouled the ‘Quakes Donovan in the 80th minute to set-up the U.S. penalty kick that clinched a World Cup berth for the United States.
SOCCER SHOCKER: Trinidad & Tobago wins at Honduras?!? With 10 men? Pure fantasy. Through eight games, T&T had amassed a grand total of one point in World Cup qualifying. Yes, Honduras had lost two home games to front runners Costa Rica and the U.S., but they had also amassed 14 points and seemed on the verge of a World Cup berth. Not so fast. A goal from former Columbus Crew star Stern John dashed the hopes of a nation, and now the Catrachos must win in Mexico on Nov. 11.
"I cut the ball back and didn't have a chance to dive or do anything. I just fell and hoped for a whistle. I did think for a second ‘Was that Tyrone (Marshall)?', because we are playing again on Wednesday (in the MLS playoffs)."
- Landon Donovan, after being fouled for the winning penalty kick against Jamaica.