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U.S. Soccer Wire - October 17, 2005


U.S. MNT Tops CONCACAF Hexagonal With Win Against Panama;
WNT Draws With Australia, Prepares to Face Mexico

FOXBORO FINISH: The U.S. Men’s National Team finished their 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory over Panama on a blustery Wednesday (Oct. 12) evening at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., to finish atop the CONCACAF Hexagonal for the first time in their history. The victory, coupled with Mexico’s 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago, put the U.S. tied at 22 points with their border rival, but the U.S. won the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 3-2 aggregate score. The U.S., which secured their spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup back on September 3 with a 2-0 shutout of Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, will learn the venue in which they will play their group matches on December 9, 2005, at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Leipzig, Germany. “It was a good win and good experience for a lot of players,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. “I’ve been told that we finished first in the group, which is nice, but wasn’t critical. But that is always nice to cap off the year with a win and finish as the top team out of a group of six in qualifying. That’s a great accomplishment for our group. We had a fantastic year here at home with the five wins and the 15 points, which is the name of the game. Great year.” (For a complete look at 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region, visit the competitions page at ussoccer.com.)

AT HOME IN HAMBURG: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will use the City of Hamburg as their home base throughout the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. will learn the venue in which they will play their group matches on December 9, 2005, at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Leipzig, Germany. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and the northern most FIFA World Cup venue. It is located at the confluence of the Elbe and Alster Rivers where it serves as Germany’s international trade hub as the second largest port in Europe. The selection of Hamburg, often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” culminates an inspection process conducted by U.S. Soccer across a 16-month period in which all 12 FIFA World Cup venues were closely examined. “We looked at a number of venues throughout Germany to base our team,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena, “and felt Hamburg was clearly the best choice. We had great success in 2002 staging our operations in one location (Seoul, South Korea) and traveling into our venues for games, and we feel that strategy will work for us again in 2006. Regardless of the venues we are eventually drawn into, the excellent transportation infrastructure in Germany allows us the luxury of choosing any city in the country as our base, and clearly Hamburg has as much or more to offer than any city in Germany.”

WNT TIES AUSTRALIA, PREPARES FOR MEXICO: The U.S. Women’s National Team battled a tough Australia team to a 0-0 tie at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., but still extended its shutout streak to nine games, dating back to the final match of 2004. The U.S. women moved 7-0-1 on the year but still have yet to allow a goal under new head coach Greg Ryan. The tie was the second in a row for the two teams, who played to a 1-1 draw in group play at the 2004 Olympics. It was also the first time the U.S. women had been shutout in the last 40 matches dating back to a 0-0 draw with China on Feb. 1, 2004. The U.S. team now travels to Charleston, S.C., to train for five days before facing Mexico on Sunday, October 23 at Blackbaud Stadium (get tickets). Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET and the match will be televised live on ESPN2 and Telemundo. It will be the final match of the year for the U.S. women, who have a chance to go through all of 2005 without allowing a goal, a feat never achieved before.

BOXX, WELSH CANDIDATES FOR FIFA FEMALE WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR: U.S. Women's National Team midfielder Shannon Boxx and forward Christie Welsh were named last week as candidates for the 2005 FIFA Female World Player of the Year award. Boxx and Welsh were two of 24 women chosen as candidates by various FIFA experts, including members of the Committee for Women's Football and FIFA Women's Competitions. Boxx has been considered one of the best defensive midfielders in the women's game the past few years, while Welsh made an impression this year with seven goals, including five goals in a superb Algarve Cup. The winner will be announced on December 19 at the FIFA World Player of the Year Gala at the Zurich Opera House.

-- WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

CONCACAF: Trinidad & Tobago will have one more chance to join the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The Soca Warriors will face Bahrain in a two-game on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16. Trinidad & Tobago earned the playoff spot against Bahrain, the fifth-place team from Asia, with a 2-1 win against Mexico in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Wednesday (Oct. 12), leaving Guatemala out of the world’s biggest tournament yet again despite a 3-1 win against Costa Rica in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The U.S., meanwhile, claimed the top spot in CONCACAF with a 2-0 win against Panama at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The USA and Mexico close out the hexagonal tied in points, but the U.S. men come out on top in head-to-head results with a 3-2 aggregate score.
CONCACAF Final Round Standings
Team                       P     W    L    D   GF:GA    GD    PTS
United States *         10     7    2    1     16:6      +10     22
Mexico *                  10     7    2    1     22:9      +13     22
Costa Rica *             10     5    4    1    15:14      +1     16
Trinidad & Tobago^    10     4    5    1    10:15       -5     13
Guatemala               10     3    5    2     16:18      -2       8
Panama                   10     0    8    2      4:21     -17       2
* clinched spot in FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
^ clinched playoff against fifth-place team from Asia

Date      Match (home teams listed first)   Location                                      Result
Oct. 8    Costa Rica vs. USA                   San Jose, Costa Rica                     3:0
Oct. 8    Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago    Panama City, Panama                    0:1
Oct. 8    Mexico vs. Guatemala                San Luis Potosi, Mexico                 5:2

Oct. 12   USA vs. Panama                       Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.    2:0
Oct. 12   Guatemala vs. Costa Rica          Guatemala City, Guatemala            3:1
Oct. 12   Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico     Port of Spain, Trinidad                     2:1

Playoff
Nov. 12   Trinidad & Tobago vs. Bahrain     TBD                                             TBD 
Nov. 16   Bahrain vs. Trinidad & Tobago     TBD                                             TBD

EUROPE: France, Sweden and Serbia & Montenegro waited until the last day of qualifying to earn their berths to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany while Spain, Turkey, Slovakia, Switzerland, Norway and the Czech Republic are left to battle it out for the final three European spots. Despite a 6-0 thrashing of San Marino on Wednesday (Oct. 12), Spain will have to face Slovakia in a two-game aggregate score series. Also in the European playoffs, Switzerland will face Turkey and Norway will face the Czech Republic. The playoff matches will take place on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16.

SOUTH AMERICA: Uruguay, which won the first ever World Cup on home soil, will have another chance to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and join Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Ecuador. Uruguay will take on Australia in a two-game series on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16 after defeating Argentina 1-0 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The win placed them in fifth place with 25 points, one more than Colombia, who defeated Paraguay 1-0 in Asuncion, Paraguay. Chile was also in the running for the playoff spot, but finished with 22 points after a scoreless draw with Ecuador in Santiago de Chile, Chile.

AFRICA: The five teams that will represent Africa at the World Cup were decided earlier this month, with four of them earning the first-ever World Cup berths for their nations. Angola, Ivory Coast, Togo and Ghana will join Tunisia on the world stage, leaving behind Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, South Africa and Morocco, among others. Nigeria finished second in Group 4, behind Angola, despite a 5-1 trouncing of Zimbabwe. Both teams finished with 21 points, but Angola came out on top with a 2-1 aggregate score against Nigeria. Cameroon and Morocco finished behind Ivory Coast and Tunisia, respectively, by just one point, while Ghana and Togo each finished well ahead of the other teams in their group. All five African teams qualified on Saturday (Oct. 8). Cameroon was fighting with Ivory Coast for the top spot as they faced Egypt on Saturday. The match ended 1-1 when Pierre Wome of Cameroon failed to convert a penalty kick in extra time that would have sent his team to the World Cup.

ASIA: Bahrain will face Trinidad & Tobago on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16 after earning a playoff spot as the fifth-place team from Asia on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Bahrain was battling it out with Uzbekistan for the playoff spot, and secured the playoff spot despite the 0-0 draw in Bahrain on Wednesday. With their previous match ending 1-1, Bahrain advances based on the tie-breaker of having scored a goal against Uzbekistan in Uzbekistan. The draw in Uzbekistan comes one month after Uzbekistan’s 1-0 victory was ordered by FIFA to be replayed after Uzbekistan protested the final score due to a misapplication of the laws.

OCEANIA: While no team from Oceania can directly qualify for the FIFA World Cup, Australia previously defeated the Solomon Islands by a 9-1 aggregate score to earn a spot in a playoff against the fifth place team from South America. Australia will face Uruguay on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16.

-- YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U.S. U-17 WOMEN CURRENTLY AT HDC FOR TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team, led by head coach Erika Walsh, is holding a training camp at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Walsh has called in 22 players to the camp, which started on Oct. 12, almost all of whom have seen action for the U-17s this year. Getting their first looks are defenders Colleen Flanagan (Downingtown, Pa.) and Nicole Moore (Virginia Beach, Va.), midfielder Emily Shibata (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and forward Kendra Chandhoke (Morrison, Colo.). Forward Kelly O’Hara (Fayetville, Ga.) leads the U-17s in scoring this year with five goals. The feisty striker has scored four times in international matches, including both goals in a 2-0 victory against the Japan U-18s at the Texas Shootout last June. Crafty midfielder Tobin Heath has three goals for the U-17s this year. Several of the U-17s in this camp, all born in 1988, could be in the running for spots on head coach Tim Schulz’ U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team that will attempt to qualify for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship to be held next September in Russia. That tournament is for players born on or after Jan. 1, 1986.
U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Chantel Jones (Richmond, Va.), Alyssa Naeher (Seymour, Conn.); DEFENDERS (8): Kelly Eagan (St. James, N.Y.), Colleen Flanagan (Downingtown, Pa.), Megan Jesolva (La Mirada, Calif.), Meghan Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.), Nicole Moore (Virginia Beach, Va.), Sara Murphy (Mendham, N.J.), Lauren Switzer (St. Charles, Ill.), Lauren Wilmoth (Garland, Texas); MIDFIELDERS (6): Becky Edwards (Downingtown, Pa.), Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.), Ali Hawkins (Encinitas, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Emily Shibata (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Kristin Stannard (Midlothian, Va.); FORWARDS (6): Kendra Chandhoke (Morrison, Colo.), Rachel Givan (Ridgeland, Miss.), Alicia Jenkins (Diamond Springs, Calif.), Jessica McDonald (Glendale, Ariz.), Ashley Moore (Clifton Park, N.Y.), Kelley O’Hara (Fayetville, Ga.).

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

MLS PLAYOFF SCHEDULES SET: With the MetroStars capturing the final Eastern Conference postseason berth, the MLS playoff schedules have been set for 2005.  The Eastern Conference semifinal series begins with the Chicago Fire hosting defending champion D.C. United at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 21 at Soldier Field. The return leg will take place live on ESPN2 at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 30, at RFK Stadium. The New England Revolution will face the MetroStars in the other Eastern Conference matchup begining at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Giants Stadium. The San Jose Earthquakes, who finished the season as Supporters Shield winners and riding a 14-game undefeated streak, will take on the Los Angeles Galaxy live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 23 at The Home Depot Center. FC Dallas will face the third-seeded Colorado Rapids beginning on Saturday, October 22 at INVESCO Field at Mile High. If teams are tied on aggregate goals after Game 2 of the Conference Semifinal series, a 30-minute extra time period will be played followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The two conference semifinal winners will meet in a single-game Conference Championship to be hosted by the higher seed. The winners of each Conference Championship advance to MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park on Nov. 13, live on ABC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Date       Matchup                                                         Venue                           Kickoff; TV
Oct. 21   Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United                            Soldier Field                    9 p.m. ET; Comcast SportsNet, Direct Kick
Oct. 22   MetroStars vs. New England Revolution             Giants Stadium                7 p.m. ET; CN 8, Direct Kick
Oct. 29   New England Revolution vs. MetroStars             Gillette Stadium                8 p.m. ET; WB-56, Direct Kick
Oct. 30   D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire                            RFK Stadium                   4:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2
Western Conference Semifinals
Date       Matchup                                                         Venue                             Kickoff; TV
Oct. 22   Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas                          INVESCO Field                9 p.m. ET; UPN-21, Direct Kick
Oct. 23   Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes    The Home Depot Center    8 p.m. ET; ESPN2
Oct. 29   FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids                           Pizza Hut Park                 8:30 p.m. ET; TBD
Oct. 29   San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy     Spartan Stadium              10 p.m. ET; FSN West, Direct Kick

D.C. UNITED RESERVES WIN FIRST RESERVE DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: The D.C. United Reserves captured the inaugural MLS Reserve Division title, winning their final game of the season on Sunday to outdistance their rivals in the 12-team single-table standings. With a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew Reserves Sunday morning at the RFK Auxiliary Field, the D.C. United Reserves finished the season with an 8-4-0 record (24 points), taking home the $20,000 team bonus awarded to the Reserve Division champion. United's Jamil Walker scored his Reserve Division leading 9th goal of the season in the victory. The MLS Reserve Division was developed to provide many rising stars in Major League Soccer's youth player development program an opportunity to play competitive games.  Each of the 12 MLS teams fielded a Reserve Division team and played a 12-game schedule during the 2005 season (six home, six away).  The Reserve Division standings consist of a single table with the team that finishes in first place at the end of the regular season earning the title of MLS Reserve Division champions and a $20,000 team bonus.

SUPER Y-LEAGUE FINALISTS SET: The 128-team field is set for the 2005 Super Y-League North American Finals, to be held from Nov. 17-22 in Tampa, Fla. In the girls' bracket, between six and 12 teams will compete for a championship in the Under-13 through Under-17 age divisions. On the boys' side, 16 teams will compete for a championship in each age division, which is also Under-13 through Under-17. The tournament will also include a televised showcase match that will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 19 and will air at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 3 on Fox Soccer Channel. A full list of qualified teams is available at the Super Y-League section of the United Soccer League web site.

CREDENTIAL APPLICATION FOR MLS CUP 2005 NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE: Media planning to cover MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park on Sunday, November 13 can apply for media credentials online.  Media members that have applied for credentials for recent MLS / SUM events can login using the same email address and password previously used. Otherwise, please register through the application. Media credential applications must be received by Friday, November 4 at 5 p.m. ET. Credentials from previous MLS matches or other soccer events, including 2005 MLS All-Stadium and Team season credentials, will not gain media access to this game. All media are required to re-apply for credentials ahead of MLS Cup 2005.

ALL_ACCESS RECAP: As the U.S. Men’s National Team finished off a successful qualifying campaign and the U.S. women are on their way to an undefeated and unscored-upon year, ussoccer.com continues to take you behind the scenes so you can learn more about your favorite national team players. Meet Alexia, Danielle Fotopoulos’ daughter and see how the U.S. men reacted after their 2-0 win against Panama.
all_access Video
Post-Match Recap: Panama
Tim Howard Back with the MNT
USA-PAN Preview
Opportunity Knocks: Clint Dempsey
all_access Podcast
Danielle Fotopoulos Discusses Her Comeback
U.S. vs. Panama Post-Match Quotes
U.S. Forward Lauren Cheney Discusses Her Call-up
Curt Onalfo Scouts Panama
“CoachCast: USA vs. Costa Rica”

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo came out strong on Sunday (Oct. 16), making critical saves that kept the team’s shutout streak alive. Solo was tested early on when Australian forward Sarah Walsh broke through, forcing her to step off her line to smother the breakaway. She also made key saves later in the match that ensure the women’s ninth straight shutout, which dates back to the final game of the Fan Celebration tour, a 5-0 win against Mexico on Dec. 8, 2004, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The U.S. Women’s National Team is looking to keep their nine-game undefeated streak alive on Sunday against a Mexico team that has steadily improved through the years as they face off at 1 p.m. ET at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., live on ESPN2 and Telemundo (get tickets). The 2005 women are also looking to write their names in the history books, as a shutout against the Tricolor Femenino would close out 2005 without the U.S. defense allowing a single goal. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Just when it seemed Trinidad & Tobago would once again be left out of the World Cup, the Soca Warriors pulled out the big guns. With a 2-1 win against Mexico in Port of Spain, Trinindad & Tobago earned another chance to qualify in a two-leg series against Bahrain, the fifth-place team from Asia, which will take place on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16.

QUOTABLE: “It’s an honor, and an honor that I will always remember.  Any time the coach asks you to wear the armband, you do it and you do it proudly.  I was happy to do that tonight.”
 -- U.S. MNT goalkeeper Tim Howard on wearing the captain’s armband on Oct. 12 in the 2-0 win against Panama.

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