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U.S. Under-23 MNT Looks for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship on Sunday


U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team
Olympic Qualifying Notes
Nashville, Tenn.
March 22, 2008

ONE MORE TO GO: With a berth to the 2008 Beijing Olympics already secured by both teams, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will face Honduras in the final of 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying on Sunday, March 23 at 4 p.m. CT at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.. Fans can catch the match live on Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes, or following on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

ONE FOR BEIJING: The U.S and Honduras booked their tickets to Beijing by winning their semifinal matches against Canada and Guatemala, respectively. Two goals from Freddy Adu and one from Sacha Kljestan led the way to a 3-0 win for the Americans over Canada. In the other semifinal, Honduras and Guatemala had fans on the edge of their seats, advancing to overtime before deciding the outcome in the seventh round of a penalty kick shootout.


QUICK HITS

• The U.S. will play in its 13th Men’s Olympic Football Tournament from Aug. 6-24, 2008. The mark is a CONCACAF record.
• Honduras’ only previous trip to the Olympics came in 2000, where they also qualified along with the United States.
• In the USA’s last trip to the Olympics in 2000, they advanced to the medal round, finishing in fourth place.
• The U.S. and Honduras met eight days ago in the final game of Group A play. The U.S. picked up a 1-0 victory to take the top spot in the group.
• Four players have left the U.S. team to return to their European clubs. Freddy Adu, Charlie Davies, Jonathan Spector and Sal Zizzo flew out of Nashville on Friday to return to Portugal, Sweden, England and Germany, respectively.
• Midfielder Sacha Kljestan leads the team in minutes with 315 throughout the first three games, coming on as a second-half substitute against Cuba and playing every minute since.
• Kljestan, Eddie Gaven and Dax McCarty are the only players on the U.S. roster to have appeared in all four games.
• Adu, who will not be available for Sunday’s final, leads the tournament with four goals scored in three games played.
• The U.S. arrived in Nashville on Sunday and have been guests of the Tennessee Titans at their training facility leading up to the game.
• The Men’s National Team played Morocco in a World Cup tune-up on May 3, 2006, falling 1-0 in front of over 26,000 people at LP Field (then known simply as the Coliseum). The U.S. women also played Canada there in 2004, winning 1-0 on a goal by Heather Mitts.

STINGY DEFENSE: Both the U.S. and Honduras have given up only one goal in four games of qualifying. The United States hasn’t given up a goal in 318 minutes of play, with their last blemish coming in the first half of their first game against Cuba. The lone goal against Honduras came against the United States in the final game of Group A, with Eddie Gaven hitting a penalty kick in the second-half stoppage time of last Saturday’s game.

TWENTY IN FOUR: Head coach Peter Nowak has used all 20 players on his roster, including both keepers, in their run through Group A and the semifinal. Defenders Michael Orozco and Jonathan Spector, and midfielder Freddy Adu have earned their first caps with the Under-23s during the tournament, while goalkeeper Dominic Cervi made his first start at any national team level against Panama.

OLYMPIC VISION: Following Thursday night’s game, the U.S. coaches and players talked about the path to qualifying, accomplishing their biggest goal and the possibility of being an Olympian in exclusive post-game interviews with ussoccer.com. For video, click here and for a quote sheet, click here.

FINAL DOUBLEHEADER: Before the USA’s match against Honduras, Canada and Guatemala will meet in Sunday’s third-place match, beginning at 1 p.m. CT at LP Field. The game will be shown live on ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com, and will be played on a one-hour delay on Fox Soccer Channel. Along with ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com is also showing the full schedule of games live online, and the online provider will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion. The winner of the third-place game will represent CONCACAF should either the United States or Honduras become unable to participate in the Olympic Games this summer.

Sunday, March 23
Matchup                                     Time            Location                                     Television
Canada vs. Guatemala            1 p.m. CT   LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)   ESPN Deportes, FSC (delayed)
USA vs. Honduras                    4 p.m. CT    LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)   ESPN Deportes, FSC

QUALIFYING OVERVIEW: The first 14 games of 2008 Men’s Olympic Qualifying have provided plenty of excitement from Los Angeles, Tampa and Nashville. Here’s a look at the path to the final doubleheader.

2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying
Group A Final Results/Standings
Team    GP    W    L    T    Pts.    GF    GA    GD
USA        3      2     0     1    7         3      1       +2
HON       3      2     1     0    6         3      1        +2
PAN        3      1     2     0    3         4      2        +2
CUB       3      0      2     1    1         2      7        -5

Tuesday, March 11
Honduras 1, Panama 0
USA 1, Cuba 1

Wednesday, March 13
Honduras 2, Cuba 0
USA 1, Panama 0

Friday, March 15
Panama 4, Cuba 1
USA 1, Honduras 0

Group B Final Results/Standings
Team    GP    W    L    T    Pts.    GF    GA    GD
GUA       3       2     1    0     6         3       6      -3
CAN       3       1     1    1     4         7       3      +4
MEX       3        1    1     1     4        7       4       +3
HAI         3        1    2    0      3        3       7       -4

Wednesday, March 12
Guatemala 1, Haiti 0
Mexico 1, Canada 1

Friday, March 14
Haiti 2, Canada 1
Guatemala 2, Mexico 1

Sunday, March 16
Canada 5, Guatemala 0
Mexico 5, Haiti 1

Thursday, March 20
Semifinal Matchup
Honduras 0, Guatemala 0 (6:5 in PKs)
USA 3, Canada 0

WE MEET AGAIN: Honduras will have a chance for redemption on Sunday, after falling to the U.S., 1-0, on March 15 in the final game of Group A play. In that match, which was for the group title, the U.S. got an injury time penalty kick from Eddie Gaven in the 95th minute for the victory.

Honduras Under-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kevin Hernandez (CD Victoria), Obed Enamorado (CD Vida), Levon Smitt (Arsenal)
DEFENDERS (6): Quiarol Arzu (CD Platense), David Alejandro Molina (CD Motagua), Erick Norales (CD Marathon), Rigoberto Padilla (Hispano), Vicente Hipolito Solorzano (Deportiva Savio), Misael Ruiz (CD Platense),
MIDFIELDERS (8): Irvin Reyna (CD Olimpia), Ramon Nunez (CD Olimpia), Mario Martinez (Real CD Espana), Marvin Sanchez (CD Platense), Daniel Alvarez (CD Marathon), Hendry Thomas (CD Olimpia), Oscar Morales (Real CD Espana), Georgie Wilson Welcome (no club)
FORWARDS (3): Luis Alfredo Lopez (CD Marathon), Jefferson Bernardez (CD Motagua), Jose Cesar Guity (CD Marathon),

TICKETS STILL ON SALE: Tickets are still available for the remaining four matches of 2008 Olympic Qualifying. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each doubleheader ($25 to $70 on day of game) and are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 615-255-9600 and at all Nashville Ticketmaster ticket centers.

INSIDE STUFF: Despite all the attention being focused on this qualifying tournament, no source can provide an inside look at the team like the YNT Blog can. Check out the information you can’t get anywhere else, including behind-the-scenes videos, laughs and inside scoop at http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/

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