QUICK TURNAROUND: The U.S. team arrived into Cary, N.C., throughout the day on Sunday (April 9) and now must quickly gel with only one training session (photos) in advance of Tuesday night’s sold-out clash with Jamaica at SAS Soccer Park (7 p.m. ET, live on ESPN2, ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker). The USA’s seventh match of 2006 will be their last prior to U.S. Manager Bruce Arena naming the 23-man roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
• The U.S. will dress 18 players for the match. The maximum number of substitutions will be six
• The team will sport the new Nike home kits, wearing white/blue/white
• All 18 players on the roster ply their trade in MLS
• The U.S. holds a 4-1-1 record in 2006, outscoring their opponents 14-6 and posting four shutouts
• The U.S. is undefeated in 16 all-time meetings with Jamaica, holding a 9-0-7 record against the Reggae Boyz. The teams’ last meeting came in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Gold Cup, the U.S. collecting a 3-1 win on the strength of goals by Josh Wolff and a pair from DaMarcus Beasley. Five of the nine victories have come by just one goal
• Six players on Tuesday’s roster appeared in the Gold Cup victory on July 16, 2005, in Foxboro: Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, John O’Brien, Ben Olsen, Steve Ralston and Josh Wolff
• The teams have met once previously in the state of North Carolina, the U.S. collecting a 1-0 win on Sept. 14, 1991, in High Point on the strength of a goal by Sadri Gjonbalaj
• Tony Meola is the leading capwinner on the roster with 99 appearances. He has two career starts against Jamaica, both 1-0 victories coming on July 10, 1993, in Dallas and Nov. 7, 1993, in Fullerton. More on Meola below.
• Through six matches in 2006, only the Kansas City Wizards duo of Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin have appeared in all of the USA’s matches as either a starter or a reserve
• Taylor Twellman, has scored four goals and tallied three assists in his last four matches for the U.S., recording the USA’s ninth-ever hat trick in the 5-0 victory vs. Norway and assisting on the lone goal in the 1-0 win against Poland on March 1 in Kaiserslautern, Germany
• Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching has kicked off the MLS campaign in style, tallying five goals in the first two matches. Chris Albright, Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson have also tallied for their clubs in the two-week-old season
MEOLA’S MAGIC 100: Tony Meola will become the ninth player in U.S. soccer history – and the first goalkeeper – to collect his 100th cap for the United States when he takes the field against Jamaica, adding another highlight to a national team career that began in 1988. A starter in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, he is the USA’s all-time leader in appearances for goalkeepers and is second to Kasey Keller in both wins (37) and shutouts (32). Meola played every minute of the USA’s matches in Italia ‘90 and USA ’94, including the 2-1 victory against Colombia that helped put the U.S. into the second round. The five-time MLS All-Star presided over the USA’s 2-0 victory against England in U.S. Cup ’93, and served as one of three goalkeepers for the USA’s historic quarterfinal run in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His last international appearance came during the 2002 Nike ‘Road to Korea’, entering in the second half in the 5-0 win against Jamaica on May 16, 2002, at Giants Stadium. Hear what Bruce Arena had to say about one of U.S. Soccer’s living legends in the latest podcast.
BACK IN ACTION: Several players are returning to the U.S. fold following various injury spells. Both Donovan (calf) and Frankie Hejduk (hamstring) come back after missing the March 22 match against Germany. New England Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston can make his first appearance for the national team in 2006 after suffering a torn quadriceps during the USA’s training camp in January, with Los Angeles Galaxy defender Chris Albright in a similar boat after suffering a knee injury in the first days of the U.S. camp in Carson, Calif. Pat Noonan started two matches for the USA in 2006 before a hamstring injury put him out of action for several weeks, while John O’Brien hopes to be sufficiently recovered from a groin injury and take part in an international match for the first time since appearing in the 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory on Aug. 18, 2005, against Trinidad & Tobago in East Hartford.
GETTING GOALS AGAINST THE REGGAE BOYZ: Two players on the U.S. roster hold particularly fond memories of playing Jamaica, each having collected a signed ball post-game by virtue of scoring their first-ever international goal. Brian Ching delivered the U.S. a 1-1 away draw versus Jamaica to open semifinal round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Aug. 18, 2004 when he struck in the 89th minute. Chris Albright, meanwhile, picked up both his first cap and his first goal against the Reggae Boyz on Sept. 8, 1999, in Kingston. Josh Wolff leads the U.S. scorers against the visitors, having posted a trio, including a pair in the 5-0 win on May 16, 2002, in the penultimate match prior to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Landon Donovan also tallied his lone goal against Jamaica that day. Meantime, Eddie Johnson put away the USA’s only goal in the 1-1 qualifying draw on Nov. 17, 2004, in Columbus, extending his scoring streak in 2006 World Cup qualifying to three matches.
POPE AT HOME: Eddie Pope will probably need a few extra tickets for the Jamaica match, having grown up in nearby High Point. He stayed close to home for school as well, studying at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (as did Kansas City Wizards midfielder Kerry Zavagnin). Pope, who along with Landon Donovan is the second most capped player on the roster with 77 appearances – has worn the armband twice this year, against Canada on Jan. 22 and Guatemala on Feb. 19 in Frisco, Texas. Additionally, he recorded back-to-back goals for the first time in his international career, the goals against Norway and Japan increasing his total to eight with the senior team. Pope sat down with ussoccer.com for an exclusive two-part interview as he shoots for a spot on his third World Cup team (watch). At training on Sunday, U.S. boss Bruce Arena said that the elegant central defender is in his best shape since 2002 (listen).
TEAMMATES ON ANY OTHER DAY: A couple players who will line up across the midfield stripe share the same locker room on the weekend as teammates in Major League Soccer. The Kansas City Wizards trio of Nick Garcia, Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin train with Jamaica’s emerging midfield general Jermaine Hue, while Real Salt Lake defender Eddie Pope has been showing rookie Ryan Johnson the ropes in Utah.
SPECIAL PRE-SALE IN CARY FOR U.S. WNT VS. CANADA TICKETS: Tickets for the U.S. Women’s National Team match against Canada on July 30 at SAS Soccer Park will be available in a special advance sale during the men’s Tuesday night match against Jamaica. Tickets can be purchased (cash only) at the stadium box office beginning at half time. The sale to the general public will begin Wednesday, April 12, at 10 a.m. ET online at ussoccer.com, as well as at all Ticketmaster outlets.
LOOKING BACK ON ‘05: The U.S. posted a 13-3-4 record in 2005, collecting the most victories in team history. The team qualified for its fifth-consecutive World Cup finals in record-breaking fashion, finishing first in the final group for the first time in 71 years while qualifying with three games to spare with the 2-0 win against Mexico on Sept. 3 in Columbus, Ohio. Bruce Arena coached his 100th game for the U.S. back on March 19 against Honduras, helping elevate the U.S. to sixth place in the FIFA rankings. Landon Donovan led all scorers with six goals and six assists, but it was Kasey Keller’s eight shutouts in the 13 games – including five in the final round of World Cup qualifying – that earned the goalkeeper the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year award.
STAT OF THE DAY: Chris Albright is one of two players on the roster to open his international goal-scoring account in a match vs. Jamaica. His goal on Sept. 8, 1999, came in his first-ever cap with the USA and is his only goal after almost seven years and 18 appearances.
On the field for the USA
March 22, 2006 – Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany – International Friendly
Germany 4 Schweinsteiger 46, Neuville 73, Klose 75, Ballack 79
USA 1 Cherundolo 85
GER: 1-Oliver Kahn (capt.); 3-Arne Friedrich (25-Patrick Owomoyela, 82), 16-Philipp Lahm, 29-Per Mertesacker, 21-Christoph Metzelder; 17-Sebastian Kehl (15-Fabian Ernst, 82), 13-Michael Ballack, 19-Bernd Schneider (18-Tim Borowski, 68); 14-Gerald Asamoahl (30-Oliver Neuville, 67), 11-Miroslav Klose, 20-Lukas Podolski (7-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 46)
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 3-Gregg Berhalter, 12-Cory Gibbs (19-Heath Pearce, 77), 4-Jimmy Conrad, 6-Steve Cherundolo; 15-Bobby Convey, 25-Pablo Mastoreni (14-Ben Olsen, 74), 5-Kerry Zavagnin; 16-Josh Wolff (17-Chris Klein, 17) 9-Eddie Johnson, 11-Brian Ching (20-Taylor Twellman, 60)
On the field for Jamaica
October 9, 2005 – Craven Cottage, London, England – International Friendly
Australia 5 Bresciano 3, Thompson 29, Viduka 48, Aloisi 58, Griffiths 85
AUS: Zeljko Kalac, Lucas Neill, Tony Vidmar (Josip Skoko 52), Scott Chipperfield, Michael Thwaite, Brett Emerton (Vince Grella 70), Marco Bresciano (Tim Cahill 79), Luke Wilkshire (Ahmad Elrich 79), Mark Viduka (John Aloisi 56), Archie Thompson (Joel Griffiths 70), Jason Culina
JAM: Shawn Sawyers, Damian Stewart (Fabian Dawkins 60), Tyrone Marshall, Claude Davis (Jermaine Taylor 46), Nicholy Finlayson (Desmond Breckenridge 52), Jermaine Johnson (Damani Ralph 49), Ricardo Gardner, Omar Daley, Robert Scarlett (Garfield Reid 52), Ricardo Fuller (Jason Morrison 61), Luton Shelton
July 16, 2005 – Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. – 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup
USA 3 Wolff 6, Beasley 42, 83
Jamaica 1 Fuller 88
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 6-Steve Cherundolo (15-Ben Olsen, 25), 12-Jimmy Conrad, 4-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Greg Vanney; 19-Steve Ralston (9-Santino Quaranta, 84), 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 10-Landon Donovan, 5-John O’Brien; 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 16-Josh Wolff (14-Chris Armas, 80).
JAM: 30-Donovan Ricketts; 3-Damion Stewart, 14-Tyrone Marshall, 4-Jermaine Taylor; 5-Tyrone Sawyers (20-Damani Ralph, 60), 18-Khari Stephenson, 6-Robert Scarlett, 9-Andrew Williams (capt.), 17-Jermaine Hue (19-Garfield Reid, 78); 10-Ricardo Fuller, 21-Luton Shelton (12-Jermaine Johnson, 69).
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