U.S. MNT vs. Poland Notes
March 26, 2008
PREPARING FOR POLAND: The players selected by U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley have all gathered in Krakow and are set to face off against Poland on Wednesday, March 26, with most of the players experiencing significantly shorter flights than usual for a U.S. MNT match. Of the 18 players, 15 play in Europe, with only three joining the team from the U.S. Kickoff at Wisla Stadium is set for 3:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
- The majority of the 18-man U.S. roster arrived into Krakow on Sunday, March 23, with Oguchi Onyewu and Josh Wolff getting into Poland on Monday, March 24, afternoon.
- The U.S. has played Poland more than any other European team and currently holds an all-time record of 6-7-2 in 15 match-ups. The last meeting between the two clubs came in early 2006, when Clint Dempsey’s goal spurred the U.S. to a 1-0 victory in snowy conditions on March 1 in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
- The “Blizzard of K-Town,” as it has since been dubbed, featured nine players who are on the roster for this week’s game: Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey (1), Steve Cherundolo, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Eddie Johnson, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, and Josh Wolff (starters in bold).
- Prior to Kaiserslautern, the U.S. and Poland had met once before on neutral soil. That game resulted in a 3-1 victory for Poland in the teams’ final Group D match at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Daejeon, Korea Republic. The U.S. advanced to the knockout phase, defeating Mexico in the Round of 16 before falling to eventual runners up Germany.
- The last meeting between the two sides in Poland came on March 31, 2004, with the U.S. winning 1-0 in Plock. DaMarcus Beasley scored the lone goal to deliver the USA its first victory on European soil in six years. The match was also notable for being the final appearance of U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who retired from international soccer in February of 2005.
- Of the eighteen players named to Bob Bradley’s team, only Ricardo Clark and Landon Donovan have appeared in both games thus far for the U.S in 2008. Both players started in the 2-0 victory against Sweden in January, before reprising their roles in the first XI for the 2-2 draw with Mexico on February 6 in Houston.
- Donovan became the U.S. all-time leading scorer earlier this year when he netted a penalty against Sweden to take his career tally to 35 goals. Re-live all of Donovan’s 35 goals with ussoccer.com’s interactive video chart.
- Bob Bradley is looking to mark his second year in charge with a similar undefeated streak to the one the team enjoyed last year. In 2007, the U.S. went 11 games before losing against Argentina. The 4-1 loss in the opening game of Copa America marked the first defeat under Bradley, who compiled 10-0-1 record prior to that time. With a win or a tie against Poland, the U.S. can start its first three games of the year unbeaten for the fourth straight year.
- Among the 18 players available for selection against Poland, all have received at least one international cap in their careers. All of Bob Bradley’s previous squads during his 15 month tenure have included at least one uncapped player.
- Nine players on the roster appeared in the USA’s 2-2 draw against Mexico in February, including goalscorer Oguchi Onyewu. In addition to Onyewu (1), Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Benny Feilhaber, Tim Howard, and Eddie Lewis also featured in the draw at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
- Josh Wolff can reach a half-century of caps with the United States if he makes an appearance against Poland on Wednesday. The former Chicago Fire and Kansas City Wizards forward, who made his international debut in 1999, now plays in the Second Bundesliga with 1860 Munich, and has appeared in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups for the United States.
- U.S. MNT Assistant Peter Nowak made 24 appearances for Poland and is a former captain of the Polish National Team. While normally a part of Bob Bradley’s coaching staff, Nowak is not present on this trip after finishing up a successful Olympic Qualifying campaign in Nashville, Tenn.
HEATING UP: The European season is fast reaching its climax, and three U.S. players are involved in pressing campaigns to help their teams achieve domestic success. Tim Howard and Everton are making a late push for a UEFA Champions League spot, and they’ll need to overtake local rivals Liverpool in fourth place in the Premier League to snatch it. The two clubs meet in the latest edition of the Merseyside Derby this coming Sunday at Anfield. Over in Holland, Michael Bradley and Heerenveen are jostling for a European position in the Dutch Eredivisie. The club is currently in third place and will enter the playoffs for a Champions League spot if they finish between second and fifth in the table. Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege have consolidated their position at the top of the Belgian League of late, and currently sit seven points clear at the top of the table. If Standard Liege can stay the course and close out the last seven games of the season strong, the club will earn its first Belgian league title in 25 years.
CHARGE FOR PROMOTION: Two U.S. internationals are part of clubs fighting to return to the top flight of their respective domestic leagues. Defender Jay DeMerit is part of a Watford side that is pushing for a jump to the Premier League next year. Watford is in fourth place in the League Championship, meaning they currently occupy a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Josh Wolff is a member of an 1860 Munich team that is hanging on to hope of promotion to the Bundesliga. 1860 needs to finish in the top three places in order to secure promotion, and Wolff’s club currently sits seven points away from that mark.
GOING ABOVE .500: With the 2-0 win against Sweden earlier this year, the U.S. celebrated its 500th international match by reaching an even .500 average for only the second time since 1937 (the first coming last year during the Gold Cup after the 2-1 win against Panama). With head coach Bob Bradley collecting a 13-5-1 record since last year, the USA's record currently stands at 194 wins, 194 losses and 113 ties in 501 official games. Amazingly, the U.S. bottomed out at 55 games below .500 just 12 short years ago with a 1-0 loss to Sweden back on August, 16, 1995 (88-143-70). That’s a pretty impressive climb back to even. The U.S. is of course still at the .500 mark, having tied Mexico, 2-2, in February.
BIG GAMES COMING: The match in Poland represents the first of three friendlies the U.S. will play on European soil prior to the start of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The USA will travel to face England on May 28 in London, before moving to continental Europe to play fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander. Kickoff against England at the new, 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium is set for 8 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Univision. The U.S. has an all-time record of 2-6-0 against England, and last faced the British side in 2005. Clint Dempsey’s first ever international goal wasn’t enough to stave off a 2-1 defeat by England at Soldier Field in Chicago. The U.S. has a much less established history against the Spanish national team, having faced the team from the Iberian Peninsula only twice before. The U.S. lost to Spain during the 1950 World Cup, and also fell in an international friendly in 1992.
QUALIFYING BEGINS: The U.S. begins the quest to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica. The Caribbean nations drew 1-1 in the first leg on Feb. 6 in Dominica, with Barbados hosting the return leg on March 26 in Bridgetown. The U.S. will host their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played between June 18-21 on the road.
SPRING BREAK KRAKOW: The MNT Blog is on the ground in Poland, following the team as it prepares for Wednesday night’s game. Be sure to keep up with the blog as it brings you videos, interviews, and other tidbits from the players that you can’t get anywhere else.
FAMILIAR FACE: Poland manager Leo Beenhakker will be a familiar face for those well versed in CONCACAF history. The well-traveled Beenhakker managed Trinidad & Tobago from 2005 to 2006, taking the Soca Warriors to their first ever FIFA World Cup in Germany. After leaving T&T following the World Cup, the Dutchman took the reigns of the Polish national team and commandeered their charge towards qualification for the 2008 European Championships.
CALLED IN: Beenhakker has called in a wide range of his players, most of whom play for teams outside of the Polish domestic league. Some recognizable names include goalkeepers Artur Boruc, who tends the nets for Scottish club Celtic, and Tomasz Kuszczak who backs up Edwin van der Sar at Manchester United. Racing Santander’s Euzebiusz “Ebi” Smolarek was Poland’s leading scorer in European Championship qualifying, tallying nine goals throughout the campaign.
GOALKEEPERS: Artur Boruc (Celtic, Scotland), Tomasz Kuszcak (Manchester United, England), Lukasz Fabianski (Arsenal, England)
DEFENDERS: Marcin Wasilewski (Anderlecht, Belgium), Pawel Golanski (Steau Bucharest, Romania), Mariusz Jop (FK Moscow, Russia), Jacek Bak (FK Austria Vienna, Austria), Michal Zewlakow (Olympiakos, Greece), Grzegorz Bronowicki (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Arkadiusz Radomski (FK Austria Vienna, Austria) MIDFIELDERS: Mariusz Lewandowski (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine) Dariusz Dudka (Wisla Krakow), Rafal Murawski (Lech Poznan), Michal Pazdan (Gornik Zabrze), Wojciech Lobodzinski (Wisla Krakow), Lukasz Gargula (PGE GKS Belchatow), Jacek Krzynowek (VFL Wolfsburg, Germany)
FORWARDS: Maciej Zurawski (AE Larissa, Greece), Euzebiusz Smolarek (Racing Santander, Spain), Lukasz Piszczek (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Radoslaw Matusiak (Wisla Krakow), Pawel Brozek (Wisla Krakow)
EURO CHAMPIONSHIP DEBUT: Despite its frequent presence in the World Cup, Poland has yet to make an appearance in the European Championship. That will all change this summer when the tournament kicks off in Switzerland and Austria in June. Poland finished a top a group that included Portugal, Serbia and Belgium, and booked its place at the finals earlier than any other team in qualifying. The proceedings in Switzerland and Austria this year will be a good test run for Poland: they’re slated to co-host the 2012 edition of the tournament along with Ukraine. The United States will face another team from Euro 2008 in June when they meet Spain on June 4 in Santander.
EURO 2008 GROUP STAGE:
Group A Group B Group C Group D
Switzerland Austria Netherlands Greece
Czech Republic Croatia Italy Sweden
Portugal Germany Romania Spain
Turkey Poland France Russia
Since the last European Championship in 2004, the United States has faced six countries that are part of the Group Stage: Poland, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. The U.S. has compiled a 3-3-2 record with notable results including the memorable 1-1 draw against Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
DID YOU KNOW: Since 2007 and prior to the USA’s first World Cup qualifier this summer, the U.S. will have faced four teams ranked in the top 10 in the world: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Spain. All together, the team will have played 23 games, competed in two major international tournaments, captured the Gold Cup title (again), and traveled to seven different countries. Not bad for World Cup qualifying preparation.
On the field for the USA
February 6, 2008 – Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas – International Friendly
USA 2 Oguchi Onyewu 29’, Jozy Altidore 40’
México 2 Jonny Magallón 35’, 47’
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 21-Drew Moor, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 6-Ramiro Corrales; 10-Landon Donovan, 13-Ricardo Clark (Maurice Edu, 79), 4-Michael Bradley (5-Benny Feilhaber, 63), 15-Bobby Convey (7-Eddie Lewis, 70); 9-Jozy Altidore, 8-Clint Dempsey (19-Freddy Adu, 63)
Subs not used: 11-Pat Noonan, 16-Michael Parkhurst, 18-Brad Guzan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
MEX: 1-Guillermo Ochoa; 2-Jonny Magallón, 3-Carlos Salcido (14-Fausto Pinto, 59) 4-Rafael Márquez (capt.), 5-Israel Castro; 6-Gerado Torrado, 7-Fernando Arce (18-Cesar Villaluz, 90+), 8-Pável Pardo, 11-Carlos Vela (16-Giovanni Dos Santos, 71); 9-Antonio De Nigris (15-Juan Carlos Cacho, 67), 10-Adolfo Bautista (17-Antonio Naelson, 71)
Subs not used: 12-Luis Michel, 13-Oscar Rojas
Head Coach: Hugo Sánchez
On the field for Poland
February 27, 2008 – Stadio Amica, Wronki, Poland – International Friendly
Poland 2 Radoslaw Matusiak 38’, Tomasz Zahorski 72’
POL: 1-Sebastian Przyrowski; 2-Mariusz Pawelec (16-Piotr Kuklis, 63), 3-Adam Kokoszka, 4-Jakub Wawrzyniak, 5-Tomasz Lisowki; 7-Kamil Grosicki (14-Konrad Gooce, 63), 6-Micha Pazdan, 8 Micha Golinski, 15-Marek Zienczuk (11-Tomasz Zahorski, 64); 10-Luaksz Gargua (19-Radoslaw Majewski, 63), 9-Radoslaw Matusiak
Head Coach: Leo Beenhakker
EST: 1-Pavel Londak; 3-Tiihon Sisov (17-Enar Jaager, 84), 4-Taavi Rahn, 5-Andrei Sidorenkov, 19-Alo Barengrub; 6-Aleksandr Dmitrijev, 7-Ats Purje, 15-Tarmo Kink (16-Oliver Konsa, 73), 14-Konstantin Vassiljev (18-Kaimar Saag, 89); 11-Aivar Anniste (20-Martin Vunk, 67), 9-Vjateslav Zahovaiko (10-Vladimir Voskoboinikov, 58)
Head Coach: Tarmo Rüütli
March 1, 2006 – Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Kaiserslautern, Germany – International Friendly
USA 1 Clint Dempsey, 48’
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (Capt.) (1-Tim Howard, 46); 7-Eddie Lewis, 3-Gregg Berhalter (4-Carlos Bocanegra, 46), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 6-Steve Cherundolo; 17-DaMarcus Beasley (15-Bobby Convey, 71), 5-Kerry Zavagnin (25-Pablo Mastroeni, 55), 10-Landon Donovan, 8-Clint Dempsey (11-Chris Klein, 89); 13-Taylor Twellman, 9-Eddie Johnson (16-Josh Wolff, 79)
Subs not used: 2-Jonathan Spector, 20-Brian McBride
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
POL: 1-Jerzy Dudek (12-Artur Boruc, 46); 2-Mariusz Jop (20-Tomasz Klos, 83), 4-Marcin Baszczynski, 6-Jacek Bak (Capt.), 14-Michal Zewlakow (3-Tomasz Rzasa, 72); 5-Arkadiusz Radomski (19-Radoslaw Sobolewski, 80), 7-Euzebiuz Smolarek, 8-Jacek Krzynowek, 10-Miroslaw Szymkowiak; 9-Grzegorz Rasiak (16-Kamil Kosowski, 61), 11-Tomasz Frankowski (17-Andrzej Niedzielan, 61)
Subs not used: 13-Sebastian Mila, 15-Piotr Giza, 18-Mariusz Lewandowski.
Head Coach: Pawel Janas