U.S. Men to Face Paraguay, Look to Remain Unbeaten at Columbus Crew Stadium (2:55 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sunday, July 6, 2003) - Columbus Crew Stadium has been an excellent host to the U.S. MNT, as the senior team has never lost here. Holding a 1-0-2 record since 2000, the U.S. achieved two critical results on the road to qualifiying for the 2002 World Cup. A 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in the semifinal round on Oct. 11, 2000, helped propel the U.S. into the final round phase, setting the stage for the crucial matchup against Mexico. On February 28, 2001, 24,624 fans braved the cold conditions to witness Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart lead the U.S. to a 2-0 victory in the “Guerra Fria,” spearheading a five-match unbeaten run in the final round of qualifying that eventually would see the U.S. advance to Korea/Japan.
LATE ARRIVALS: With nearly two full months on the road for the MNT and MLS matches in full swing, U.S. Manager Bruce Arena and coaches around the league have cooperated on player personnel issues. This week, Arena allowed several players to join training camp late in order to play in league matches. Earnie Stewart arrived Thursday morning following D.C. United’s 3-0 road win in Dallas, while Clint Mathis, Richard Mulrooney and Landon Donovan came in the same day after the 4-4 goalfest at the Meadowlands on Wednesay night. Pablo Mastroeni, Josh Wolff and Danny Califf rounded out the roster, arriving Saturday after playing Friday night.
REYNA RETURNS: Today’s match could mark the return of long time U.S.captain Claudio Reyna to the field after nearly nine months of recovery from a torn ACL. Sidelined since Oct. 26, 2002, Reyna has not played for the USA since the 2002 World Cup. A veteran of three World Cups, the Sunderland-based midfielder has 92 caps and is tied for third place on the all-time list for assists (14) for the MNT.
PARAGUAY PREPS FOR 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Six-time finalists in the World Cup, Paraguay are off to a solid start since falling to eventual second place finishers Germany in the Round of 16 in last summer’s World Cup. Posting a 2-2-5 record since Korea/Japan, they have been remarkably stingy on defense, not having surrendered a goal in the last 436 minutes of play, dating back to a 1-1 draw with Honduras on Apr. 2, 2003. The Paraguayans are coached by Anibal Ruiz, who took over for Italian coach Cesar Maldini last fall. Responsible for the U-23, U-20 and U-17 teams in 2002, Ruiz had previously managed the El Salvador squad in 1994 World Cup Qualifying. The “Guaranies” have sent five veterans of the 2002 World Cup, led by defender Celso Ayala, who is Paraguay’s all-time capwinner with 84 international appearances. Having beaten El Salvador 1-0 in San Francisco on July 2, Paraguay will conclude their three-match tour with a meeting against Jamaica on July 9 in Kingston.
GOLD CUP PREVIEW: Beginning July 7 in Providence, the U.S. will prepare to compete in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, being held in from July 12-27 in Foxboro, Miami and Mexico City. Returning to defend the title are 10 players from the Gold Cup championship-winning side of 2002. Striker Brian McBride led the U.S. attack in Pasadena last year, netting four goals, including a hat trick against El Salvador in the quarterfinals. Collecting the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading scorer, McBride was also honored as the Tournament MVP. On the other end of the field, goalkeeper Kasey Keller collected four shutouts in five matches, including saving two penalty kicks in the shootout victory against Canada in the semifinals, in marshalling the U.S. to their second-ever Gold Cup title.
Nine players on the current roster started in the 2-0 championship victory last year against Costa Rica, who are a potential quarterfinal opponent for the U.S. Against the Ticos in 2002, Kansas City Wizards forward Josh Wolff opened the USA’s scoring account after 37 minutes and would eventually be named Chevrolet Man of the Match. Chicago defender Carlos Bocanegra, tied for second in scoring for the U.S. in 2003 with two goals and two assists, was named to the first XI for all five matches in the 2002 event. Also on the field that day were Chris Armas, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis and Pablo Mastroeni.
The U.S. opens Group C action on July 12 against El Salvador at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. ET. Having defeated El Salvador 4-0 in the quarterfinal round in 2002, the U.S. now holds a 9-1-4 advantage in the all-time series. The USA will take on Martinique in the first-ever meeting between the nations on July 14 at 9 p.m. ET in Foxboro, with that match scheduled to be broadcast live on Galavision. All of the USA’s matches can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
U.S. MNT 2003 Gold Cup Roster
Goalkeepers (2): Adin Brown (New England Revolution), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur);
Defenders (5): Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire), Dan Califf (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cory Gibbs (FC St. Pauli), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Greg Vanney (FC Bastia);
Midfielders (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Claudio Reyna (Sunderland), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United);
Forwards (4): Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Clint Mathis (MetroStars), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards).
Alternates: Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), C.J. Brown (Chicago Fire), Tim Howard (MetroStars), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Chris Klein (Kansas City Wizards), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution).
JP JOINS THE BOOTH: U.S. Soccer fans will welcome a familiar face to the broadcasters' booth, as ESPN International commentator JP Dellacamera has joined the broadcast team as the play-by-play man alongside longtime partner Tommy Smyth. Dellacamera and Smyth comprise the lead announcing team for ESPN’s coverage of the UEFA Champions League. With 28 years experience in the broadcast booth, Dellacamera has called matches in the last five consecutive World Cups for the ESPN networks, and provided play-by-play coverage of the 2002 MLS Cup final on ABC TV. In addition to his other duties, he has served the past three seasons as the voice of the MetroStars television broadcasts.
- Bobby Convey is the only U.S. player to appear in all ten of the team’s matches in 2003. Making seven starts, Convey has logged two assists in 644 minutes of action.
- Meantime, Landon Donovan‘s two goals and three assists place him at the head of the U.S. scoring charts this year.
- Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra has turned up the production, sitting in second place for scoring. His first two goals with the senior national team (v. Canada, 1/18, v. Jamaica, 2/12) and two assists have helped earn the center back Chevrolet Man of the Match honors twice this year. He also leads the team in minutes played.
- The 19-man roster for today’s match mirrors the team that will compete in the Gold Cup, with two exceptions. Goalkeeper Adin Brown will replace Joe Cannon, joining the team in Providence. Kansas City Wizards defender Nick Garcia was named as an alternate for the Gold Cup squad.
- Kasey Keller is enjoying a remarkable unbeaten run on home soil, amassing a 14-0-4 record in matches played in the United States since 1998. Keller is second on the USA’s all-time goalkeeping list for victories (31) and shutouts (29) behind Tony Meola.
- In the USA’s 11 matches since the World Cup, already nine players (Barrett, Garcia, Martino, Rimando, Twellman, Buddle, Gibbs, Cannon) have made their debut with the MNT. All tolled, 49 players have earned their first cap since Bruce Arena took the reigns in Nov. 1998.
- The U.S. and Paraguay have met three times before in their history, with the U.S. holding a 1-0-2 advantage. The first meeting took place nearly 70 years ago, as the USA defeated Paraguay 3-0 on July 17, 1930, in their second match of the 1930 World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay.
- Crew defender Frankie Hejduk captained the U.S. for the first time against Turkey in the Confederations Cup. Hejduk has collected 47 caps and five goals during a six-year career with the MNT.
- Brian McBride’s next goal for the national team will move him into a tie for third place on the all-time list. With 20 goals, McBride sits behind Eric Wynalda (34), Joe-Max Moore (31) and Bruce Murray (21).