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U.S. MNT Gearing Up for Trinidad and Tobago


U.S. MNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Hartford, Connecticut
August 16, 2005

SECOND HALF BEGINS: The U.S. Men's National Team kicks off the second half of the final round qualifying campaign in just over 24 hours, and the team is poised to go through final preparations this afternoon at Rentschler Field.  All 19 players have reported, with Oguchi Onyewu arriving last night.  Kickoff in East Hartford, Conn., is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape-delayed on Telemundo.  For the first time ever, ESPN2 will be broadcasting a U.S. match in high definition on ESPN2 HD (Contact your local cable operators for information).  As always, fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. starting lineup against Trinidad & Tobago will be posted at ussoccer.com approximately one hour before kickoff.

INJURIES/CARDS: No injuries have been reported from U.S. camp.  Gregg Berhalter, Bobby Convey, Eddie Lewis and Claudio Reyna are all carrying yellow cards. Per CONCACAF rules, yellow cards have been accumulating for the U.S. since the second round of qualifying began against Grenada in June of 2004.  A second caution will result in an automatic one-game suspension.  Trinidad and Tobago has a host of players on guard: Marvin Andrews, Avery John, Brent Sancho, Silvio Spann, Densil Theobold, Aurtis Whitley, Dwight Yorke.

U.S. HITS CENTURY MARK IN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Kickoff at 8:06 p.m. ET on Wednesday night marks a huge milestone for the U.S. men as they will be competing in their 100th World Cup qualifier in team history. With an all-time record of 44-29-27, the U.S. is well on their way to qualifying for their fifth-consecutive World Cup finals.  The U.S. is 27-6-11 on home soil and only has one loss in the past 20 years, a 2-3 loss to Honduras on Sept. 1, 2001. Prior to that defeat, the USA had not dropped a home qualifier since May 31, 1985, a 2-1 loss to Costa Rica in Torrance, Calif.  The USA played its first-ever World Cup in advance of the 1934 World Cup in Italy, as Buff Donelli started the rivalry with Mexico off with a bang by netting all four goals in the 4-2 victory.

PODCASTING SELECTION

U.S. vs. Trinidad Preview: Go inside U.S. MNT camp as the team makes final preparations for their World Cup qualifier vs. Trinidad on Aug. 17 at Rentschler Field. Hear Bruce Arena size up Trinidad, Claudio Reyna talk about his return to the national team, Kasey Keller discuss his successful 2005 campaign, and more.  It's the latest offering from podcasting central at ussoccer.com.

Mooch breaks down Trinidad: U.S. assistant coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick has followed the progress of a Trinidad team in transition.  Since the arrival of Dutch national Leo Beenhakker as coach, the Soca Warriors have developed a defensive discipline not characteristic of a free-flowing Caribbean team. Organized at the back and measured in their adventure, T&T possess size, athleticism and an ability to quickly get out on the break.  Mooch highlights the strengths and weaknesses of a Trinidad team that would be content with a point from Wednesday in this exclusive podcast on ussoccer.com.

MATCHDAY ONE REWIND:  The U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago were drawn to face each other on the opening day of final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, with T&T getting to host the gig.  It was Feb. 9 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and there was certainly no shortage of 'atmosphere', from stifling heat to massive field dimensions to that little party they called Carnival.  It was also that trip where the U.S. was introduced to its newest superfan, Drew Carey. On the field, it was a pair of Eddies who provided the heroics, as Eddie Johnson became the first player in MNT history to score in his first four games, while Eddie Lewis slammed home a trademark left-footed blast to give the U.S. a vital road victory to kick off the campaign. For a complete recap of that day, including video highlights, post-match reaction and more, click here.

BY THE NUMBERS vs. TRINIDAD: The U.S. holds a commanding 11-1-3 record all-time against Trinidad & Tobago, but how many of those games were World Cup qualifiers? What match did the U.S. drop its only loss to T&T? How many goals has the U.S. scored in those 15 games against Trinidad? For the complete statistical breakdown of the U.S.- Trinidad & Tobago series, click here.

BY THE NUMBERS IN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING:
1 - losses at home in qualifying under Bruce Arena
4 - players on this roster without an appearance in World Cup qualifying (Conrad, Cunningham, Hartman, Quaranta)
7 - goals for Landon Donovan in 2006 World Cup qualifying, the team leader
7- shutouts for the U.S. in 13 games of 2006 qualifying
9 - goals for Brian McBride in World Cup qualifying history, tied for first all-time
12 - victories at home in qualifying under Bruce Arena.  His home record is 12-1-2
29 - career World Cup qualifying appearances for Kasey Keller, one shy of all-time U.S. record
37 - players with at least one appearance in 2006 qualifying

CAPTAINS AMERICA: When Claudio Reyna arrived into U.S. camp, he already had one armband tucked into his travel bag.  The newly appointed captain of Manchester City became the third player on this roster to lead their club teams out onto the field on matchday.  Gregg  Berhalter is in his second year as captain for Energie Cottbus, this time voted in by the players, while Chris Armas has long been the team leader for the Chicago Fire.

NOT QUITE: With the U.S. sitting in second place in the group, much talk has already focused on the "magic number" of points that will guarantee the U.S. a trip to their fifth-consecutive World Cup finals.  The picture will become a lot clearer after Aug. 17, but this much is certain: the U.S. can't officially book a ticket to Germany that night, even with a victory.  However, three points against Trinidad ensures that the USA can finish no worse than fourth in the hexagonal, guaranteeing at least a shot at a playoff to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: With the U.S. making its first-ever visit to Rentschler Field, there's a little pressure on the East Hartford, Conn., venue to keep the USA's home streaks alive.  The U.S. MNT has not ...

  • suffered a shutout loss at home in 30 overall matches (2/8/03 v. Argentina, 0-1 L)
  • lost at home v. CONCACAF opponent in 30 matches (9/1/01 v. Honduras, 2-3 L)
  • been shutout at home in World Cup qualifying in 11 qualifiers (10/11/00 v. Costa Rica, 0-0 T)
  • suffered a shutout loss at home in World Cup qualifying in 28 qualifiers (5/31/85 v. Costa Rica, 0-1 L)
  • suffered a shutout loss in 27 overall matches (2/18/04 @ Holland, 0-1 L)
  • lost by more than one goal in 33 matches (5/19/02 v. Holland, 0-2 L)

MAKING THEIR CASE: Much has been made of the announcement that the U.S. Men's National Team has jumped to their highest-ever position in the FIFA World Rankings. Coming on the heels of a six-week stretch in which the U.S. has won two World Cup qualifiers in convincing fashion and captured th is now positioned sixth in the world. While the rankings have certainly become a hot topic around the water cooler, since their top-eight finish in the 2002 World Cup, the U.S. has demonstrated that their position is well deserved. Consider:

  • The U.S. is 29-7-10 since the 2002 World Cup (.744 winning percentage). Those seven losses have all been to teams ranked in the top 7 in the FIFA Rankings (the rankings published in the month the game was played):
                    Feb 13, 2003: vs. Argentina (4)
                    June 19, 2003: n. Turkey (7) [Confederations Cup]
                    June 21, 2003: n. Brazil (1) [Confederations Cup]
                    July 23, 2003: vs. Brazil (1) [Gold Cup]
                    Feb 18, 2004: at Holland (4)
                    March 27, 2005: at Mexico (6) [World Cup qualifier]
                    May 28, 2005: vs. England (6)
  • The last time the U.S. lost to a team with a ranking outside the top 10 was June 21, 2002, n. Germany (11).
  • The last time the U.S. lost a match to a team with a worse ranking was June 14, 2002, n. Poland (38)

QUICK HITS:

  • The U.S. holds an 11-1-3 lifetime advantage against Trinidad & Tobago, winning four of the last five matches by shutout
  • They are also unbeaten in qualifying, going 7-0-2, and have never lost to T&T on home soil
  • The USA's last lost to a Caribbean nation Nov. 19, 1994, a 1-0 loss to tomorrow's opponent.  The team has gone 16-0-8 since then
  • Six players on tomorrow's roster appeared in the USA's 2-1 victory in World Cup qualifying on Feb. 9 in Trinidad.  The players on the field when the U.S. grabbed three big road points: Chris Albright, Gregg Berhalter, Landon Donovan (capt.), Kasey Keller, Eddie Lewis (1), Brian McBride
  • The only player to appear in all 13 of the qualifiers for '06, Donovan has recorded a goal or an assist in 12 of 13 matches.  He has seven goals and eight assists for 22 points
  • Donovan leads the team in scoring with 18 points (six goals, six assists) in 2005.  With 21 career assists, he is one behind Cobi Jones on the all-time U.S. list
  • At the other end of the park, goalkeeper Kasey Keller is enjoying a 327-minute shutout streak in World Cup qualifying spanning 3.5 games.  He last gave up a goal in the 33rd minute of the 2-1 loss on March 27 in Mexico. Keller has 17 career World Cup qualifying shutouts to his credit, a team record
  • Steve Ralston is having a banner year with the MNT, his 11 appearances by far a personal best.  He's tied for second on the team along with Kasey Keller, and has registered his first-ever World Cup qualifying points, tallying a goal (5/30 v. Guatemala) and an assist
  • Jeff Cunningham and Taylor Twellman are No. 1 and 2 on the MLS goalscoring charts respectively, with the Colorado Rapids forward leading the league with 11 goals and Twellman just one behind.
  • Several players will be facing off against club-mates tomorrow night.  Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad could square off against Trini striker Scott Sealey, while the Revs' Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman will be well familiar with Avery John
  • In conjunction with ESPN2's debut broadcast in High Definition, they have expanded coverage for tomorrow night's qualifier.  Long-time talent Rob Stone will host the broadcast, with JP Dellacamera and Marcelo Balboa taking their usual spots in the commentator's booth.  Additionally, two-time World Cup winner and U.S. Women's National Team defender Brandi Chastain will offer insight from the sidelines.


ALL ABOUT TRINIDAD:

THE SQUAD: Halfway through qualifying the Soca Warriors are at a critical juncture.  With four points from five matches, there simply isn't a point to waste.  After opening with a home defeat to the United States and an absolute blasting from Guatemala (5-1), Trinidad rallied to get four points from three matches with a draw against Costa Rica and a 2-0 win against Panama. New coach Leo Beenhakker has added defensive discipline to a menacing attack, and the Trinis will be looking to keep numbers behind the ball and look to counter with their speed up top. These days, most teams don't count on taking points against the U.S., so they would be perfectly content to leave Hartford with a share of the spoils.

TOP PLAYERS: Carrying plenty of experience at the international level, Trinidad boasts some serious fire power in the attack.  Former Columbus Crew striker Stern John has been remarkably prolific, with 61 goals in 83 international games.  Strike partner Dwight Yorke, currently plying his trade with FC Sydney, has tallied 34 goals in 65 games. They have loads of players abroad, led by Glasgow Rangers defender Marvin Andrews and the Dundee United duo of Collin Samuel and goalkeeper Kelvin Jack.  MLS fans will recognize the Wizards' Scott Sealy and Revs defender Avery John, who saw significant action during the 2005 Gold Cup.

LAST TIME V. TRINIDAD
February 9, 2005 -Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; FIFA World Cup qualifier
Trinidad             1    Angus Eve 89'  
USA                    2     Eddie Johnson 30', Eddie Lewis 54'

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope, 12-Cory Gibbs, 4-Carlos Bocanegra; 25-Pablo Mastroeni (8-Clint Dempsey, 66), 10-Landon Donovan (Capt.), 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 7-Eddie Lewis (5-Chris Albright, 82); 20-Brian McBride, 9-Ed Johnson (3-Gregg Berhalter, 87).

TRI: 1-Shaka Hislop; 2-Marlon Rojas; 4-Marvin Andrews; 5-Bret Sancho; 7-Leslie Fitzpatrick (13-Cornell Glenn, 71); 10-Anthony Rougier (8-Angus Eve, 46); 15-Kenwyne Jones; 11-Carlos Edwards (12-Densil Theobold, 74); 14-Stern John; 16-Anton Pierre; 19-Dwight Yorke.

--Order Your Official U.S. MNT World Cup Qualification T-Shirt, available exclusively at ussoccerstore.com--

--For all the updated news, scores, and standings for qualifying visit the FIFA World Cup competition page on ussoccer.com.--

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