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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Men Face Jamaica Wed. in Columbus Qualifier Live on ESPN2


U.S. MEN LOOK TO FINISH YEAR WITH TEAM BEST 13-GAME UNBEATEN STREAK:  The U.S. Men’s National Team is in final preparations for their clash against Jamaica on Wednesday (Nov. 17) at Crew Stadium in the final match of semifinal round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.   The USA has never lost to Jamaica in competitive play, and a victory would end the Reggae Boyz’ bid for a spot in the Hexagonal. While Jamaica holds six points from five matches, Panama is just one point behind and hosts El Salvador in their last group game. Jamaica advances with a win, or a tie coupled with a Panama tie or loss. Panama clinches with a win and a Jamaica loss or tie, or a tie and a Jamaica loss. Even El Salvador can sneak in with a win and a loss by Jamaica, meaning Match Day 6 will see the drama that is World Cup qualifying unfold.  Tickets, which are priced from $35 to $85, are still available at ussoccer.com and all Ticketmaster outlets (including Kroger’s stores).
Group 1 Standings
Teams            GP    W    L    T    GF  GA  GD  Pts.
y-USA            5       3     0    2    12    2    +10  11
Jamaica           5       1     1    3     6     4    +2     6
Panama           5       1     2    2     5    11    -6    5
El Salvador      5      1     2     1    2     8     -6     4
MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Results
Date          Opponent      Venue; City                                                                       Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 18     Jamaica         National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                          1-1 T    Ching
Sept. 4      El Salvador    Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass                                   2-0 W   Ching, Donovan
Sept. 8      Panama         Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama 1-1 T    Jones
Oct. 9        El Salvador    Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador           2-0 W    McBride, Johnson
Oct. 13      Panama         RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.                                   6-0 W    Donovan (2), Johnson (3), (Own Goal)
MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule
Date            Opponent      Venue; City                                            Kickoff (local)    TV
Nov. 17       Jamaica         Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio         7:30 p.m. ET      ESPN2 (live); Telemundo (tape delay at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT)

ZAVAGNIN TO PROVIDE GUEST COMMENTARY ON WEDNESDAY’S MATCHTRACKER: Kansas City Wizards midfielder and U.S. international Kerry Zavagnin is slated to add his commentary and opinion to the presentation of ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips, this Wednesday evening when the U.S .takes on Jamaica in their final semifinal round World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio at 7:30 p.m. ET. A member of the 2004 MLS Best XI, Zavagnin has had a remarkable resurgence with the U.S National Team this year, appearing eight times while making three starts in World Cup qualifying play.  The 30-year-old is coming off one of his finest seasons in MLS, helping marshal the Wizards to their second-ever MLS Cup final. Fans can follow Kerry's insights and expert analysis of the game by logging on to ussoccer.com.

TWENTY-PLAYER REGGAE BOYZ ROSTER BOUND FOR THE USA: The Jamaican national team heads to Columbus today (Nov. 15) for the final match of semifinal round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.  Sebastian Lazaroni has called on 20 Reggae Boyz for their must-match, including ten overseas-based players led by striker Marlon King. The Nottingham Forest forward has already tallied six goals in qualifying action. MLS-based players Tyrone Marshall, Damani Ralph, Andy Williams and Craig Ziadie will travel with the group that will hop from Kingston to Miami, then connect through Atlanta before touching down in Columbus later this afternoon.
Jamaica MNT Roster
Goalkeepers (2): Aaron Lawrence, Donovan Ricketts; Defenders (6): Fabian Davis, Ricardo Gardner, Ian Goodison, Tyrone Marshall, Damion Stewart, Craig Ziadie; Midfielders (8): Jason Euell, Jermaine Hue, Micah Hyde, Jamie Lawrence, Garfield Reid, Jermaine Taylor, Theodore Whitmore, Andy Williams; Forwards (4): Deon Burton, Ricardo Fuller, Marlon King, Damani Ralph.

1950 RETRO UNIFORMS TO BE WORN IN COLUMBUS: The USA goes throw-back Wednesday night (Nov. 17), as the team will sport a unique retro jersey for the final qualifier against Jamaica. The limited-edition jersey is a replica of the uniform worn by the United States in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, in which the United States produced one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, a 1-0 defeat of tournament favorites England. Designed by Nike, the retro jersey can be viewed at ussoccerstore.com.

-- WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

BATTLES FOR SECOND SPOT IN GROUPS 2 & 3 COME DOWN TO THE WIRE:  Mexico improved its record to 5-0-0 in CONCACAF Group C Semifinal Round Qualification after blanking winless St. Kitts & Nevis 5-0 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., on Nov. 13. Francisco Fonseca scored three times, while Hector Altamirano and Sergio Santana each added a goal for Mexico in the victory over St. Kitts & Nevis. With the USA (Group 1), Guatemala (Group 2) and Mexico (Group 3) already qualified in their respective qualifying group as of Oct. 13, the fight for the second spot in each group is set for the final Match Day on Wednesday (Nov. 17). With one game left to play for every team, seven teams will be vying for the final three spots in next year’s hexagonal. In Group 2, Honduras needs a win at home versus Costa Rica to go through, while the Ticos need a win or tie to make it to the next round. In Group 3, St. Vincent & the Grenadines are holding on, but will need a three-goal victory on the road at Trinidad & Tobago to fill the second spot in a group dominated by Mexico.
Group 2 Standings                   
Team                         GP  W   L    D  GF  GA  GD  Pts.
x-Guatemala                5    3    1    1    7      8    -1    10
Costa Rica                  5    3    2    0    12    8    +4     9
Honduras                    5    1    1    3    9      7    +2     6
z-Canada                    5    0    3    2    3      8    -5      2
Group 3 Standings
Team                        GP W   L    D   GF  GA   GD  Pts.
y-Mexico                   5    5    0    0    19    1    +18  15
Trinidad & Tobago    5    3    2    0    10     8    +2     9
St. Vincent & Gren.   5    2    3    0     4    10    -6     6
z-St. Kitts & Nevis    5    0    5    0     2    16    -14   0

x - clinched final round berth
y - clinched top group spot
z - eliminated

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U-19s CLINCH SPOT IN QUARTERFINALS OF FIFA U-19 WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team got a goal less than two minutes into the match and scored another in the 25th minute to pace the team to a very profesional 4-1 win over Russia in the team's second match of Group C play on Nov. 14 at the FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship on Sunday in front of almost 9,000 fans at Sarakul Stadium.  After giving up a quick goal at the start of the second half, the USA scored two goals just three minutes apart midway through the second half to put the game away. Midfielder Angie Woznuk once again had a magnificent match for the USA, scoring on a penalty kick and setting up two more goals. Woznuk also opened the scoring (again on a PK) in the U-19s first match, a 3-0 win over South Korea on Nov. 11. The pair of wins put the USA in control of the group and clinches a quarterfinal berth with one first-round match left to play against Spain on Wednesday (Nov. 17) at 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET.  A win or a draw in that match will give the USA first place in the group and a match in the quarterfinals against the third-place team from Group A or B.
U-19 WNT Results / Schedule – Group C
Date                Opponent                      Result     U.S. Goal Scorers
Nov. 11           South Korea                 3-0 W    Woznuk, Rodriguez, Gray
Nov. 14           Russia                           4-1 W    Woznuk, Rostedt (2), Rapinoe
Nov. 18           Spain                            Phuket    5 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Nov. 21           Quarterfinal vs. TBD     TBD       TBD
Group C Standings
Team                  GP W    L    T  GF GA  GD Pts.
USA                    2    2    0    0    7    1    +6    6
Russia                  2    1    1    0    5    5     0     3
Spain                   2    1    1    0    3    5    -2     3
South Korea        2    0    2    0    1    5    -4     0

U-20 MNT HEADS TO FORT LAUDERDALE FOR MATCHES AGAINST HONDURAS, MEXICO: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will play CONCACAF rivals Mexico and Honduras during a week-long training camp in Sunrise, Fla., that begins today (Nov. 15) and runs through Nov. 22. The U.S. will face both teams at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium, taking on Honduras on Friday, Nov. 19 before meeting Mexico on Sunday, Nov. 21.  This will be the first training camp under Sigi Schmid, who was named the U.S. U-20 head coach in late October. Schmid will be looking at numerous players during the camps as he begins to sort through the U-20 player pool and mold his squad for the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament that will take place from January 12-16, 2005. The USA’s games will be part of a doubleheader on both nights as reigning U-20 world champion Brazil will also face Mexico and Honduras during their second trip to South Florida this year. Advance tickets for both doubleheaders are $30 for adults and $15 for kids under the age of 12 ($20 and $10 for one doubleheader) and are on sale now through Complete Ticket Solutions. Groups of 20 or more can get a $2 discount per ticket by calling the box office at 1-877-877-7677. Tickets are available online at www.tixops.com. Of the players that have been secured for the roster, eight are playing professionally, with six players representing teams in Major League Soccer, including Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew) and Michael Bradley (MetroStars).
U-20 MNT Schedule
Date            Opponent                 Kickoff (ET)
Nov. 19       Honduras                 7 p.m.
Nov. 21       Mexico                    7 p.m.

U-17 MNT COME AWAY WITH TWO WINS OVER IMG U-19s: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team won both of their games this weekend in Bradenton, Fla., defeating both IMG U-19 teams. On Nov. 13, Preston Zimmerman scored in the first half and Ryan Soroka, Kyle Nakazawa and Jeremy Hall notched their own scores in the second half as the U.S. cruised to a 4-0 victory over IMG U-19 Team A. On Nov. 14, the U-17s fielded a younger squad but came away with a similar result, as Eric Avila scored in the 87th minute off a pass from Peri Marosevic for a 1-0 victory over IMG U-19 Team B.
U-17 MNT Results
Date            Opponent                Result        U.S. Goal Scorers
Nov. 13       IMG U-19s A         4-0 W       Zimmerman, Soroka, Nakazawa, Hall
Nov. 14       IMG U-19s B         1-0 W       Marosevic

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

U.S. FUTSAL NT TO OPEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP VS. ITALY ON SUNDAY: The U.S. Futsal National Team arrived in Chinese Taipei today (Nov. 15) for the FIFA Futsal World Championship, which will be played from Nov. 21-Dec. 5.  The U.S. opens Group C play in Tao Yuan County on Sunday (Nov. 21) versus Italy, and will play their second match against Paraguay on Nov. 23. The U.S. will close group play versus Japan on Nov. 25 in Taipei City, the nation’s capital. The top two teams from each of four groups advance to the knockout stage of the tournament, which will begin on Nov. 27. With their appearance this month, the U.S. will have taken part in four of the five FIFA Futsal World Championships after missing out in 2000. At the first two World Championship events in 1989 and 1992, the U.S. finished third and second, respectively. The 1989 team was the first at any level for men or women to place in the top three at a FIFA event since the 1930 Men’s World Cup team. Beaten in the final by Brazil in 1992 by a 4-1 margin, the U.S. Futsal team posted the best finish of any U.S. Soccer men’s team at a FIFA event. Head coach Keith Tozer selected an experienced squad of players from the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), but only captain Sean Bowers has previous championship experience, having traveled to Spain for the 1996 tournament.
U.S. Futsal Schedule
Date         Opponent        Venue                      Kickoff (local / ET)
Nov. 21    Italy                Tao Yuan County     6 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Nov. 23    Paraguay        Tao Yuan County     8 p.m. / 7 a.m.
Nov. 25    Japan             Taipei City                8 p.m. / 7 a.m.
U.S. Futsal Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Scott Hileman (Phoenix, Ariz.), Brett Phillips (St. Louis Steamers); DEFENDERS (3): Sean Bowers (San Diego Sockers), Lee Tschantret (Baltimore Blast), Pat White (Milwaukee Wave); MIDFIELDERS (7): John Ball (Cleveland Force), Jamar Beasley (Kansas City Comets), Steve Butcher (San Diego Sockers), Andy Guastaferro (Chicago Storm), Pat Morris (Philadelphia Kixx), Joel Shanker (Philadelphia Kixx), Johnny Torres (Milwaukee Wave); FORWARDS (2): Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave), Greg Howes (Milwaukee Wave).

ESKANDARIAN HELPS D.C. DOWN K.C. 3-2, EARN FOURTH MLS CUP IN CARSON:  After the Kansas City Wizards took an early lead on a surprise blast by defender Jose Burciaga, D.C. United used two quick strikes from forward Alecko Eskandarian and an own goal to build what turned out to be an insurmountable lead and went on the capture a 3-2 win and a record fourth MLS Cup title on Nov. 14 in front of 25,797 fans at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.  Eskandarian, who joined Landon Donovan as the only two players in league history to score two goals in an MLS Cup, earned MVP honors after he struck in the 19th and 23rd minutes, then helped force an Alex Zotinca own goal off an Earnie Stewart cross in the 26th minute.  K.C. stormed back in the second half, with Josh Wolff converting a penalty kick after Dema Kovalenko was red-carded for a handball on the goal line, but despite playing a man up for the final 34 minutes could not get the equalizer.  The win was D.C.’s record fourth in the nine-year history of MLS, adding to their trophies from 1996, 1997 and 1999.

MLS NAMES WINNERS OF 2004 YEAR-END AWARDS:  Major League Soccer announced the winners for each of its annual awards, as well as the Best XI team, last week. The full slate of awards and finalists are below:
2004 MLS Award Finalists
Most Valuable Player: Amado Guevara (MetroStars)
Coach of the Year: Greg Andrulis (Columbus)
Goal of the Year: Dwayne DeRosario (San Jose; vs. D.C. on 8/7)
Play of the Year: Freddy Adu (D.C.; vs. L.A. on 5/19)
Defender of the Year: Robin Fraser (Columbus)
Comeback Player of the Year: Brian Ching (San Jose)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Joe Cannon (Colorado)
Rookie of the Year: Clint Dempsey (New England)
Fair Play Award: Eddie Pope (MetroStars)
Humanitarian Award of the Year: Chris Henderson (Colorado)
Referee of the Year: Abiodun Okulaja
2004 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper (1): Joe Cannon (Colorado); Defenders (4): Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City), Robin Fraser (Columbus), Ryan Nelsen (D.C.), Eddie Pope (MetroStars); Midfielders (4): Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Amado Guevara (MetroStars), Ronnie O’Brien (Dallas), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City); Forwards (2): Brian Ching (San Jose), Jaime Moreno (D.C.).

USL RESTRUCTURES PRO LEAGUES INTO FIRST AND SECOND DIVISIONS: United Soccer Leagues announced last week that the organization and its member professional teams have restructured its two professional leagues, A-League and Pro Soccer League, under the USL umbrella to form a new two-tiered professional division. The two tiers of USL’s professional division will be officially referred to as the USL First Division and USL Second Division, eliminating the A-League name adopted by the then independent American Professional Soccer League in 1995. Among the significant changes in place are the adoption of a single table by the USL First Division, the official capping of the USL First Division to 16 teams and the introduction of a 28-game primarily balanced schedule in which all teams will play each other home and away once in the USL First Division supplemented with an equal number of additional rivalry games. To further emphasize regular season excellence, the regular season champion will be awarded the Commissioner’s Cup, which was utilized by the APSL prior to the league’s merger with USL before to the 1997 season. The professional division of United Soccer Leagues will consist of 21 teams in 2005, with 12 in the USL First Division and nine in the USL Second Division.
2004 USL Pro Breakdown
USL First Division (12 teams): Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Portland Timbers, Puerto Rico Islanders, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Seattle Sounders, Toronto Lynx, Vancouver Whitecaps, Virginia Beach Mariners, Montreal Impact.
USL Second Division (9 teams): Charlotte Eagles, Cincinnati, Harrisburg City Islanders, Long Island Rough Riders, New Hampshire Phantoms, Northern Virginia Royals, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Western Mass Pioneers, Wilmington Hammerheads.

USL ANNOUNCES 53-TEAM PDL ALIGNMENT FOR 2005 SEASON:  United Soccer Leagues announced last week the alignment for the 2005 Premier Development League season. While USL’s professional division will see much change this off-season, the 53-team PDL will see just one significant change: a reduction in the season to a 16-game schedule from 18. The PDL alignment remains unchanged with two divisions within each of the four conferences.
2005 PDL Alignment
Central Conf. (Heartland): Boulder Rapids Reserve, Colorado Springs Blizzard, Des Moines Menace, Kansas City Brass, Sioux Falls SpitFire, Springfield (Mo.), Thunder Bay Chill; Central Conf. (Great Lakes): Chicago Fire Reserves, Cleveland Internationals, Fort Wayne Fever, Indiana Invaders, Kalamazoo Kingdom, Michigan Bucks, Toledo Slayers, West Michigan Edge;
Eastern Conf. (Northeast): Albany Blackwatch Highlanders, Brooklyn Knights, Cape Cod Crusaders, Ottawa Fury, Reading Rage, Rhode Island Stingrays, South Jersey Barons, Vermont Voltage, Westchester Flames; Eastern Conf. (Mid Atlantic): Carolina Dynamo, Raleigh CASL Elite, Richmond Kickers Future, West Virginia Chaos, Williamsburg Legacy;
Southern Conf. (Mid South): Austin Lightning, DFW Tornados, El Paso Patriots, Laredo Heat, Memphis Express, Nashville Metros, New Orleans Shell Shockers; Southern Conf. (Southeast): Ajax Orlando Prospects, Bradenton Academics, Central Florida Kraze, Cocoa Expos, Palm Beach Pumas;
Western Conf. (Southwest): Bakersfield (Calif.), BYU Cougars, California Gold, Fresno Fuego, Nevada Wonders, Orange County Blue Star, San Diego Gauchos, Southern California Seahorses; Western Conf. (Northwest): Abbotsford Rangers, Cascade Surge, Spokane Shadow, Yakima Reds.

USL ADDS SIX NEW TEAMS IN 2005 FOR 34-TEAM W-LEAGUE: USL announced last week the 34-team alignment for the 2005 W-League season.  Six new teams will take to the field in 2005 with new franchises in Atlanta, Orlando, Vermont, Toronto, San Diego and London, Ontario. The W-League alignment for 2005 will again consist of three conferences with the three divisions in the Eastern Conference merging to form two for the upcoming season. The Central remains in a two-division format with no divisions in the Western.
2005 W-League Alignment
Central Conference (Atlantic): Atlanta, Bradenton Athletics, Carolina Dynamo, Charlotte Lady Eagles, Hampton Roads Piranhas, Northern Virginia Majestics, Orlando, Richmond Kickers Destiny;
Central Conference (Midwest): Chicago Cobras, Cincinnati Ladyhawks, Cleveland Internationals, Detroit Jaguars, Fort Wayne Fever, London (Ontario) Gryphons, West Michigan Edge;
Eastern Conference (Northern): Ottawa Fury, Rochester Ravens, Sudbury Canadians, Toronto Lady Lynx, Vermont Lady Voltage;
Eastern Conference (Northeast): Boston Renegades, Long Island Lady Riders, New Hampshire Lady Phantoms, New Jersey Wildcats, New York Magic, South Jersey Banshees, Western Mass Lady Pioneers;
Western Conference: Arizona Heatwave, Denver Lady Cougars, Fort Collins Force, Mile High Mustangs, San Diego, Seattle Sounders Women, Vancouver Whitecaps.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER:  Like he did throughout most of his second season in MLS, Alecko Eskandarian delivered deadly strikes for D.C. United, scoring two goals in a five-minute span to help them back to the glory of old with a 3-2 win and fourth MLS Cup title.  “Esky” outmuscled a much bigger Nick Garcia on his first goal in the 19th minute and then capitalized on a Jimmy Conrad clearance that he jumped up to block (handball or not? You be the judge) to make it 2-0 in the 23rd minute before his dangerous run through two K.C. defenders at the near post created the game-winning own goal in the 26th minute.  The three-goal swing was arguably the most dominant eight minutes by any player in MLS Cup history.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Now that we’re through to the next round of qualifying, why should you tune it to watch the final game? A couple of reasons, actually. For one, to see who Bruce picks to take the field now that he has what amounts to a “gimme” game to give young players experience, experiment with players in different positions or maybe start a top-shelf lineup but try out a new formation.  Another reason would be to watch the MNT knock out Jamaica and extend their record unbeaten streak in 2004 to 13 games. Catch the final MNT game of the year live on ESPN2 or on the web at ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match will also be shown via tape delay on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET / PT.

QUOTABLE:  “It's pretty sweet to go to everybody that was doubting me or hating on me, to just show them that trophy and just be like, 'Shut up. I did it.’”
        --D.C. forward Alecko Eskandarian, who fulfilled his 2003 top draft pick potential with a stellar 2004 season after a subpar rookie season last year.

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