SEOUL, Korea (Sunday, May 26, 2002) - The U.S. Men’s National Team picked up the pace in today’s training session at Misari Practice Stadium. After an extended warm up session, the team went through some possession exercises and small-sided games to small goals. The team then broke up into an 11 v 11 full-field scrimmage, with assistant coach Dave Sarachan refereeing from the middle of the field. The team played two 15-minute halves, with all three goalkeepers seeing action. After the 30-minute match the players broke up into several groups, with some working on finishing, others hitting free kicks and some stretching. Joe-Max Moore was on fire in the finishing drill, scoring several goals with a deadly mix of power and accuracy.
KOREA PLAYS FRANCE TOUGH, FALLS 3-2 TO DEFENDING WORLD CUP CHAMPS IN SUWON: Korea battled hard, taking a 2-1 lead into the second half, but eventually fell to defending World Cup champs France 3-2 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon in both teams’ final World Cup preparation match. After going down early in the match through a David Trezeguet goal, Korea scored two unanswered goals to take a lead at halftime. France scored twice in the second half, including Frank Le Bouef’s game-winning goal in the 90th minute. Assistant coach Dave Sarachan, goalkeeper coach Milutin Soskic and strength and conditioning coach Pierre Barrieu attended the match to scout Korea, who the U.S. meets on June 10. The U.S. will meet Portugal at Suwon World Cup Stadium on June 5. Korea now enters the World Cup playing probably their best soccer in recent memory. Korea hammered Scotland 4-1, drew 1-1 with England and then were minutes away from a draw with World Cup champs France.
U.S. LEARNS REFEREES FOR FIRST TWO MATCHES: In the USA's World Cup opener against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, Ecuadorian Byron Morean will serve as the referee, and Awni Hassouneh (Jordan) and Bomer Fierro (Ecuador) will work as the assistant referees. Kuwait's Saad Mane will be the game's fourth official. The USA's second group D match, against co-hosts Korea on June 5 in Daegu, will be refereed by Switzerland's Urs Meier. Egon Bereuter (Austria) and Ali Tomusagne (Uganda) will serve as the assistant referees for the first U.S. match. The fourth official is Egypt's Gamal Ghandour. Officials for the final matches of the group phase will be announced at a later date.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH TONY MEOLA: Tony Meola, the all-time U.S. leader in games played, wins and shutouts among goalkeepers, is also the only U.S. goalkeeper in the last 50 years to win a World Cup game. We recently sat down with Tony and talked about the team’s first day in Korea, the differences between 1990 U.S. World Cup Team and the current squad, his role with the team and more. The entire conversation can be seen on ussoccer.com's "World Cup Plus" and selected clips can be heard in the MediaWorld section of ussoccer.com (click on the "Image of the Day" to open MediaWorld).
ONE-ON-ONE WITH BRUCE ARENA: Bruce Arena sat down and talked with reporters Saturday morning, about 15 hours after landing in Korea. Highlights of what Arena had to say can be found on ussoccer.com’s “World Cup Plus”.
PORTUGAL TOPS CHINA, 2-0, IN MACAU: Portugal, who the U.S. faces on June 5 in both teams' World Cup opener, won their final World Cup tune-up 2-0 against fellow World Cup finalist China on Saturday night in Macau. Second half-goals from Nuno Gomes (50th minute) and Pauleta (61st) supplied all the scoring. A horrendous error from China's An Qi allowed the opening goal. Luis Figo came on late in the second half, as he continues to fight to full fitness prior to playing the U.S.
T-MINUS:There are 11 days until the U.S. Men's National Team opens 2002 FIFA World Cup play against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, which happens to correspond to the number of goals the U.S. scored in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. Earnie Stewart paced the U.S. attack, tallying five of the USA’s 11 goals in final round of qualifying. While scoring 11, the U.S. only allowed eight goals in the 10 final round matches.
FIRST 15 MINUTES OPEN TO MEDIA AT MONDAY TRAINING SESSION: The U.S. Men’s National Team will train on Monday morning at 10 a.m. at Misari Practice Stadium on the outskirts of Seoul. The first 15 minutes of the training session will be open to the media. Media interested in attending the first 15 minutes of training should arrive at the complex at 9:30 a.m. to be allowed admittance to the training facility. After 15 minutes media will be escorted from the facility. There will be no interview availability at the practice site. At all times, an up-to-date schedule of training sessions and media availability can be found in the media-only section of ussoccer.com.
MONDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: The only media availability for the U.S. team on Monday will be at the J.W. Marriott at approximately 1 p.m. U.S. head coach Bruce Arena and selected players will be available to the media at that time.