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U.S. U-23 MNT Set to Face Ivory Coast in Second Match of Toulon International Tournament

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team
Toulon International Tournament
Toulon, France
May 22, 2008

SET ON IVORY COAST: The U.S. will continue its play at the 36th Toulon International Tournament when it matches up against Ivory Coast on Friday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. ET). Both teams are looking to rebound from losses on May 21, with the U.S. falling to Turkey, 3-2, and Ivory Coast dropping a 2-0 decision to Italy. All 16 matches of the tournament, including 14 live broadcasts, are being shown on Fox Soccer Channel.

U.S. U-23 MNT Group B Schedule
Date       Opponent         Venue               Result/Kickoff (Local/ET) - TV
May 21   Turkey               Toulon              2-3 L
May 23   Ivory Coast       La Seyne          6:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m. ET - Fox Soccer Channel (live)
May 25   Italy                    La Vallette        6 p.m. / 12 p.m. ET - Fox Soccer Channel (live)

20 PLAYERS AVAILABLE: Head coach Peter Nowak has 20 players available for Friday’s match against Ivory Coast, with Dominic Cervi and Benny Feilhaber departing for England to join the Men’s National Team ahead of its May 28 clash with England at the new Wembley Stadium. Feilhaber, who served as captain against Turkey, left Wednesday’s game in the 67th minute with a knee injury, and will be evaluated upon his arrival in England.

FIRST TIME IS THE CHARM: Defender Eric Brunner and forward Sammy Ochoa made their U-23 MNT debuts in Wednesday’s contest with Turkey. Both tallied goals for the U.S. and for Brunner, it was his first career goal in a National Team uniform.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake), Quentin Westberg (Troyes)
DEFENDERS (10): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Eric Brunner (out of contract), Kyle Davies (Southampton), Michael Gavin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Jonathan Leathers (Kansas City Wizards), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Julian Valentin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Rob Valentino (New England Revolution), Blake Wagner (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Greg Dalby (SC Charleroi), Lee Nguyen (Randers FC)
FORWARDS (4): Gabe Ferrari (Sampdoria), Bryan Jordan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ellis McLoughlin (Hertha Berlin), Sammy Ochoa (Tecos)

JAPAN, CHILE SIT ATOP GROUP A: Group A action continues tonight as France takes on Japan and Netherlands squares off with Chile. Japan and Chile are currently on top of Group A with 1-0 and 5-3 wins on Monday evening, respectively. If both squads can win again tonight in Stade Perruc, it could set up a Group A winner-take-all finale on Saturday, May 24.

Quick Hits:

  • The U.S. will have a change of venue in each game of the group phase. Wednesday evening’s game took place at Stade Mayol in Toulon, while the match against Ivory Coast will take place in Stade Marquet in La Seyne, just outside of Toulon.
  • Only one player in the starting lineup against Turkey – goalkeeper Dominic Cervi – was part of the USA’s successful qualifying campaign in March. 
  • The U.S. has never played Ivory Coast in the Toulon International Tournament. They have also never played Ivory Coast in the Olympic Games
  • Italy’s Sebastian Giovinco is the only player to have scored multiple goals in the tournament, heading into Thursday night’s Group A games.
  • Four players in the group - Bryan Arguez, Kyle Davies, Ellis McLoughlin and Brek Shea - are age-eligible for the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
  • Seven leagues across the world –Mexico, Denmark, Germany, England, Belgium, Italy, France - are represented on the roster in addition to Major League Soccer, which sends 11 representatives.
  • Along with Fox Soccer Channel in the United States, the tournament will be televised live in Japan, Chile and across Europe.
  • Americans who have played in previous tournaments include Marcelo Balboa (1989), Eric Wynalda (1989), Kasey Keller (1989, 1991), Brad Friedel (1990, 1991, 1992), Claudio Reyna (1991, 1992), Cobi Jones (1992) and Oguchi Onyewu (2000)
  • Josh Wolff was one of three players in 1997 who led the tournament in scoring with five goals. He shared the Golden Boot Award that year with Portugal’s Carlitos and France’s Thierry Henry.

A LOOK AT IVORY COAST: A fellow Olympic qualifier, Ivory Coast has brought their Under-23 team to Toulon, with players ranging in age from 17-23 years of age. Of the 19 players on the roster, 12 ply their trade abroad, and head coach Gerard Gili has called on four players – Ousmane Diarassouba, Serge Pascal Wawa, Nassa Niangbo and Constant Djakpa – who have earned caps with the full National Team.

Ivory Coast Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Fabrice Okoua (Africa Sports), Badra Ali Sangare (ES Bingerville)
DEFENDERS (7): Mamadou Bagayoko (Africa Sports), Ousmane Viera Diarassouba (CFR Cluj), Souleman Bamba (Dumferline), Serge Pascal Wawa (ASEC Mimosas), Ahmed Herve Diomande (ASEC Mimosas), Soilyho Mete (FC Nantes), Constant Djakpa (CS Padurii)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Moura-Komenan Anthony (Libourne St. Seurin), Kafoumba Coulibaly (SC Bastia), Kouamatien Emmanuel Kone (CFR Cluj), Sekou Ouattara (KSK Beveren)
FORWARDS (6): Nassa Guy Roland Niangbo (Charleroi), Beko Ismael Fofana (Fredrikstad FK), Franck Dja-Djedje (Grenoble), Antoine Jean-Ettien N’Gossan (ASEC Mimosas), Sekou Cisse (Roda JC), Serge Deble (ASEC Mimosas)

CATCHING THEIR ATTENTION: The young talent that will be on display at the tournament will be carefully observed all over the world, but especially by over 130 professional scouts in attendance. It is the most number of scouts in the tournament’s 36-year history.

OLYMPIC PREPARATION: Four teams in Toulon will join the U.S. in Beijing at this summer’s Olympic Games. Italy, Ivory Coast, Netherlands and Japan have all advanced out of their respective qualifying tournaments. Additionally, Japan and Netherlands have been drawn into Group D of the Games along with the United States and Nigeria.

NEW KITS: The Under-23s are the first youth team to play in the new Nike jerseys debuted by the full Men’s National Team earlier this year. The U-23 Men are wearing the white kits for all three group matches, keeping the anthracite jerseys on hand. The team has been training in the new official Nike training gear and with the state-of-the-art Nike Omni soccer balls, while in Toulon.

C’EST BLOG: The YNT Blog is back in action, with insider info, exclusive photos and interviews and all the happenings with the U-23 MNT at the Toulon International Tournament. To keep up with the team in Toulon, check out  .