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U.S. Soccer Wire: November 7, 2005


U.S. Men's National Team Travels to Scotland,
Will Face Norway on Jan. 29 in Carson, Calif.

U.S. MNT MATCHES UP AGAINST SCOTLAND ON SATURDAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team travels to Scotland this week to face the team at famed Hampden Park on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Glasgow. The match will be the 20th of the year for the USA and will kickoff at 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans will also be able to follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match falls on an international fixture date, and will take place on the first of two playoff dates set aside for the final 10 teams trying to earn a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The match also falls one day before the MLS Cup championship game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New England Revolution in Dallas on Sunday, Nov. 13. The U.S. has played Scotland five times in their history, holding a lifetime record of just 1-3-1, but hasn’t played in Scotland in 53 years. The team’s lone match in Scotland came way back on Aug. 30, 1952, when the U.S. was blanked 6-0 in Glasgow. The teams last met in the USA’s final preparation match before the 1998 FIFA World Cup, playing to a scoreless draw on May 30, 1998, in Washington, D.C. The U.S. roster for the match will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at ussoccer.com.

MNT TO TAKE ON NORWAY AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Norway at The Home Depot Center on January 29, 2006, at 2 p.m. PT, as U.S. manager Bruce Arena continues to shape and prepare his team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The match will be televised live on ESPN2 and available online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match will be a part of a nearly one-month long training camp for the U.S. that will be held at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., beginning on Jan. 4 to kick off the World Cup year. Tickets begin at $20 and go on sale Thursday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. PT at ussoccer.com (get tickets), all Southern California Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), The Home Depot Center ticket office (stadium ticket office is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m), and by phone at (213) 480-3232.  Groups of 15 or more can purchase discounted tickets priced between $18 to $45 by calling U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtaining a group order form at ussoccer.com. The Jan. 29 fixture will be the ninth game played by a U.S. Soccer team in the main stadium at the Home Depot Center since it opened more than two years ago. This will be the second visit by the U.S. Men’s National Team to the HDC, following a 1-1 draw with Denmark in January of 2004. The U.S. Women have won four times at Home Depot Center, and the U.S. U-20 Men’s National team swept their three world championship qualifying matches there in January of 2005. This will be the 67th match for the U.S. MNT in Southern California, where the team has a 27-19-20 record dating back to 1957.

MLS CONFERENCE FINALISTS SET: The Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution advanced to MLS Cup 2005 to be played on Sunday, November 13, 2005 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas (live on ABC Sports - 3:30 p.m. ET). Los Angeles, behind two goals from forward Landon Donovan, won the Western Conference Championship with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids at INVESCO Field at Mile High on Saturday (Nov. 5). New England claimed the Eastern Conference Championship on Sunday (Nov. 6) with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium. Clint Dempsey's fourth-minute goal held up as the Revs advance to their second MLS Cup. As MLS Cup 2005 finalists, both Los Angeles and New England also have secured their place in the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup. The Champions Cup is the annual regional tournament featuring the top clubs from North and Central America and the Caribbean.
MLS Cup
Date         Matchup                                                                    Venue                      Time; TV
Nov. 13    New England Revolution vs. Los Angeles Galaxy      Pizza Hut Park           3:30 p.m. ET; ABC
Conference Finals
Date         Matchup                                                                    Venue                       Result
Nov. 6       New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire                Gillette Stadium       1-0
Nov. 5       Colorado Rapids vs. Los Angeles Galaxy                  INVESCO Field          2-0

– WORLD CUP UPDATE –

U.S. SOCCER REFEREE KEVIN STOTT SELECTED AS FINALIST FOR WORLD CUP: U.S. Soccer Referee Kevin Stott was selected by FIFA as one of the 44 candidates to officiate the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The 44 referees on the list will attend a workshop in Frankfurt on March 22-25, 2006, where they will complete a fitness test and undergo medical and psychological examinations. The candidates' knowledge of the Laws of the Game will also be assessed. Stott, who has refereed numerous 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, joins six other referees from CONCACAF on the list. FIFA will select 30 referees to officiate the tournament. (Referee Home)

CONDITIONAL WORLD CUP TICKETS AVAILABLE NOV. 2: The 2006 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee (OC), with the agreement of FIFA, is offering fans around the world an additional chance of securing World Cup tickets, via an offer to purchase conditional tickets which began on Nov. 2, 2005, and ends Nov. 20. By purchasing conditional tickets, fans are placed on a waiting list. When a ticket is returned to the OC, fans on the waiting list have priority to receive those tickets. This offer is based upon an estimated number of returned tickets per match. Customers who purchase a conditional ticket can select up to a maximum of seven matches for which they will receive priority for tickets that are returned to the Organizing Committee. Customers may be allocated, and required to pay for, tickets for only one of the selected matches. The OC will allow a maximum of one ticket for the applicant and up to three accompanying persons. Details of the Conditional ticket program are available at fifaworldcup.com. Priority will be given to applicants who were unsuccessful in the first sale phase, together with customers whose TST series are rendered invalid due to the chosen team's failure to qualify for the summer 2006 finals (as of Nov. 1).

AT HOME IN HAMBURG: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will use the City of Hamburg as their home base throughout the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. will learn the venue in which they will play their group matches on Dec. 9, 2005, at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Leipzig, Germany. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and the northern most FIFA World Cup venue. It is located at the confluence of the Elbe and Alster Rivers where it serves as Germany’s international trade hub as the second largest port in Europe. The selection of Hamburg, often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” culminates an inspection process conducted by U.S. Soccer across a 16-month period in which all 12 FIFA World Cup venues were closely examined. “We looked at a number of venues throughout Germany to base our team,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena, “and felt Hamburg was clearly the best choice. We had great success in 2002 staging our operations in one location (Seoul, South Korea) and traveling into our venues for games, and we feel that strategy will work for us again in 2006. Regardless of the venues we are eventually drawn into, the excellent transportation infrastructure in Germany allows us the luxury of choosing any city in the country as our base, and clearly Hamburg has as much or more to offer than any city in Germany.”

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

MIAMI JOINS USL FIRST DIVISION: Traffic Sports USA announced last week the acquisition of an expansion professional soccer franchise that will represent Miami and South Florida in the United Soccer Leagues' First Division beginning in the 2006 season. The team, Miami FC, will join 11 other teams that include the Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, Portland Timbers, Puerto Rico Islanders, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Seattle Sounders, Toronto Lynx, Vancouver Whitecaps and the Virginia Beach Mariners. Miami FC will play 14 regular season home games and 14 regular season away games in 2006, playing each club in the league home and away at least once in a single table.  The top six teams advance to the playoffs with the top two receiving byes to the semifinal round. In addition, Miami FC will host pre-season matches beginning in March as well as several friendly matches during the course of the year.  Miami FC will also be eligible for the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

MLS ANNOUNCES COACH, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Major League Soccer today announced last week that San Jose Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear was selected as the MLS Coach of the Year and Michael Parkhurst of the New England Revolution has been named the Gatorade Rookie of the Year. Kinnear guided the Quakes to a League-best 64 points (18-4-10 record) becoming only the second team in MLS history to register more than 60 points in a season. Fielding a balanced team with no player scoring more than nine goals during the season, the Quakes finished the year with a 14-game unbeaten streak. In his second year as a head coach, Kinnear's club became the first to go undefeated at home for an entire season. New England Revolution defender Michael Parkhurst was one of only five players - including the only rookie - to start and play in every minute of every game during the 2005 regular season (32 starts, 2880 minutes). The first selection by the Revolution in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft showed veteran poise at the heart of the back line and was whistled for only six fouls over the course of the season, anchoring a defense that gave up the second fewest goals in the League (37). The 21-year-old Parkhurst was also selected to the 2005 MLS All-Star team.

CALIFORNIA COUGARS TO HOST 2007 MISL ALL-STAR WEEKEND: Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Commissioner Steve Ryan announced today that the MISL California Cougars have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2007 MISL All-Star Weekend. Details for the February 2007 event to be held at the Stockton Indoor Sports Arena, a state-of-the-art arena scheduled to open its doors this December, will be announced as plans are finalized.  Additionally, the MISL is actively negotiating to secure a national television partner, as well as an international rights holder for the three-day event. The MISL All-Star Weekend, staged in three of the League’s first four seasons, has developed into one of the League’s signature events. The California Cougars commence their inaugural 2005-06 season this Fall and will play 15 of their 30 regular season game schedule in their new home, the Stockton Indoor Sports Arena.

INTERLIGA 2006 DATES & VENUES ANNOUNCED: Soccer United Marketing, in conjunction with the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol (FMF), announced on Thursday the official venues and dates for the 2006 edition of InterLiga, the qualifying tournament that will determine two automatic berths for Mexican clubs to the Copa Libertadores. InterLiga 2006 will be held between Jan. 4-15, 2006 in four venues in Texas and California. The eight-team, four-city InterLiga tournament is scheduled to kick off in Reliant Stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 4, before heading south to La Joya Stadium in La Joya, Texas, for a doubleheader date on Thursday, Jan. 5. InterLiga invades Frisco, Texas, with two back-to-back weekend doubleheaders, on Jan. 7-8 at Pizza Hut Park to close out the Texas schedule. InterLiga 2006 finishes off the first round in The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 10-11, before the finals over the weekend on Sunday, January 15. The final doubleheader will determine the qualifiers to the Copa Libertadores. InterLiga 2006 is an eight-team qualifier, divided into two groups. The InterLiga champion will be joined in Copa Libertadores by the winner of the other game held on January 15, 2006 at The Home Depot Center.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. MNT and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan won’t be facing Scotland this weekend, instead, focusing on the New England Revolution in the MLS Cup 2005. Donovan’s two-goal performance on Saturday (Nov. 5) led the Galaxy past the Colorado Rapids and into the league final on Sunday, Nov. 13, at Pizza Hut Park, live on ABC Sports. His two goals also place him atop the MLS all-time post-season scoring charts with 14 tallies in his MLS playoff career.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: With World Cup qualifying over for the U.S. MNT, Manager Bruce Arena is now focused on rounding up his squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany this summer. The first preparation match before next summer’s tournament takes place on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Glasgow, Scotland at 11 a.m. ET. The U.S. men play in Scotland for the first time in 53 years live on Fox Soccer Channel and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: It's tough to say that a Manchester United win is shocking, but following an uninspired 4-0 drubbing at the hands of middle of the table Middlesboro the week prior, no one was expecting the Reds to end Chelsea's 40-match unbeaten run in the Premiership on Sunday (Nov. 6). Darren Fletcher, who has been called into Scotland's squad for this weekend's friendly vs. the U.S., scored the match's only goal on a looping header in the first half.

QUOTABLE: "That's cool, but I don't really care. I will one day. I'm not going to lie, but I want to keep going. I want to win. It's about winning championships."
 -- U.S. MNT and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan on becoming the all-time leading scorer in the MLS post season.

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