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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. WNT Names Algarve Cup Roster; MNT Training Camp Roster to be Named Wednesday


U.S. WNT TO OPEN 2005 ALGARVE CUP AGAINST FRANCE: The U.S. Women’s National Team will see its first action of 2005 on foreign soil as the team will travel to southern Portugal for the 12th annual Algarve Cup, to be played from March 9-15, 2005.  The USA will play three top European teams in group play, opening the tournament against France on March 9, facing Finland on March 11 and finishing the first round against Denmark on March 13.  The U.S. team will leave for Europe on March 1. This will be the 10th trip to the Algarve Cup for the U.S. women, who broke a streak of four Algarve tournaments without a title in 2000 when they defeated China, 2-0, in the championship game. Including that first title, the USA has now won three of the last five tournaments, also bringing home first-place trophies the past two years.  The USA defeated Norway, 1-0, in the 2003 championship game and put together a resounding 4-1 victory over Norway last year as Abby Wambach pounded in three goals. fans can follow the USA’s grueling schedule of four games in seven days online at ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. With the resignation of April Heinrichs last Tuesday, U.S. interim head coach Greg Ryan will lead the team in Portugal. Ryan has called in an exciting combination of players that includes 10 members of the gold medal winning team at the 2004 Olympics. The average age of the other 10 players on the 20-woman roster is just 21. Four of those players are uncapped, but all of them have extensive experience with the U.S. youth national teams.
WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo; DEFENDERS (7): Lorrie Fair, Lindsey Huie, Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Jill Oakes, Cat Reddick; MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner; FORWARDS (5): Heather O’Reilly, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach, Christie Welsh, Kelly Wilson.
WNT Algarve Cup Schedule
Date              Opponent                                       Time
March 9         France                                            4:15pm local / 11:15 a.m. ET
March 11       Finland                                           1:45 local/ 8:45 a.m. ET
March 13       Denmark                                        1:45 local / 8:45 a.m. ET
March 15       Match for place 11th and 12th     10 a.m. local / 5 a.m. ET
                       Match for place 9th and 10th        10 a.m. local / 5 a.m. ET
                       Match for place 7th and 8th          10 a.m. local / 5 a.m. ET
                       Match for place 5th and 6th           3 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET
                       Match for place 3rd and 4th          3 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET
                       Championship                                6 p.m. local / 1 p.m.

MNT TRAINING CAMP ROSTER TO BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW: The U.S. Men’s National Team will gather for training camp again on Feb. 27 in preparation for their second and third matches of the final round of World Cup Qualifying. In their second match, the U.S. will take on Mexico in the Estadio Azteca. Immediately following their match against Mexico, the U.S. will travel to Birmingham, Ala., to face Guatemala just three days later at Legion Field. The full training camp roster will be announced tomorrow (Feb. 23) at 1 p.m. ET at ussoccer.com.

O'BRIEN DEPARTS AJAX: U.S. international midfielder John O'Brien has parted with perennial Dutch powers Ajax Amsterdam after an 11-year career with club, including seven years as a professional.  O'Brien, nearing the end of a one-year contract extension, joined fellow Dutch Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag, who currently sit in 14th place in the league table.  The Playa del Ray, Calif., native had become a regular starter for Ajax, helping the side win the 'double' as Dutch League and Dutch Cup champions in 2002.  However, a serious of injuries sidelined him for nearly 15 months, his last competitive match coming Nov. 7, 2004.  O'Brien, 27, scored the USA's first goal against Portugal in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and was one of three players to play every minute of every game in Korea.

APRIL HEINRICHS RESIGNS AS WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM HEAD COACH: U.S. Women’s National Team head coach April Heinrichs has resigned from her position at the helm of the most successful women’s soccer program in the world but will remain with U.S. Soccer as a consultant through 2005. The decision comes a little more than five months after Heinrichs led the United States to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. A search for a successor will begin immediately, but no timetable has been set for a decision on the hiring of the team’s next coach. Current U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coaches Greg Ryan and Phil Wheddon will coach the team in the interim. In five years at the helm of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Heinrichs compiled an impressive 87-17-20 record, a .782 winning percentage and triumphantly led the United States to the 2004 Olympic gold medal in Greece. She was also the head coach for the USA’s third-place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 and the team’s silver medal performance in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. With a record 124 games at the helm of the U.S. WNT, Heinrichs was also the first coach to guide the team to an Algarve Cup championship, winning the annual tournament in Portugal three times.

U.S. MNT TO OPEN 2005 HOME SCHEDULE WITH GAMES IN CALIFORNIA & NEW MEXICO: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will host a pair of friendly matches in March in preparation for the most difficult match of its World Cup Qualifying schedule on March 27 at Mexico. The U.S. will open its 2005 home schedule vs. Colombia on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. PT at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., and then host Honduras on March 19 at 2 p.m. MT at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. Ticket information for both matches is available at ussoccer.com. Tickets for the Colombia match at Titan range in price levels from $15 to $40 and will be available through ussoccer.com. Tickets can also be purchased by phone (213-480-3232 in L.A.; 714-740-2000 in Orange County; 619-220-8497 in San Diego), and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records). Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290. Tickets for the Honduras match in Albuquerque range in price levels from $18 to $60 and can be purchased online at ussoccer.com, by calling 505-925-5858 or 800-905-3315, by visiting any Tickets.com retail outlet (including Raley's or Oshman’s stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe), and at the UNM Ticket Offices at The Pit and the UNM Bookstore. A limited number of special "On Field" seats are also available at $125.

-- WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS PLYING TRADE IN EUROPE: With the current absence of a professional women's league or its equivalent in the United States, several U.S. Women's National Team players are, or soon will be, playing for European clubs in order to keep game-sharp as the U.S. team begins to gear up for its lengthy two-year run to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.

Sweden Bound: U.S. midfielder Kristine Lilly, the world’s all-time caps leader, and defender Kate Markgraf, a starter in the last four world championships for the USA, will both be heading to Sweden in early April to play for Swedish First Division club KIF Örebro, which is located west of Stockholm in the middle of the country. The up-and-coming club is coached by Swedish legend Pia Sundhage, who coached both Lilly and Markgraf on the Boston Breakers in the third and final season of the WUSA in 2003. The pair signed deals that will keep them in Sweden for all of April and most of May. More than 25 foreign players are scheduled to compete in the Swedish league this year, including national team players from Finland, Brazil, Belgium, Iceland and the USA. Orebro, which just won the Swedish women’s 5-a-side indoor championship, finished seventh in the 12-team Swedish premier league last season and kicks off the new season on April 16. Former U.S. Women's National Team forward Tiffeny Milbrett has signed to play with Sunnana, which finished ninth in same league last season.

Livin' in Lyon: Lilly and Markgraf will join five other U.S. Women’s National Team pool players currently playing their club soccer in Europe, all for Olympique Lyon in France. Goalkeeper Hope Solo, defender Danielle Slaton, midfielders Aly Wagner and Lorrie Fair and forward Christie Welsh are all starting for fourth-place Lyon, whose men’s team sits atop the French First Division. The women’s team has several French National Team players and several U-21s, but the U.S. players joined the team near the end of the season, and with seven league matches left to play and 12 points behind first-place Montpellier, Lyon will be hard-pressed to take the league title. Due to delays with international transfer paperwork, the U.S. players have only played one or two matches with Lyon. Slaton played in a match soon after her arrival in France, but along with Wagner and Fair were forced to sit out a 1-0 loss to Montpellier, a match in which Solo and Welsh started. All five Americans then played in a 3-0 victory over Juvisy in which Welsh scored the third and final goal. The players will be available to play in a French League Cup quarterfinal match on Feb. 27 in Metz before Solo, Wagner, Fair and Welsh make the short trip to Portugal to join the U.S. team for the Algarve Cup at the beginning of March. Besides the cold weather that has put a damper on the players training and spirits, all have thoroughly enjoyed their French adventure so far, as the centrally located Lyon has allowed them to travel a bit, including a weekend jaunt to Paris recently. “It’s a great city,” said Solo of Lyon. “It’s really beautiful and has a lot of history to it. The language barrier has been difficult, but overall the club has treated us great. The level of play is very good and the players have a lot of individual talent. They are all so good on the ball.” Solo said that the players have enjoyed being in an intense soccer environment as the city is crazy for their league-leading men’s team (which is six points clear at the top of the table) and regularly draws enthusiastic crowds to its women’s games, including some fans who bring American flags. “It’s just a fun environment,” said Solo. “You really feel like you are a part of something in Lyon.”

-- FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

U.S. MNT QUALIFYING HOME OPENER IN ALABAMA APPROACHES: Tickets are still available for the United States Men’s National Team’s first home game of the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Tickets range in price from $18 to $55 and can be purchased online at ussoccer.com, all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix and Coconuts), and by phone at 1-800-277-1700. Groups of 15 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745, ext. 119. Kickoff against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape delayed on Telemundo at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. will be returning to Birmingham’s Legion Field Stadium for the first time since March 10, 2002, when the U.S. defeated Ecuador 1-0 in a World Cup preparation match before 24,133 fans. The team’s only other visit came nearly two years earlier, when the U.S. MNT drew 1-1 with Tunisia in front of 21,637 fans in the team’s first-ever match in Alabama. Birmingham also served as a venue for soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games, where the Bruce Arena-led U.S. Olympic team played two matches at Legion Field, falling to Argentina and topping Tunisia. The U.S. holds a 7-4-3 lifetime record against Guatemala, including a perfect 6-0-0 mark on U.S. soil. The last time the teams met was during semifinal round qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The teams split points in a 1-1 draw in Mazatenango, Guatemala on July 16, 2000, then Brian McBride tallied the lone goal in the USA’s hard fought 1-0 win on Sept. 3, 2000 at RFK Stadium.

U.S. WINS IN TRINIDAD, PREPARES FOR ESTADIO AZTECA: The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago have kicked off the 10-game round-robin that will last from Feb. 9-Oct. 12, 2005. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany while the fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.  Drawn as Team 6 in the final round format, the U.S. faces a tricky road to Germany as their first two games take place on the road. The U.S. gets consecutive home dates for Matches 3 & 4 and 6 & 7 and will then face two away matches before concluding final round play in the United States.  The first U.S. home game will be played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. on March 30, with kick off scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s Matchtracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Venues for the remaining four home matches for the U.S. will be announced as they become finalized.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule/Results – CONCACAF Final Round
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Feb. 9        Panama 0, Guatemala 0
Feb. 9        Costa Rica 1, Mexico 2
Feb. 9        Trinidad & Tobago 1,  USA 2 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 26   Costa Rica vs. Panama
March 26   Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago
March 27   Mexico vs. USA 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 30   Panama vs. Mexico   
March 30   USA vs. Guatemala   
March 30   Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 4        Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama   
June 4        Guatemala vs. Mexico   
June 4        USA vs. Costa Rica   
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 8        Panama vs. USA   
June 8        Costa Rica vs. Guatemala   
June 8        Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Aug. 17      Guatemala vs. Panama   
Aug. 17      Mexico vs. Costa Rica   
Aug. 17      USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 3       Panama vs. Costa Rica  
Sept. 3       Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 3       USA vs. Mexico  
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 7       Mexico vs. Panama 
Sept. 7       Guatemala vs. USA  
Sept. 7       Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 8         Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Oct. 8         Mexico vs. Guatemala 
Oct. 8/9      Costa Rica vs. USA 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 12       USA vs. Panama   
Oct. 12       Guatemala vs. Costa Rica
Oct. 12       Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico
 
Playoff (*home team will be determined by lottery at the conclusion of the final round)
Date                Match-up
*Nov. 12/13    AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 
*Nov. 16          AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4

-- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U-17 MNT ARRIVE IN GUATEMALA, GET SET FOR THREE GAMES THIS WEEK: The U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on Sunday (Feb. 20) for a weeklong camp that will consist of three matches against local youth club teams. The U.S. will take on Municipal on Tuesday (Feb. 22), Comunicaciones on Thursday (Feb. 24) and Aurora on Saturday (Feb. 26). Head coach John Hackworth brought a 20-player roster to Guatemala as he continues to prepare for qualifying, where the team will attempt to continue its streak as the only country to qualify and play in every FIFA World Championship at this age level. The team is in Group B of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica from April 12-16. The U.S. will face El Salvador, Costa Rica and Cuba. A final schedule of matches has not yet been determined.
U-17 ’88 MNT (Team A) Schedule
Date            Opponent
Feb. 22       Municipal
Feb. 24       Comunicaciones
Feb. 26       Aurora
U-17 ’88 MNT (Team A) Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bryant Rueckner (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Brian Perk (Santa Margarita, Calif.); DEFENDERS (7): Michael Balogun (Houston, Texas), Eric Lichaj (Downers Grove, Ill.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Carlos Borja (Anaheim, Calif.), Jeremy Hall (Tampa, Fla.), Neven Subotic (Bradenton, Fla.), Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.); MIDFIELDERS (6): Kevin Alston (Silver Spring, Md.), Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes Est, Calif.), Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.), Blake Wagner (Tampa, Fla.), Amaechi Igwe (Belmont, Calif.), Nikolas Besagno (Maple Valley, Wash.); FORWARDS (5): Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.), Preston Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.), David Arvizu (Santa Ana, Calif.), Eddie Ababio (Tampa, Fla.), Omar Gonzalez (Dallas, Texas).

U-20 MNT FINISH BRADENTON CAMP, FINISH WITH 2-1-2 RECORD: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team finished their 10-day camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., coming away with an impressive 2-1-2 record. In their first match the U-20s fell 2-1 to the MetroStars on Feb. 13, but went undefeated the rest of the week, drawing against two MLS squads conducting their preseason in Bradenton, and defeating the USASA National Select Team and the U.S. U-17 MNT. Against San Jose, the U.S. got a goal from Texas high school standout Lee Nguyen to draw 1-1. Five days later, the U-20s took a 2-0 lead against the Chicago Fire in a 120-minute exhibition match behind goals from Sammy Ochoa in the 37th minute and Robbie Rogers in the 85th minute, but the Fire bounced back when Nate Jaqua scored in the 94th and 120th minutes to pull even. In between the two MLS stalemates, the U-20s defeated the USASA National Select Team 3-2 with goals from Brad Evans, Darren Yeagle and Robbie Rogers and a shutout the U-17s, 2-0, behind strikes from Sammy Ochoa and Michael Gavin.
U.S. Under-20 Schedule/Result
Date         Opponent            Result      U.S. Goalscorers
Feb. 13    MetroStars            1-2 L      Denny
Feb. 14    San Jose               1-1 T      Nguyen
Feb. 16    USASA Select      3-2 W    Evans, Yeagle, Rogers
Feb. 17    U.S. U-17 MNT      2-0 W    Ochoa, Gavin
Feb. 19    Chicago Fire          2-2 T     Ochoa, Rogers

BOB JENKINS CALLS IN 24 PLAYERS FOR U-18 MNT CAMP IN BRADENTON: The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team will conduct their second camp of the year when they meet in Bradenton, Fla., on Feb. 26 for training and games at IMG Academy. Head coach Bob Jenkins has called in a 24-player roster for the weeklong camp that will include three games against the U.S. U-17 MNT, the IMG U-19 MNT and the University of Virginia. For a few of the players, the camp will be a homecoming of sort as six players were part of U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency Program, which is based at IMG Academy.
U.S. U-18 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Chay Cain (Aurora, Ill.), Steve Sandbo (SMU); DEFENDERS (7): Pavelid Castenada (Babylon, N.Y.), Greg Folk (UNC), Aaron Pinckney (Corona, Calif.), David Rodriguez (Dallas, Texas), Chris Schuler (Aurora, Ill.), William Sweetra (Egg Harbor City, N.J.), Mark Wiltse (Belle Mead, N.J.); MIDFIELDERS (11): Eric Avila (San Diego, Calif.), Anthony Beltran (Claremont, Calif.), Jeff Cosgriff (San Bruno, Calif.), Paul Gerstenberger (Albany, N.Y.), Sonny Guadarrama (Cedar Park, Texas), Rodrigo Lopez (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Dax McCarty (UNC), Mike Pezza (Jackson, N.J.), Robbie Rogers (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Evan Toft (Centennial, Colo.), Sal Zizzo (UCLA); FORWARDS (4): Cody Arnoux (Wilmington, N.C.), Eber Martinez (Woodbridge, Va.), Irvin Martinez (Woodbridge, Va.), Demitri Omphroy (Alameda, Calif.).

U.S. U-16 GNT AND U-17 WNT FACE GERMANY U-17s THIS WEEKEND: The U.S. Under-16 Girl’s National Team and U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team will both face Germany’s U-17 women in a pair international exhibitions at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from Feb. 27-March 3, 2005.  The Germans will get a workout on their visit to America, playing four matches in five days, while the U.S. youth teams will each play Germany twice.  These will be the first international matches of the year for U.S. head coach Erica Walsh’s U-17s and U.S. head coach Sue Patberg’s U-16s, giving the young U.S. players the opportunity to face international competition on their home soil.  Germany is the reigning youth world champions, having won the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand last November.  Germany visited Bradenton, Florida, last year and played one match each against the U.S. U-16s and U-17s, both of which were won by the Americans. Following is the match schedule and rosters for both the U.S. U-16s and U-17s.  Several players may be added to the rosters before the teams begin training on Feb. 23 (U-17s) and Feb. 24 (U-16s) at the Home Depot Center.
U-16 and U-17 Schedule
Date           Matchup
Feb. 27      U.S. U-17s vs. Germany U-17s 5 p.m. HDC
Feb. 28      U.S. U-16s vs. Germany U-17s 5 p.m. HDC
March 2     U.S. U-17s vs. Germany U-17s 11 a.m. HDC
March 3     U.S. U-16s vs. Germany U-17s 10 a.m. HDC

U.S. U-16 Girl’s Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kellie Dyer (Germantown, Tenn.), Jorden Kussmann (Lakewood, Wash.), Hanna Messick (Greenwood, Ind.); DEFENDERS (7): Lauren Barnes (Upland, Calif.), Erica Campanelli (Plano, Texas), Hannah Cerrone (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Kate Dienes (Issaquah, Wash.), Gretchen Miller (Fairport, N.Y.), Megan Ohai (Salt Lake City, Utah), Kacey Richards (Williamstown, N.J.); MIDFIELDERS (7): Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas), Emily Esbrook (Novi, Mich.), Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.), CJ Ludemann (Holtsville, N.Y.), McKenna Louise McKetty (Sacramento, Calif.), Casey Noguiera (Cedarburg, Wis.), Sara Salazar (Broken Arrow, Ok.); FORWARDS (5): Amy Caldwell (Braintree, Mass.), Brittani Bartok (Union, N.J.), Bianca D’Agostino (Longmeadow, Mass.), Laura Heyboer (Hudsonville, Mich.), Brooke Knowlton (Rexford, N.Y.).
U.S. U-17s Women’s Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Chantel Jones (Richmond, Va.), Alyssa Naeher (Stratford, Conn.); DEFENDERS (4): Jane Alukonis (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Chelsea Regan (Raritan, N.J.), Lauren Switzer (St. Charles, Ill.), Lauren Wilmoth (Garland, Tex.); MIDFIELDERS (10): Carolyn Blank (Toms River, N.J.), Becky Edwards (Downingtown, Pa.), Kaley Fountain (Austin, Texas), Ali Hawkins (Encinitas, Calif.), Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Yeraldy Hurtado (Ventura, Calif.), Megan Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.), Kristen Stannard (Midlothian, Va.), Annie Yi (Indianapolis, Ind.); FORWARDS (7): Gina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Rachel Givan (Ridgeland, Miss.), Kayanne Gummersal (Wilmette, Ill), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix, Ariz.), Ashley Moore (Clifton Park, N.Y.), Kelly O’Hara, (Fayetteville, Ga.), Nikki Washington (Mesquite, Texas).  

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

FOUR UNCAF TEAMS QUALIFY TO 2005 CONCACAF GOLD CUP, CARIBBEAN QUALIFYING ENDS THURSDAY: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama all qualified for the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup after they each gained a berth on Monday (Feb. 21) into the semifinals of the Copa de Naciones UNCAF (Unión Centroamericana de Fútbol) Tournament at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Meanwhile, in Barbados, Cuba and Jamaica posted wins in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Digicel Cup Final Round at the National Stadium in Waterford, St. Michaels on Sunday (Feb. 20). The tournament concludes Thursday (Feb. 24), with three teams qualifying to the 2005 Gold Cup, which will take place July 6-24 in seven venues across the United States. The final groups and full match schedule for the Gold Cup will be announced on March 2 by CONCACAF.
2005 Gold Cup Participating Teams
North Zone
United States
Mexico
Canada
Central America
Costa Rica
Guatemala
Honduras
Panama
Caribbean
Three teams TBD
Invitees
South Africa
One team TBD

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. and PSV Eindhoven midfielder DaMarcus Beasley came off the bench on Sunday to score the second goal in a 4-1 win over N.E.C. With the win, PSV remains at the top of the Eredivisie table, four points above AZ and eight points above Ajax.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: There’s a first time for everything, even when you’re a World Cup veteran named Landon Donovan. Today (Feb. 22) will be the first time Donovan suits up for Bayer Leverkusen for a UEFA Champions League match, as the German club faces English squad Liverpool at Anfield.

SOCCER SHOCKER: U.S. midfielder John O'Brien is leaving Ajax Amsterdam, and will join ADO Den Haag after undergoing rehabilitation in United States. O'Brien, 27, was a regular for Ajax until recurring injuries to his Achilles' tendon and hamstring hindered him in the last two seasons. His one-year contract with Ajax was set to expire June 30. He played 84 matches for Ajax, including appearances in the team's run to the Champions League quarterfinals in 2002-03. Ajax is currently third, while ADO is 14th out of 18 teams in the Dutch Eredivisie.

QUOTABLE: "Everything was first class there. The field, the locker room, the fans. Everything."
     --DaMarcus Beasley after appearing in FIFA's Football for Hope world all-star game at the Nou Camp in Barcelona on Feb. 15, 2005.

- ussoccer.com -

 


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