BRADENTON, Fla. (Wednesday, January 29, 2003) - After a six-day layoff, the U.S. MNT resumed training Monday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in preparation for the upcoming February friendlies against Argentina and Jamaica. U.S. Manager Bruce Arena put the 23-man roster through two-a-day sessions to open camp, with morning training focusing on fitness while the afternoons have been spent playing full-sided scrimmages. Tuesday's match produced an outstanding display of goalscoring, with two Ben Olsen goals leading the blue team to a 4-3 victory in the 50-minute contest. The U.S. team will train just once in the afternoon today.
ON THE MEND: MetroStars defender Eddie Pope has been participating in fitness training and ball work with the hopes of joining the full team sometime during camp. The 29-year-old has been recovering from knee surgery since October was only able to conduct rehabilitation exercises during the team's first visit to Bradenton earlier this month.
ARGENTINA ANNOUNCES TRAVEL ROSTER: Argentine national team head coach Marcelo Bielsa has announced the names of the 20 players that will travel for a three-game tour against Honduras, Mexico and the United States. The team has been training at their facilities in Ezeiza since Jan. 14. Led by River Plate midfielder Andres D'Alessandro, the roster boasts five players who were members of the 2001 FIFA World Youth (U-20) Championship team. The U.S. will host Argentina on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Kickoff is set for 11:55 a.m., and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the Radio Unica network. Argentina first meets Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Jan. 31 before facing Mexico on Feb. 4 in Los Angeles.
Goalkeepers (2): Sebastian Saja (CA San Lorenzo), Wilfredo Caballero (CA Boca Juniors);
Defenders (5): Nicolas Burdisso (CA Boca Juniors), Clemente Rodriguez (CA Boca Juniors), Gonzalo Rodriguez (CA San Lorenzo), Ariel Garce (CA River Plate), Gabriel Milito (CA Independiente);
Midfielders (10): Sebastian Battaglia (CA Boca Juniors), Leandro Romagnoli (CA San Lorenzo), Andres D'Alessandro (CA River Plate), Luis Gonzalez (CA River Plate), Leandro Ponzio (CA Newell's Old Boys), Mariano GonzÃ¡lez (Racing Club), Lucas Pusineri (CD Independiente), Pablo GuiÃ±azu (CA Independiente), Federico Insua (CA Independiente), Javier Mascherano (River Plate);
Forwards (3): Cesar Carignano (Club Colon), Diego Milito (Racing Club), Emanuel Rivas (CA Independiente).
NEW BLOOD: Experimentation was one of the signature qualities of Arena's first four years at the helm of the United States, and already the pattern has emerged in the new four-year cycle. In two matches since the World Cup, five players have received their first international cap. Four players -Wade Barrett, Kyle Martino, Nick Rimando, and Taylor Twellman - made their debuts for the senior team in the 2-0 win against El Salvador on Nov. 17, 2002 in Washington, D.C., while Kansas City Wizards defender Nick Garcia got his first minutes in the 4-0 win against Canada. While experience builds, there are still 13 players on this roster who have collected five caps or less.
LUCKY EIGHTS: Carlos Bocanegra, Chris Klein and Steve Ralston may soon be battling to wear the number 8 for the United States as it appears to have brought along a unique coincidence . All three recorded their first international goals in their eighth appearance for the USA during the 4-0 victory against Canada on Jan. 18. The player currently sporting that jersey, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Richard Mulrooney, is still in search of his first goal for the USA.
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR FEB. 8 CLASH WITH ARGENTINA: Advance tickets ranging from $15 to $35 for the USA's match against two-time World Champion Argentina are on sale now at all South Florida Ticketmaster outlets (including FYE, Specâ€™s Music and Rickyâ€™s Records), by phone (Ft. Lauderdale 954-523-3309; Miami 305-358-5885; West Palm Beach 561-966-3309) and online at www.ussoccer.com. [Click here for complete ticket information.]
DID YOU KNOW? Since Bruce Arena took the reins of the U.S. MNT, he has never lost the opening of match of the new year. The U.S. has collected a 3-0-2 record in the five-year span, including victories against China (2001), Korea in the opening of the CONCACAF Gold Cup (2002), and Canada (2003). Incidentally, over that time the U.S. has only lost once in the second game of the year, falling 2-1 to Colombia on Feb. 3, 2001 at the Orange Bowl.
THEY SAID IT:
"I haven't really spoken to my dad about it. Hopefully, he'll be pulling for us. I've made sure he's got more USA gear than Argentina."
- U.S. midfielder and Argentine-born Pablo Mastroeni, on where his father's loyalties will lie when the USA plays his native country