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Bradley Names 18-Man Roster to Face Poland On March 26 in Krakow In First Of Three Friendlies in Europe


CHICAGO (March 22, 2008) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named 18 players to the roster that will face Poland on Wednesday, March 26 in Krakow. Kickoff at Wisla Stadium is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. team started arriving in Poland on Sunday (March 23) and will train in Krakow ahead of the midweek game.

“This is an excellent opportunity to gather a majority of our European-based players and continue to make evaluations prior to the start of World Cup qualifying,” said Bradley, who is presiding over a four-match unbeaten run for the United States. “We have established a core group of players, and want to build on principles we have established over the last year as we approach the critical schedule for qualifying this summer. Starting with Poland, we have arranged a series of challenging matches that will help to prepare our team for what lies ahead.”

The roster includes fifteen players who are heading towards the climax of the European season with their respective clubs. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra is one of nine players who join the U.S. roster from England, a group that includes his Fulham teammates Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard enters in fine form as his side sits in fifth place of the English Premier League and within striking distance of a place in next year’s UEFA Champions League. West Ham defender Jonathan Spector is quickly shifting gears into the full national team mode, having started in the U.S. Under-23 MNT’s 3-0 semifinal victory against Canada on March 20 in Nashville, Tenn. The win secured a place for Peter Nowak’s side in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Of the players who ply their trade on the continent, veteran Hannover 96 defender Steve Cherundolo makes his debut appearance in a 2008 U.S. squad, having last featured in the USA’s 1-0 victory against South Africa when he scored the winning goal in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup on Nov. 17, 2007, in Johannesburg. Also traveling from Germany is 1860 Munich striker Josh Wolff, who is one cap shy of 50 career international appearances for the United States. Heerenveen midfielder Michael Bradley and Standard de Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu will meet up with the team from Holland and Belgium, respectively. Bradley notched two goals for Heerenveen on March 22 against Roda JC, including the game-winner, to increase his season total to 19 goals in all competitions. Both Bradley and Onyewu appeared for the U.S. in the 2-2 draw against Mexico on Feb. 6 in Houston, with Onyewu nodding home the USA’s first goal when he finished a Landon Donovan cross.

Rounding out the squad is the MLS-based trio of Donovan, Ricardo Clark, and Brian Ching. For Ching, the call-up represents a return to the U.S. team after last appearing for Bradley’s side in the 2007 Gold Cup final. Ching’s Houston Dynamo teammate and fellow MLS Champion, Ricardo Clark, has already made two appearances for the United States so far in 2008.

Donovan became the United States’ all-time leading scorer on Jan. 20, 2008, when he converted a penalty and earned Sierra Mist Man of the Match honors during a 2-0 victory against Sweden at the Home Depot Center. With 98 caps, the 25 year-old is fast approaching another milestone: the century mark in appearances for the national team. (Click here for an interactive feature recapping the history of Donovan’s goal-scoring account.)

Two players return to the U.S. fold after lengthy absences. Watford defender Jay DeMerit rejoins the ranks for the first time since August of 2007 when he appeared against Sweden, while Charlton Athletic defender Cory Gibbs is healthy and available for the first time in the Bob Bradley era. Gibbs suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and has suffered a series of setbacks since that have hindered his comeback.

Poland is in the midst of preparations for the 2008 European Championships that will take place from June 7-29 in eight venues across Switzerland and Austria. Poland are grouped with 2006 World Cup third place finishers Germany, co-host Austria and 10th ranked Croatia. The Poles advanced to the tournament by finishing in first place of their qualifying group ahead of eighth-ranked Portugal, and were the first team to earn a berth to this summer’s tournament.

The teams have met six times previously on Polish soil, the U.S. holding a 3-2-1 advantage. Their most recent encounter in Poland came March 31, 2004, in Plock, where DaMarcus Beasley scored the lone goal to hand the USA its first victory on European soil in six years. The teams last met in 2006 in Germany during the “Blizzard of Kaiserslautern,” this time Clint Dempsey netting the solo strike in the 1-0 win at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion, site of the USA’s 1-1 draw against eventual World Champions Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. holds an all-time record of 6-7-2 against Poland, having faced the Eastern European side more times than any other country in Europe.

The match in Poland represents the first of three friendlies the U.S. will play on European soil prior to the start of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The USA will travel to face England on May 28 in London, before moving to continental Europe to play fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander. Kickoff against England at the new, 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium is set for 8 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Univision.

The U.S. begins the quest to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica. The Caribbean nations drew 1-1 in the first leg on Feb. 6 in Dominica, with Barbados hosting the return leg on March 26 in Bridgetown. The U.S. will host their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played between June 18-21 on the road.

U.S. Men's National Team Roster

No Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Caps/G Hometown Club
3 Bocanegra, Carlos D 6'0" 170 5/25/1979 54/8 Alta Loma, Calif. Fulham FC (England)
4 Bradley, Michael M 6'2" 175 7/31/1987 15/1 Cedar Grove, N.J. SC Heerenveen (Holland)
6 Cherundolo, Steve D 5'6" 145 2/19/1979 43/2 San Diego, Calif. Hannover 96 (Germany)
11 Ching, Brian F 6'1" 195 5/24/1978 25/5 Haleiwa, Hawaii Houston Dynamo (MLS)
13 Clark, Ricardo M 5'10" 150 5/10/1983 12/1 Jonesboro, Ga. Houston Dynamo (MLS)
23 DeMerit, Jay D 6'0" 185 12/4/1979 6/0 Green Bay, Wis. Watford FC (England)
8 Dempsey, Clint F 6'1" 170 3/9/1983 37/9 Nacogdoches, Texas Fulham FC (England)
10 Donovan, Landon M 5'8" 148 3/4/1982 98/35 Redlands, Calif. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
20 Feilhaber, Benny M 5'9" 150 1/19/1985 15/2 Irvine, Calif. Derby County (England)
12 Gibbs, Cory D 6'3" 178 1/14/1980 18/0 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Charlton Athletic (England)
24 Hahnemann, Marcus GK 6'3" 220 6/15/1972 7/0 Seattle, Wash. Reading FC (England)
1 Howard, Tim GK 6'3" 210 3/6/1979 27/0 North Brunswick, N.J. Everton FC (England)
9 Johnson, Eddie F 6'0" 180 3/31/1984 31/11 Palm Coast, Fla. Fulham FC (England)
7 Lewis, Eddie M 5'10" 155 5/17/1974 74/8 Cerritos, Calif. Derby County (England)
22 Onyewu, Oguchi D 6'4" 210 5/13/1982 29/3 Olney, Md. Standard de Liege (Belgium)
5 Pearce, Heath D 5'10" 175 8/13/1984 10/0 Modesto, Calif. Hansa Rostock (Germany)
17 Spector, Jonathan D 6'0" 180 3/1/1986 11/0 Arlington Heights, Ill. West Ham United (England)
16 Wolff, Josh F 5'8" 160 2/25/1977 49/9 Stone Mountain, Ga. 1860 Munich (Germany)

ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Tim Howard (Everton FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Cory Gibbs (Charlton Athletic), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Lewis (Derby County)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich)

U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM STAFF
Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Mike Sorber (St. Louis)
Goalkeeper Coach: Zak Abdelbaaset (Los Angeles)
Fitness Coach: Pierre Barrieu (Verona, N.J.)
General Manager: Pam Perkins (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Trainers: Ivan Pierra (Los Angeles)
Justin Shaginaw (Philadelphia)
Doctor: Kia Mitthoefer (Boston)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Tim Cook (Long Beach, Calif.)
Video Coordinator: Mark Liskevych (Chicago)
Videographer: Alejandro Becker (Hollywood, Calif.)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago)

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