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U.S. MNT Prepares for Guatemala in Birmingham


GUATEMALA ON WEDNESDAY:  The U.S. Men's National Team will be looking to move up from their current middle of the pack position in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying after two matches when they face Guatemala on Wednesday, March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The match is the first on home soil for the U.S. in the final round and will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 and same-day-delay on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET and PT. Fans can also be followed live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

USA V. GUATEMALA HISTORY AND NUMBERS: ussoccer.com has compiled a comprehensive array of facts, figures and stats to satisfy the most hungry of soccer junkies as the U.S. and Guatemala get set to face off in Alabama. Click here for a list of results between the two countries, their all-time World Cup qualifying records, a match report of their last meeting and much, much more.

ALL_ACCESS - WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
All_Access, the exclusive video of ussoccer.com, brings you highlights of the USA's post-training media session with reporters on Monday in Birmingham. Listen to Bruce Arena, Kasey Keller, Claudio Reyna and Landon Donovan talk about the effects of the Mexico match and importance of getting a result against Guatemala tomorrow night. For a complete listing of the latest All_Access video, click here.

KELLER HOMECOMING (SORT OF): Despite being a Lacy, Washington, native, Kasey Keller certainly has roots in Birmingham, as his mother Deter has made her home here for the last three years. When asked about his connections to Birmingham, he simply said: “I need a lot of tickets.”

THEY SAID IT: “From a physical standpoint, it’s probably the biggest challenge. You want to try and get as close to 100 percent as you can. I think we’ll do a good job of that, and I really don’t think that will be a major issue. Mentally, the good news really is that we have another game in a couple days. If Mexico was the only game this time around and I had to go back to England right now, I’d be living with this sort of disappointing loss until the next set of games. The fact that all these players here can put that behind them and end the trip on a win is actually a bonus. I’m looking forward to concentrating on this game and putting the last one behind us.”" -- U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis, on the challenges of playing a second World Cup qualifier on only three days rest. Click here for the complete interview with the MNT midfielder as he talks about the loss to Mexico and preparing for Guatemala.

BIRMINGHAM 'CAT' WALK:
To say that U.S. Women’s National Team defender Cat Reddick loves Birmingham, Ala., is like saying people from the South love college football and barbecue ribs. Such is the fervor held by Reddick for her hometown. The only player reared in Alabama ever to earn a cap for the U.S. women, Reddick loves everything about Birmingham.  She loves the people, the ambiance, the food, the football and the fútbol. So for fans traveling to Birmingham for the USA’s first home qualifying match of the final round of 2006 World Cup qualifying on March 30 against Guatemala at the famed Legion Field, who better to give a virtual tour of the hot spots in the biggest city in the Heart of Dixie.

SALT LAKE CITY TO HOST WORLD CUP QUALIFIER AGAINST COSTA RICA: The U.S. MNT will host Costa Rica on Saturday, June 4 in Salt Lake City, Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium at 5:30 p.m. MT in their fourth of 10 final round qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The match against Costa Rica will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and will be followed by MLS expansion franchise Real Salt Lake hosting FC Dallas as the second game of the doubleheader at 8 p.m. Fans can also follow the U.S. match live at ussoccer.com via MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

QUICK HITS

  • The U.S. landed in Birmingham at approximately 7 p.m. CT Sunday night.  All 24 players returned on the team charter
  • DaMarcus Beasley is suspended for Wednesday’s match against Guatemala, having picked up his second caution in 2006 World Cup qualifying in the 2-1 loss to Mexico on Sunday
  • Four players are carrying cautions into Wednesday’s match: Gregg Berhalter, Bobby Convey, Eddie Lewis and Claudio Reyna.  The next caution for any of these players will result in a one–match suspension
  • The U.S. holds a 7-4-3 lifetime record against Guatemala, including a perfect 6-0-0 mark on U.S. soil. 
  • Additionally, the U.S. has never lost to Guatemala in World Cup qualifying play.  With an unblemished 3-0-3 record, the USA’s victories have all come on U.S. soil
  • Almost four-and-a-half years have elapsed since the team’s last met, a 1-0 victory for the United States on Sept. 3, 2000 in Washington, D.C., in the semifinal round of 2002 World Cup qualifying
  • Brian McBride belted home the game-winner that day in the 72nd minute while the team was playing a man down due the ejection of Eddie Lewis seven minutes earlier
  • Lewis has proven the U.S. goalscorer of late, recording goals in both of the USA’s final round qualifiers on the road thus far.  He now has eight goals in 63 appearances for the senior team
  • With his start against Mexico, Landon Donovan has now collected 60 caps at the senior level.  The 23-year-old two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has 19 goals, good for fifth place on the all-time scoring list, and became the youngest player in team history to play in his 50th international game in the 3-0 win against Grenada on June 13, 2004
  • With his setup pass on Lewis’ goal against Mexico, Donovan recorded his 17th career assist, surpassing both Lewis and Eric Wynalda for third place on the all-time U.S. list
  • Donovan is the only U.S. player to start the first ten qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup.  Brian McBride is the only other U.S. player to appear in all ten qualifiers thus far
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Pat Noonan’s entrance into the Mexico game in the 75th minute was his first-ever in World Cup qualifying, and only his third all-time for the United States
  • Guatemala currently sit in second place in final round qualifying, holding four points from two matches.  They started the campaign with an impressive scoreless draw in Panama on Feb. 9 before exploding for five goals against Trinidad, the 5-1 victory in Guatemala City on March 26.
  • The chapines have never qualified for the World Cup finals in 11 attempts since 1958
  • Guatemalan forward Carlos Ruiz is third on the scoring list for 2006 World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF with eight goals.  The two-time MLS scoring leader scored the equalizing goal in the 88th minute to give Guatemala a 1-1 draw in their last meeting with the U.S. in Guatemala, a World Cup qualifier on July 16, 2000 in Mazatenango
  • Since Sept. 5, 2001, the U.S. has amassed a record of 22-1-7 against CONCACAF opponents, with 67 goals scored and a miserly 11 goals surrendered
  • Kasey Keller holds an astounding 21-1-4 record on U.S. soil since 1998.  The 15-year veteran has made 26 appearances in World Cup qualifying, posting 14 shutouts.  He’s already the USA’s all-time leader for goalkeepers in wins (42) and shutouts (37) 
  • Already the all-time leader in wins (55) and winning percentage (.660), U.S. Manager Bruce Arena reached another unprecedented milestone when he presided over his 100th career game as the leader of the national team in the Honduras victory March 19.  He now holds a lifetime record of 55-24-22 over a seven-year tenure
  • When Nat Borchers entered the Colombia game in the 86th minute, he became the 100th player to play at least one game during the seven-year tenure of U.S. Manager Bruce Arena.
  • During Bruce Arena's tenure, the USA holds a 38-0-2 record when leading at halftime. The draws came against Korea during the 2002 World Cup and Guatemala in a qualifier on July 16, 2000.  Conversely, the team is 1-13-4 overall when trailing at the half
  • The U.S. finished 2004 with an 8-1-6 record, collecting its highest-ever win percentage (.733) in a year with more than two games played. The USA’s second-best finish came in 2000 when they accumulated a .706 winning percentage
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