FIRST TIME IN FRISCO: The U.S. Men's National Team will get its first look at the stadium field of newly minted Pizza Hut Park on Saturday afternoon when they conduct their final training session in advance of their meeting against Guatemala (tickets). Kickoff for the USA's fourth match of 2006 is set for Sunday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Telemundo. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. Check back to see who U.S. boss Bruce Arena will put out against the Guatemala when the USA's Starting XI is posted one hour before kickoff, exclusively at ussoccer.com.
INJURY UPDATE: Heading into Saturday’s training session, no injuries are currently affecting roster decisions in the U.S. camp. Frankie Hejduk (quad), Kyle Martino (hamstring) and Santino Queranta (groin) all sat out the Feb. 10 match against Japan but are recovered and available for selection.
PODCAST SCOUTING REPORT - ONALFO ON GUATEMALA: U.S. Assistant Coach Curt Onalfo delivers a scouting report on a team he has seen more times than he cares to remember, having seen Guatemala play seven times in the last year alone. Guatemala is carrying an experienced squad to Frisco, and any discussion of the 'Chapines' starts with FC Dallas striker Carlos Ruiz. The two-time MLS Golden Boot winner has 33 goals in 64 international appearances for Guatemala, and his performance generally predicts how Guatemala will perform.
ALL_ACCESS VIDEO – POPE PART TWO: When grading the performances of the U.S. players over the last three games, veteran defender Eddie Pope has earned an 'A' across the board. The 10-year veteran of the national team has simply been on fire in January '06, demonstrating the speed, intelligence and athleticism that has made him a mainstay of the U.S. backline and a member of two World Cup squads. Adding goals in consecutive matches for the first time in his career, he has proved to be a man on a mission as he seeks a spot on the roster for Germany. Pope sat down with ussoccer.com and opened up on a variety of topics, including his '98 and '02 WC experiences, his generation of players, the next wave of U.S. Soccer stars and offers his thoughts on Bruce Arena, the man who has taught him more than any other coach. The quiet leader on the U.S. team speaks up in this exclusive two-part all_access video.
ALL_ACCESS VIDEO - YALLOP ON THE U.S.: Canadian National Team boss Frank Yallop is quite familiar with the U.S. squad, having coached the San Jose Earthquakes to two MLS Cup titles in 2001 and 2003, and he likes what he sees. He spoke with ussoccer.com about the strengths of the U.S. squad.
JOHNSON’S FAREWELL TO FRISCO: Sunday's match will be a sendoff of sorts for Eddie Johnson, the former FC Dallas forward playing at Pizza Hut Park for the first time since being moved to Kansas City on Valentine's Day. After being drafted at age 17, Johnson spent five years in Dallas, scoring 24 goals in 84 MLS games. One thing he hasn't accomplished? A goal at Pizza Hut Park. "It's gonna be fun, because I still haven't scored in that stadium yet," Johnson said after training on Tuesday. "Hopefully, I get an opportunity to score and see what it feels like inside Pizza Hut Park to score in front of all the people that have supported me." He'll also be up against former strike partner Carlos Ruiz.
NEW NIKE DUDS: Nike and U.S. Soccer have unveiled the 2006 U.S. Men’s National Team jersey, which will be worn this summer by the USA at the FIFA World Cup in Germany. The U.S. will debut their new jerseys when they face Guatemala on Sunday. The jerseys will hit the shelves in early April, but fans can pre-order jerseys at ussoccerstore.com. To get a view of the new kits, which pay homage to both the 1950 U.S. World Cup team and the 1995 squad, scroll through the photo gallery at ussoccer.com.
LOOKING BACK ON ‘05: The U.S. posted a 13-3-4 record in 2005, collecting the most victories in team history. The team qualified for its fifth-consecutive World Cup finals in record-breaking fashion, finishing first in the final group for the first time in 71 years while qualifying with three games to spare with the 2-0 win against Mexico on Sept. 3 in Columbus, Ohio. Bruce Arena coached his 100th game for the U.S. on March 19 against Honduras, helping elevate the U.S. to 6th place in the FIFA rankings, its highest ranking ever. Landon Donovan led all scorers with six goals and six assists, but it was Kasey Keller’s eight shutouts in 13 games – including five in the final round of World Cup qualifying – that earned the goalkeeper the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year award.
DOES JANUARY CAMP PREDICT WORLD CUP ROSTER?: With four months to go until Germany, much speculation exists about how many ‘spots’ are still open on the roster. The U.S. was in a similar place four years ago, when Arena called 28 players into camp in Mission Viejo to try and whittle down his numbers. The camp roster back then – as now – was almost entirely domestic-based players, and more than half the group had ten international appearances or fewer. So how did the 2002 group fare? Thirteen of 28 players traveled to Korea for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Of the 13 players who did play in Korea, four began the January camp with 10 caps or less: DaMarcus Beasley (3), Landon Donovan (9), Pablo Mastroeni (2) and Josh Wolff (10).
• Seventeen players have traveled to Frisco and are available for selection. With the game-day roster allowing for up to 18 players, every player on the U.S. roster will be dressed. The maximum number of substitutions will be six
• The U.S. is playing a World Cup preparation match in Texas for the first time since 1994. In advance of USA ’94, the U.S. played Bolivia to a 2-2 tie on March 26, 1994, at the Cotton Bowl. Overall, the U.S. has a 6-2-5 record in the state and a 5-1-4 mark in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. The U.S. is unbeaten in Texas in their last 11 matches, with the last loss coming to Ecuador on June 10, 1988, in Houston
• The Feb. 19 match will be the 17th meeting all-time between the U.S. and Guatemala. Guatemala won the first four meetings between the two nations between 1977 and 1988, but since the teams’ second meeting in 1988, the U.S. has an 8-0-4 record including a 4-0-4 mark in World Cup qualifying. The U.S. has also never lost to Guatemala on U.S. soil. Most recently, the U.S. faced Guatemala in the Final Round of World Cup qualifying, and came away with a 0-0 draw in Guatemala City
• Three players on Sunday's roster appeared in that 0-0 draw in Guatemala City on Sept. 7, 2005: Jimmy Conrad, Santino Quaranta, and Johnson
• Conrad and Quaranta earned their first-ever start in a World Cup qualifier, along with five other players. For Conrad, it was his first qualifying appearance overall
• Eddie Johnson's entrance in the 57th minute of the Sept. 7 match marked his first minutes with the MNT in 11 matches, having been sidelined since May with an injury to his right big toe. Coincidentally, his last appearance before that also came against Guatemala. He netted the game-winning goal and added an assist as the U.S. turned in their most complete performance of 2005, a 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory on March 30 in Birmingham, Ala.
• Brian Ching played up front with Johnson that day, and Wolff also made an appearance when he replaced Ching in the 79th minute
• Only one other player on the roster has scored against Guatemala - Hejduk scored the third goal in the USA's 3-1 win on March 11, 1999, in a U.S. Cup match at the L.A. Coliseum
• Eddie Pope is the leading cap-winner on the roster (76). After captaining the side in the 0-0 draw against Canada, he has tallied goals in consecutive matches for the first time in his MNT career
• Pope notched his seventh career international goal in the Norway match, getting on the end of a Todd Dunivant cross to the near post to increase the USA’s lead to 4-0 in the 67th minute (USA-Norway highlights). Then against Japan, he ran on to a Taylor Twellman knockdown in the box to fire home the USA's first goal of the match and the eigth of his international career (USA-Japan highlights)
• While six players have started all three of the USA's matches in 2006, only Conrad has played every minute of every match (270). Pope is second with 262 minutes. Wolff is the only other player on Sunday's roster to have started all three matches; Ching, Chris Klein, Ben Olsen and Kerry Zavagnin have also appeared in every game
• Overall, five players have earned their first caps this year; none on the roster have recorded their first goal
• Bobby Boswell, Brad Guzan and Zach Wells are the only players on the roster yet to earn their first cap for the United States. Additionally, Guzan is the first player from Chivas USA ever to appear on a game-day roster.
• After the 3-2 win against Japan on Feb. 10 at SBC Park in San Francisco, Arena released the eight players from the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New England Revolution back to their clubs in order to prepare for the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup .The Revs will play their 'home' match in Bermuda on Feb. 22 against Costa Rican side Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, while the Galaxy host another ''Tico' side, Deportivo Saprissa, on Feb. 23 at The Home Depot Center
• The five-goal win against Norway was the largest margin of victory for the U.S. against a European team and tied the largest margin of victory ever against a non-CONCACAF team (5-0 vs. China on April 4, 1992). Overall, it marked just the 11th time in history the U.S. has won a game by at least five goals
• The 3-2 victory against Japan came in only the second-ever meeting between the countries. The only previous meeting came in 1993 when the U.S. fell 3-1 in Tokyo.
• Three players on the roster got new addresses during the six-week long camp. In addition to the Johnson trade, Kansas City sent Klein to Real Salt Lake for a portion of an allocation and Wells headed to Houston from the MetroStars
• All but one of the 17 are plying their trade in MLS, with young defender Heath Pearce - who made his debut against Scotland on Nov. 12, 2005 - the lone European representative
• The roster boasts the 2005 MLS Defender of the Year in Conrad, a finalist for Rookie of the Year in Chris Rolfe, and Klein, the MLS Humanitarian of the Year
On the field for the USA
February 10,2006 – SBC Park, San Francicso, California – International Friendly
USA 3 Eddie Pope 24', Clint Dempsey 39', Taylor Twellman 50'
Japan 2 Seiichiro Maki 60', Yuji Nakazawa 90+
USA: 22-Kevin Hartman; 3-Todd Dunivant (6-Heath Pearce, 90), 12-Jimmy Conrad, 23-Eddie Pope, 17-Chris Klein (25-Brian Carroll, 79); 13-Pat Noonan (7-Chris Rolfe, 87), 5-Kerry Zavagnin, 10-Landon Donovan (Capt.), 8-Clint Dempsey (14-Ben Olsen, 69); 16-Josh Wolff (9-Eddie Johnson, 58), 20-Taylor Twellman (11-Brian Ching, 68)
JPN: 23-Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi; 2-Makoto Tanaka (17-Makoto Hasebe, 55) 5-Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Capt.), 22-Yuji Nakazawa; 21-Akira Kaji, 15-Takashi Fukunishi (30-Yuki Abe, 55), 4-Yasuhito Endo (27-Hisato Sato, 46), 14-Alessandro Santos, 8-Mitsuo Ogasawara, 18-Shunji Ono (19-Masashi Motoyama, 68); 9-Tatsuhiko Kubo (16-Seiichiro Maki, 46)
On the field for Guatemala
October 12, 2005 – Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala – International Friendly
Guatemala 3 Elmer Ponciano 2’; Freddy Garcia 16’; Carlos Ruiz 30’
Costa Rica 1 Roy Myrie 60’
GUA: Miguel Klee, Selvyn Ponciano, Pablo Melgar, Elmer Ponciano, Angel Sanabria, Julio Girón, Gonzalo Romero, Fredy Thompson, Freddy García (Guillermo Ramirez, 71), Mario Acevedo ( Dwight Pezzarossi, 88), Carlos Ruiz (Juan Carlos Plata, 90)
CRC: Alvaro Mesen, Luis Marín (Randall Azofeifa, 46), Gabriel Badilla, Roy Marie, Michael Umaña, Douglas Sequira, Danny Fonseca, Jafet Soto, Mario Viquez (Alonso Solís, 77), Alvaro Saborio (Mínor Diaz, 66), Winston Parks.
Sept. 7, 2005 - Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala – FIFA World Cup Qualifier
GUA: 1-Miguel Klee, 26-Angel Sanabria, 3-Pablo Melgar, 14-Elmer Ponciano, 18-Selven Ponciano; 16-Julio Giron, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 11-Guillermo Ramirez (24-Maynor Davila, 46), 7-Fredy Thompson (12-Carlos Figueroa, 71); 15-Juan Carlos Plata (capt.) (10-Edwin Villatoro, 78), 23-Mario Acevedo.
USA: 1-Marcus Hahnemann, 6-Chris Albright, 22-Chad Marshall, 12-Jimmy Conrad, 3-Greg Vanney; 23-Santino Quaranta (10-Landon Donovan, 64), 25-Pablo Mastroeni (capt.), 8-Clint Dempsey (19-Steve Ralston, 89), 15-Bobby Convey; 13-Taylor Twellman, 11-Jeff Cunningham (9-Eddie Johnson, 57).
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