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U.S. Men Set to Renew Rivalry vs. Mexico on Wednesday in Glendale, Ariz.


U.S. Men's National Team
Pre-Game Notes from Glendale, Ariz.
February 6, 2007

QUICK HITS

• After beginning the camp with 26 players, the domestic-based roster was reduced to 16 on Feb. 2. The four European-based players joined the group in Phoenix on Sunday evening, and the entire group trained Monday.
• The U.S. team arrived into Phoenix the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4), with the majority of the Mexican delegation arriving Monday afternoon.
• The match falls on a FIFA international fixture date reserved for friendlies, meaning that players are only released 48 hours prior to match day.
• Nine players from the USA’s 2006 World Cup roster will be in uniform tonight, including six who made at least one start: Chris Albright, Carlos Bocanegra, Jimmy Conrad, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey (1), Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Eddie Johnson, Pablo Mastroeni
• Only two players on the U.S. roster appeared in the last meeting against Mexico, a 2-0 qualifying win on Sept. 3, 2005 in Columbus: Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni
• Landon Donovan has faced Mexico seven times, scoring twice, including his critical goal in the USA's 2-0 World Cup victory in 2002. Pablo Mastroeni has taken the field against Mexico five times. All together, eight players have played at least one game against Mexico
• Donovan is the only player on the roster to score a goal against Mexico
• Born in Mendoza, Argentina, Mastroeni grew up in Phoenix and attended Thunderbird High School
• All four players who traveled across the Atlantic ply their trade in England. Clint Dempsey, who recently joined fellow call-up Carlos Bocanegra at Fulham, scored for the U.S. against Ghana in their final group match in Germany. Reading FC midfielder Bobby Convey returns after appearing in all three matches in the World Cup, including two starts. Everton FC goalkeeper Tim Howard shutout Mexico in his only appearance against the Tricolor, a 0-0 draw on May 8, 2003, in Houston, Texas.
• Ten players on the roster appeared in the USA’s 3-1 win against Denmark on Jan. 20, including nine starters and two goalscorers: Chris Albright, Jonathan Bornstein (1), Bobby Boswell, Ricardo Clark, Jimmy Conrad (capt.), Landon Donovan (1), Eddie Johnson, Justin Mapp, Pablo Mastroeni, Chris Rolfe
• With the game-winning goal in that game, Jonathan Bornstein became the 40th player in the 95-year history of U.S. Soccer to score in his first game with the national team. He is also the ninth player to accomplish the feat for the U.S. in the modern World Cup era (since 1986) and the fourth to do it this decade.
• The goal for Donovan was the 26th of his international career, and ended his longest-ever goalless drought for the United States at 18 games (a streak that dated all the way back to a 2-0 win vs. Canada on July 9, 2005)
• Jimmy Conrad wore the captain’s armband for the second time in his career in the Denmark match. He also led the team in the 2-0 win against Venezuela on May 26, 2005
• D.C United contributes the most players to the roster, sending four to Phoenix: Bobby Boswell, Brian Carroll, Joshua Gros, Bryan Namoff
• U.S. Assistant Mike Sorber played two years for Pumas in the Mexican First Division
• Mexico head coach Hugo Sanchez is one of only two players to play in both the NASL and MLS, joining former U.S. international Roy Wegerle in achieving that accomplishment
• The U.S. Men’s National Team will be making its first appearance at the University of Phoenix Stadium and only their third overall in the state of Arizona. The U.S. last played in the Grand Canyon State over 12 years ago, defeating Norway 2-1 at Sun Devil Stadium on January 15, 1994 in Tempe. In their only other match, the U.S. drew 2-2 with Denmark on Jan. 20, 1993.

LIVE MatchACCESS COVERAGE TO DEBUT WITH USA-MEXICO: As part of U.S. Soccer's commitment to providing exclusive, high-quality content for fans, ussoccer.com brings you MatchACCESS, live streaming video of your favorite U.S. National Teams. MatchACCESS debuts with coverage of portions of the U.S. Men's National Team practice on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at University of Phoenix Stadium, showing fans the players' final preparation with live video, interviews and commentary beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. MT). On Wednesday, ussoccer.com’s live MatchACCESS coverage will include exclusive post-game interviews and post-game press conferences beginning at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET (9:30 p.m. MT). Moving forward, MatchACCESS on ussoccer.com will see exclusive live web coverage of not only pre- and post-game coverage, but also select game broadcasts and major press conferences and events throughout U.S. Soccer.

THE USA-MEXICO “TALE OF THE TAPE”: While it’s a given that neither side wants to lose against their rivals, the teams seemed to have brought a substantially different approach to the Feb. 7 contest. U.S. head coach Bob Bradley has chosen to add some reinforcements to a largely youthful domestic-based roster, with an eye towards building a group for this summer’s two international competitions and the future qualifying campaign. Mexico’s new jefe Hugo Sanchez has gone the other route, bringing in the majority of their 2006 World Cup roster and calling the full complement of his foreign-based players (from as far away as Greece!) in what feels like a ‘must-win’ for the Tri Colores. Here’s how the experience factors break down:

USA

MEX

Avg. Age

25.5

27.2

Avg. Caps

17.8

38.9

On World Cup Roster

9

14

Played vs. Opponent

8

17



DO “AWAY” GAMES HURT? Prior to the ‘Guerra Fria’ in Columbus (the USA’s 2-0 qualifying win on Feb. 28, 2001), the U.S. expected to walk into a domestic venue that was anything but supportive of their home team. While past managers have always talked about the valuable experience of a hostile environment no matter the location, how about the results? Take a look at the top five attended USA-Mexico games on home soil to see how the U.S. has fared.

Date                  Venue                                   Result     Attendance
June 16, 1996    Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)    2-2 T        92,216
Feb. 15, 1998     L.A. Coliseum (Los Angeles)     0-1 L        91,255
June 4, 1994      Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)   1-0 W       91,123
May 8, 2003       Reliant Stadium (Houston)         0-0 T       69,582
Oct. 25, 2000     L.A. Coliseum (Los Angeles)     2-0 W      61,072

WHAT ABOUT BOB? New U.S. head coach Bob Bradley’s credentials have been well established, staring with a record of wins unmatched in MLS history (124). In case you haven’t followed along, here’s the crib version: Bradley, 48, spent 2006 as head coach of Chivas USA in Major League Soccer, where he was honored as the league’s Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. During his one season at Chivas USA, Bradley turned around a team with the worst record in the league in 2005, leading them into the playoffs as the third-place finisher in the Western Conference. Bradley has previously been on the U.S. National Team coaching staff as an assistant with the Under-23 Men’s National Team at the 1996 Olympics and also assisted at several winter training camps and games during Bruce Arena’s tenure as Manager of the U.S. MNT. With 124 career victories, Bradley is the winningest coach in the history of MLS, winning one MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cup titles with the Chicago Fire, including The Double in 1998 during the club’s inaugural season. During his 12-year MLS career as a head or an assistant coach, Bradley’s team’s qualified for the playoffs every year.

THE BREEDING GROUND OF SUCCESS: The roster lays claim to several players with success at the youth national team level. Justin Mapp, a U-17 Residency graduate and veteran of two World Youth Championships, started and played in all five matches with the U.S. U-20’s at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), scoring the game-winning goal against the Ivory Coast to help the squad advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Current MLS Cup champion Ricardo Clark has been a member of the U-20 and U-23 national teams, appearing on the USA’s 2003 World Youth Championship roster that reached the quarterfinals in the United Arab Emirates. Altogether, 10 players on the training camp roster have been a part of a FIFA World Championship roster with the United States at either the World Cup, Olympics, U-20 or U-17 level.

NOWAK NAMED ASSISTANT COACH: U.S. Soccer has named Peter Nowak the assistant coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team. The 42-year-old Nowak, who coached D.C. United to an MLS Cup title in 2004, is being reunited with U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley, having captained the Chicago Fire for five years from 1998-2002 while Bradley served as head coach. A former captain of the Polish national team, Nowak’s professional career spanned 23 years and five countries. Nowak began his career in Poland before heading to Turkey, Switzerland and Poland. In 1998, Bradley brought him to the expansion MLS club Chicago Fire, where he won the 1998 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup. For five years, Nowak patrolled the midfield for the Fire, being named to the MLS Best XI three times and leading the Fire to another Open Cup title in 2000. He was named head coach of D.C. United in 2004, where he led the team to a combined 42-27-25 regular season record, including winning the Supporters’ Shield for best regular season record in 2006 with a 15-7-10 record. In addition to his duties of helping prepare the U.S. team for Olympic qualifying for the 2008 Beijing games, Nowak will assist Bradley with the full national team, beginning Jan. 4 in Carson, Calif.

MORE HELPING HANDS: Bob Bradley has supplemented his coaching staff for this camp with two faces very familiar to him. Former U.S. international midfielder Mike Sorber has joined the group in Carson and will stay throughout the month. The current Saint Louis University assistant coach earned 68 caps for the USA, starting every game of the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Sorber played for Bradley in Chicago during their U.S. Open Cup winning season in 2000. Chivas USA goalkeeper coach Zak Abdel will train the goalkeepers, the ex-Egyptian national team goalkeeper having previously assisted Sigi Schmid with the U.S. U-20 MNT that participated in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland.

U-23 MNT GET TOGETHER: There will be no rest for the coaching staff as Bob Bradley and Peter Nowak put on their hats as coaches for the U-23 MNT when the group convenes for the first time this year on Feb. 10 in Carson, Calif. The team will train at The Home Depot Center for five days before departing for Japan and a two-match series highlighted by a match against the Japanese U-22 national team on Feb. 22. The roster for the trip will be released by the end of the week.

ON THE SCHEDULE IN ‘07: After the Mexico match, the USA will play preparation matches against Ecuador (tickets) on March 25 in Tampa and Guatemala (tickets) on March 28 in Frisco, Texas, in advance of two major championships this summer. The three-time champions will first try to defend their title against 11 other teams at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scheduled from June 6-24 in several cities across the United States. Just a few days later, the U.S. will participate in the 2007 Copa America, the regional championship of South America. The 12-team tournament will run from June 26 to July 15 in nine cities across Venezuela. For the United States, the appearance will mark their third entrance into CONMEBOL’s signature event.

THEY SAID IT:
"We all know that results are important, but at the same time this is the beginning of a four-year cycle and we need to take a look at some new faces and see if they will be able to help us down the road. The only way to get these players experience and evaluate them at the same time is to expose them to difficult competition and difficult environments to see how they perform."

- U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, on whether he is concerned about having an inexperienced roster against Mexico

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“It’s critical in this game that the veterans step up and make sure they put a stamp on the game early. Hopefully by doing that, the younger guys will feel less pressure to have to perform, to have to do something right away or to get involved. The more touches they get early, the better it is for them. Like I said, it’s important the veterans do a good job of getting the ball, moving the ball, and being fluid and not hiding behind players, and getting in on tackles. We need to make sure the young guys follow in our footsteps and be real leaders out there."

- U.S. midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, on the importance of veteran leadership in this game

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