SEOUL, KOREA (June 8, 2002) - The U.S. Men’s National Team trained for the final time at Misari Practice Stadium before Monday’s anticipated clash with Group D leaders Korea. The U.S. squad will travel tomorrow to Daegu, where they are scheduled to train at Daegu World Cup Stadium on Sunday night. At today’s practice, the team broke up into a full field, 11 v 11 scrimmage. The team played for 30 minutes, with assistant coach Dave Sarachan periodically stopping play to discuss certain situations. For the third straight practice U.S. captain Claudio Reyna trained the entire session and showed no ill effects of a quad injury that kept him out of the Portugal match. The session lasted a little under two hours, and included the normal warm-up, before they broke up for the scrimmage. The final 30 minutes of training was given to the players to work on whatever they desired. Landon Donovan and Dave Sarachan served crosses on one end for Brian McBride, while Gregg Berhalter, Jeff Agoos and Clint Mathis worked on free kicks on the other end. Donovan also stepped up to hit a few free kicks at the close of training. Mathis hit the last free kick of training, and it was the prettiest one of the day. Mathis’ moving right-footer could not have been any closer to the intersection of the crossbar and the post.
USA’S WIN BECOMES ESPN INSTANT CLASSIC, WILL RE-AIR ON JUNE 8: The USA’s historic 3-2 win over Portugal has been tagged as an “Instant Classic” and will be aired on ESPN Classic on June 8 at 9 p.m. ET.
JOE-MAX MOORE NEARING 100-CAP MARK: With his second-half appearance against Portugal, Joe-Max Moore earned his 99th career cap with the U.S. With his next appearance Moore will become just the sixth U.S. player to earn 100 caps. Already in that exlusive century club are: Cobi Jones, Marcelo Balboa, Jeff Agoos, Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda. U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola will become the first goalkeeper to join the 100 cap club when he makes his next appearance with the U.S.
BRANDI CHASTAIN BREAKS DOWN THE CUP: U.S. Women’s National Team star Brandi Chastain details how she watched the U.S. top Portugal and expresses some of her other thoughts about the World Cup as part of ussoccer.com’s “Breaking Down the Cup” series. In addition to Chastain, U.S. Soccer and World Cup referee Brian Hall , U.S. Under-17 MNT Head Coach John Ellinger and Under-23 goalkeeper D.J. Countess are all sharing their thoughts and opinions on the World Cup with fans at ussoccer.com.
FAMILY REUNION: U.S. coach Bruce Arena got a family visit this afternoon, one with local ties. After the USA's daily press briefing, Arena spent time with his niece and nephew and their family. The children of Arena's sister-in-law Judy Spellman and her husband Fred, Jason, 14, and Emma, 9, are Korean-born and were adopted as infants from Seoul’s Easter Social Welfare Society. The children are returning to Seoul for the first time. The kids were instant celebrities, attracting heavy interest from the local Korean media.
MCBRIDE SCORES, U.S. WINS: Brian McBride’s performance against Portugal was a major reason the U.S. scored three goals and recorded a win on Wednesday. McBride, who has now scored 19 goals in his National Team career, scored the USA’s third goal in the match and became the first U.S. player to score in consecutive World Cups. Amazingly, McBride’s 19 goals have come across 15 games, and the U.S. has posted a remarkable 13-1-1 record in games McBride has scored in. The lone loss came against Iran in France ’98, and the lone draw came against Colombia in the quarterfinals of the 2000 Gold Cup (Colombia advanced on penalty kicks).
MTV TO AIR MCBRIDE, JONES, DONOVAN PSAs: U.S. players Brian McBride, Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan each filmed a brief Public Service Announcement (PSA) for UNICEF during the “Nike Road to Korea”. The three U.S. players spoke on camera about the importance of HIV/AIDS and the charitable work being done worldwide by UNICEF. MTV has agreed to air the PSAs across five days in June (June 10, 14, 19, 29/30). The players will be part of a global PSA campaign that includes other soccer stars (including Maldini, Totti, Raul, Figo, Silvestre and Veron.) who have spoke on behalf of UNICEF.
OFFICIAL GREETING: Members of the U.S. delegation and their families attended a welcoming reception last night at the residence of Thomas C. Hubbard, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Led by USSF President Dr. Bob Contguglia, about 50 members of the delegation, including players, coaches and members of the executive staff attended the gathering, along with top military officials in the region and employees of the U.S. Embassy. World Cup fever was clearly evident amongst the U.S. nationals. Along with the dozens of requests for autographs during the evening, the Ambassador arranged for a small truck carrying a massive television screen to be displayed on the residential grounds so the crowd could watch the England v. Argentina match.
UNIVISION NUMBERS IMPRESSIVE THROUGH FIRST ROUND: While ESPN2 has seen record soccer ratings on its telecasts, Spanish language station Univision has also seen an incredible spike in its numbers. For its first 17 broadcasts (May 31-June 5), Univision averaged 627,000 households per match. Univision's highest ratings were for Mexico-Croatia (1.43 million) and Argentina-Nigeria (1.21 million).
TODAY’S GAMES: Brazil cruised to a 4-0 win over China, as Ronaldo and Rivaldo both scored in their second straight match. South Africa used a fourth-minute goal to post a 1-0 win over Slovenia, and Croatia surprised Italy, coming from behind for a 2-1 win. Complete match details can be found on ussoccer.com.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Yeah, whenever you play against arguably two of the best players in the world, and you hold them to a certain extent, you feel proud of yourself after the game but, at the same time, that's what you're supposed to do, that's your job. Yeah, they're great players, but when you step on the field, you believe you're a good player also. So, we welcome the challenge, and I think myself and Tony (Sanneh) and the whole defense and the whole team for that matter, stepped up to playing against such a major soccer power and it just kind of showed the world that, hey, we can play too."
--- U.S. defender Frankie Hejduk on holding his own against the likes of Figo and Conceicao against Portugal, and whether that gives him confidence looking forward to the rest of the tournament.
UPCOMING TV GAMES:
Saturday, June 8 - 1:00 p.m. ET - ABC - Argentina vs. England -Sapporo (Taped 6/7)
Saturday, June 8 - 9 p.m. ET.- ESPN Classic – U.S. vs. Portugal - Suwon
Sunday, June 9 - 2:25 a.m. ET - ESPN2 - Mexico vs. Ecuador - Miyagi
Sunday, June 9 - 4:55 a.m. ET - ESPN2 - Costa Rica vs. Turkey - Incheon
Sunday, June 9 - 7:25 a.m. ET - ESPN - Japan vs. Russia - Yokohama