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U.S. Soccer Wire: Columbus Downs K.C. 3-2 in Overtime in U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, Advance to Host Defending Champion L.A. in Final on October 24, Live on Fox Sports World


CREW COMES BACK FROM TWO GOALS DOWN TO DEFEAT WIZARDS 3-2 IN 118TH MINUTE: The Columbus Crew advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in dramatic fashion on Sept. 10  at Crew Stadium, coming back from a two-goal deficit midway through the second half to defeat the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 in overtime in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Second-half substitute John Wilmar Perez scored the game-tying goal two minutes into second-half stoppage time, then banged in the winner 18 minutes into overtime. With the win, Columbus advances to its second U.S. Open Cup Final in team history.  The Crew will host the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m., in a match that will be televised live on FOX Sports World and FOX Sports Espanol. The Crew lost in sudden-death overtime, 2-1, to Chicago in the 1998 Final at Soldier Field.

U.S. WNT STARS FILL ROSTERS FOR 2002 WUSA ALL-STAR GAME IN PORTLAND ON SAT.: Of the 33 players selected to compete in the 2002 WUSA All-Star Game on Saturday (Sept. 21) in Portland, Ore. (live at 4 p.m. ET on the PAX Network), 19 have earned at least one cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team, making the match a showcase for the present, past and future of women’s soccer in the USA. In addition to the U.S.-heavy squads, the first ever WUSA All-Star Game will have a World Cup flavor, as 13 of the 22 starters competed at the historic Women's World Cup in 1999, including Brazil’s Sissi and Katia (both of San Jose), Norway’s Hege Riise, Germany’s Birgit Prinz and Japan’s Homare Sawa. Washington's Mia Hamm, San Diego's Julie Foudy and 2002 WUSA Defensive Player of the Year Danielle Slaton of the Carolina Courage are expected to lead the South squad, while San Jose's Brandi Chastain, New York's Tiffeny Milbrett and 2002 WUSA MVP and Offensive Player of the Year Marinette Pichon of the Philadelphia Charge lead the North squad. Carolina and Philadelphia each placed five players on the starting lineups, while San Jose has four. Fans, WUSA players, coaches and general managers, and a media panel selected the All-Star starting lineups. Carolina head coach Marcia McDermott and Philadelphia head coach Mark Krikorian will serve as the head coaches of the two WUSA All-Star teams.

North All-Stars
Goalkeepers (2): Melissa Moore* (Philadelphia), LaKeysia Beene (San Jose);
Defenders (5): Jenny Benson* (Philadelphia), Brandi Chastain* (San Jose), Jennifer Tietjen* (Philadelphia), Kate Sobrero (Boston), Erica Iverson (Philadelphia):
Midfielders (5): Lorrie Fair* (Philadelphia), Kristine Lilly* (Boston), Sissi* (San Jose), Tisha Venturini-Hoch* (San Jose), Angela Hucles (Boston);
Forwards (4): Katia* (San Jose), Tiffeny Milbrett* (New York), Marinette Pinchon* (Philadelphia), Maren Meinert (Boston).

South All-Stars
Goalkeepers (2): Kristin Luckenbill* (Carolina), Briana Scurry (Atlanta);
Defenders (5): Danielle Slaton* (Carolina), Jennifer Grubb* (Washington), Joy Fawcett* (San Diego), Nel Fettig (Carolina), Carrie Moore (Washington);
Midfielders (5): Hege Riise* (Carolina), Tiffany Roberts* (Carolina), Homare Sawa* (Atlanta), Julie Foudy* (San Diego), Kylie Bivens (Atlanta);
Forwards (5): Mia Hamm* (Washington), Birgit Prinz* (Carolina), Abby Wambach*
(Washington), Charmaine Hooper (Canada), Shannon MacMillan (San Diego).
 
ARENA TO MAKE APPEARANCE ON CAPITOL HILL THIS WEEK: U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday (Sept. 18) as the guest of honor at a reception hosted by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and members of the Congressional Soccer Caucus. Leading the Soccer Caucus delegation hosting Arena will be Rep. Jim Walsh of New York. Members of Congress and their staffs have been invited to the event at the Rayburn House Office building to celebrate the teams' performance in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. Arena, who holds a career international record of 31-16-15, is the all-time winningest coach in U.S. Men’s National Team history and led the U.S. World Cup Team to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals.

– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. WNT TO FACE AUSTRALIA, ITALY & RUSSIA IN 2002 NIKE U.S. WOMEN’S CUP IN OCT.: The 2002 edition of the Nike U.S. Women’s Cup, the most prestigious women’s event conducted by U.S. Soccer, and one of the most respected women’s tournaments in the world, kicks off in less than two weeks. The four-team, six-game competition will feature the U.S. Women’s National Team, as well as Australia, Italy and Russia. In the tournament’s opening match, the U.S. will take on Russia at the Mitchel Athletic Complex on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. ET (TV broadcast to be determined). Tickets for the tournament opener, which is presented by Philips Electronics, range in price levels from $22 to $55 and are available now at 12 noon ET at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the area (including The Wiz, Compact Disc World, Tower Records, HMV Record Stores and Filene’s) or by calling 631-888-9000 (Long Island) or 212-307-7171 (New York City). Groups of 20 or more can call the New York Power at 1-866-769-7849. From there, the tournament heads south to North Carolina, where the U.S. Women’s National Team will play two games as part of doubleheaders at the recently opened SAS Park in Cary, N.C.  The U.S. Women will take on Australia on Wednesday, Oct. 2 (presented by Avaya) at 7:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2, and finish the tourney against Italy on Saturday, Oct. 6 (presented by Chevrolet) at 2 p.m. ET live on ESPN2. Tickets for the N.C. doubleheaders, which range in price from $18 to $55, are now available at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Carolinas (including Kroger, Hecht's and FYE), by calling 919-834-4000 or going on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.  For groups of 20 or more, call 312-528-1249.

U.S. WNT AWAITS 2002 CONCACAF WOMEN’S GOLD CUP TO QUALIFY FOR CHINA 2003: The U.S. Women’s National Team’s road to the 2003 Women’s World Cup in China took its final shape last month with Trinidad & Tobago becoming the final team to qualify for the USA’s four-team group at the upcoming 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup. The tournament, which is serving as both the women’s championship of this region and as the qualifying tournament for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, is being played from Oct. 27 to Nov. 9 in the Los Angeles area, Seattle and Victoria, B.C. The two finalists at the 2002 Women’s Gold Cup will automatically qualify for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, while the winner of the tournament’s third-place game will qualify for a Women’s World Cup qualifying playoff against the third place team from Asia. The eight-team tournament, which features two groups of four teams each, will see the U.S. face Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico and Panama.  The U.S. will open the tournament on Sunday, Oct. 27 against Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, before taking on Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif.  The USA’s third group match will be played on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Safeco Field in Seattle against Panama. Should the U.S. qualify for the semifinals, the team will stay in Seattle, as both semifinals will be played as a doubleheader at Safeco Field on Wednesday, Nov. 6.  Those semifinal matches will decide the two automatic CONCACAF berths at the 2003 Women’s World Cup, which is being played in China from Sept. 24 to Oct. 11, 2003.  The tournament’s championship and third-place games will be played on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Pasadena, Calif., at the Rose Bowl.  All of the tournament matches are being played as doubleheaders and will be televised live on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Espanol. In the other four-team qualifying group, Canada will play host to Costa Rica, Jamaica and Haiti in Victoria.  Both Jamaica and Haiti were the final teams to qualify for the Women's Gold Cup last week.

– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

EUROPEAN LEAGUES BACK IN ACTION THIS WEEK AFTER INTERNATIONAL DATE: Kasey Keller and Tottenham twice surrendered the lead before finishing with a 3-2 win against West Ham, moving the north London side into second place in England's top flight.   Brad Friedel's fortunes were not so promising, Blackburn failing to hold a two-goal lead for the second week in a row, this time settling for a 2-2 draw with Manchester City. Rovers are now winless in their last four matches. Claudio Reyna's club continued its early season woes, dropping their second straight 3-0 loss, this time at the hands of Fulham.  Reyna has logged every minute of every match so far this season, earning Player of the Month honors at Sunderland. In the English First Division, Eddie Lewis started his second straight match since joining Preston North End from Fulham. PNE drew 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday, remaining unbeaten in league and cup play this season.  In Germany, Tony Sanneh started and finished his fifth straight league match of the season, with FC Nurnberg falling 2-1 at the hands of league-leaders Bayern Munich.  Nurnberg are now second from the bottom in the Bundesliga table.  Just one slot above is Hannover 96, who pulled off a shocking 3-1 away win against 2002 UEFA Champions League runner-up Bayer Leverkusen.  Defender Steve Cherundolo went the distance in the victory.  Gregg Berhalter suited up again for his new club, but Energie Cottbus suffered its third shutout loss of the season in falling 1-0 to Werder Bremen.  In Holland, John O'Brien remains a fixture in the Ajax backline, the defending Dutch champions maintaining their perfect record with a 2-0 win against FC Zwolle.  Despite four straight victories, Ajax are in second place behind PSV Eindhoven, who have not surrendered a single goal in the young season.  NAC Breda notched their first win of the 2002-03 campaign, Earnie Stewart appearing as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 victory away to Heerenveen.  In France, Greg Vanney saw his first minutes of the season for FC Bastia, going the distance in their 2-0 home loss to Ajaccio. With only two wins in seven matches, Bastia currently hold 15th place in the table.  And in Switzerland, Frankie Hejduk turned in another tireless effort for his new side, but FC St.Gallen lost for the third straight match, this time a 2-1 loss away to FC Zurich.

SANNEH APPEARS ON COVER OF SEPT. ISSUE OF NORTHWEST AIRLINES MAGAZINE: U.S. defender Tony Sanneh appears on the cover of the September issue of World Traveller, the Northwest Airlines in-flight magazine. The 31-year old from St. Paul, Minn., earned international acclaim for his performance during the USA's stunning quarterfinal run in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  "Big Cat", who started his career in the A-League with the Minnesota Thunder and Milwaukee Rampage, has made 37 appearances for the United States since 1998.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. U-17s ADVANCE TO TOURNEY FINAL IN ITALY, BUT FALL TO URUGUAY 2-0: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team put together three solid performances to win Group A and advance to the tournament final of the FISF (Football International Solidarity Foundation) tournament in Italy last week, but fell 2-0 to Group B champion Uruguay today to finish second.  The U.S. opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over England, then played to a scoreless draw with Russia and secured a spot in the final with a 2-1 win over Yugoslavia on Sunday.  U.S. midfielder Guillermo Gonzalez scored in each of the USA's wins.  U.S. goalkeeper Phil Marfuggi earned a shutout in the draw with Russia, and made a critical save on a penalty kick in the second half of the match.  The tournament is being staged to commemorate the victims of Sept. 11 by the FISF.  In addition to Uruguay, the tournament also included European powers Czech Republic, Ireland and Italy in Group B.

EL SALVADOR ADVANCES TO U-20 QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT IN CHARLESTON, S.C.:  El Salvador finished the Under-20 Central American qualifying tournament with a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, but still finished second and advanced to the CONCACAF Under-20 Group B qualifying tournament that will be held in Charleston, S.C., from Nov. 13-17, 2002. The loss to Costa Rica was the team’s first of the tournament. Guatemala drew with Nicaragua on the final day to win the Central American title and advance to the Group A tournament in Panama from Oct. 16-20, 2002.

U-17 FULL-TIME RESIDENCY PROGRAM EXPANDED TO 30 PLAYERS AT IMG ACADEMY: U.S. Soccer has increased the number of players in their Under-17 Full-Time Residency Program to 30 players, all of whom began the fall semester last week at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.  An additional 10 spaces in the residency program were added for the fall semester, as U.S. Soccer continues to increase its player development opportunities in this country. The 30 U.S. players have been placed in a setting where they attend classes at nearby Edison Academy and then return to the IMG campus to train daily under the guidance of U.S. Under-17 head coach John Ellinger and assistant coach John Hackworth.  On the weekends, the team usually participates in a mixture of games and training sessions. Fourteen of the 30 players are beginning their first semester in the full-time program and nine are beginning their third semester after joining the full-time residency program in Sept. 2001.

— AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —

FINAL MLS PLAYOFF SPOTS TO BE FINALIZED AS REGULAR SEASON ENDS THIS WEEKEND: With the 2002 MLS season down to the last five games of its 140-game schedule, three of the eight playoff spots are still to be determined this weekend. Last weekend, Columbus became the first Eastern Conference team and fifth overall team to secure a post-season spot with a 2-0 home win over Chicago, who lost their fourth consecutive match and look to be on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in the team’s five-year history. D.C. United came up big with a 2-1 win over the MetroStars and the New England Revolution edged Dallas 2-1 as both team kept their post-season hopes alive. The MetroStars and the Kansas City Wizards, who fell 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids in a disappointing home loss, both fell short of securing a playoff spot and need difficult road wins this weekend to advance to the post-season. 
 
A-LEAGUE PLAYOFFS DOWN TO CONFERENCE FINALS: The 2002 A-League post-season is down to just four teams who advanced out of the conference semi-finals last weekend. In the Eastern Conference, the Rochester Raging Rhinos snuck by the rival Montreal Impact on an aggregate of 1:0, needing a 1-0 win at Frontier Field to advance. The Richmond Kickers fell to the Charleston Battery 1-2 at Blackbaud Stadium, but they rebounded with a 3-1 home win that gave them a 4:3 aggregate score. The Rhinos and Kickers will now meet this weekend in a home-and-home series that will make up the Eastern Conference Finals. In the Western Conference, the Milwaukee Rampage also used home-field advantage to post a 2-1 win and a 2:1 aggregate score to advance to the conference finals, where they will meet the Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend. The Whitecaps posted a 2-0 road win and a 6-2 home victory to defeat regional rival Seattle Sounders by an impressive 8:2 aggregate.

MEDIA ACCREDITATION FORM FOR 2002 WOMEN’S GOLD CUP NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE: Applications for media accreditation for the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup are now being accepted. The entire accreditation process will be handled online. Simply visit the Football Confederation website at www.footballconfederation.com and click on the button for media accreditation application on the right-hand side. Deadline for application is Oct. 18. NO CREDENTIAL APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE DEADLINE. For the 2002 FC Women’s Gold Cup, in the light of heightened security measures throughout the USA, all journalists  must have accreditation with photos. Accreditation centers will be established at each venue, in Pasadena and Fullerton, Calif., Seattle, Wash., and Victoria, B.C., Canada. Media members are strongly advised to secure their credentials, once approved, prior to the actual beginning of the  event. All approved media applicants will receive, by return e-mail, details on the location and opening hours of the accreditation centers.

SOCCER HALL OF FAME TO HOST 2002 INDUCTION BANQUET, WUSA GAME ON OCT. 13-14:  The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced further plans for its 2002 Induction Ceremony, which will take place on Oct. 13-14 in Oneonta, N.Y. As part of the weekend's activities, the WUSA’s Philadelphia Charge and Boston Breakers will meet in a special exhibition at At-A-Glace Field on Monday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. ET. Breakers and Charge players, along with other soccer professionals, will also be attending a special banquet on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 13, to honor 2002 Soccer Hall of Fame inductees Vladislav "Bogie" Bogicevic, Shannon Higgins-Cirovski and Veteran's Committee Selection Adolph Bachmeier at Ianelli’s Restaurant in Oneonta. The restaurant is reserved for the occasion, so fans should buy a ticket soon.  A ticket price of $75 per person includes admission to the banquet, the Oct. 14 Hall of Game and the National Soccer Museum. To order tickets for the banquet or the match, call 607-432-3351 (ext. 203). Advance tickets for the match are $12 ($15 at the gate), while the group rate is $10 (for 10 or more tickets). A special team clinic package, which features a one-hour clinic on Oct. 13 and includes 25 game tickets, is available for $400.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMER: Following in the footsteps of standout midfielder/forwards on the past two classes of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, Guillermo Gonzalez has been one of the best performers for the current class of teenagers in residence in Bradenton. Gonzalez helped the U.S. U-17s reach the final of the FISF Tournament in Italy with a goal in both of the team’s wins. Gonzalez leads the team in scoring with eight goals and three assists in 16 career U-17 matches and will be counted on heavily next year as the U-17s get ready for the 2003 U-17 World Championship.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: It’s hard to single out one match of the final week of MLS action, because they all have playoff implications. With five teams vying for the final three spots, even a team like D.C. United has a chance to sneak into the post-season at the last minute. But while the normally playoff-bound Fire team is fighting for its playoff life and both the MetroStars and Wizards are now faced with tough road matches, the most anticipated game of the weekend is the San Jose-L.A. clash. These two teams have developed quite a rivalry over the past two seasons, and they will be fighting for the regular season championship on Saturday (Sept. 21). The defending Open Cup champs have defeated the defending MLS champs three out of four times this season, including the 2002 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals and last week’s 1-0 overtime win, but San Jose has a chance to make up for it with a win that would earn back the best record in the league, win the Western Conference and grant home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

QUOTABLE: 
“A goal is a goal."
- U.S. MNT and Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones, after assisting on Carlos Ruiz’s 94th minute overtime goal that gave L.A. a 1-0 win over San Jose. Quakes players insisted he was offside, but the goal stood and gave the Galaxy a chance to win the regular season title with a tie against the Quakes this weekend.

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