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U.S. Soccer Wire: Mathis Scores Twice as MNT Falls to Germany 4-2 in Rostock


MATHIS SCORES TWICE AS U.S. MNT FALLS TO GERMANY 4-2 IN ROSTOCK:  The U.S. Men's National Team struck first, but they were eventually overpowered in the second half and fell to Germany 4-2 on Wednesday at Osteestadion in Rostock, Germany. After defeating Germany in the last two meetings by a combined score of 5-0, this loss drops the USA’s record to 2-4-0 all-time against the three-time World Cup champions and gives the U.S. a 6-2-1 record in 2002.   "I thought the key to the game was their physical strength,” said U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who lost for just the second time in 33 internationals in which his team scored first. “We could have defended better and at times shown more commitment.  They won a lot of the battles, and in the end they were the better team."  The U.S. got on the board first on a counterattack goal in the 17th minute. Forward Jovan Kirovski found fellow running mate Clint Mathis, who fired a shot that beat German goalkeeper Frank Rost but struck the inside of the far post. The ball then fell in the six-yard box, and Mathis finished his own rebound cleanly into an empty net. Germany evened the score at 1-1 just before halftime when captain Christian Ziege hit a well-placed free kick from 30 yards out that dipped just inside the right post and past a diving Kasey Keller. Germany picked up where it left off in the second half, attacking in waves and pouring in three goals over an eight-minute period. Mathis cut the U.S. deficit to two goals in the 71st minute on another counter-attack out of the German midfield.

U.S. MNT TRAIN IN DENVER AHEAD OF WEDNESDAY MATCH WITH MEXICO:  All 18 players that Bruce Arena selected for the April 3 match against border rivals Mexico have arrived in Denver, Colo., where the team trained indoors today due to extreme weather conditions.  Columbus Crew midfielder Brian West came down with an illness over the weekend, but has recovered and will be available for the match.  Kickoff at INVESCO Field is set for 8 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on Telemundo.  Fans can also follow the action live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. has posted a 6-0-1 record on home soil in 2002, surrendering only one goal in those seven matches.  With only an April 17 match against Ireland remaining prior to the roster selection for the FIFA World Cup, the match against Mexico holds an important place in the USA’s preparations for Korea this summer.  "As we move towards finalizing our roster for World Cup, this match is one of the last opportunities to evaluate players and at the same time continue to gauge the progress of our team,” said Arena.  The U.S. and Mexico are no strangers to one another, and own the most notorious rivalry in the region.  While Mexico holds a lifetime advantage of 8-28-9, the United States has won three of the last four meetings, including a 2-0 win in Columbus on February 28, 2001, that began the USA’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign.  Since 1990, the teams have met 18 times, precisely
splitting the games with a 6 wins, 6 losses and 6 ties each.
U.S. MNT Roster vs. Mexico – April 3, 2002
Goalkeeepers:  Tim Howard (Metrostars), Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards); Defenders:  Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire), Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen – Germany), Carlos Llamosa (New England Revolution), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Pope (D.C. United), Greg Vanney (Bastia – France); Midfielders:   DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Cobi Jones (L.A. Galaxy), Brian Maisonneuve (Columbus Crew), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Brian West (Columbus Crew); Forwards: Clint Mathis (MetroStars), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew), Ante Razov (Chicago Fire), Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire).

VANNEY, BASTIA THROUGH TO FRENCH CUP FINAL:  Greg Vanney played the entire match as Bastia’s posted a 1-0 extra-time win over FC Sedan in a French Cup semifinal on Saturday, advancing to the French Cup final.  Bastia’s Tony Vairelles scored the gamewinner in the 95th minute.  Bastia will now face Lorient in the French Cup final on May 11 at the Stade de France.  Lorient, who have also advanced to the French League Cup final, currently sit in last place in the French First Division after being promoted for the 2001-02 season.  Two Americans have already advanced to Cup finals in Europe this year, as Brad Friedel and Blackburn topped Kasey Keller and Tottenham in the Worthington Cup final in England earlier this season.

MATHIS ON A TEAR WITH AT LEAST ONE POINT IN EACH OF LAST SIX STARTS:  With two goals against Germany, Clint Mathis has now recorded a point in each of his last six starts for the United States, dating back to March of 2001.  The MetroStars forward has recorded six goals and two assists during the streak.  He also scored twice in a 4-0 win against Honduras on March 2, 2002.  Mathis' two two-goal performances mark the first time since Joe-Max Moore in 1993 that any U.S. player has tallied two multiple-goal games in a calendar year.  In Mathis’ six starts dating back to March 3, 2001, the U.S. has scored 11 goals, with Mathis scoring or assisting on eight of those.  The U.S. has posted a 4-2 record in Mathis’ streak of starts, with the only two losses coming to Brazil and Germany.  The scoring breakdown during Mathis’ streak:
Date          Opponent  Result    Mathis’ points
03/03/01   Brazil           1-2 L       1 goal
03/27/01   Honduras    2-1 W     1 goal
04/25/01   Costa Rica 1-0 W     1 assist
03/02/02   Honduras    4-0 W      2 goals
03/10/02   Ecuador      1-0 W     1 assist
03/27/02   Germany     2-4 L       2 goals

TICKET SALES SURPASS 32,000 FOR APRIL 3 U.S.-MEXICO FRIENDLY IN DENVER: The U.S. team plays their next three matches against teams that have qualified for the 2002 World Cup, starting with the Wednesday encounter with Mexico at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Over 32,000 tickets have been sold for the friendly. For tickets, call TicketMaster at 303-830-TIXS.

REYNA SCORES TWICE FOR SUNDERLAND:  Claudio Reyna led Sunderland to a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Monday, scoring twice in the first 18 minutes.  Reyna’s two goals upped his tally with Sunderland to three since coming over from Rangers, and those three goals put him third on the team’s scoring list this season.  Two minutes before the break, Reyna nearly completed a first-half hat trick, beating the Leicester ‘keeper with a dipping volley, only to see the goalpost keep it out of the net.  The win moved Sunderland into 14th place, six points clear of the relegation zone.

MNT EURO UPDATE:  Brad Friedel played all 90 minutes as Blackburn lost 2-1 at Leicester City on Saturday.  Blackburn face Southampton on Monday night and will move out of the relegation zone with a win or a draw. Kasey Keller made his first league appearance for Tottenham since January 1, playing the entire match in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Middlesborough on Saturday.  He got another start against Leeds today, saving Robbie Fowler twice early in the match to allow Tottenham to get out to an early 2-0 lead.  Tottenham hung on to win 2-1, with Keller coming up with big saves down the stretch to keep alive Tottenham’s faint hopes of claiming a spot in next season’s UEFA Cup.  Jovan Kirovski came on as a sub and played the final 34 minutes in Crystal Palace’s 2-1 loss to Norwich City on Saturday.  John Thorrington played all 90 minutes in Huddersfield’s 1-1 draw with Wrexham on Saturday.  Tony Sanneh played all 90 minutes in a 3-0 win over Vfl Wolfsburg, ending FC Nurnberg’s four-match losing streak.  The win puts Nurnberg four points out of the relegation zone with five games left.  Conor Casey continued his fine play for Hannover, starting and scoring in a 6-0 win over FC Schweinfurt on Sunday.  The goal was Casey’s fifth for Hannover and third in the last four games.  Steve Cherundolo also went 90 in an easy win for Hannover, who sit 10 points clear at the top of the table and have only lost once through 29 league games.

MEXICO ANNOUNCES ROSTER FOR MATCH vs. U.S.:  Mexico announced their roster for this Wednesday's friendly against the U.S., and it contained one startling name – Jorge Campos.  It is the first time Campos has been selected since Javier Aguirre took over as coach last June.  Campos’ last appearance with Mexico came in a 3-1 loss to Honduras on June 20, 2001. Defensive midfielder German Villa, another player who has fallen out of favour in the Aguirre era, was also recalled for the first time since last August.  Aguirre named only domestic-based players for the April 3 match.
Mexico MNT Roster vs. U.S. – April 3, 2002 in Denver, Colo.
GOALKEEPERS: Oscar Perez (Cruz Azul), Jorge Campos (UNAM); DEFENDERS:  Manuel Vidrio (Pachuca), Claudio Suarez (UNL), Heriberto Morales (Morelia), Melvin Brown (Cruz Azul), Alberto Rodriguez (Pachuca);  MIDFIELDERS:  Javier Saavedra (UNL), Ramon Morales (Guadalajara), Gabriel Caballero (Pachuca), Sigifredo Mercado (Atlas), German Villa (America), Alberto Garcia Aspe (Puebla), Johan Rodriguez (Santos Laguna); FORWARDS: Daniel Osorno (Atlas), Carlos Ochoa (UNL), Jesus Mendoza (America), Adolfo Bautista (UAG)

CONCACAF GOLD CUP TO BE MOVED TO SUMMER MONTHS BEGINNING IN 2003:  The CONCACAF Gold Cup, CONCACAF’s championship and signature national team event, will be moved to the summer months beginning in 2003.  The exact dates within the summer window in the FIFA standardized calendar are expected to be determined before the kick off of the 2002 World Cup.   “This is part of a continuing review of all Confederation competitions, so as to get the widest possible participation by, and benefit for, all our members – in terms of the competitions themselves, the hosting of competitions and the marketing and television opportunities,” said CONCACAF President Jack Warner.  The first two editions of the Gold Cup, in 1991 and 1993, were played during the summer months, before the final tournament was moved to the winter in 1996.  CONCACAF Gold Cup 2002 was played from January 18 -  February 2, with the USA defeating Costa Rica 2-0 in the final. 

                                                           
- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE -

U.S. UNDER-17s FALL TO PERU, FINISH 4thAT MONTAIGU TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team fell 3-1 to Peru in the third-place match at the at the 30th edition of the Mondial Minimes Montaigu Vendee in Montaigu, France today.  Eddie Gaven equalized in the 59th minute, but Peru scored twice in the final 16 minutes for the win.  The U.S. outshot Peru 8-6, but the Peruvian goalkeeper Carvalle came up with five saves to give the South Americans third place. The U.S. opened the tournament with impressive wins over Portugal and Tunisia, before falling in the semifinal to France on Saturday.  After tallying five goals in the first two matches, the U.S. was only able to muster one goal in the final two matches.  Guillermo Gonzalez and John DiRaimondo paced the U.S. attack, each tallying two goals and an assist.  The U.S. is now 4-4-0 in 2002 internationals.
Mondial Minimes Montaigu Vendee – Montaigue, France
Date         Opponent                    Result    U.S. Goalscorers  
March 26  Portugal                   3-0 W     Harrington, Gonzalez, DiRaimondo
March 27  Tunisia                     2-1 W     Gonzalez, DiRaimondo
March 30  France                     0-3 L         --
April 1      Peru (3rd Place Match) 1-3 L     Gaven 
                                                           

- AROUND THE SOCCER NATION -

THREE CUP FAVORITES FALL IN MLS WEEK TWO: Three MLS Cup favorites posted losses in a light MLS week 2.  Columbus surprised the MetroStars, 1-0, at Giants Stadium on Wednesday in front of 45,511 fans.  D.C. stormed to a win in their home opener on Saturday, topping the Chicago Fire 2-0 behind a brilliant free-kick goal from Marco Etcheverry.  On Saturday night, Colorado dropped defending MLS Cup Champion San Jose 1-0 in first men's professional soccer match played at INVESCO Field at Mile High, with offseason acquisition Mark Chung tallying the only goal.  No MLS team has yet won their first two matches this season, and only Los Angeles, which won their opener 2-1 in overtime against D.C., still has a chance to post consecutive wins to open the season.
MLS Week 2 Results / Goalscorers
Date          Result                                     Goalscorers

March 27   MetroStars 0, Columbus 1    CLB - Cunningham
March 30   D.C. 2, Chicago 0               D.C. - Etcheverry, Conteh
March 30   Colorado 1, San Jose 0        COL - Chung

PEPSI NAMED SPONSOR OF 2002 MLS DRIBBLE, PASS & SCORE COMPETITION:  Pepsi will become the new and exclusive national title sponsor of the MLS Dribble, Pass & Score program in 2002, the largest national grassroots soccer skills competition in the country. The official youth skills competition of MLS, Dribble, Pass & Score will see up to 160,000 players between the ages of 6 and 14 participate in a nationwide event that will culminate with the crowning of winners in different age groups at MLS Cup 2002 at CMGI Field in Foxboro, Mass. Since the program kicked off in 1998 as Dribble, Pass & Shoot, approximately a half-million kids have participated in the fun and free opportunity to test their soccer skills in the areas of dribbling, passing and scoring. In conjunction with Pepsi's involvement this season, the name of the program has been altered to Dribble, Pass & Score, which sends the proper message about the ultimate objective of the sport of soccer: scoring goals.

CASSAR JOINS BOLTON IN ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Jeff Cassar became the third American goalkeeper in England's Premier League when he signed with Bolton on Thursday for the rest of the season.  He has played in Major League Soccer with the Miami Fusion and Dallas Burn, as well as the U.S. Under-23 MNT.  U.S. national team goalkeepers Kasey Keller (Tottenham) and Brad Friedel (Blackburn) also play in the Premier League.  Cassar made the substitute’s bench in Bolton’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday and again on Monday against Everton.

WEDNESDAY OF WORLD CUP FRIENDLIES:  Wednesday was a busy day for many of the teams involved in the 2002 World Cup, and the menu of games was sure to satisfy even the hungriest of soccer fans.  A string of surprising results came out of the matches, including another draw for World Cup favorites Argentina - this time 2-2 with Cameroon.  Second-half sub Patrick Suffo scored in the 86th minute to equalize for Cameroon.  Ronaldo made an impressive return to international soccer, nearly scoring in a 1-0 win over Yugoslavia.  Italy scored a last-minute penalty to eke out a 2-1 win in England, while Spain were topped 1-0 by Holland, one of the top teams that won’t be playing in the Korea/Japan 2002.  Two of the USA’s first round opponents were shocked at home, with Portugal getting hammered by Finland 4-1 and Poland losing to Japan 2-0.  Following are results from some of the more intriguing match-ups on Wednesday:
Date     Match                              Location
03/27    Portugal  1    Finalnd 4  Oporto, Portugal
03/27    Brazil 1   Yugoslavia  0  Fortaleza, Brazil
03/27    Holland  1   Spain 0      Rotterdam
03/27    England 1 Italy 2         Leeds, England,
03/27    Ireland 3 Denmark 0     Dublin, Ireland
03/27    Romania 4 Ukraine 1     Constanta, Romania
03/27    Poland 0 Japan 2          Lodz, Poland
03/27    France 5 Scotland 0      Paris
03/27    Argentina 2 Cameroon 2 Geneva

OFC GETS DIRECT ENTRY TO 2004 OLYMPICS:  The Oceania Football Confederation has been granted direct entry to the Olympics in both the men and women's soccer tournaments. The Bureau of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Football Tournaments made this decision at a meeting in Zurich. The new ruling comes into effect at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. 
 

— A LOOK AHEAD —
A quick glance at U.S. National Team games taking place over the next two weeks:

Date        Match-up                                            Location
April 3      U.S. MNT vs. Mexico                     Denver, Colo.
April 12    U.S. Under-19 WNT v Jamaica         Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
April 12    U.S. Under-17 MNT v Stetson Univ.  Stetson, Fla.
April 14    U.S. Under-19 WNT v Canada          Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
April 14    U.S. Under-17 MNT v Clemson Univ.  Orlando, Fla.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMER:  Claudio Reyna scored twice for Sunderland today in a 2-1 win against Leicester City.  Only the goalpost kept Reyna from a first-half hat trick.  With three goals for Sunderland since moving from Rangers, Reyna is now third on the team’s scoring list this season.  The win was a crucial one for Sunderland, as it moved them six points clear of the relegation zone with five matches remaining.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP:  The U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico will revive the region’s most notorious rivalry on Wednesday, April 3 at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The match kicks off at 8 p.m. MT and will be televised live on Telemundo and the Futbol de Primera radio network.  Fans can also follow the action live on  ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER:  With the World Cup looming less than two months away, the U.S., Portugal and Poland all lost World Cup warm-ups on Wednesday.  Portugal’s 4-1 home defeat against Finland was the biggest surprise, as  Jari Litmanen scored on both sides of half-time to give Finland a comfortable win on the road.  The U.S. lost to a German team that played some of its finest soccer of the year, and Poland lost at home to Japan, 2-0.  South Korea, who has struggled to score in recent matches, was the only Group D team that did not play on Wednesday.

QUOTABLE: “I've seen Ziege do this in training all the time.  You can't cheat against him.  If you move a second early, he nails you to the other post.  You basically have to give him the upper corner.  And if he hits it, you shake his hand."
 - U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller about his Tottenham Hotspur teammate Christian Ziege, who scored against Keller with a free kick in Germany’s 4-2 win on March 27.


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