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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Men Fall to MLS All-Stars 3-2 in Soggy Contest in D.C.


RALSTON SCORES GAME WINNER AFTER DONOVAN AND JONES STRIKE FOR U.S. MNT: The U.S. Men’s National Team performed well under adverse conditions, but fell short 3-2 to the MLS All-Stars in the 2002 MLS All-Star Game this weekend at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.  After a shortened, scoreless first half marred by a severe weather delay, the midsummer showcase erupted in a five-goal outburst that saw the MLS All-Stars come back from a short-lived 1-0 deficit. D.C. United midfielder and Bolivian legend Marco Etcheverry was named the All-Star MVP, sparking an impressive showing that defied the stereotypes of "soft" All-Star exhibitions. Landon Donovan struck for the first goal of the match off a nifty Chris Henderson pass in the 58th minute, ending the longest stretch of scoreless play in MLS All-Star Game history. The U.S. celebration was short-lived, however, as the MLS All-Stars stormed back to score the equalizer a minute later when midfielder Chris Klein sent in a perfect cross from the right flank for Burn forward Jason Kreis to smack home. Just four minutes after Marco Etcheverry had put MLS ahead 2-1 in the 72nd minute on a cheeky short-range chip over U.S. goalkeeper Juergen Sommer on a breakaway, U.S. midfielder Cobi Jones slid at the far post to deftly finish a Brian McBride cross and tie the match at 2-2 in the 76th minute. New England midfielder Steve Ralston notched the game-winner in the 81st minute, slipping a sharp-angled shot past Sommer, his Revolution teammate.

U.S. MEN VISIT WHITE HOUSE IN CELEBRATION OF WORLD CUP SUCCESS: Members of the 2002 U.S. World Cup Team enjoyed a private visit with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office last Friday.  During the 20-minute meeting the President spoke of the pride he and the nation felt following the team in their run to the 2002 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals, and the congratulations that he received from international leaders. U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia presented the President with a U.S. Soccer vase, while head coach Bruce Arena presented him a U.S. Men's National Team jersey with #43 on the back. (Bush is the 43rd President of the United States of America.) [Note: Pictures of the team’s visit can be found under the Media World section of ussoccer.com.]

2002 U.S. OPEN CUP REACHES ELITE EIGHT, QUARTERFINAL ACTION BEGINS WEDNESDAY: The 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has reached its "Final Eight" and three of the four Quarterfinal games will take place on Wednesday (Aug. 7). In the marquee match-up, last year’s Open Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) will travel to take on the defending MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes in a match that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World (FSW) and Fox Sports World Español (FSWE) from Spartan Stadium at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET).  The Galaxy-Earthquakes match-up marks the third consecutive year that the two MLS rivals will be meeting in the Open Cup Quarterfinals.  L.A. has twice eliminated San Jose from the Open Cup, winning 10-9 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in 2001 and downing the 'Quakes 2-0 in 2000.  San Jose got a measure of revenge for those two defeats, though, by beating L.A. in overtime to claim the 2001 MLS Cup. In other Quarterfinal matches set for August 7, the MetroStars (MLS) will host the Columbus Crew (MLS) at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y., at 9:15 p.m. ET, while the Colorado Rapids (MLS) travel to meet the Dallas Burn (MLS) at the Cotton Bowl at 7:30 p.m. CT. Rounding out the Quarterfinals will be the MLS’ Kansas City Wizards visiting the last remaining A-League squad, the Milwaukee Rampage, at the Rampage Sports Complex in Franklin, Wis., on Saturday, August 24, at 7:30 p.m. CT.  The Rampage-Wizards match was originally slated for August 7, but was rescheduled for August 24, in order to accommodate the Wizards, who are currently in the 2002 Football Confederation (CONCACAF) Champions Cup Semifinals, scheduled to take place on Aug. 7 and 28.  FSW and FSWE will also broadcasts both Open Cup Semifinal matches, set for September 3 and 10, and the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on October 26 or 27.

– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. PLAYERS IN ACTION THIS WEEKEND AS GERMAN LEAGUES KICK OFF 2002-03 SEASON: A total of seven U.S. players, including five in the full U.S. Men’s National Team player pool, will kick off their 2002-03 seasons in Germany this weekend (Aug. 10-11). Fresh off a spectacular World Cup performance, defender Tony Sanneh will undoubtedly be more relied on at F.C. Nurnberg, who narrowly escaped relegation last season. F.C. Nurnberg kicks off versus VfL Bochum upon Saturday (Aug. 10). Defender Frankie Hejduk will be looking to get some more playing time at one of the top clubs in the Bundesliga when Bayer Leverkusen opens against Energie Cottbus. Defender Steve Cherundolo and forward Conor Casey, who helped Hannover 96 to promotion last season, will look to continue to have a prominent role at the club as they entertain their first Bundesliga action against Hamburger SV. In the German Second Division this season, defender Corey Gibbs is a likely second-year starter for F.C. St. Pauli, who opens against SpVgg Unteraching, while defender Philip Salyer will be looking to debut for Werder Bremen when they take on Armenia Bielefeld. In the Third Division, midfielder Joe Enochs has already played two matches for VfL Osnabruck, going a full 90 minutes in a 2-0 win over Dresdner SC and a 4-2 win over Dortmund.

– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. WNT TO MEET SCOTLAND FOR FIRST TIME EVER, SEPT. 8 IN COLUMBUS LIVE ON ESPN: After playing its last match against a country that the U.S. Women's National Team has faced more than any other nation (a resounding 4-0 victory over Norway on July 21), the U.S. Women will take the field next against a team it has never played before, facing Scotland on Sept. 8, 2002, at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match will  kickoff at 1 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN. Tickets went on sale on last week at all TicketMaster  locations in Ohio and the surrounding states and by phone at 614-431-3600. Tickets are also available at the Crew Stadium ticket office (open Monday  through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Complete ticket information is available online at ussoccer.com.  Ticket  prices are $18 (endline), $25 (sideline), $35 (midfield) and $45 (club  seats). For information on group rates, please call 312-528-1249.  The match against Scotland will be the first for the U.S. team after the WUSA season and all focus will be on preparing for the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, which takes place from Oct. 27-Nov. 9 and will serve as this region's qualifying tournament for the 2003 Women's World Cup in China.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. U-19s TO REGROUP THIS WEEKEND TO PREPARE FOR U-19 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Two weeks after U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Leone named the 18 players who will represent the USA at the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship in Canada from Aug. 17-Sept. 1, the team will regroup in Portland, Ore., this weekend (Aug. 9-11) for a training camp at the Nike World Headquarters before heading up to Victoria, B.C., to begin final preparations. Leone watched 57 players in game competition over the past two years and pared that number down to the 18 players who will make history by participating in the first-ever FIFA World Championship for youth women.  Leone chose 15 of the 18 players who helped the USA earn a berth in Canada at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Tobago in early May, adding defenders Keeley Dowling and Amy Steadman, both of whom missed the qualifying tournament with injuries, and forward Angie Wozuk, who made a late run to earn her roster spot. The USA's first match is also the first match of the tournament on Aug. 17 versus England at 1 p.m. PT at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C., followed by matches versus Australia (Aug. 19) and Chinese Taipei (Aug. 21). Below is the final U.S. U-19 WWC roster:
Goalkeepers (2): Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Megan Rivera (Miami, Fla.);
Defenders (5): Jessica Ballweg (Santa Clara), Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Keeley Dowling (Tennessee), Kendall Fletcher (North Carolina), Amy Steadman (North Carolina);
Midfielders (6): Lori Chalupny (North Carolina), Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Jill Oakes (UCLA), Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara), Annie Schefter (Notre Dame);
Forwards (5): Megan Kakadelas (Santa Clara), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (UNC), Kelly Wilson (Texas), Angela Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.).

U.S. UNDER-23s OPEN ENGLAND TOUR WITH TRIO OF WINS: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team opened their trip to Huddersfield, England, in a big way last week with three wins over professional reserve (U-21) clubs. The U-23s started the trip with a dominating 4-1 win over Bolton Wanderers reserves on Aug. 1 in which Wake Forest midfielder Brian Carroll provided book ends for the U.S. scoring, notching goals in the 38th and 76th minutes to seal the win. Carroll is now tied for the team lead in goals with three alongside Alecko Eskandarian, who scored versus Bolton and also notched a goal in the team’s second match, a 2-1 win over Huddersfield reserves on Aug. 3. Earlier today, the Under-23s put another 4-1 result on an English club, this time using goals from Testo, Buddle (who joins Carroll and Eskandarian with two goals for the trip), Jason Thompson and Logan Pause as part of a lopsided 26-6 shot advantage. The U-23s, who now have an overall record of 4-1-2 in 2002, will finish with perhaps their toughest opponent, the Manchester United reserves, on Wednesday (Aug. 7) to conclude the four-game, seven-day tour.

U.S. UNDER-20s FINISH U.S. AMATEUR SOCCER FESTIVAL WITH TIE AGAINST MEXICO: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team finished their participation in the U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival with hard-fought 0-0 draw with Mexico yesterday, giving them a 1-1-2 mark for the festival. Goalkeeper Steve Cronin recorded his fifth shutout of the year, giving the U-20s 11 shutouts in 24 matches in 2002 while allowing only 20 goals.  In the team’s other matches of the festival, they defeated the USASA East Region team on July 28 on goals from MLS youngsters Devin Barclay and Justin Mapp before drawing 0-0 with the USASA South Region team on July 30 before falling to Canada 2-1 on Aug. 2 despite a goal from Furman midfielder Ricardo Clark. The U-20s, who are 10-5-9 in overall matches and 1-2-2 in international play in 2002, used the tournament to prepare for their CONCACAF qualifying tournament in November.

UNDER-16 GIRLS FINISH SOCCER FESTIVAL WITH 3-3 TIE VERSUS MEXICO U-19s: Steve Swanson and his Under-16 Girls National Team wrapped up their play in the USASA Soccer Festival with a 3-3 draw against Mexico’s Under-19 Women’s National Team.  Christina Estrada, Megan Rapinoe and Jessica Rostedt scored in a 22-minute span of the second half to give the U.S. a 3-2 lead, but Mexico scored the equalizer in the game’s 86th minute. The U-16s finished the tournament with a 2-0-1 record and ran their unbeaten streak to seven games.  The Under-16s topped an older West Region squad on July 31, as Amy Berend and Rapinoe each scored, and opened the tournament with a 3-0 win on July 29.

UNDER-14 BOYS CAMP KICKS OFF TODAY IN CONCORD, MASS.:  The Under-14 Boys Developmental Team kicks off a week-long training camp today in Concord, Mass. A total of 120 kids have been selected from across the U.S. to take part in the training sessions.  The Under-14 program was started in August 1997 and gives the country’s top youths the chance to experience soccer at its highest level.  All four regions send players to the camp for a week, where they are watched and evaluated by U.S. Soccer’s National Staff Coaches.  Bobby Convey, Devin Barclay, Santino Quaranta and Ed Johnson are just four of the players to come through the U-14 program since 1997.

— AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD —

USOC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE SELECTS MANKAMYER AS PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The United States Olympic Committee Executive Committee selected Marty Mankamyer as the nominee for the presidency of the USOC last week. Mankamyer’s name will now be placed on a ballot and submitted to the USOC Board of Directors. If she achieves a majority vote of the Board, Mankamyer will be named USOC President for the remainder of the current quadrennial period, which ends late in 2004. Mankameyer, whose work with soccer at the national level dates back to the 1970s, was the first woman elected to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Executive Committee and was a leading figure in the push to include women’s soccer in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where she served as the soccer delegation supervisor.  She began her work in soccer at the national level by serving as a soccer volunteer at the 1978, 1979 and 1983 National Sports Festivals.  The native of Farmington, N.M., later served as the soccer liaison at the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina.

U.S. REFEREES SELECTED FOR 2002 CONCACAF WOMEN’S GOLD CUP: Three U.S. referees were among the 20 women referees -- 10 referees and 10 assistant referees – that were appointed for the 2002 Women's Gold Cup, which will be held in four cities on the West Coast of North America from Oct. 27 to Nov. 9. Sandra Hunt of Bellingham, Wash., and Kari Seitz of San Mateo, Calif., have been appointed as referees and Sharon Wheeler of Winter Park, Fla., will be the lone American assistant referee for the competition. Hunt began officiating in 1987 and became a FIFA Referee in 1999. Seitz began officiating in 1985 and also became a FIFA Referee in 1999. Wheeler began refereeing in 1991 and became a FIFA Assistant Referee in 2000. The 2002 Women’s Gold Cup will also serve as the CONCACAF qualifying for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be hosted by China.

WIZARDS TO FACE MORELIA IN FC CHAMPIONS CUP SEMIFINAL SERIES WEDNESDAY: The only remaining U.S. club -- the Kansas City Wizards (MLS) -- will travel to Mexico to face CA Monarcas Morelia in the first-leg of the Football Confederation (CONCACAF) Champions Cup semifinals set for Wednesday (Aug. 7).  The second leg will take place three weeks later (August 28) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The other semifinal series, pitting LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica and Pachuca CF of Mexico will also be played on August 7 and 28, Alajuelense hosting the first leg and Pachuca home for the return match.

MISL UNVEILS CONFERENCE ALIGNMENT, PLAYOFF STRUCTURE FOR 2002-03 SEASON: The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) announced that their 2002-03 season will feature eight teams divided into two four-team conferences. The MISL’s Eastern Conference will consist of the Baltimore Blast, Cleveland Crunch, Harrisburg Heat and the defending MISL Champion Philadelphia Kixx. The Western Conference will include the Dallas Sidekicks, Kansas City Comets, Milwaukee Wave and San Diego Sockers. The eight-team MISL will begin play on Sept. 28, with each team playing a 36-game schedule. The 2002-03 regular season will conclude on Mar. 23, with the post-season beginning the week of Mar. 24.  The MISL Playoffs will consist of six teams with the top three clubs from each conference advancing to the three-round post-season.  In the quarterfinal round, the second-place club from each conference will host the third-place club from the same conference in a one-game playoff. Each regular season conference champion will earn a bye to the semifinal round and will host the winner of the quarterfinal contest. The two winners of the one-game semifinal round will then advance to the 2002-03 MISL Championship Series where the team with the higher regular season winning percentage will host Game One and Game Three (if necessary).

Eastern Conference 
Baltimore Blast
Cleveland Crunch
Harrisburg Heat
Philadelphia Kixx

Western Conference
Dallas Sidekicks
Kansas City Comets
Milwaukee Wave
San Diego Sockers

PDL, W-LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS TO TAKE PLACE THIS WEEKEND: This weekend is a busy one for the United Soccer Leagues, with the champions of two leagues to be decided. The PDL Championship will feature the Boulder Rapids Reserve (11-3-4) visiting the Cape Cod Crusaders (12-4-2) at Alan Carson Field in South Yarmouth, Mass., on Saturday (Aug. 10). The game will be broadcast LIVE at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports World. The W-League Championship will feature the 2001 W-1 Champion Boston Renegades (11-1-0), 2001 W-2 Champion Charlotte Lady Eagles (12-2-0), W-1 Runners-up and host Vancouver Whitecaps (11-1-0) and Denver Lady Cougars (10-2-0). The tournament, to be held at Vancouver’s Swangard Stadium, opens Friday (Aug. 9) with semifinals between Boston-Denver at 4:30 p.m. PT and Vancouver-Charlotte at 7:30 p.m. PT. On Saturday (Aug. 10), the Third Place Match will kick off at 4:30 p.m. PT, with the Championship following at 7:30 p.m. PT. The championship match will be broadcast on tape delay at 5:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports World Sunday (Aug. 11).

SOCCER HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2002 INDUCTEES, WUSA MATCH ON OCT. 14: The National Soccer Hall of Fame, located in Oneonta, N.Y., announced last week that it will host a WUSA Hall of Fame Game between the Boston Breakers and the Philadelphia Charge on the At-A-Glance Field on the museum campus on October 14, 2002 at 2 p.m. ET. Tickets, which are priced at $15 for Day of the Game, $12 for Advance and just $10 for Group (20 or more purchased at one time), are on sale now at the National Soccer Hall of Fame by calling 607-432-3351,  ext. 203. The game is to coincide with the 2002 Induction Ceremony honoring three new Hall of Famers: NASL/Cosmos Great Vladislav “Bogie” Bogicevic, 1991 Women’s World Cup Champion Shannon Higgins-Cirvoski and former U.S. Men’s National Team Captain Adolph Bachmeier. Full details of all the 2002 Induction Weekend activities are available at www.soccerhall.org.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMER: D.C. United veteran playmaker Marco Etcheverry might have taken home the hardware for 2002 MLS All-Star Game MVP, but the game was won by the play of second-half subs Jason Kreis and Chris Klein. Kreis equalized on a superb cross from Klein in the 59th minute, then both players teamed to assist Ralston on the game winner in the 81st minute. Both players have had their chances with the U.S. Men’s National Team, but never found a permanent place on the squad. With a long, long road to Germany 2006, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see if those two are among the next batch called in for a U.S. international.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: It’s last year’s Open Cup champion versus last year’s MLS Cup champion as the Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) will travel north to take on San Jose Earthquakes in an Open Cup quarterfinal match that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Español from Spartan Stadium on Wednesday (August 7) at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET). The Galaxy-Earthquakes match-up marks the third consecutive year that the two MLS rivals will be meeting in the Open Cup Quarterfinals, with L.A. having eliminated San Jose in each of the last two tournaments.  But it was San Jose who got revenge for those two defeats at 2001 MLS Cup.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Never thought we’d see the day when 1) Paul Gasgoigne would be coming over to MLS and 2) MLS would politely decline to sign him. Even though he might’ve given the team and league his full attention and effort, the risk of him disappointing was too great for the league to offset what they may have gained from a publicity standpoint. With noteworthy past failures involving former international stars like German legend Lothar Matthaus and Scottish stalwart Richard Gough, it was most likely a good call by Ray Hudson and D.C. United to let Gazza go.

QUOTABLE:
“Marco is a good player; it's nothing new. I congratulate him for scoring a goal. I think the last one he scored was in 1968 when he was 20 years old.”
- U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, on the 32-year-old D.C. United captain, who’s known more for his crafty dribbling and assists than goals.


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