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MNT Training Camp Notes: U.S. Continues to Prepare for New Zealand

U.S. Men's National Team Training Camp Update
June 5, 2003
Fairfax, Virginia

GETTING READY: The U.S. MNT continued preparations for this weekend's contest against New Zealand, albeit with a change a venue.  Heavy rains, which have bogged down the D.C. Metropolitan area for the past three weeks, rendered the U.S. training field unplayable, forcing the squad to train on an artificial surface at a local college.  Having scheduled an 11 v. 11 intrasquad scrimmage but short on personnel, Arena called upon the services of U.S. U-23 international defender Oguchi Onyewu, who is spending his summer break at his family's home in Maryland.  The 60-minute contest ended 1-0, with Taylor Twellman credited with the game-winning goal.

23 DEEP: If history is any indication, each member of the 23-man unit traveling to France for the Confederations Cup will all most likely find their names in the first XI sometime during the event.  The U.S. team will play three matches in a five-day period, a schedule even more grueling than the three matches in seven days they played in the 1999 Confederations Cup in Mexico.  During group play in that tournament, in which the U.S. played New Zealand, Brazil, and Germany, all 20 players on the roster - including both goalkeepers - started at least one match.  

THE LONG(EST) ROAD BACK:  U.S. netminder Marcus Hahnemann has had what could fairly be described as a long layoff from national team duty.  The 6'3", 220 lb. native of Seattle made the last of his three appearances for the senior MNT in a 1-1 draw with Honduras on Dec. 11, 1994 - a span of eight years, five months, and 28 days before Sunday's kickoff against New Zealand.  Believe it or not, that is not the longest time between service for the national team.  According to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Massachusettes-native Joseph Michaels holds the record, playing against Mexico on Sept. 26, 1937, and next appearing July 20, 1947 against Cuba- a gap of nine years, nine months, and 24 days.  For the record, the U.S. did not play an international match between Sept. 26, 1937 and July 13, 1947, due to the country's participation in World War II. 

KIWIS STORM THE MARINERS: The New Zealand national team cruised to a 2-0 victory against the Virginia Beach Mariners on Tuesday evening at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.  D.C. United's Ryan Nelsen slotted home his own rebound in the 76th minute, then substitute Chris Killen doubled the lead two minutes later to secure the win.  The team returned to Marylandon Wednesday to continue training, and departs for Richmond after their final pre-match training session Saturday morning.   The Kiwi lineup against Virginia Beach:

4-3-3: Utting, (Paston, 45), Oughton, Zoricich (Hay, 71) Nelsen, Davis, Vicelich (Wilkinson, 85), de Gregorio (Wilson, 68), Burton (Smith, 82), Bouckenooghe (Mulligan, 64), Coveny, Smeltz (Killen, 60).

PLAYING TIME: With the ability to dress only 18 players in the Sunday (June 8) friendly against New Zealand and with many of the MLS-based Confederations Cup roster players scheduled to be on the road for most of June, Arena will release several players back to their MLS clubs this weekend for a slate of matches. "Our original plan was to have two international games this week, in order to give every player a chance to play," said Arena.  "This is an opportunity to give our guys as much playing time as possible."  The released players will begin departing after Thursday's training session, with the entire group expected to return to the D.C. area during the day Sunday.  Chicago Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley and D.C. United midfielder Bobby Convey will travel to Richmond on Saturday evening after their contest at RFK Stadium, and will suit up to face New Zealand.  The list of released players:

Bobby Convey (D.C. United), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (Columbus Crew), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Dan Califf (Los Angeles Galaxy), Tim Howard (MetroStars), Clint Mathis (MetroStars).

AU REVOIR:  After the New Zealand match, the U.S. team will make final preparations for its departure for the Confederations Cup.  The team returns to the D.C. area immediately following the match, and will train locally through Wednesday.  The squad departs for its home base in Lyon the evening of June 11 from Dulles International Airport.

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR JUNE 8 CLASH WITH NEW ZEALAND: Advance tickets for the USA vs. New Zealand contest, a doubleheader along with the A-League's Richmond Kickers vs. Atlanta Silverbacks, ranging in price from $18 to $40 can be purchased through all Richmond area Ticketmaster outlets (including Ukrop's Supermarket, Farm Fresh and Hecht's), by phone at 804-262-8100 (Richmond), 757-671-8100 (Virginia Beach), or 800-527-6384 (Northern Virginia), and on-line at  Information on group discounts can be obtained by calling 312-528-1290.

BRAZIL ANNOUNCES FULL SQUAD FOR CONFEDERATIONS CUP: Brazil national team head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has named the 23 players who will make up the roster for the Confederations Cup later this month.  Seven players from the 2002 World Cup championship side, including defenders Roque Junior and Lucio, and Paris St Germain midfielder Ronaldinho, headline the list.  The team will take part in a pre-tournament friendly on June 11 against Nigeria in Abuja before traveling to France.  Brazil is set to face the United States on June 21 at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, the site where exactly five years ago to the day that the U.S. lost 2-1 to Iran in the 1998 World Cup.  
Goalkeepers (3) - Dida (AC Milan), Fabio (Vasco da Gama), Julio Cesar (Flamengo)
Defenders (8) - Maurinho (Cruzeiro), Belletti (Villarreal), Kleber (Corinthians), Fabio Aurelio (Valencia), Edu Dracena (Cruzeiro), Juan (Bayer Leverkusen), Lucio (Bayer Leverkusen), Fabio Luciano (Corinthians)
Midfielders (8)- Eduardo Costa (Girondins Bordeaux), Emerson (Roma), Kleberson (Atletico Paranaense), Dudu Cearense (Vitoria), Ricardinho (Sao Paulo), Adriano (Atletico Paranaense), Alex (Cruzeiro), Ronaldinho (Paris St Germain)
Forwards (4) - Adriano (Parma), Luis Fabiano (Sao Paulo), Gil (Corinthians), Ilan (Atletico Paranaense)

THEY SAID IT: "When I first got to Fulham, they were going through a lot of changes, having come up to the First Division really quickly.  Guys were doing their own laundry from training.  I was like 'you've got to be kidding me.'  In MLS, although the pay might not be as good as some of the top places in Europe, you're treated like a professional.  Everything is done top notch."  --U.S. goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, describing his arrival in England after leaving the Colorado Rapids in 2000.  Read more of the interview with Hahnemann later this week on