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U-20 MNT Set to Face Haiti's Full Team, Live on ussoccer.com's MatchACCESS


U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Haiti
Pizza Hut Park; Frisco, Texas
March 28, 2007

PATH TO CANADA:
The match against Haiti’s senior national team will cap off a weeklong camp for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team. The team came together on March 22 in Frisco, Texas, for their first camp since qualifying for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada this past January. The players and staff will head home on Thursday, but the team is planning on coming back into camp a number of times as they continue to prepare for the World Cup. While dates and locations are not yet determined, expect the U-20s to hold a number of weeklong camps and play some international matches against fellow World Cup participants before coming together in Canada in the week leading up to their opening match of the tournament.

RONGEN MAKES IT 18: U-20 Head Coach Thomas Rongen invited in 16 players to start the camp here in Frisco, but added two more for the match against Haiti. Defender Blake Wagner and midfielder Dax McCarty, both from FC Dallas, joined the U-20s for their final practice on Tuesday at the stadium and will be available for the match against Haiti. Wagner and McCarty both trained with the U-20s leading up to the qualifying tournament in January, but did not make the final roster. They both join FC Dallas teammate Anthony Wallace, giving the U-20 team three players from the Texas club. A total of 11 players play in Major League Soccer, one plays professionally in Europe and five play collegiately.

Under-20 MNT Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Diego Restrepo (University of South Florida), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution), Quavas Kirk (L.A. Galaxy), Ross LaBauex (University of Virginia), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Blake Wagner (FC Dallas), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), Jalil Anibaba (Davis, Calif.), Tony Beltran (UCLA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (4): Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)

U-20s LIVE ON ussoccer.com’s MatchACCESS: The U.S. U-20 Men's National Team match against Haiti will kick off at 5:10 p.m. CT (6:10 p.m. ET) and ussoccer.com will broadcast the entire U-20 contest live via MatchACCESS. Fans can log on to ussoccer.com at 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET) to watch live streaming coverage of the match.

TOUGH DRAW FOR WORLD CUP: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team was drawn into Group D with Korea Republic, Poland and Brazil for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which will take place from June 30-July 22. This is the sixth straight appearance for the U.S. in the world championship and their 11th overall. The U.S. opens against Korea Republic on June 30, then faces Poland on July 3 and concludes group play on July 6 against four-time U-20 world champions Brazil. The U.S. will play Korea Republic and Poland at The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, before heading to Ottawa to face Brazil at Frank Clair Stadium (full schedule). Every U.S. match at the U-20 World Cup can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The 24-team field is divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams from each group and the top four (of six) third-place teams advancing to the Round of 16. The 52-match tournament will take place at six venues in Canada with games in Burnaby, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria. The U.S. will play all their group matches in Montreal and Ottawa on artificial turf.

FIFA U-20 World Cup Schedule – Group D
Date          Opponent                Location
June 30    Korea Republic     Montreal, Canada
July 3        Poland                     Montreal, Canada
July 6        Brazil                        Ottawa, Canada

RONGEN ON THE DRAW: "Anytime you go to a World Cup and you’re drawn with Brazil, it’s exciting,” said U.S. U-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen. “For us to go out and measure ourselves against the best in the world is what this Under-20 competition is all about. With Poland and South Korea complementing Brazil, we have a very interesting and tough group, but saying that, all 24 teams at this stage deserve to be there so there are no easy games.” [MORE RONGEN – LISTEN]

THE CAPTAIN ON THE DRAW: “I think we obviously have a hard group but I’m excited about this opportunity,” said U-20 captain Freddy Adu. “We are going to find out how good we are playing against these teams and if we play well enough to get out of the group we will be well prepared for the second round because all three games are going to be tough. Brazil always has one of the best teams in every age group and it’s a great opportunity for us to show we can play against the best in the world on the world stage. People are going to be watching and it is going to be a great atmosphere, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it.” [MORE PLAYER QUOTES]

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: This will be the second time Rongen has lead the U.S. Under-20s in a World Cup as he was also the head coach during the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates where he led the U.S. to an impressive run through the tournament. The U.S. won their group for the first time ever and reached the quarterfinals only to lose a heartbreaking overtime thriller to Argentina to finish in fifth place, their second-best showing ever.

PANAMA ROAD: The U.S. U-20s qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup with an undefeated performance in Panama in January. The U.S. defeated Haiti, 4-1, then drew, 0-0, with Guatemala before demolishing Panama, 5-0, to secure their spot atop the group.

U-20 Qualifying Results
Date        Opponent      Result     U.S. Goal Scorers
Jan. 17   Haiti                4-1 W      Akpan (3), Wallace
Jan. 19   Guatemala    0-0 T        --
Jan. 21   Panama         5-0 W      Adu (2), Rogers, Smith, Villanueva

U-20s MAKE HIGHEST LEVEL: Out of the 20 players on the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for their match against Guatemala, 13 were members of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team. Kasey Keller, the most veteran player on the team with 96 caps, was part of the 1989 U-20 MNT that advanced to the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia. The team lost to Brazil in the semis, but ended up in fourth place for the best showing in a U-20 FIFA World Cup. Steve Cherundolo and Taylor Twellman were part of the 1999 U-20 World Cup team that advanced to the second round, but fell to Spain, 3-2, and finished in 11th place. DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan led the U-20s two years later in 2001 in Argentina, getting the team out of group play before falling, 2-0, to Egypt to finish in 13th place. Clint Dempsey, Justin Mapp and Eddie Johnson were part of Rongen’s ’03 team in UAE that had a fantastic run to the quarterfinals and eventually finished in fifth place. Jonathan Spector and Benny Feilhaber were two of the top players for the last U-20 World Cup, helping the team win the group before losing to Italy, 3-1, in the Round of 16. Heath Pearce and Frank Simek have both been in with the U-20s, but were not members of a World Cup roster, while Michael Bradley is a part of the U-20s right now and will be a starter for their team in Canada.

QUICK HITS:

• Since 2006, this group of U.S. U-20s holds a 6-4-3 record in international play. So far in 2007, the U.S. is undefeated at 2-0-1 as all three games came during qualifying in Panama
• Of the 18 players on the U.S. roster, Jalil Anibaba, Ross LaBauex, Gabriel Ferrari and Diego Restrepo are in for the first time with the Under-20s and none of them have an international appearance for the U-20s
• Ferrari is the only player on the roster that is playing professionally in Europe. The forward is with Sampdoria in Italy’s Serie A.
• Along with the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama all qualified from CONCACAF for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. With Canada as host, CONCACAF has five teams in the tournament
• The U.S. defeated Southern Methodist University earlier this week, 3-2, getting two goals from Ferrari and the game-winner from Adu in the 90th minute

- 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup -

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