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U.S. Men Prepare to Face El Salvador on Sunday in Gold Cup Quarterfinal


PASADENA, Calif. (Saturday, January 26, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team is currently training in Pasadena, California in preparation for the quarterfinals of  the 2002 Gold Cup being staged from Jan. 18 to Feb. 2 in Miami and Pasadena, Calif.  The U.S. will play El Salvador in the quarterfinal match Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Rose Bowl at 2:30 p.m. PT.  Fans collow the match live via the U.S. Soccer/Philips MatchTracker on ussoccer.com.

PREVIEW:  The U.S. enters the match as winners of Group B, holding a 2-0-0 record and extended its unbeaten run in Gold Cup group play to 14 matches.  Bruce Arena's side continues to take shape, now in its fourth week of training.  Despite lacking sharpness in the finishing department, the team scored three goals in two matches, second-most in the group phase.  Led by the presence of Kasey Keller, the defense has solidified after a shaky start against Korea.  Landon Donovan, the Chevrolet Man of the Match in the 2-1 victory against Korea, remains a question mark for the quarterfinal after suffering a calf injury in the first half against Cuba. El Salvador has reached the quarterfinal phase for the first time in the team's history on the strength of compact and tenacious defense.  Technical Director Humberto Recinos has employed a 3-5-1-1 formation for the Central Americans, with San Jose Earthquake-based forward Ronald Cerritos serving as the lone point of attack.  El Salvador advanced to the knockout phase with a surprising 1-0 victory against favored Guatemala. The USA and El Salvador play the second quarterfinal of the day, with Mexico meeting Korea in the first match at 12 p.m. PT.

VS. EL SALVADOR:  The United States holds a 7-1-4 lifetime record against El Salvador, posting five shutouts ...  The teams have only one previous meeting in Gold Cup play, the USA winning 2-0 on January 16, 1996 in Anaheim, Calif. ...   U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola earned two shutouts against El Salvador during the 1990 World Cup qualifying campaign ... Both Jeff Agoos and Cobi Jones have appeared in the last six meetings against El Salvador dating back to 1993 ... The teams last meeting came Nov. 16, 1997 in the final match of qualifying for the 1998 World Cup, as Brian McBride netted two goals in the USA's 4-2 win in Foxboro ... Current USMNT assistant coach Glenn Myernick appeared in the first meeting between the two countries in San Salvador on September 15, 1977, a 2-1 win for the U.S.

IN THE KNOCKOUT PHASE: The U.S. has enjoyed qualified success in the later stages of the Gold Cup, winning the tournament once and reaching the final on two other occasions.  The USA captured the inaugural tournament in 1991, defeating Honduras in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw in regulation.  In 1993, the team reached the finals once again, this time falling to Mexico 4-0 at a sold-out Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.  The U.S. would return to the finals in 1998, the tournament highlighted by the 1-0 victory against Brazil in the semifinals, avenging a loss in the same stage of the tournament two years earlier.  Kasey Keller had the performance of his career, of which Romario would later describe as the greatest performance of a goalkeeper he had ever seen.  In the 2000 event, former American international Eric Wynalda became the second-leading scorer in tournament history, scoring his ninth goal of his Gold Cup career against Cuba.  The U.S. fell in the quarterfinal round to Colombia in penalties after a 2-2 draw in regulation.

ETC:  The team conducted a brief one-hour training session today ... In the fourth round of the FA Cup, Brad Friedel led Blackburn to a 1-0 win against Millwall ... Joe-Max Moore came on at the half as Everton eased past Leyton Orient 4-1 ... Holland and Germany resumed league play after their winter breaks ... Earnie Stewart and NAC Breda fell 3-1 away to PSV Eindhoven, while Tony Sanneh went 90 minutes as FC Nurnberg lost 2-0 to Freiburg.

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