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U.S. MNT Take on Panama in World Cup Qualifying on Wednesday

Pre-Game Notes
June 7, 2005

AFTER SALT LAKE SUCCESS, U.S. LOOKS TO TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS IN PANAMA CITY: After a sparkling performance against Costa Rica, it’s a quick turn-around time for the USA with a return to Estadio Rommel Fernandez and memories of a point well taken.  Standout efforts from Man of the Match Kasey Keller and Landon Donovan against Costa Rica on Saturday lifted the U.S. well above the pack, and three points Wednesday would go a long way towards securing a place in Germany ’06. Bruce Arena can deploy a similar complement if he chooses, with speedy midfielder DaMarcus Beasley finding his form after a month-long recovery. The Panamanians’ hopes of qualifying for the World Cup are at DefCon1, and a victory over the U.S. is nothing short of essential. Panama coach Jose Hernandez employs a potent threat in Roberto Brown, a tank of a striker who already has six goals to his credit in this qualifying campaign. The teams’ last meeting in Panama City was a water-logged affair, and all weather forecasts suggest similar conditions for this contest. The Panamians will flinch with the memory of a missed opportunity in the previous go around, as Cobi Jones splashed through the box in stoppage time to salvage a point for the USA (watch the video here). Now nine months later, Panama can ill-afford another slip up.  Meantime, the U.S. team enters riding the confidence of a well-crafted win in Salt Lake and the comfort of knowing that three points would be cool but not crucial in their goal of going to Germany.


Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. CT in Panama
Television:  ESPN2, delayed at 1 a.m. ET
                   Telemundo, delayed at 11:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 p.m. CT / 11:30 p.m. PT
Referee:             Mauricio Navarro (CAN)
1st Asst:              Simon Fearn (CAN)
2nd Asst:             Zoran Kristo (CAN)
Fourth Official:    Silviu Petrescu (CAN)
Uniform colors:   USA (white/white/white)
                              Panama: (red/red/red)

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  • The U.S. team traveled by charter to Panama on Monday, making a refueling stop in Cancun before touching down in Panama City at 10:30 p.m. local time. FC Dallas defender Greg Vanney rejoined the team Sunday after playing in his side’s 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake on Saturday
  • FC Dallas forward Eddie Johnson (turf toe) and Feyenoord defender Cory Gibbs (left knee contusion) were released from the squad Sunday in order to continue rehabilitation
  • Oguchi Onyewu continues to recover from a sprained LCL and is expected to be available for selection for Wednesday night’s match. No other injuries have been reported
  • Seven players on the roster are carrying cautions into Saturday’s match: Gregg Berhalter, Conor Casey, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Frankie Hejduk, Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Pope. The next caution for any of these players will result in a one–match suspension in qualifying
  • The U.S. holds an unbeaten 2-0-1 lifetime record against Panama, with nine goals scored and only two surrendered. The three games against Panama are the fewest that the U.S. has played against any of their opponents in the final round hexagonal
  • In their last meeting, Eddie Johnson exploded off the bench to record the USA’s eighth-ever hat-trick (and first as a substitute) as the U.S. routed Panama 6-0 on Oct. 13, 2004, at RFK Stadium. Landon Donovan wore the captain’s armband, recording the first two goals and earning Man of the Match honors
  • Ten players on this roster appeared in the victory that day: Gregg Berhalter, Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan, Frankie Hejduk, Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope, Josh Wolff, Kerry Zavagnin 
  • The 6-0 shutout marked the second-largest margin of victory for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying, second only to the 7-0 victory against Barbados on August 16, 2000, in semifinal round qualifying for the 2002 World Cup
  • It was a decidedly different affair when the teams met in Panama on Sept. 8, with a rain-soaked field and spotty lighting created a challenging environment for both sides. A 92nd  minute equalizer from Cobi Jones from a Landon Donovan “pass” gave the U.S. a share of the spoils, preserving their unbeaten record in the semifinal round (View the rain sloshed highlights here)
  • The U.S. players frolicking in the mud that day: DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Conor Casey, Landon Donovan, Frankie Hejduk, Kasey Keller, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope
  • With the third goal against Costa Rica this past Saturday, Brian McBride gained sole possession of second place on the USA’s all-time scoring list in World Cup qualifying, now having eight goals to his credit. He now trails recently-retired Earnie Stewart by only one goal
  • McBride is the top cap winner in the U.S. group, having collected 87 international appearances while tallying 27 goals, making him second on the all-time U.S. goalscoring chart behind Eric Wynalda (34)
  • Donovan’s pair in the Costa Rica game elevated him to fourth place on the World Cup qualifying goalscoring chart, equal with Willy Roy on six goals. The strikes were his first goals of the year and extended his amazing streak of having scored at least a goal or an assist in 11 of the 12 FIFA World Cup 2006 qualifying games played by the United States on their current road to Germany
  • Clint Dempsey earned his first qualifying point Saturday night, his one-on-one shot against Alvaro Mesen having been re-directed right into the path of Brian McBride. Dempsey now has four qualifying caps to his credit, and seven overall
  • With the clean sheet against Costa Rica, goalkeeper Kasey Keller extended his shutout streak in World Cup qualifying to 237 minutes. He last gave up a goal in the 33rd minute of the 2-1 loss in Mexico on March 27
  • Keller holds an astounding 23-2-4 record on U.S. soil since 1998. The 16-year veteran has made 28 appearances in World Cup qualifying, posting 16 shutouts. He’s already the USA’s all-time leader for goalkeepers in wins (44) and shutouts (39)
  • At the other end of the spectrum, only two players on the 21-man roster have never appeared in a World Cup qualifier: D.C United’s Clyde Simms and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann
  • With his standout performance against Costa Rica, Eddie Pope moved into a second-place tie for the most caps in World Cup qualifying history for the U.S., equaling Claudio Reyna with 29 appearances. Earnie Stewart and Cobi Jones share the top spot, each with 30 games played
  • When Nat Borchers entered the Colombia game in the 86th minute, he became the 100th player to play at least one game during the seven-year tenure of U.S. Manager Bruce Arena.  With his appearance against England on May 28, Clyde Simms became #101