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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. MNT Prepares for Estadio Azteca, U.S. Women Win Algarve Cup


U.S. MNT DEFEAT HONDURAS IN FINAL TEST BEFORE MEXICO: With one week left before the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, the U.S. is back to training in Colorado Springs, Colo., to prepare for Mexico City’s high altitude. Kickoff for that game on Sunday is set for 12 p.m. CT and the match will be televised live on ESPN2 and Telemundo. Fans can also follow the game live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. It will be the first encounter between the two teams in official competition since the U.S. eliminated Mexico from the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. History between the U.S. and Mexico goes back to 1934, when they clashed for the first time in World Cup qualifying, an encounter that the U.S. won 4-2. And although the U.S. holds just a 11-28-10 record against the Tricolor, they have kept Mexico scoreless in their last four encounters over a span of two years and are 6-1-1 in their last eight meetings with seven shutouts. In their final test before heading south of the border, the U.S. men defeated Honduras, 1-0, at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M., with a goal from Eddie Johnson. Johnson has now scored seven goals in six career games since making his debut back on Oct. 9, 2004. For the USA, their last lost came more than a year ago and the team is now 11-0-5 in their last 16 games. On the goal, Clint Mathis of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, struck one of his patent long-range swerving bombs from 35 yards out that beat Honduras goalkeeper Junior Morales and careened off the crossbar with ferocious pace. The shot rebounded into the middle of the box where Johnson slammed home the game’s only goal. The match was a historic milestone for U.S. head coach Bruce Arena, who became the first coach in U.S. Men’s National Team history to reach the 100-game plateau, improving his all-time record to 55-23-22.

U.S. WNT DOWN GERMANY, 1-0, IN 2005 ALGARVE CUP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The U.S. Women's National Team got a 23rd minute goal from forward Christie Welsh and put together a stellar defensive performance to defeat Germany 1-0 and win the 12th Annual Algarve Cup. The match also marked a U.S. victory over the top-ranked team in the FIFA Women's World Rankings as the two women's soccer powers met in a tournament final for the first time.  It was the third Algarve Cup championship in a row for the U.S. team, and fourth overall, but the first time in 10 trips to this tournament that the USA had achieved the remarkable feat of going all four games without allowing a goal. Welsh’s goal was her 18th international goal and her fifth of the tournament, which earned her tournament Top Scorer honors. Germany’s Birgit Prinz was named Best Player of the tournament and Bente Nordby of Norway earned Best Goalkeeper honors while the Fair Play Award went to the Chinese Women’s National Team.
WNT Algarve Cup Results
Date           Opponent    Result           U.S. Goalscorers
March 9      France           1-0 W         Welsh
March 11   Finland            3-0 W        Welsh (2), Wambach
March 13   Denmark        4-0 W         Lilly (2), Wambach, Welsh
March 15   Germany        1-0 W         Welsh

ESPN'S OUTSIDE THE LINES TO EXAMINE USA-MEXICO RIVALRY ON SUNDAY: The U.S. Men's National Team's rivalry with Mexico will be the featured topic this Sunday morning on ESPN's acclaimed series "Outside the Lines" at 9:30 a.m. ET. Hosted by Bob Ley, the show will examine the intense, sometimes intimidating and volcanic atmosphere that exists in games played IN Mexico. "Outside the Lines" will also take a historical look at past games played between the two countries and will offer viewers a unique, behind the scenes look at the U.S. team as they prepare for their World Cup qualifying match against their biggest rival. Two former U.S. National Team standouts will preview the latest installment of the rivalry during the show: Marcelo Balboa (the current color analyst for U.S. MNT matches on ESPN) and Alexi Lalas (currently the general manager of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes). A second version of the show, recapping Sunday's result, will also air on "Outside the Lines" daily episode at 11:58 p.m. ET on Monday evening (March 28).

MEXICO ANNOUNCES ROSTER FOR UPCOMING WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: The Mexican Football Federation announced the 20-man roster that will face the United States and Panama in the Tricolor’s next two World Cup qualifying matches. The squad features the return of goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez, who had been sidelined for two months with a shoulder injury.
Mexico National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Oswaldo Sanchez (Guadalajara), Oscar Perez (Cruz Azul); DEFENDERS (8): Francisco Javier Rodriguez (Guadalajara), Carlos Salcido (Guadalajara), Hugo Sanchez (UANL Tigres), Rafael Marquez (Barcelona), Gonzalo Pineda (UNAM Pumas), Hector Altamirano (Santos Laguna), Salvador Carmona (Cruz Azul), Ricardo Osorio (Cruz Azul); MIDFIELDERS (6): Jaime Lozano (UNAM Pumas), Rafael Garcia (Cruz Azul), Ramon Morales (Guadalajara), Pavel Pardo (Club America), Luis Perez (Monterrey), Antonio “Sinha” Naelson (Toluca); FORWARDS (4): Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Club America), Jared Borgetti (Pachuca), Francisco Fonseca (Cruz Azul), Alberto Medina (Guadalajara).

-- FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR U.S. MNT QUALIFIER IN ALABAMA: There is still time to purchase tickets for the United States Men’s National Team’s first home game of the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Tickets range in price from $18 to $55 and can be purchased online at ussoccer.com, all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix and Coconuts), and by phone at 1-800-277-1700. Groups of 15 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745, ext. 119. Kickoff against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape delayed on Telemundo at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. will be returning to Birmingham’s Legion Field Stadium for the first time since March 10, 2002, when the U.S. defeated Ecuador 1-0 in a World Cup preparation match before 24,133 fans. The last time the teams met was during semifinal round qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The teams split points in a 1-1 draw in Mazatenango, Guatemala on July 16, 2000, then Brian McBride tallied the lone goal in the USA’s hard fought 1-0 win on Sept. 3, 2000 at RFK Stadium.

COLUMBUS TO HOST WORLD CUP QUALIFYING MATCH AGAINST MEXICO IN SEPTEMBER: The U.S. Men’s national team will host Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Columbus Crew Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET in their seventh of 10 final round qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. vs. Mexico match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Telemundo, with fans also able to follow the U.S. match live at ussoccer.com via MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. It will be the fourth out of five World Cup qualifiers played in the United States and the fifth World Cup qualifying match hosted by the six-year-old venue. Ticketing details will be announced in the near future.

SALT LAKE CITY TO HOST WORLD CUP QUALIFIER AGAINST COSTA RICA: The U.S. MNT will host Costa Rica on Saturday, June 4 in Salt Lake City, Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium at 5:30 p.m. MT in their fourth of 10 final round qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The match against Costa Rica will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and will be followed by MLS expansion franchise Real Salt Lake hosting FC Dallas as the second game of the doubleheader at 8 p.m. MT. Fans can also follow the U.S. match live at ussoccer.com via MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match in Salt Lake City is the second of five qualifiers in this round to be played in the United States. Tickets will range from $25 to $68 and on-sale details will be announced later. Fans can register for advance ticket information and an advance private sale at ussoccerfan.com. Real Salt Lake season tickets will be honored for the doubleheader.

AGAINST AZTECAS AND CHAPINES: The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago have kicked off the 10-game round-robin that will last until Oct. 12, 2005. As the second and third match days approach, the U.S. prepares for another tough road game as they head into the altitude and smog of Mexico City to face Mexico on March 27. Immediately after, the U.S. men head back to the States to play their first home game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., on March 30 at 7 p.m. CT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany while the fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying. 
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – CONCACAF Final Round
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Feb. 9  Panama 0, Guatemala 0
Feb. 9  Costa Rica 1, Mexico 2
Feb. 9 Trinidad & Tobago 1,  USA 2 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 26 Costa Rica vs. Panama
March 26 Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago
March 27 Mexico vs. USA 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 30  Panama vs. Mexico   
March 30  USA vs. Guatemala   
March 30  Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 4 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama   
June 4 Guatemala vs. Mexico   
June 4 USA vs. Costa Rica   
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 8 Panama vs. USA   
June 8 Costa Rica vs. Guatemala   
June 8 Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Aug. 17 Guatemala vs. Panama   
Aug. 17 Mexico vs. Costa Rica   
Aug. 17 USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 3 Panama vs. Costa Rica  
Sept. 3 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 3 USA vs. Mexico  
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 7 Mexico vs. Panama 
Sept. 7 Guatemala vs. USA  
Sept. 7 Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 8 Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Oct. 8 Mexico vs. Guatemala 
Oct. 8/9 Costa Rica vs. USA 
Date           Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 12 USA vs. Panama   
Oct. 12 Guatemala vs. Costa Rica
Oct. 12 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico
 
Playoff (*home team will be determined by lottery at the conclusion of the final round)
Date Match-up
*Nov. 12/13 AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 
*Nov. 16 AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4

U.S. MNT TO FACE ENGLAND IN FRIENDLY AT SOLDIER FIELD: The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will face England for the first time since 1994 in a Memorial Weekend match-up at Chicago’s Soldier Field on May 28 at 2 p.m. CT, in a match being broadcast live on ESPN. The meeting between the two quarterfinalists at the 2002 FIFA World Cup comes amidst the qualifying schedules for both nations as they aim for a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Tickets ranging in price levels from $28 to $95 go on sale starting Thursday, March 31 at 12 p.m. CT through ussoccer.com, by phone at 312-559-1212 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Chicagoland (including Coconuts, Hot Tix, and Tower Records stores). Also starting on March 31, groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com. This will mark England’s sixth visit to the United States, with England posting a convincing 4-1-0 record against the U.S., including a 29-6 advantage in goal differential. This will be the fifth match the U.S. has played in Chicago, and the fifth different European power to come to the Windy City as an opponent. The U.S. has a 1-1-2 record in Chicago since 1993 versus the likes of Portugal, Italy, Germany and Poland.

-- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U-20s ARRIVE IN SUWON, PREPARE TO FACE ARGENTINA: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will open the Suwon International Youth Tournament tomorrow against Argentina at Suwon World Cup Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET). The match will be the first of three matches over five days for the U-20s, as they will also face Egypt and South Korea. The U.S. will be looking to garner some of the good fortune the full MNT had when they played in the Suwon World Cup Stadium in the opening of the 2002 World Cup, scoring three early goals before holding off Portugal for a 3-2 upset. The following match between South Korea and Egypt will kickoff at 7 p.m.  Argentina, who the U.S. will meet in their opening match of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland on June 12, qualified for the world championship by finishing third in the South American qualifying tournament behind Colombia and Brazil. While only five of the 18 players they used in qualifying are with the team in Korea, the U.S. players understand the match on Tuesday (March 22) will be a tough encounter and one that will gauge where they are as they continue with world championship presentations. This is the second trip to the Asian country in the past 10 months for the Under-20s, as the U.S. traveled to the southern city of Busan for the Four Nations International Tournament this past June. With Thomas Rongen the head coach at the time, the U.S. finished third in the tournament, falling to South Korea 1-0 in the opening match in front of 30,000 fans, before dropping a tough 2-1 decision to Brazil and then drawing with Poland in their final match.
Suwon International Youth Football Tournament
Date            Matchup                                  Time    
March 22    USA vs. Argentina                  4:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET)
                    South Korea vs. Egypt            7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET)
March 24    Argentina vs. Egypt                 4:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET)
                    USA vs. South Korea              7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET)   
March 26    USA vs. Egypt                        12:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET on March 25)
                    South Korea vs. Argentina      3 p.m. local time (1 a.m. ET)

U.S. U-21 WOMEN HIT HDC FOR TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team will hold a training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center in Carson, Calif., from March 26-April 3. U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan, who recently returned from Portugal where he coached the full Women’s National Team to the Algarve Cup title, will bring 24 players to the Home Depot Center as preparations continue for the 2005 Nordic Cup, the top competition in the world for U-21 women. This summer the Nordic Cup will be held in Sweden. The USA has won an unprecedented six straight Nordic Cups, including an astounding run last summer in Iceland when the oldest of the USA's women’s youth national teams won all four games by 3-0 scores. The roster for this camp includes six players who were members of that team. Santa Clara sophomore Marian Dalmy and high school senior Kasey Moore get their first call-ups to the U-21 team at this camp. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, a member of the 2003 Nordic Cup squad, returns to the U-21s after spending 2004 with the U.S. U-19s, for whom she started every game in goal at the 2004 FIFA U-19 World Championship. Harris was also the starting ‘keeper on the 2002 U-19 team that won the FIFA World Championship. Other U-19 world championship veterans in the camp are defender Rachel Buehler (2002 & 2004), defender Becky Sauerbrunn (2004), midfielder Sarah Huffman (2002), midfielder Manya Makoski (2002) and forward Megan Rapinoe (2004). Following is the roster for the training camp:
U-21 Women's National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Erica Bohn (Notre Dame), Joanna Haig (Iowa State), Ashlyn Harris (UNC); DEFENDERS (8): Jen Buczkowski (Notre Dame), Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Mary Castelanelli (UCLA), Holly Gault (Kansas), Hayley Hunt (Stanford), Jessica Maxwell (UNC), Kasey Moore (Laguna Hills Eclipse), Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia); MIDFIELDERS (6): Yael Averbuch (UNC), Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Noelle Keselica (Virginia), Carli Lloyd (Rutgers), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Manya Makoski (Arizona State); FORWARDS (7): Danesha Adams (UCLA), Lauren Cheney (Carmel Heat), Marian Dalmy (Santa Clara), Kristen Gracysk (UConn), Esmeralda Negron (Princeton), Megan Rapinoe (Portland), Tiffany Weimer (Penn State).

U.S. U-17 MNT GRAB ONE WIN DURING THREE-GAME SERIES IN NORTH CAROLINA: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team opened up their three-game series in Wilmington, N.C., with a win before falling in the final minutes in both of their final two matches. Head coach John Hackworth brought his “B” team to face the three college teams, but was able to pull off a 3-1 victory over Davidson on Friday night at UNC-Wilmington Soccer Stadium on the UNC-Wilmington college campus. Perica Marosevic opened the match with a goal in the 19th minute, while Eddie Ababio buried one in each half before Davidson finally got on the board in the 84th minute. Gabriel Farfan assisted on the first two goals by Marosevic and Ababio, while Marosevic fed Ababio on his second strike. A day later, the U.S. fell 1-0 in a tough match against UNC-Wilmington as Will Clark scored five minutes from the final whistle to give the Seahawks a victory. In their final match on Sunday, the U.S. once again fell in the final minutes, this time dropping a 2-0 decision to Wake Forest by allowing goals in the 82nd and 85th minutes. Three former U-17 players – goalkeeper Marcus Rein, defender Jules Valentin and midfielder Steve Curfman – started for the Deamon Deacons against the U.S. The team next faces the University of Wisconsin on March 22.
U-17 MNT Results
Date           Opponent                Result      U.S. Goalscorers
March 18   Davidson                 3-1 W      Marosevic, Ababio (2)
March 19   UNC-Wilmington    0-1 L        --
March 20   Wake Forest           0-2 L       --
March 22   Wisconsin                   -- 

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 37 GRANT RECIPIENTS FOR 2005: The U.S. Soccer Foundation announced last week that it has awarded more than $1.3 million in grants in 2005. Nearly $20 million of that is part of 20 grants awarded for soccer development programs. The remaining 17 grants were awarded for field enhancements and upgrades, including eight grants for the construction of All Condition fields that can be used year-round in any weather. The 2005 grants represent a wide array of community-based initiatives, including field irrigation equipment for a project in Wells Fargo, N.D., support for the first-ever soccer field in Lumberton County, N.C., a referee training program in Texas and soccer equipment to support over 5,000 inner-city youth in Boston. A list of this year’s grant recipients is available by visiting ussoccerfoundation.org.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR 2005 CONCACAF GOLD CUP: Tickets are available now at each of the seven stadiums in the six USA cities that will host the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 6-24. Ticket prices for single dates start as low as $20 in some venues for first round doubleheaders. Discounts are available for group tickets and for packages of tickets to all the match days in the same city. The 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup will consist of three groups of four teams for the first round with the top two from each group, along with the best two third-placed teams progressing to the quarterfinals for a total of 10 doubleheaders from July 6-17 throughout six stadiums in the USA. The United States Men’s National Team has been drawn against Costa Rica, Canada and Cuba in the first round of the Gold Cup and will open Group B play against Cuba on Thursday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. PT at Qwest Field in Seattle, before meeting Canada two days later on Saturday, July 9, at the same venue, the match slated for a 1:30 p.m. PT kickoff. The U.S. will travel across the country for their final group match against Costa Rica on Tuesday, July 12, at 7 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. For complete Gold Cup ticket information, click here.

D.C. TO FACE UNAM PUMAS, WIZARDS BOW OUT OF CONCACAF 2005 CHAMPIONS’ CUP: MLS Champion D.C. United defeated Jamaican Champion Harbour View FC, 2-1 (4-2 aggregate), to advance to the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. United next faces back-to-back Mexican League champion UNAM Pumas in a home-and-away series on April 6/7 and 13/14. The Kansas City Wizards bowed out of the tournament after falling 2-1 to Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. The winner of the Champions’ Cup will represent CONCACAF at the FIFA Club World Championship to be held in Japan from Dec. 11-18, 2005. The second-place team will represent CONCACAF as one of the final 16 teams of the CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana, played from October through December 2005.
Champions’ Cup Quarterfinals Schedule – Second Leg
Date           Matchup/ Result                                                   Aggregate
March 16   Harbour View 1,  DC United 2                                  2:4
                   CSD Municipal 0, Rayados de Monterrey 0            1:2
                   UNAM Pumas 2, CD Olimpia 1                                 3:2
March 17   Deportivo Saprissa 2, Kansas City Wizards 1        2:1

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Some of the names may be less familiar, but the results stayed the same as the U.S. Women's National Team won their fifth consecutive tournament (2004: Algarve, Four Nations, Olympic Qualifying, Olympics) with a dominating performance in the 2005 Algarve Cup. Last week, the U.S. topped Germany 1-0 to clinch the Algarve title while not allowing a single goal against the likes Finland, France, Denmark and the Germans. Christie Welsh beat out Birgit Prinz as the top scorer, with five goals in four games, and Hope Solo had three of the four U.S. clean sheets between the posts.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: In one of the most anticipated matches of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. and Mexico meet up in the altitude and smog of Mexico City in the first leg of the final hexagonal round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The match between the two CONCACAF giants will be broadcast live on Sunday (March 2) on ESPN2 and Telemundo at 12 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: How about these numbers for serendipity? An even 100 players through 100 games. Bruce Arena coached in his 100th game for the United States in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Honduras, improving his record to a very impressive 55-23-22 (which translates to a .660 winning percentage). In a strange coincidence, through those 100 games, Arena has used exactly 100 players in official game action, with Nat Borchers being the most recent player to earn his first cap for the U.S. (doing so in a 3-0 win over Colombia on March 9).

QUOTABLE: "Bruce lets you be who you are. He lets you express yourself on the field. He really talks and makes a point to tell people ‘don’t be afraid of anything. I brought you guys all in because you can do special things and just show it on the field.’ Every player really appreciates the fact that not only is he giving you a chance, he is letting you be the player that you can be. Everyone feels pretty good about it."
     -- U.S. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon about Bruce Arena, who coached his 100th U.S. MNT game on Saturday (March 19) against Honduras.

- ussoccer.com -

 

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