CLOSING IN: Two training days remain in what has been an intense and spirited week of camp for the U.S. MNT in Washington, D.C. After settling the opening day jitters, the young group of American hopefuls has increased the level of sharpness and cohesiveness throughout the week. Competition has been fierce as head coach Bruce Arena continues to test various combinations in search of a starting XI for Sunday's encounter with El Salvador. Arena is expected to finalize the 18-man match roster after the teams' final training session Saturday. The last match of the year against El Salvador kicks off Sunday, November 17 at 3 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN, and fans can also follow the action live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
INJURY REPORT: DaMarcus Beasley remains bothered by soreness in his knee, and has alternated between gym workouts and full training sessions. Metros goalkeeper Tim Howard has been nursing a sore back, but continues to train at full speed. A decision on their availabilty for Sunday will be made in the next two days.
YOUNG BUT NOT INEXPERIENCED: While a glimpse at the roster reveals scant experience at the senior international level, the group nonetheless comes with an impressive pedigree. Of the 23 players in camp, 20 have represented the United States at the youth international level. Ten players have appeared in at least two World Championship and/or Olympic tournaments beginning at the U-17 level, while DaMarcus Beasley, Dan Califf and Tim Howard have appeared in three tournaments each. But the overall title goes to Landon Donovan, who has played for the USA at the U-17, U-20, Olympics and World Cup championships.
ALL TIME V. EL SALVADOR: The USA has dominated the lifetime series against El Salvador, boasting eight wins and six shutouts in 13 meetings. The USA's lone loss coming over 10 years ago. The Salvadorans will be thankful for the absence of long-time U.S. internationals Joe-Max Moore and Brian McBride, who have hammered them for six and five career goals, respectively. The complete history:
8 wins, 1 loss, 4 ties; 29 GF: 10 GA
Date: Result (Location)
Sept. 15, 1977: 2-1 W (San Salvador)
Sept. 30, 1977: 0-0 T (Los Angeles)
October 9, 1984: 3-1 W (Los Angeles)
Sept. 17, 1989: 1-0 W* (Tegucigalpa, Honduras)
November 5, 1989: 0-0 T* (St. Louis)
February 18, 1992: 0-2 L (San Salvador)
March 23, 1993: 2-2 T (San Salvador)
December 5, 1993: 7-0 W (Los Angeles)
January 16, 1996: 2-0 W (Anaheim, Calif.)
August 30, 1996: 3-1 W (Los Angeles)
June 29, 1997: 1-1 T* (San Salvador)
November 16, 1997: 4-2 W* (Foxboro, Mass.)
January 27, 2002: 4-0 W (Pasadena, Calif.)
*World Cup qualifiers
LAST TIME OUT:
January 27, 2002 - Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. - CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal
Goals: Brian McBride 9, 11, 21; Razov 72.
USA — 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 12-Jeff Agoos (capt.), 17-Carlos Bocanegra (4-DaMarcus Beasley, 46); 13-Cobi Jones, 14-Chris Armas, 7-Eddie Lewis, 21-Landon Donovan (10-Brian Maisonneuve, 61); 20-Brian McBride (5-Clint Mathis, 63), 11-Ante Razov.
SLV — 1-Santos Rivera; 4-Marvin Benitez, 5-Victor Velasquez, 6-Jamie Bladimir Cubias (13-Deris Ariel Umanzor, 46), 8-Santos Cabrera (capt.) (14-Rudy Corrales, 46), 11-Ronald Cerritos, 16-Adonay Martinez (2-William Osorio, 80), 17-Jorge Rodriguez, 18-Oscar Navarro, 19-Elmer Martinez, 20-Guillermo Garcia.
JOINING FORCES: Three Southern California natives are teaming up after spending their high school days as bitter rivals. Nick Rimando (Montclair High), Brian Dunseth (Damien High) and Carlos Bocanegra (Altaloma High) spent four years battling each other as foes from neighboring towns. Despite being in a lower division, the unofficial consensus said Altaloma were the best side. Bocanegra and Rimando went on to be teammates at the 1999 U-20 World Championship in Nigeria, two years after Dunseth captained the U-20s at the 1997 World Youth Championship in Malaysia.
COLLEGE COOPERATION: The U.S. MNT received outstanding support from the area universities this week, as changing weather conditions wreaked havoc on the training schedule. After training at Georgetown upon arrival, severe rain forced the team to move to George Washington University's Mount Vernon Campus and their newly built artificial turf match field. After three days of sometimes heavy rain, the conditions improved to the point where the team was able to shift gears and train on the natural grass at American University yesterday and today. The team's final training session is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at RFK Stadium - weather permitting...
D.C. RE-UNITED: Wednesday's training session was a walk down memory lane for Bruce Arena, as the former D.C. United coach was surrounded by eleven current and former members of the three-time MLS Cup champions. Ben Olsen and Nick Rimando were joined on the field by guest playes Jaime Moreno, Richie Williams and John Harkes. The reunion group also included Mark Simpson, the 1996 MLS Cup champion goalkeeper and now goalkeeper coach at United, and three former DCU staffers currently working for the national team.
THE GREATER ONE? Arena's address to the SMU Athletic Forum on Tuesday was a resounding success. SMU officials said they rang up more single table sales for Arena's appearance than for any other luncheon in the series history. Arena narrowly beat out previous record holder Wayne Gretzky. Arena spent the day on the SMU campus with Mustangs athletic director Jim Copeland, his former boss at University of Virginia. Copeland introduced arena to SMU football coach Phil Bennett, who turned out to be a fervent soccer supporter. "Phil knew all about Bruce and the World Cup," Copeland told the Dallas Morning News. "He was most impressed with how Bruce was always working to get matchups on the field."
THEY SAID IT:
“When I got the gear. When the equipment manager hands you your gear with ‘USA’ across the chest, and you know it belongs to you. This badge means so much for what I’ve worked for throughout my whole life. This is more than an honor.”
- Ryan Suarez, on when it first struck him that he was a part of the U.S. MNT
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE: Tickets for the Nov. 17 friendly, which is being presented to fans by LEGO, range in price from $22 to $50 and are available now through all Ticketmaster outlets (D.C. 202-432-7328; Baltimore 410-481-7328; Northern Virginia 703-573-7328; out of state 1-800-551-7328). Fans can also order online at www.ussoccer.com. Discount rates for groups of 20 or more are available by calling the D.C. United ticket offices at 703-478-6600.