Three days later, the city of Chicago will host its first World Cup qualifier when the U.S. welcomes Honduras to Soldier Field. More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s third home match of the final round, where the U.S. will face the team who delivered them their last home loss in World Cup qualifying, a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The U.S. is in first place in the final round hexagonal with an undefeated 2-0-1 record. Costa Rica sits one point behind, while Honduras holds the third position. The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
“Clearly these next matches are very important in our efforts to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who is 9-1-1 overall in qualifying action. “Both teams have been very good throughout the qualifying process. We are certainly aware of the challenges of playing in Costa Rica, and Honduras has produced some great results, including two wins against Mexico. We are excited for the start of a very competitive summer for our team.”
The U.S. team will begin assembling on May 26 in Miami, and depart June 1 for San Jose. Several players will join camp following weekend club competition, including 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Tim Howard, who will lead Everton against Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 30 at Wembley Stadium, and DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu, who can win the Scottish league title later today and will play in the Scottish FA Cup final against Falkirk next weekend. José Francicso Torres will arrive late if Pachuca reaches the finals of the Mexican league playoffs, and the MLS-based players will travel to Miami following their league matches this week.
The roster boasts nine players who have appeared in all three of the USA’s final round qualifiers, including seven who have started every game. Three players: Michael Bradley – the ussoccer.com Man of the Match after scoring a pair of goals in the 2-0 win against Mexico – DaMarcus Beasley and Heath Pearce are tied with nine starts during the 2010 qualifying campaign. Following his record-setting hat trick in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1 in Nashville – he is the youngest U.S. player ever to put in three goals in a game – Jozy Altidore now leads all U.S. attackers with five goals in this World Cup qualifying cycle. Bradley, Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey all have four goals each. Dempsey is one game shy of his 50th appearance for the United States.
Landon Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 108 international appearances, the USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists is one goal shy of tying Brian McBride for the most career goals in World Cup qualifying (10). He recorded assists on all three of Altidore’s goals against Trinidad & Tobago, improving his career tally to 36 assists.
The U.S. defense has produced eight shutouts through 11 matches in this cycle. Tim Howard has presided over five clean sheets, while Brad Guzan has picked up the remaining three. Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been an anchor in central defense alongside Oguchi Onyewu, who is playing Anderlecht on Sunday in the second leg of a playoff to determine the Belgian league champion. Frankie Hejduk, a veteran of four World Cup qualifying cycles, has started all three final round matches at right back, providing a goal and an assist in the 2-2 away draw in El Salvador, marking the first time the U.S. has come from behind by two goals to earn a point on the road.
In addition to the 24-man roster, two players have been invited to participate in their first camp with the full team: Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj and Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Following the two qualifiers, the U.S. will depart June 8 for South Africa to begin preparations for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The final 23-man roster for the event will be announced June 7 in Chicago. The United States has been drawn into a powerful Group B along with reigning world champions Italy, five-time World Cup winners Brazil, and reigning African Cup of Nations winners Egypt for the tournament, which will be played from June 14-28. The U.S. kicks off action against Italy on June 15 at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria, and then faces Brazil on June 18 in the same venue. The United States finishes group play on June 21 against Egypt at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.
U.S. Men's National Team Roster vs. Costa Rica and Honduras
May 26-June 6, 2009
|Potomac, Md.||AS Monaco (France)||12/1|
|Boca Raton, Fla.||Xerez C.D. (Spain)||9/6|
|Ft. Wayne, Ind.||Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)||85/17|
|Alta Loma, Calif.||Stade Rennais (France)||65/10|
|Los Alamitos, Calif.||Chivas USA||14/1|
|Manhattan Beach, Calif.||Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)||28/5|
|Orange, Calif||FC Midtjylland (Denmark)||23/1|
|Haleiwa, Hawaii||Houston Dynamo||36/9|
|Manchester, N.H.||Hammarby IF (Sweden)||5/1|
|Green Bay, Wis.||Watford FC (England)||9/1|
|Nacogdoches, Texas||Fulham FC (England)||49/13|
|Redlands, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy||108/37|
|Fontana, Calif.||Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)||11/1|
|Irvine, Calif.||AGF Aarhus (Denmark)||16/2|
|Homer Glen, Ill.||Aston Villa FC (England)||12/1|
|Cardiff, Calif.||Columbus Crew||84/7|
|North Brunswick, N.J.||Everton FC (England)||37/0|
|Phoenix, Ariz.||Colorado Rapids||63/0|
|Huntington Beach, Calif.||Chivas USA||16/3|
|Olney, Md.||Standard de Liege (Belgium)||40/5|
|Modesto, Calif.||Hansa Rostock (Germany)||23/0|
|Arlington Heights, Ill.||West Ham United (England)||12/1|
|Torres, José Francisco||M||5-7||135||
|Longview, Texas||C.D. Pachuca (Mexico)||4/1|
|Poway, Calif.||Toronto FC||2/1|
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 9/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 19/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA: 1/0), Danny Califf (Midtjylland: 4/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 17/2), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 14/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 9/0), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United: 2/1), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Freddy Adu (Monaco: 5/1), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers: 24/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 9/4), Maurice Edu (Rangers: 4/0), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus: 0/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 9/0), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 13/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez: 6/5), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (Hammarby: 1/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 15/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 28/9)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals
Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
All-time Record: 24-8-4
World Cup Qualifying: 9-1-1