CHICAGO (Wednesday, March 3, 2004) - U.S. defender Tony Sanneh has been added to the roster for the USA's match against Haiti on March 13th at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The 2002 World Cup veteran has been sidelined with a back injury since December of 2002, and has not appeared on a national team roster since his starting role for the U.S. in Korea/Japan. Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Chris Albright will also join the team in place of Colorado Rapids defender Pablo Mastroeni, who suffered a pulled right hamstring in training earlier this week. The U.S. team reports to training camp (Sunday) March 7 in Miami.
"Tony has been out of action for over a year now, so this will be a good opportunity to get him in training and measure his progress," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "We're certainly hopeful that Tony will be a part of this team as we move forward towards World Cup qualifying, and this will be a good first step in the process."
Sanneh, 32, has been in full training with FC Nurnberg since the beginning of February, but has yet to play a competitive match. He last appeared in a league match December 7, 2002, a 2-2 draw with Energie Cottbus. Adding to the difficulty of Sanneh's long road to recovery is a new Bundesliga rule which prevents non-European Union players from playing in test matches with their club's reserve teams.
"I've been in training for the last month, and I'm hoping to get some good work in Miami and allow [U.S. MNT Manager] Bruce Arena to gauge my progress," said Sanneh. "I'm looking forward to assessing my speed against higher level players in a more competitive environment."
Sanneh has 37 caps in a six-year career with the MNT, and was one of three U.S. players to play every minute in the 2002 World Cup. He has spent the last three seasons at FC Nurnberg, where he held the starting right back spot until the emergence of his back problem.
Albright has been involved in the previous two MNT camps this year, starting in the right back spot in the USA's 1-1 draw with Denmark on Jan. 18 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Philadelphia, Penn., native has eight appearances and one goal for the senior team.
Kickoff for the Haiti match is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be shown live on HDNet. The match will also be available to DirecTV viewers via pay-per-view [www.ppvsports.com], and fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. For ticket information, please click here.
The U.S. begins CONCACAF World Cup qualifying June 13, 2004, against the winner of the home-and-away series between Grenada and Guyana, with their first match scheduled to be played in the United States. After Haiti, the U.S. MNT travels to Poland on March 31, and has game dates set for April 28 and May 26 at sites and against opponents still to be finalized. Following the MNT World Cup qualifiers on June 13 and June 20 against either Grenada or Guyana, the U.S. will meet Poland in a domestic friendly on July 11. Should the U.S. advance through their preliminary qualifying round, their six-game, four-team semifinal round competition will begin on the road on August 18.