June 1, 2005
CHANGE OF SCENERY: The U.S. Men's National Team relocated from the bustle of downtown Chicago to the picturesque base of the Wasatch Mountains yesterday, the team kicking off its preparations for the upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica and Panama with a spirited 90-minute session under warm skies and breathtaking scenery. Once again, it was all systems go as the entire complement took part in training. The team will remain in Provo until Thursday afternoon before making the 60-mile trip north to Salt Lake City. The USA meets Costa Rica in the fourth qualifying match in the 10-game final round hexagonal June 4 in Salt Lake City. Kickoff at Rice-Eccles Stadium is set for 5:30 p.m MT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Despite the USA's friendly loss to England - only their second home defeat in two years - the home venues have proved to be a venerable fortress for the national team, particularly when it comes to defending. In addition to the team not having been shutout in any game in 19 overall matches (a team record, with the previous streak of 13 games coming from 1925-1947), the U.S. has not been held scoreless at home in 21 matches. The list goes on. The U.S. national team has not:
- been shutout at home in World Cup Qualifying in 10 qualifiers (10/11/2000 vs. Costa Rica, 0-0 T)
- suffered a shutout loss at home in World Cup Qualifying in 27 qualifiers (5/31/85 vs. Costa Rica, 0-1 L)
- suffered a shutout loss at home in 23 matches (2/8/2003 vs. Argentina, 0-1 L)
- lost by more than one goal in 40 matches (6/14/2002 vs. Poland, 1-3 L)
- lost at home by more than one goal in 26 matches (5/19/2002 vs. Holland, 0-2 L)
- lost at home vs. CONCACAF opponent in 23 matches (9/1/2001 vs.
Honduras, 2-3 L)
DONOVAN AT HEAD OF THE QUALIFYING CLASS: Landon Donovan has been nothing short of consistent in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying. In addition to being the only U.S. player to start and appear in all 11 matches thus far, the USA's leading scorer for the last two years has collected at least one point in 10 of 11 qualifying matches. With four goals and seven assists in qualifying, he is tied with Eddie Johnson (7G, 1A) with 15 points at the top of the U.S. scoring charts.
TICOS IN TOWN: The Costa Rican national team settled into their Utah digs this past Sunday, having traveled to the United States directly from Norway after their 1-0 friendly loss last week. Six players from league runners-up Alajuelense joined the squad yesterday, while Brescia-based defender Gilberto Martinez is expected to round out the complement today. The Ticos are currently fourth in the qualifying table, posting a disappointing 1-1-1 record which includes a home loss to Mexico. For a complete look at the qualifying table and results, click here.