Armas, Beasley for World Cup qualifying

CHICAGO, IL - United States Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena on Thursday selected Chicago Fire midfielders Chris Armas and DaMarcus Beasley to the 22-man roster that will train in advance of the first leg of the USA's World Cup qualifying series against Grenada on Sunday, June 13 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff at Crew Stadium is set for 12 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Telemundo. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The second leg of the series will be played June 20 in St. George's, Grenada, with the team scoring the most goals over two games (aggregate scoring) advancing to the semifinal round.

The June 13 game marks the first of at least 18 matches necessary in order to qualify for the 2006 World Cup to be held in Germany. Armas and Beasley are two of the 13 players from Major League Soccer clubs selected to Arena's training roster for the home-and-home series against the Caribbean nation. The Fire midfield duo will miss Chicago's next two League matches on June 12 at the Los Angeles Galaxy and June 19 against the San Jose Earthquakes. Armas and Beasley both earned their latest "cap" for the U.S. last night when they started and played the opening half in a dominating 4-0 victory over Honduras at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

As he did during the qualifying build-up to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, Armas is expected to play a pivotal role in Arena's midfield to help the National Team get back to the World Cup Finals. The Fire captain has made 55 appearances for the U.S. National Team, including 14 caps during CONCACAF qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in 2000-01. The 31-year-old midfielder earned a spot on the USA's 2002 World Cup squad, but a torn right ACL just prior to the competition sidelined the Brentwood, N.Y. native.

After making just one appearance during CONCACAF qualifying prior to the Korea/Japan 2002, Beasley is expected to be an important part of the U.S. side that will attempt to qualify for Germany 2006. The 22-year-old Beasley has already made 33 appearances in his senior international career, including five caps this year, and has scored five goals, including two game-winners. The Ft. Wayne, Ind. native has been twice named the Chevrolet Man of the Match in 2004, first on Jan. 18 when he gave a tireless effort in helping the U.S. to a 1-1 draw with Denmark and again after tallying the game-winning goal on Mar. 31 at Poland in a 1-0 victory.

Beasley's only prior appearance in a World Cup qualifier came when he started for the "Stars-and-Stripes" in a scoreless draw with Trinidad & Tobago in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on Nov 11, 2001, in what was the final game in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. Despite his lack of appearances during that qualifying run, Beasley was named to the USA's World Cup roster for Korea/Japan 2002, making three appearances in the Finals while helping the squad to a surprising quarterfinal run in the tournament.


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