MLS contributes 13 to World Cup qualifying roster
CHICAGO - United States Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena has selected a 22-man roster to train in advance of the first leg of the USA's World Cup qualifying series against Grenada on June 3 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. 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. Of the 22 players, 13 are based in Major League Soccer while nine play professionally overseas. Thirteen of the players were part of the USA's quarterfinal finish in the 2002 World Cup.
"The qualifying process for the 2006 World Cup is going to be extremely challenging, and we are going to take every match very seriously," said Arena, who has led the team to a 3-1-2 record in 2004 that includes three consecutive shutout victories. "We respect Grenada as an opponent, and we plan to use our best available players in order to be successful. The goal of any national team is to qualify for the World Cup, and we are prepared to begin that journey starting June 13 in Columbus."
U.S. captain Claudio Reyna will once again lead the U.S. through the first part of the qualifying campaign, having earned his 100th cap for the United States in the 4-0 victory against Honduras on June 2 in Foxboro. He is joined by 14-year U.S. international veteran Earnie Stewart, who holds the U.S. record for most World Cup qualifying matches played (27) and goals scored (9). Stewart is two games shy of becoming the eighth player in U.S. Soccer history to play in 100 international games.
Starting in goal is three-time World Cup veteran Kasey Keller, the USA's all-time leader in shutouts, who has posted 33 clean sheets in 68 international appearances. Keller is also tied for the record for most wins (37) with Tony Meola, the Kansas City Wizards goalkeeper who joins the U.S. roster for the first time since the 2002 World Cup.
The USA's strike force is led by Fulham FC (England) forward Brian McBride, whose two goals against Honduras moved him into second place on the all-time U.S. scoring charts with 25 career goals. He is joined by 22-year old Landon Donovan, the San Jose Earthquakes marksman having tallied 15 goals in 49 appearances. Hannover 96 striker Clint Mathis suffered a bruised heel in training May 31 in Boston and is not available for selection.
Six players on the U.S. roster are looking to make their first appearance in a World Cup qualifier, led by Colorado Rapids defender Pablo Mastroeni. He was the only player on the USA's 2002 World Cup team not to appear in a qualifying match. D.C. United midfielder Bobby Convey is one of two players to appear in all six of the USA's matches in 2004, and was tied for the most appearances in 2003 (15) with Donovan. Last year, Carlos Bocanegra became the first defender since 1994 to score four goals in a year while three times being named Chevrolet Man of the Match. Conor Casey, Cory Gibbs and Kerry Zavagnin round out the rookie class.
MetroStars captain Eddie Pope returns to anchor the U.S. backline, and is no stranger to the World Cup qualifying process. The 30-year old defender started six of the 10 matches in final round qualifying for the 2002 tournament. Tony Sanneh turned in one of the standout performances in Korea/Japan, and has returned to full fitness after a 15-month rehabilitation process from a back injury. Not including former longtime Crew star McBride, U.S. veteran Frankie Hejduk is the sole representative of the hometown Columbus Crew.
Complete U.S. roster:
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Caps/G Hometown Club Armas, Chris M 5'7" 150 08/27/72 55/2 Brentwood, N.Y. Chicago Fire (MLS) Beasley, DaMarcus M 5'8" 145 05/24/82 33/5 Ft. Wayne, Ind. Chicago Fire (MLS) Bocanegra, Carlos D 6'0" 170 05/25/79 24/4 Alto Loma, Calif. Fulham FC (England) Casey, Conor F 6'1" 170 07/25/81 3/0 Gilpin, Colo. FSV Mainz (Germany) Cherundolo, Steve D 5'6" 145 02/19/79 18/0 San Diego, Calif. Hannover 96 (Germany) Convey, Bobby D 5'8" 150 05/27/83 24/1 Philadelphia, Pa. D.C. United (MLS) Donovan, Landon F 5'8" 148 03/04/82 49/15 Redlands, Calif. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) Gibbs, Cory D 6'3" 178 01/14/80 10/0 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Dallas Burn (MLS) Hejduk, Frankie D 5'8" 155 08/05/74 56/5 Cardiff, Calif. Columbus Crew (MLS) Keller, Kasey GK 6'2" 190 11/29/69 68/0 Lacey, Wash. Tottenham Hotspur (England) Kirovski, Jovan F 6'1" 175 03/18/76 61/9 Escondido, Calif. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) Lewis, Eddie M 5'10" 155 05/17/74 56/6 Cerritos, Calif. Preston North End (England) Mastroeni, Pablo D 5'10" 170 08/26/76 28/0 Phoenix, Ariz. Colorado Rapids (MLS) McBride, Brian F 6'1" 170 06/19/72 74/25 Arlington Heights, Ill. Fulham FC (England) Meola, Tony GK 6'1" 205 02/21/69 99/0 Kearny, N.J. Kansas City Wizards (MLS) Pope, Eddie D 6'1" 180 12/24/73 60/6 High Point, N.C. MetroStars (MLS) Reyna, Claudio M 5'9" 160 07/20/73 100/8 Springfield, N.J. Manchester City (England) Sanneh, Tony D 6'2" 190 06/01/71 40/3 St. Paul, Minn. F.C. N|rnberg (Germany) Stewart, Earnie M/F 5'9" 145 03/28/69 98/17 Point Arena, Calif. D.C. United (MLS) Vanney, Greg D 5'11" 169 06/11/74 28/0 Tempe, Ariz. F.C. Bastia (France) Wolff, Josh F 5'8" 160 02/25/77 24/6 Stone Mountain, Ga. Kansas City Wizards (MLS) Zavagnin, Kerry M 5'10" 170 07/02/74 5/0 Plymouth, Mich. Kansas City Wizards (MLS)