CHICAGO - United States Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena today named Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Armas and defender/midfielder Tony Sanneh to the 23-man roster that will represent the U.S. in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The 12-team tournament runs from July 6-24 in six cities across the United States. The U.S. team will begin to assemble for training at the Nike World Headquarters on Sunday, June 26 in Portland, OR, with Armas and Sanneh set to join the Red, White & Blue following the Fire's match on the same evening against Real Salt Lake at Soldier Field at 6:00 p.m. CT.
"Both [Armas and Sanneh] are moving along well with Chicago," said Arena. "They are experienced players and we want to see what they are like so we can make some decisions as we head towards the next phase of World Cup qualifying."
The U.S. will compete in Group B along with Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba, opening the tournament July 7 against Cuba at Qwest Field in Seattle, WA. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on Telefutura. The U.S. continues group play against Canada on July 9 in Seattle (3:30 p.m. CT, Telefutura), then heads East to finish out the opening round against Costa Rica at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA (6:00 p.m. CT, Telefutura). Fans can follow all the U.S. matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
Armas and Sanneh were both fixtures in the U.S. player pool until lengthy injuries cut their time short with the national team. After leading the Fire as the team's captain during the past three seasons, Armas has been called upon by Arena to help solidify the U.S. midfield during its run towards the regional championship and perhaps beyond that into World Cup Qualifying over the next four months. The 32-year-old Armas has now made 58 appearances for the U.S. National Team, including eight caps in 2004. The Brentwood, NY native most recently started in both of the U.S.'s wins last summer over Grenada during the opening round of CONCACAF Qualifying for the Germany 2006 World Cup, helping the "Stars-and-Stripes" advance to the semifinal group stage with a 6-2 aggregate score. Armas also started in all five contests and played every minute in helping the U.S. capture its last Gold Cup title in 2002.
The recently-turned 34-year-old Sanneh, who made a name for himself with the Red, White & Blue during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, has made 41 career appearances and scored three goals for the U.S. senior team. Sanneh's last National Team appearance also came in a semifinal round qualifier against Jamaica, this one on Nov. 17, 2004 in a 1-1 draw at Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH. After a back injury forced Sanneh to miss all of the U.S.'s contests in 2003, he returned to post four caps for Arena in 2004.
The U.S. has appeared in all seven Gold Cup competitions since 1991, capturing two titles (1991 & 2002) and reaching at least the semifinals in six of seven events. The U.S. enters the 2005 tournament with an unblemished 16-0-0 record in group play, having posted shutouts in 19 of 31 all-time Gold Cup games.
Should the U.S. advance as the first or second place finisher in the group, their quarterfinal match-up would take place July 16 in Foxboro, with the semifinals slated for July 21 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2005 Gold Cup Final will also be played at Giants Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for July 24 at 3 p.m. ET.
The Gold Cup is being televised nationwide on the Univision family of networks: Univision, Galavision and Telefutura. Check local listings for details. For credential information, contact Stephen Torres at 212-308-0044 or visit the CONCACAF website at www.concacaf.com.