CHICAGO - U.S. Soccer today announced that Chicago Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton has been named to U.S. Manager Bruce Arena's 19-man roster that will take on England in an international friendly at Chicago's Soldier Field on Saturday, May 28. Thornton was the only member of the "Men in Red" selected to the U.S. squad, which also includes former Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra and Arlington Heights native Brian McBride. Thornton was one of eight players from the ranks of Major League Soccer called in by Arena for the contest.
"I'm excited. I hope it's another chance for me," said Thornton. "Any time you are called into the National Team it is an honor and you want to do well, so I'm very excited. It's always a privilege, but to have the game played in your home stadium makes it even nicer. I know the fans here in Chicago will be out in full force at Soldier Field."
Thornton has made eight career appearances with the U.S. National Team since making his debut for the Red, White & Blue in 1998, with his last "cap" coming against Korea on Dec. 9, 2001. Thornton's last call-up to the U.S. squad came in July of 2004, when Arena named the then Benfica 'keeper to the U.S.'s roster for its friendly contest against Poland, which also took place at Soldier Field. The Edgewood, MD native made his first appearance for the full U.S. side on Nov. 6, 1998 in a scoreless draw against Australia in San Jose, CA.
"Zach is no stranger to the National Team pool," said Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "I think he is deserving of the opportunity to have another look as the U.S. gets closer to more World Cup qualifying dates. Zach is as good a goalkeeper as we have domestically and I'm glad that he will get another opportunity to be seen by Bruce and his staff."
The U.S. and England last met at famed Wembley Stadium in London on Sep. 7, 1994, a 2-0 win for England that came just one year after the USA's memorable 2-0 win at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, MA in the build up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Of course, the teams are best remembered for the historic match-up 55 years ago at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in which the United States provided one of the sports biggest upsets ever with a 1-0 win in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The historic victory has been recounted in the feature film THE GAME OF THEIR LIVES, recently released in U.S. theaters.
The England match serves as important preparation for the U.S.'s upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica (June 4 in Salt Lake) and Panama (June 8 in Panama City). The U.S. team will assemble beginning May 22 in Chicago, and the squad's roster for the upcoming qualifiers will be determined following the Memorial Day weekend matches. After the England match, the U.S. will play host for the second time in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, welcoming Costa Rica on June 4 in Salt Lake City, UT. Kickoff at Rice-Eccles Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Four days later, the U.S. travels to face Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast via tape-delay on ESPN2 at 12:00 a.m. CT and on Telemundo at 10:30 p.m. CT.
USA Roster By Position vs. England - May 28, 2005 - Soldier Field, Chicago
Goalkeepers (3) - Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Zach Thornton (Chicago Fire)
Defenders (6) - Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Cory Gibbs (Feyenoord), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Greg Vanney (FC Dallas)
Midfielders (7) - Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), John O'Brien (ADO Den Haag), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Clyde Simms (D.C. United)
Forwards (3) - Conor Casey (FSV Mainz), Eddie Johnson (FC Dallas), Brian McBride (Fulham FC)