CHICAGO - U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena today named Fire midfielder Chris Armas as one of 20 players selected to prepare for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, Aug. 17 in Hartford, CT. Kickoff at Rentschler Field is set for 7:00 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. CT. Fans can follow all the U.S. matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
Armas will remain with the Fire through this weekend to take part in two crucial contests at Soldier Field for the "Men in Red" - tonight's Eastern Conference clash against the Kansas City Wizards (7:30 p.m. CT) and a showdown against fellow U.S. call-ups Landon Donovan and Chris Albright and the rest of the Los Angeles Galaxy this Saturday, Aug. 13 (7:30 p.m. CT, HDNet). Armas is expected to report to the U.S.'s training camp in Hartford on Sunday. With the match scheduled on a friendly date as designated on the FIFA international coordinated calendar, players need only be released by their clubs 48 hours prior to kickoff.
The 32-year old Armas has compiled 64 career appearances and scored a pair of goals for the U.S. National Team since making his senior international debut in 1998. Armas recently got back into the U.S. National Team fold by appearing in all six contests (four starts) for the squad during the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, in which he helped the U.S. capture its third title in the regional championship. A "cap" for Armas next Wednesday in Hartford would come almost exactly one year to the day of his last appearance for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying, as he started in a 1-1 draw at Jamaica on Aug. 18, 2004 in a match that kicked off the Americans' play in the CONCACAF's semifinal round of qualifying. The Brentwood, NY native has played in 20 World Cup Qualifying contests for the U.S., all under the direction of Bruce Arena.
The U.S. sits in second place in the final round hexagonal with a 4-1-0 record, while Trinidad is desperate for a victory with only four points from five matches. While the U.S. team cannot qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with a win on Aug. 17, the picture will certainly become a lot clearer after the evening's matches are completed.
The U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago have played nine times in World Cup qualifying, with the U.S. compiling an undefeated record of seven wins and two ties. The U.S. has not surrendered a goal to Trinidad & Tobago in a home qualifier since a 1-1 tie in Torrance, CA on May 13, 1989, and has recorded a shutout in six of their nine overall qualifying matches.
After Hartford, the USA's next qualifier is a marquee match-up with Mexico on Sep. 3 in Columbus, OH. A sold-out crowd at Crew Stadium will witness the teams' first meeting in qualifying on U.S. soil since the U.S. downed the Mexicans 2-0 on Feb. 28, 2001, in the very same venue.
To date, the U.S. is halfway through the 10-match schedule in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago are competing for three automatic berths to the World Cup finals in Germany. The fourth-place finisher will face the fifth-place team from the Asian Football Confederation in a home-and-home series to determine the last entrant into the tournament.