U.S. team named for Grenada qualifier

U.S. national team manager Bruce Arena has named 13 Major League Soccer players to his 22-man squad that will begin the long qualifying road toward FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 when they take on Grenada on Sunday, June 13 in Columbus, Ohio.

The match is the first in the home-and-home series, with the return leg set for a week later in Grenada. If the USA advances on aggregate, they will advance into one of three four-team semifinal groups which begins play later this summer. The top two in each group will then play next year in the final round for the three CONCACAF direct berths for Germany 2006.

Arena has named three Kansas City Wizards to his squad, the most of any team, including goalkeeper Tony Meola, who was called up to the national team for the first time since the 2002 World Cup. Meola has made 99 national team appearances. Joining Meola on the team are midfielder Kerry Zavagnin and forward Josh Wolff.

The Chicago Fire and D.C. United also have two representatives each in the squad. Midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Chris Armas were called in from the Fire, while Earnie Stewart and Bobby Convey are United's representatives. Stewart has made 98 full international appearances for the USA.

The USA will again be led by captain Claudio Reyna (Manchester City, England), who won his 100th cap in the USA's 4-0 victory against Honduras on Wednesday in Foxborough, Mass., their final tuneup before the Grenada series. Reyna will guide the U.S. midfield along with San Jose Earthquakes star Landon Donovan.

The MLS contingent is rounded out by defenders Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids) and Eddie Pope (MetroStars).

"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. “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.”


GOALKEEPERS: Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur FC/ENG), Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards)

DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC/ENG), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Tony Sanneh (FC Nürnberg/GER), Greg Vanney (FC Bastia/FRA)

MIDFIELDERS: Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End/ENG), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City/ENG), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards)

FORWARDS: Conor Casey (FSV Mainz/GER), Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian McBride (Fulham FC/ENG), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)

Manager: Bruce Arena