CHICAGO - U.S. Men's National Team manager Bruce Arena has called 23 players into camp to train for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Panama. Included on the 23-man roster are Wizards forward Josh Wolff and midfielder Kerry Zavagnin. The team will begin to assemble Sunday in Washington, D.C., and will train in the area prior to both matches.
The U.S. first meets El Salvador on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on pay-per-view. The team then returns home to face Panama four days later at RFK Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 13 in Washington, D.C. Kickoff for that match is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
"These next two matches will go a long way in determining our fate for advancing to the next round, " said Arena, who has led the U.S. on a 10-match unbeaten streak, the longest in team history. "We're looking forward to a good week of preparation, and will approach these games with the goal of getting six points and advancing to the final round."
Tickets for the Panama match, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET, are available at all Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster outlets and the RFK Stadium ticket office (stadium ticket office open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Fans can also purchase tickets online at ussoccer.com.
Cobi Jones is the senior statesman on the roster, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder's 163 caps good for the top spot on the all-time U.S. list, and fourth overall in the world. Jones tallied the last-second equalizer that gave the United States a 1-1 draw against Panama on Sept. 8 and a crucial point on the road. Fulham forward Brian McBride has a history of being a menace to the Salvadoran team. McBride has six goals all-time against the Azules, leading all U.S. scorers, and is second on the USA's all-time goal scoring charts with 25 goals. Returning to the U.S. strikeforce is Kansas City Wizards forward Josh Wolff, who scored the second goal in the USA's 3-2 series-clinching victory against Grenada on June 20. Dallas Burn forward Eddie Johnson, who is tied for the MLS lead in goal scoring (11), is still in search of his first cap with the senior team.
Arena has called three goalkeepers into Washington, including veteran Kasey Keller. The Tottenham Hotspur netminder is the USA's all-time leader in victories (39) and shutouts (34), which includes 10 wins and 12 shutouts in World Cup qualifying action. Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard returns to the fold after posting a 2-0 shutout win against the Azules in his first World Cup qualifying start on Sept. 4 in Foxboro. The 2004 EPL Goalkeeper of the Year earned his first cap for the United States in the 2-0 victory against El Salvador on Nov. 17, 2002 in Washington, D.C.
Two veterans of the 2002 World Cup make their return to the national team fold after recovering from injuries. Columbus Crew midfielder Tony Sanneh joins the U.S. for the first time since returning to MLS, the 32-year-old having scored in his last appearance for the USA, a 4-0 win against Honduras on June 2 in Foxboro. Colorado Rapids defender Pablo Mastroeni, who has played five times in 2004, last started in the 1-1 draw against Poland on July 11 in Chicago.
Youth is once again well served on the roster, with eight players under the age of 25. This group includes the trio of next generation leaders in DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey and Landon Donovan. Beasley continues to set the pace for U.S. attackers, his four goals best for the U.S. in 2004, and he remains the only player to appear in all 12 of the USA's matches in 2004. The PSV midfielder has recorded three goals in 2006 World Cup qualifying action so far, including a pair in the USA's 3-2 victory against Grenada on June 13 in Columbus, Ohio. Donovan is tied for the team lead in games started this year (11), having scored the insurance goal in the USA's first qualifier against El Salvador in September. The 2003 Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year became the youngest player in U.S. history to reach 50 caps when he started in the USA's victory against Grenada to open 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying in Columbus.
The MetroStars make the largest contribution to the roster, sending three players led by team captain Eddie Pope. Jonny Walker has been a consistent call up, earning his first three caps for the U.S. in 2004. Eddie Gaven became the fourth youngest player in U.S. history to make an appearance for the senior team (17 years and 260 days of age) in the July 11 match against Poland.
The U.S. leads Group 1 with five points from three matches. The top two teams in the group will advance to the final round of qualifying that begins next year. The four-team group concludes for the U.S. on Nov. 17 against Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio.
ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard (Manchester United), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur), Jonny Walker (MetroStars)
Defenders (8): Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Tony Sanneh (Columbus Crew)
Midfielders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Landon Donovan, (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Clint Mathis (Hannover 96), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards)
Forwards (4): Conor Casey (FSV Mainz), Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn), Brian McBride (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)