U.S. Prepares for El Salvador with Mostly Domestic Based Group
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named 23 players to the training camp roster that will gather on Feb. 10 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The group, comprised entirely of domestic-based players, will prepare for the USA’s second match of 2010, a friendly against El Salvador on Feb. 24 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and TeleFutura beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer.
“These are important opportunities for these players as we continue to formulate our plans for the roster for the World Cup,” said Bradley. “This camp and the game against El Salvador provide a chance for the coaching staff to get one more long look at this group. El Salvador demonstrated during World Cup qualifying that they are a difficult team to beat, so we expect a good match. We had great fan support in our last visit to Raymond James Stadium, and we are looking forward to getting back to Tampa.”
The group features 23 players from Major League Soccer, many of whom were a part of the training camp which opened 2010 last month. Twenty-one players return from that roster, including 10 of the starting 11 from the Jan. 23 match against Honduras. The match against El Salvador will be one of the last games before the 2010 FIFA World Cup roster is named in May and gives the group a chance to make an impression on Bradley’s coaching staff with an eye towards South Africa.
Brian Ching is the roster’s leading capwinner with 43 appearances and also its leading goalscorer with 10 goals. The Houston Dynamo veteran made 10 World Cup qualifying appearances during the USA’s run to South Africa, scoring four times and adding one assist. Heath Pearce is second in the squad with 29 caps, including nine starts during World Cup qualifying, while defender Jonathan Bornstein’s 26 appearances, including four at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, provide more experience at the back. Conversely, there are four uncapped players in Bradley’s squad. Kevin Alston, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez and Chris Pontius were all part of the January training camp but did not feature in the game against Honduras.
The roster boasts several year-end award winners, including MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (Zach Thornton), Visa Defender of the Year (Chad Marshall), Budweiser Golden Boot Winner (Jeff Cunningham) and Gatorade Rookie of the Year (Gonzalez). Marshall and Cunningham were both starters in the USA’s last outing.
Five sides from MLS contribute three players to the squad. MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and Chivas USA each send a trio of players to the camp in Carson. There is also a first call-up for a member of the expansion Philadelphia Union in defender Michael Orozco, who joins up with the USA having made one previous appearance for Bradley’s side.
Tampa, one of 18 cities that will be included in the USA’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022, will be playing host to the U.S. team for the fifth time. In the USA’s last visit to Raymond James Stadium on March 25, 2007, Landon Donovan recorded the second hat trick of his career in front of a record-setting crowd for a friendly in the state of Florida as the U.S. cruised to a 3-1 victory against Ecuador.
Six members of the squad played in Raymond James Stadium during 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. Robbie Findley, Eddie Gaven, Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, Orozco and Marvell Wynne were all part of Peter Nowak’s U-23 team which played three games in Tampa in the successful qualifying run to the Beijing Olympics. McCarty hails from nearby Winter Park, Fla., part of the Orlando metropolitan area.
Five players featured in World Cup qualifying against El Salvador during 2009. Pearce and Kljestan took part in the March 28 match in San Salvador, which finished 2-2, while Marshall, Bornstein and Kyle Beckerman all featured in the Sept. 5 come-from-behind 2-1 win in Sandy, Utah.
Following the El Salvador match, the United States will play third-ranked Netherlands on March 3 in Amsterdam, allowing the U.S. to face one of the top teams in the world prior to the start of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Kickoff at the Amsterdam ArenA is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer.
The U.S. Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. will open its sixth consecutive World Cup finals tournament against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, and will follow that game with matches against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Troy Perkins (D.C. United), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Zach Thornton (Chivas USA)
DEFENDERS (7): Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Michael Orozco (Philadelphia Union), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (4): Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) www.ussoccer.com
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