US Team Soccer Names Against Mexico
CHICAGO, ILL. — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 20 players that will train in advance of the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Mexico that will take place Aug. 12 in Mexico City. The U.S. seeks its first-ever victory on Mexican soil, with kickoff set for 3 p.m. CT at Estadio Azteca, famed for its grueling combination of altitude, smog and more than 100,000 spectators. The match will be broadcast live on Telemundo, mun2, and the Futbol de Primera Radio Networks. Fans can follow live online via ussoccer.com’s newly upgraded MatchTracker and twitter.com/ussoccer.
Additionally, ESPN will provide unprecedented studio coverage, highlighted by a 30-minute SportsCenter 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Special from outside Estadio Azteca beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT. The special marks the first time in its 30-year history that ESPN will air a live pre-match show for a soccer event it is not televising.
The U.S. team will begin gathering Aug. 9 in Miami, and will depart for Mexico on Tuesday. With a lifetime record of 0-22-1 in Mexico and currently in second place of final round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. looks to pick up points on the road to start the second half of the hexagonal after posting a 3-1-1 record through five games. Mexico sits in fourth place in the group with a 2-3-0 record. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while the fourth place team will participate in a two-leg playoff against the fifth place team from South America.
“We are excited about the challenge and the opportunity,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who guided the U.S. to a second-place finish in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. “Mexico is a very good team, and we are all aware of their great success playing in Mexico City. Every game in qualifying is important, and this is a chance to gain further ground in the group. Our team continually tries to raise the bar, and certainly the chance to win for the first time in Mexico is a welcome opportunity.”
Seventeen players on the roster return from the group that defeated No. 1-ranked Spain and finished runners up to Brazil in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June. Tim Howard, who earned the Golden Glove award in South Africa as the tournament’s best goalkeeper, is unbeaten in five matches against Mexico and has posted an impressive five shutouts in seven all-time World Cup qualifying appearances. Clint Dempsey, honored with the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the Confederations Cup, tallied three times in South Africa, including goals against Spain and Brazil. Oguchi Onyewu turned in one of the stand out performances for the U.S. team, his efforts helping ignite a transfer to AC Milan of the Italian Serie A.
Nine players in this group appeared in the USA’s comprehensive 2-0 victory against Mexico on Feb. 11 in Columbus to start final round qualifying, including ussoccer.com Man of the Match Michael Bradley, who scored both goals that day.
Led by team captain Carlos Bocanegra, four players have appeared in all five of the USA’s final round qualifiers thus far. Landon Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 115 international appearances. Long the USA’s all-time leading scorer in both goals and assists, his strike in the 2-1 qualifying win against Honduras on June 6 in Chicago lifted Donovan to the top of the team’s all-time scoring list in World Cup qualifying with 11 career goals. Donovan has been a particular nemesis to El Tri, having scored four times in his career against Mexico, highlighted by the second goal in a 2-0 win in the Round of 16 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Jozy Altidore, who is set to go on loan to Hull City of the English Premier League pending work permit approval, leads all U.S. scorers in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals, including a record-setting hat trick performance in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago. With the three goals, the 19-year-old Altidore became the youngest player in U.S. history to record a hat trick.
Chad Marshall and Stuart Holden are making their first appearance on a World Cup qualifying roster, both coming off solid performances during the USA’s run in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Also returning from the Gold Cup roster is forward Brian Ching, who is tied with Bradley, Dempsey and Donovan with four goals each in the current qualifying campaign. Veteran defender Steve Cherundolo returns to the fold for the first time in the final round after being sidelined by injury through the first half of the hexagonal.
The U.S. has never won in Mexico, and has only earned one draw. Down a man for nearly an hour, the U.S. earned a 0-0 draw on Nov. 2, 1997, in World Cup qualifying at Estadio Azteca. It has been a much different story on U.S. soil, with Mexico finally putting the brakes on the USA’s decade of dominance at home with their victory in the Gold Cup final. Prior to that match, the U.S. had posted an unbeaten 9-0-2 home record against El Tri dating back to 1999.
Costa Rica currently leads the group on 12 points, followed by the United States with 10 points. In other CONCACAF qualifying action Aug. 12, third place Honduras hosts Costa Rica while winless Trinidad & Tobago welcome El Salvador. Following this single fixture date, the U.S. will host El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sept. 5 in Salt Lake City, Utah, before traveling to face Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 9 in Port-of-Spain.
U.S. Men’s National Team Roster vs. Mexico
Estadio Azteca; Mexico City
Aug. 12, 2009
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 11/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 21/3), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover: 18/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 2/0), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew: 0/0), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan: 16/1), Jonathan Spector (West Ham: 2/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 10/4), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 5/0), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 17/4), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus: 1/0), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo: 0/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 5/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal: 8/5), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids: 5/0), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux: 2/1), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 30/11)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals