Bradley Names 20-Man Roster For World Cup Qualifier Against Mexico

Courtesy of US Soccer:

CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2008) — 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 on Feb. 11 in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff for the USA’s most anticipated match of the final round is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and Univision. Fans will also be able to listen to the match on 75 affiliates of the Fútbol de Primera Radio Network, and can follow live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

The match on Wednesday will mark the third straight time that Columbus Crew Stadium has hosted the home leg of the final round World Cup qualifying series between the United States and Mexico. Tickets sold out within 90 minutes of going on public sale.

Eighteen of the 20 players on the roster participated in the first two rounds of World Cup qualifying last year. Bradley has called on a dozen players from foreign-based clubs, led by team captain Carlos Bocanegra and 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Tim Howard, who is unbeaten in four matches against Mexico and has posted an impressive five shutouts in five all-time World Cup qualifying appearances. Clint Dempsey finished 2008 tied for the team lead in goal scored (4), with all of his strikes coming in World Cup qualifying action. DaMarcus Beasley is one of four players on the roster who started in the last World Cup qualifier against Mexico, scoring the insurance goal in the 2-0 win on Sept. 3, 2005, in Columbus. Oguchi Onyewu, who set up Steve Ralston for the game-winner that day, scored a career-high three goals for the U.S. in 2008, including a header against Mexico in the 2-2 draw in Houston. Michael Bradley, who scored the game-winning goal in the 3-0 semifinal round qualifying win against Trinidad & Tobago, tied with Heath Pearce for the most appearances for the team in 2008, each starting in 11 of 14 matches. José Francisco Torres – who plays in the Mexican Primera División – is the only player on the roster who is not based in Europe or the United States.

Landon Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 105 international appearances, the USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists now one goal shy of tying Brian McBride for the most career goals in World Cup qualifying (10). 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.

On the domestic front, eight players from the recently completed training camp at The Home Depot Center traveled to Columbus. The current MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew contributes two locals in Frankie Hejduk and Robbie Rogers. Hejduk, now in his fourth qualifying cycle, has eight career appearances and two goals against Mexico. Brian Ching scored four goals through the first two rounds of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the striker now just one shy of reaching double digits in goals for the United States. Sacha Kljestan – one of six 2008 Olympians on the roster – became only the second player in U.S. history to score his first three goals in the same game when the U.S. collected a 3-2 win against Sweden on Jan. 24 at The Home Depot Center.

The Columbus Crew Stadium match will be the sixth World Cup qualifier hosted by the nine-year-old venue. The U.S. has a 3-0-2 record in qualifying and an unbeaten 4-0-3 all-time record in the stadium. In the first meeting on Feb. 28, 2001, goals by Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart paced the U.S. to a 2-0 victory. Four years later on Sept. 3, 2005, goals by Steve Ralston and DaMarcus Beasley earned the United States another 2-0 win and officially booked their place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

The match on Feb. 11 will mark the 55th meeting between the USA and Mexico. The U.S. has dominated the series of late, collecting an 8-0-2 home record against Mexico since 2000. During that span, the USA has netted 17 goals, while the Mexicans have scored only three on American soil in this decade.

Under head coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. has a 2-0-1 record against their border rivals, including a 2-1 victory in the 2007 Gold Cup final in Chicago that delivered the U.S. its second-consecutive regional championship and a place in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, where they will play current World Champion Italy, Brazil and Egypt.

The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 4/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 7/5 SO)

DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 16/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 1/0), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland: 3/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 14/1), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 12/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 7/0), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 21/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 6/2), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 3/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 6/0), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew: 0/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 1/0)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez C.D.: 3/1), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 12/6), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF: 1/1) Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 12/4), Landon Donovan (Bayern Munich: 25/9)

*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

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