CHICAGO (Aug. 27, 2009) — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 24 players that will train in advance of the critical FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. first hosts El Salvador on Sept. 5 in Sandy, Utah (tickets). Kickoff at Rio Tinto Stadium is set for 6 p.m. MT., and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and TeleFutura. Four days later, the U.S. returns to Hasley Crawford Stadium to take on Trinidad & Tobago. The match kicks off in Port-of-Spain at 7 p.m. ET, with live coverage on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s newly upgraded MatchTracker.
The U.S. team will begin gathering Aug. 30 in Utah for training. Following the match against El Salvador, the U.S. team will travel Sept. 7 to Trinidad. The U.S. currently sits in third place in the final round hexagonal, collecting 10 points and a 3-2-1 record through six games. Costa Rica leads the pack with 12 points, while Honduras holds second place based on a superior goal differential to the United States. 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.
“Clearly these are very important games in our effort to qualify for 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who holds an unblemished 7-0-0 record at home in World Cup qualifying. “As we expected, qualifying in this region is very competitive. Both El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago will be hungry to get points from these matches, and we have an opportunity to position ourselves well to secure a berth for South Africa.”
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 missed the previous match in this round against El Salvador while serving a one-game suspension, has posted an impressive seven shutouts in 12 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. Dempsey is tied for second place in scoring for the U.S. in this qualifying cycle, netting four goals along with Michael Bradley, Brian Ching and Landon Donovan.
Led by team captain Carlos Bocanegra, four players have appeared in all six of the USA’s final round qualifiers thus far. Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 116 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. Now with 31 career World Cup qualifying caps, Donovan is poised to surpass Kasey Keller, Eddie Pope and Claudio Reyna as the USA’s leader in appearances in qualifying.
Jozy Altidore 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 on April 1 in Nashville, Tenn. With the three goals, the 19-year-old Altidore became the youngest player in U.S. history to record a hat trick. Altidore also scored the first goal to spark the USA’s comeback in the 2-2 draw on March 28 in El Salvador, marking the first time the team has faced and erased a two-goal deficit to earn a point on the road.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman and forward Robbie Findley are making their first appearance on a World Cup qualifying roster. Along with Robbie Rogers, they are only players on the roster without a cap in qualifying. Stuart Holden earned his first World Cup qualifying cap against Mexico. With his goal at Estadio Azteca, Charlie Davies now has recorded two goals in qualifying in three appearances.
The U.S. is playing for the first time at Rio Tinto Stadium, and only the second-ever match in the state of Utah. During qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, two goals from Donovan paced the U.S. to a 3-0 win against Costa Rica on June 4, 2005, at Rice Eccles Stadium in front of more than 40,000 fans.
Holding a lifetime record of 13-1-5 against El Salvador, the U.S. has never lost to the Salvadorans in World Cup qualifying (4-0-3). The team will be without the services of defender Oguchi Onyewu, who will be serving a one-match suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
This is the fourth consecutive World Cup qualifying cycle in which the U.S. and T & T have faced off, and the sixth overall since 1985. The U.S. holds a 10-1-2 record in qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago, including a 3-1-1 record on the road.
Following these matches, the U.S. will close out the 10-game, round robin final round with matches against Honduras and Costa Rica. The United States will travel to face Honduras on Oct. 10, and finishes group play on Oct. 14 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 12/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 22/3), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover: 19/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 3/0), Clarence Goodson (IK Start: 1/0), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew: 2/0), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan: 17/1), Jonathan Spector (West Ham: 2/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake: 0/0), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 11/4), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 6/0), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 18/4), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus: 2/0), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo: 1/0), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew: 0/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 5/0)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Hull City: 9/5), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids: 5/0), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 16/6), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux: 3/2), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 31/11), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake: 0/0)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals