U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 24 players that will train in Cary, N.C., ahead of a pair of international friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay.
The U.S. will first face two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Argentina on March 26 at New Meadowlands Stadium. Kickoff against the No. 4-ranked Argentines is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision. Three days later, the U.S. will face 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalists Paraguay at LP Field in Nashville, with Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura broadcasting that game live at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can follow both matches at ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
The group will begin gathering March 20 in North Carolina for training, and a travel roster will be chosen to head to New Jersey on March 24, where more than 52,000 tickets have been sold for the high profile friendly against Argentina. Following that match, a roster will be announced for the game in Nashville.
“This is an important opportunity to get our core group together along with some relatively newer faces as we consider the roster decisions for the Gold Cup this summer,” said Bradley. “We have not had these players together for quite some time, so this is a great chance to get in a solid week of training and then face two quality opponents in Argentina and Paraguay.”
The U.S. will be playing its first match on an international fixture date since last November. These two matches are the final games before the team gathers to prepare for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. will be seeking its fifth Gold Cup title, and a berth in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
New Jersey native Tim Howard enters camp with 27 career shutouts in 57 career appearances for the national team. He is one of six players on the roster that played all 390 minutes at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, along with midfielders Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, and defenders Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit and team captain Carlos Bocanegra. Donovan, who last appeared for the U.S. on Aug. 10 against Brazil at New Meadowlands Stadium, added all-time leading goalscorer for the U.S. in the World Cup to his long list of accomplishments.
Six players, including Howard and Bradley, will be traveling from England for the camp. Clint Dempsey became the second U.S. player to score in multiple World Cups with his strike against England this summer, and has nine Premier League goals for Fulham this season. Blackburn Rovers-based midfielder Jermaine Jones returns to the U.S. fold after making his first two appearances for the U.S. last October.
The New York Red Bulls are the only team to send two players to the training camp, the young duo of Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream joining Donovan and DeMerit in representing Major League Soccer.
Two players are still competing with their clubs in the UEFA Europa League. Maurice Edu and Glasgow Rangers took a 0-0 draw away from PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their Round of 16 series, while Oguchi Onyewu’s side FC Twente hold a 1-0 lead heading into the second leg of their series against Zenit St. Petersburg.
The German-based duo of FC Nürnberg defender Timothy Chandler and MSV Duisburg goalkeeper David Yelldell are receiving their first invitation to any U.S. national team. Zak Whitbread represented the United States at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2003, starting every match and scoring against Germany. Appearing in one match in Olympic qualifying in 2004, he is making his first appearance with the full team.
The U.S. has played Argentina nine times in their history, holding a lifetime record of 2-6-1 against the South American giants. The teams most recently met in 2008 at Giants Stadium, where they fought to a thrilling 0-0 draw in front of 78,682 rain-soaked fans. The two U.S. victories include a 3-0 upset of the defending champions in the group phase of the 1995 Copa America and a 1-0 win in 1999 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., when a Joe-Max Moore goal was the difference. The U.S. is making its second appearance at New Meadowlands Stadium, having played five-time FIFA World Cup Champion Brazil on Aug. 10, 2010, before 77,223 fans in the first match following the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The U.S. holds a 2-1-2 lifetime record against Paraguay, posting three shutouts. In addition to a 3-0 victory in the 1930 World Cup (July 17 in Montevideo, Uruguay), the USA collected a 2-0 win on July 6, 2003, in Columbus, Ohio. The teams last met at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela, where a young U.S. team fell 3-1 to the Paraguayans in Barinas after entering halftime with an even scoreline. The U.S. will be making their third appearance in Nashville. LP Field hosted a final round World Cup qualifier on April 1, 2009, when Jozy Altidore became the youngest player in U.S. history to record a hat trick, pacing the U.S. to a 3-0 victory against Trinidad &Tobago.
The United States will seek its fifth confederation championship title when they join Group C of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup along with Canada, Panama and Guadeloupe. The U.S. will first take on Canada on June 7 at 8 p.m. ET at Ford Field in Detroit. The team then travels south to face Panama on June 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., before rounding out group play against Guadeloupe on June 14 at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. CT.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Tim Howard (Everton), David Yelldell (MSV Duisburg)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Jonathan Bornstein (UANL Tigres), Timothy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), Oguchi Onyewu (FC Twente), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Zak Whitbread (Norwich City)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Michael Bradley (Aston Villa), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Mikkel Diskeruud (Stabaek), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (Blackburn Rovers), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt)