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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

August 28, 2008
CUBAN CONNECTION
Bradley names team for WCQ


CHICAGO — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 20 players that will train in advance of the pair of FIFA World Cup Qualifying games against Cuba on Sept. 6 in Havana and Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 10 in Bridgeview, Ill.

Kickoff at Estado Pedro Marrero in Havana is slated for 8 p.m. ET, and will be shown live on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Four days later, Toyota Park will host its first ever World Cup qualifier when the U.S. takes on T&T on Sept. 10. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be shown live on ESPN2 and Galavision.

Of the 20 players Bradley has named for the upcoming two fixtures, 16 were part of the squad that claimed an historic 1-0 victory against Guatemala at the Estadio Mateo Flores on Aug. 20 in Guatemala City. The win, the United States' first World Cup qualifying victory in Guatemala, gave Bradley's side an important three points to open the semifinal round. The team will begin gathering in Miami on Aug. 31 and assemble throughout the week before departing on Sept. 4 for Cuba. From Havana, the team will travel to Chicago on Sept. 7, where preparations will continue ahead of the Sept. 10 game against Trinidad and Tobago.

“These next two games are very important to help us position ourselves to advance to the final stage,” said Bradley. “With the win against Guatemala, we have put ourselves in a good situation at the start of the semifinal round. I was very pleased with the way our team stuck together in a difficult environment. We need to have that same type of effort in the matches against Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago.”

Thirteen players on the roster ply their trade overseas, led by defender Carlos Bocanegra and goalkeeper Tim Howard. Bocanegra captained the U.S. side to the victory in Guatemala, the Rennes defender heading in the winning goal off a DaMarcus Beasley corner kick. Howard made an impressive seven saves in the win, good enough for his third clean sheet in four all-time World Cup qualifying appearances.

The U.S. holds a 5-1-1 record against Cuba, having met twice previously in World Cup qualifying action way back in 1949.

Trinidad & Tobago, by comparison, is a much more familiar opponent for the United States. The U.S. holds an unbeaten 8-0-2 record against T&T in World Cup qualifying, the teams having squared off in the final round hexagonal in 2005.

Six players from the 2008 Olympic Games link up with the full team. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored two goals in China, while Maurice Edu, newly transferred to Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League, played all three games in the U.S. backline. Since the summer of 2007, Michael Bradley has appeared in four international tournaments at both the youth and full national team levels, and this year the Heerenveen midfielder leads the full team in minutes played. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan returns to fold having collected consecutive shutouts against Barbados in the second round series, and defender Marvell Wynne joins the team after first featuring for the U.S. against Argentina at the 2007 Copa America tournament in Venezuela. Michael Orozco, the only uncapped player on the roster, gets his first look in camp at the full international level.

The U.S. has only traveled to Cuba once in its history, grabbing a 5-2 victory in Havana in 1947. Overall, the U.S. boasts a 9-2-6 all-time record against Caribbean nations during World Cup qualifying, having not lost on Caribbean soil since a 3-0 loss to Canada in Port au Prince, Haiti in 1976. On home soil, the U.S. possesses an unblemished 10-0-0 record against Trinidad & Tobago, with six of the victories coming via shutout.
U.S. National Team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton FC)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Los Angeles Galaxy)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City)

   
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