November 9, 2009
U.S. roster named for Slovakia friendly
CHICAGO — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 22 players that will train in advance of the match against 2010 World Cup qualifiers Slovakia on Nov. 14 in Bratislava, U.S. Soccer announced Monday morning.
|Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan was among those called up for the U.S. international friendly vs. Slovakia Nov. 14.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Kickoff for the USA’s first game against the Slovak national team is set for 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker as well at twitter.com/ussoccer.
The U.S. team began training this morning in Bratislava with 11 players, and the second half of the roster will be arriving during the next two days. Bradley will consider making changes to the squad following Saturday’s match, when the team will make their first ever visit to Denmark for the USA’s 24th and final match of the year. The 24 matches represent the third most games ever in a calendar for the U.S. The team set a record for the most games in official competitions in a year with 21 total, including the 10 final round matches the U.S. played to earn first place in CONCACAF qualifying for the FIFA World Cup and the five games that culminated in the final of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.
"These matches present a terrific opportunity to continue building on the nucleus of our team, and at the same time evaluate more of the player pool against very good opponents,” said Bradley. “We are very pleased with what we have accomplished in a long and challenging year, and we move forward with the goal of getting ourselves ready to be a competitive team in the World Cup.”
Many of the USA’s standout performers from 2009 will be in Slovakia, including team captain Carlos Bocanegra and midfielder Clint Dempsey. The Fulham-based attacker earned the Bronze Ball at the Confederations Cup, and has tallied three goals in as many games for his club. Michael Bradley earned four ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors this year, starting with a two-goal performance that gave the U.S. a 2-0 win against Mexico to open the final round of qualifying. Jozy Altidore led all U.S. scorers with six goals in 15 matches in 2009, including a hat trick against Trinidad & Tobago and the game-winner against No. 1-ranked Spain that vaulted the U.S. into the Confederations Cup final against Brazil. Altidore and Bocanegra are two of only three players to start all 10 of the final round qualifiers. In total, 18 players on the roster were part of the effort that led to USA’s sixth consecutive appearance in the World Cup, including Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who has posted three shutouts in five qualifiers during the campaign.
Two of the heroes of the final two qualifiers will be on display. Conor Casey’s 15th game for the national team proved memorable, his first two international goals sparking the comeback that led to a 3-2 victory in Honduras on Oct. 10 and secured the USA’s ticket to South Africa. The U.S. finished qualifying with a 5-3-1 road record, the best in CONCACAF, and was the only team to win two away games in the final round. Four days later in the 18th and final qualifier of the campaign, Jonathan Bornstein headed home a Robbie Rogers corner in the waning seconds of second half stoppage time to earn the U.S. a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica and first place in the group for the second consecutive cycle.
While 16 different clubs are represented on the roster, FC Dallas contributes the most with three players coming to Slovakia. In addition to Heath Pearce, MLS Golden Boot winner and MVP finalist Jeff Cunningham returns to the fold for the first time since 2005, while Dax McCarty earns his first call up to the full team. Additionally, both Marcus Hahnemann and Eddie Johnson will have a chance at their first appearance this year.
This is the first international meeting between the U.S. and Slovakia. The United States faced the former Czechoslovakia in their opening group match of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, falling 5-1 on June 10 in Florence. Slovakia have reached the World Cup for the first time since beginning competitive international football as an independent nation in 1993, following the division of the former Czechoslovakia into two independent states - Czech Republic and Slovakia. Despite their relative youth on the world stage, the Slovaks ousted group favorites Czech Republic and Poland, securing first place in Group 3 of UEFA Qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 away victory on Oct. 14 in blizzard-like conditions in Chorzow.
Four days later, the U.S. will play in Denmark for the first time. Kickoff at NRGi Park - the home stadium of AGF Aarhus-based midfielder Benny Feilhaber - is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on the ESPN networks. The match will be a record 11th international on foreign soil for the United States in 2009, and the USA’s first on European soil since facing Spain on June 4, 2008, in Santander. The U.S. and Denmark have met five times in their history and the teams have split the spoils with an even 1-1-3 record. In the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 20, 2007, at The Home Depot Center, both Bornstein and Kenny Cooper scored in their national team debuts in helping the U.S. to a 3-1 victory. The match was also the first under Bradley, and began his record-setting run of becoming the first coach in U.S. history to win his first three games in charge.
The U.s. roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton), Troy Perkins (Valerenga)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Eddie Johnson (Fulham)