- U.S. Sits in First Place in Group With Two Matches Remaining; Four Teams Remain in Contention for Three Automatic Berths to 2010 FIFA World Cup
- U.S. Takes on Honduras on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. MT in San Pedro Sula Looking to Spoil Hosts Perfect Record at Home in 2010 Qualifying
- Final Match of CONCACAF Qualifying Kicks Off at 8 p.m. ET on Oct. 14 at RFK Stadium Against Costa Rica
CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2009) â€” U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 22 players that will train in advance of the crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica that will determine if the United States automatically qualifies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. first travels to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras, with kickoff on Oct. 10 at the Estadio OlÃmpico Metropolitano set for 8 p.m. MT. Four days later, the U.S. returns home for the last match of final round qualifying when they will take on Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. (tickets). Kickoff at RFK Stadium is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.comâ€™s newly upgraded MatchTracker as well at twitter.com/ussoccer.
The U.S. currently sits in first place in the final round hexagonal, collecting 16 points and a 5-2-1 record through eight games. Only four points separate the top four teams with two games remaining, as Mexico sits one point behind the U.S., Honduras has 13 points and Costa Rica lurks just behind with 12 points. 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.
While a victory in either of its last two matches would ensure the USAâ€™s place in South Africa next year, there are several scenarios in which the U.S. could advance. In order to qualify on Oct. 10, the U.S. would need to earn at least as many points as Costa Rica that day â€“ with Costa Rica hosting Trinidad & Tobago, a team that has already been eliminated â€“ or Costa Rica would have to lose. If the U.S. does not qualify on Oct. 10, it would need at least a tie against Costa Rica on the final match day to guarantee a sixth consecutive appearance in the FIFA World Cup.
Advance tickets for the Costa Rica match starting at $35 are on sale now online at ussoccer.com, through all Washington-Baltimore Ticketmaster outlets (including Macyâ€™s stores), and by phone (Washington 202-397-SEAT (7328); Baltimore 410-547-SEAT (7328); Northern Virginia 703-573-SEAT (7328); out of state 1-800-551-SEAT (7328)). Groups of 20 or more can obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
â€œThese are hugely important games for us as we have the opportunity to clinch a spot in the 2010 FIFA World Cup,â€ said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who has led the U.S. to a 12-3-1 record in World Cup qualifying. â€œEach of these games presents an opportunity to advance, and we face two very different and difficult challenges against Honduras and Costa Rica. We have been preparing this group for the last three years to be ready for these situations, and we are confident in our ability to get the results we need to achieve our goal of qualifying for South Africa.â€
The U.S. roster remains largely unchanged from the team that collected a pair of victories against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago in the previous two qualifiers. The attack is led by Landon Donovan, who recently became the USAâ€™s all-time leader in World Cup qualifying appearances when he earned his 32nd and 33rd caps in the competition. Donovan has contributed to 10 of the USAâ€™s 14 goals in the final round of 2010 qualifying, amassing two goals and eight assists. He has also tied Cobi Jones for the most assists ever (9) for the U.S. in a calendar year. Jozy Altidoreâ€™s game-winning goal in the 2-1 win against El Salvador on Sept. 5 in Sandy, Utah, kept him atop the U.S. scoring chart in this qualifying cycle with six goals, while Clint Dempsey moved into second place with five goals when he tallied the tying goal in that game.
The U.S. defense is backstopped by goalkeeper Tim Howard, who earned the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. He has posted an impressive eight shutouts in 14 all-time World Cup qualifying appearances, including the 1-0 shutout against T&T on Sept. 9 in Port-of-Spain that gave the U.S. their first away victory in the final round. U.S. captain and defender Carlos Bocanegra is one of four players to have appeared in all eight of the USAâ€™s final round qualifiers thus far, along with Altidore, Dempsey and Donovan. He is second in minutes played in qualifying behind Donovan and just ahead of midfielder Michael Bradley, who earned ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors against T&T and has two game-winning goals and four total in 2010 qualifying. AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu is poised to earn his 50th international cap for the United States, while Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo is the only player in the group to have played in the USAâ€™s last visit to Honduras, earning his second-ever cap in a 2-1 victory on March 28, 2001, in the final round of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The Houston Dynamo contributes the most players to the roster, sending three to players to the camp that begins Oct. 4 in Miami. Ricardo Clark scored his second international goal and first in qualifying when he netted the critical game-winner against Trinidad & Tobago last month. Brian Ching is tied for third in scoring for the U.S. in this cycle with four goals, while Stuart Holden has entered as a substitute in the USAâ€™s last three qualifiers. Colorado Rapids forward Conor Casey sits in second place in the MLS scoring charts with 15 goals in 21 matches
Honduras holds an unblemished 8-0-0 record at home in 2010 qualifying, including five shutouts and two victories against regional rivals Mexico. During the final round of qualifying, there has been only a single loss at home for one of the top four teams, that coming when Costa Rica fell 3-0 to Mexico on Sept. 5 in San Jose. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 10-2-3 against Honduras, with a 3-1-1 record in World Cup qualifying. The U.S. is 2-1-1 lifetime on Honduran soil, with three of the four visits coming before 1994.
The U.S. faces Costa Rica on Oct. 14 in what could be the definitive match of World Cup qualifying in the friendly confines of RFK Stadium. The venue in the nationâ€™s capital has hosted the national team 18 times, and has been the site of 12 U.S. wins - more than any stadium in the world. Overall, the U.S. is 12-3-4 on East Capitol Street. The most recent victory came in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a 2-0 win against Honduras on July 8 in Group B, with goals from Santino Quaranta and Brian Ching. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 11-11-5 against Costa Rica. In their last 10 meetings, the U.S. holds an even 4-4-2 against the Ticos, with all four wins coming in the U.S. and all four losses coming in San Jose, Costa Rica.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
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GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 14/8 SO)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 24/3), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 4/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover: 19/0), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards: 1/0), Clarence Goodson (IK Start: 1/0), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan: 18/1), Jonathan Spector (West Ham: 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Borussia MÃ¶nchengladbach: 13/4), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 7/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 20/5), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus: 4/0), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo: 3/0), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew: 0/0), JosÃ© Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 6/0)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Hull City: 11/6), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids: 5/0), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 16/6), Kenny Cooper (1860 Munich: 1/1), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux: 5/2), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 33/11)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals