4 Rapids Players Called Into US Camp to Prepare for World Cup Qualifiers vs. Mexico & Guatemala

CHICAGO (Colorado Rapids Media Relations) — U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena has called four Rapids and 18 other MLS players into camp to begin preparations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico on March 27 and Guatemala three days later. Kickoff at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is set for 12 p.m. CT while the match against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT on March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham Ala. Fans can follow the matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.

The Colorado Rapids are tied for the lead among MLS teams in contributing the most players to the US camp with 4. The Rapids contingent is led by team captain Pablo Mastroeni who played an inspired 66 minutes for the Americans against Trinidad & Tobago 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Joe Cannon and defender Ritchie Kotschau who were both also called into the US Camp in advance of the match vs. Trinidad and defender Nat Borchers who last saw action with the National Team as part of the US U-23’s that participated in the CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2004 Olympics.

The Rapids will also be hosting a viewing party for the USA vs. Mexico match on March 27 at Brooklyn's at the Pepsi Center located at 901 Auraria Parkway. The viewing party will be free and open to all fans and will include food and drink specials. For more information please call the Rapids at (303) 405-6123.

Team USA will play two preparation matches in advance of the qualifiers. The U.S. first hosts Colombia on March 9 in Fullerton CA. Kickoff at Titan Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m PT. The USA then makes their third-ever appearance in Albuquerque NM as they welcome Honduras for a 2:30 p.m. MT kickoff at University Stadium on March 19.

"We are about to enter an important phase of World Cup qualifying and it requires that we improve in our preparation for the next set of games said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "With nearly a month to prepare a solid schedule of friendlies and the introduction of high altitude training we feel that we can put ourselves in a good position to get results from the games against Mexico and Guatemala."

The 22-man training camp squad that will gather in Carson CA is composed entirely of domestic-based players. The European-based players are expected to begin arriving into camp March 20.

The experience in the squad starts in the back led by Real Salt Lake defender Eddie Pope the top capwinner on the roster with 67 international appearances. After a standout performance in the USA’s 2-0 victory in Trinidad to open final round qualifying play Pope has now made 28 appearances in World Cup qualifiers good for third place on the USA’s all-time list behind Earnie Stewart (30) and Cobi Jones (29).

FC Dallas striker Ed Johnson has continued his torrid scoring pace having netted six goals in his first four matches with the national team. Scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 win in Trinidad he became the only player in U.S. history to score in his first four appearances and one of three players to score in four consecutive games.

Besides the Colorado Rapids 2 other MLS teams are contributing four players each to the Carson camp. Long-time regular Frankie Hejduk heads up the Columbus Crew contingent while the New England Revolution send the same quartet that reported to the last training camp in January.

More than a month of continuous activity for the national team begins in Carson this Sunday where the team will remain until March 10. From there it is off to Colorado Springs where the squad will undergo high altitude training until a short flight south to Albuquerque for the March 19 match vs. Honduras. The next day the U.S. will return to Colorado Springs to complete their preparations before departing for the March 27 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Mexico in Mexico City.

Tickets for the Colombia match at Titan Stadium are on sale and range in price levels from $15 to $40. Tickets will also go on sale by phone (213-480-3232 in L.A.; 714-740-2000 in Orange County; 619-220-8497 in San Diego) and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson's-May Wherehouse Music and Tower Records) and are available through ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.

Tickets for the Honduras match in Albuquerque range in price levels from $18 to $60. Tickets can be purchased online at ussoccer.com by calling 505-925-5858 or 800-905-3315 by visiting any Tickets.com retail outlet (including Raley's or Oshman's stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe) and at the UNM Ticket Offices at The Pit and the UNM Bookstore. A limited number of special "On Field" seats are also available at $125.

After Mexico the USA will open its home schedule of final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham Ala. Tickets ranging in price from $18 to $55 are available online at ussoccer.com all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix and Coconuts) and by phone at 1-800-277-1700. Groups of 15 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745 ext. 119.

The U.S. will play 10 games in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup from Feb. 9 – Oct. 13 2005. The USA Costa Rica Guatemala Mexico Panama and Trinidad & Tobago are competing for three automatic berths to the World Cup finals in Germany. The fourth-place finisher will face the fifth-place team from the Asian Football Confederation in a home-and-home series to determine the last entrant into the tournament.

US Men’s National Team Training Camp Roster
Feb. 28-March 20 2005 – Carson California and Colorado Springs Colorado

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. DOB Caps/Goals Hometown Club
Albright Chris D 6’1