Rapids Striker Jeff Cunningham Called Up to U.S. Men's National Team

DENVER CO (August 10 2005) — Colorado Rapids forward and Major League Soccer’s current leading goalscorer Jeff Cunningham is among the 20 players that were selected by the U.S. Men’s National Team Manager Bruce Arena to prepare for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday August 17 in Hartford Connecticut.

Kickoff at Rentschler Field is set for 6:00 p.m. MT and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo at 10:30 pm MT. Fans can also follow all the U.S. matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.

The U.S. roster will boast the two top scorers in Major League Soccer: Colorado Rapids forward Jeff Cunningham brings his 11 league goals into the U.S. mix for the first time this year while Revolution forward Taylor Twellman sits tied for second on the MLS scoring charts with nine goals.

The U.S. sits in second place in the final round hexagonal with a 4-1-0 record while Trinidad is desperate for a victory with only four points from five matches. While the U.S. team cannot qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with a win on Aug. 17 the picture will certainly become a lot clearer after the evening’s matches are completed. (For a complete look at 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region visit the competitions page at ussoccer.com.)

"I'm confident the roster we've selected will help us secure three points in what figures to be a critical game in our World Cup qualifying effort said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena who holds a 17-5-7 lifetime record in qualifying. "We are facing the usual circumstances of injuries and suspensions which is all part of the process. Having said that I'm certain we can be successful on Aug. 17 in Hartford."

U.S. captain Claudio Reyna returns to the fold after missing the last two World Cup qualifiers. The 32-year-old midfielder has made only one appearance for the USA in 2005 getting 90 minutes in the Mexico qualifier in March. Also rejoining the ranks is midfielder Eddie Lewis whose 54th minute goal proved the game-winner in the USA’s 2-1 victory against Trinidad in the opening match of final round qualifying on Feb. 9 in Port-of-Spain. Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard makes only his second appearance of the year in a U.S. camp having recovered from a shoulder injury that he rested in the off-season.

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan continues to set the pace for U.S. scoring in World Cup qualifying tallying seven goals and eight assists. The only player to appear in all 13 of the USA’s matches in 2006 qualifying he has recorded at least one point in 12 of 13 games on the road to Germany. Fulham forward Brian McBride is one step away from history. His nine career goals in qualifying are tied for the most in U.S history along with Earnie Stewart. McBride is second all-time on the U.S. scoring charts his 28 goals now six shy of the mark set by Eric Wynalda. Meantime PSV Eindhoven midfielder DaMarcus Beasley continues to demonstrate his valuable presence tallying three goals and four assists in 2005 already good for a career-best in a single year with the full team.

Backstopping the U.S. will be heralded goalkeeper Kasey Keller fresh off of captaining the U.S. team to their third Gold Cup championship last month. The 15-year veteran has made 29 appearances in World Cup qualifying the most of any goalkeeper in U.S. history and just one behind all-time leaders Cobi Jones Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart. He has 16 shutouts in qualifying action to add to his career total of 42 also a team record.

The U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago have played nine times in World Cup qualifying with the U.S. compiling an undefeated record of seven wins and two ties. The U.S. has not surrendered a goal to Trinidad & Tobago in a home qualifier since a 1-1 tie in Torrance Calif. on May 13 1989 and has recorded a shutout in six of their nine overall qualifying matches.

The U.S. team will report to the Hartford area Aug. 14 after the completion of league matches over the weekend. With the match scheduled on a friendly date as designated on the FIFA international coordinated calendar players need only be released by their clubs 48 hours prior to kickoff.

After Hartford the USA’s next qualifier is a marquee matchup with Mexico on Sept. 3 in Columbus Ohio. A sold-out crowd at Crew Stadium will witness the teams’ first meeting in qualifying on U.S. soil since the U.S. downed the Mexicans 2-0 on Feb. 28 2001 in the very same venue.

To date the U.S. is halfway through the 10-match schedule in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. 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.

--Complete U.S. Roster Below --

ROSTER BY POSITION

Goalkeepers (3) – Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy) Tim Howard (Manchester United) Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Defenders (5) – Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy) Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus) Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards) Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege) Greg Vanney (FC Dallas)

Midfielders (8) – Chris Armas (Chicago Fire) DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven) Bobby Convey (Reading FC) Eddie Lewis (Leeds United) John O’Brien (ADO Den Haag) Santino Quaranta (D.C. United) Steve Ralston (New England Revolution) Claudio Reyna (Manchester City)

Forwards (4) – Jeff Cunningham (Colorado Rapids) Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) Brian McBride (Fulham FC) Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)

U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM STAFF

Head Coach: Bruce Arena (Fairfax Va.)
Assistant Coach: Glenn Myernick (Denver)
Assistant Coach: Curt Onalfo (Fairfax Va.)
Goalkeeper Coaches: Milutin Soskic (Aliso Viejo Calif.)
Phil Wheddon (Monroe Conn.)
Fitness Coach: Pierre Barrieu (Charlottesville Va.)
General Manager: Pam Perkins (Los Angeles)
Trainers: Jim Hashimoto (Wilmington Del.)
Dave Andrews (Seattle)
Doctor: Bert Mandlebaum (Los Angeles)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Ryan Maxfield (Los Angeles)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago)