USA End World Cup Qualifying as #1 For First Time Ever Select Hamburg as World Cup Home Base

FOXBORO Mass. (From USSoccer.com) — The U.S. Men’s National Team finished their 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory over Panama on a blustery evening at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Mass. to finish atop the CONCACAF Hexagonal for the first time in their history.

After a scoreless first half Kyle Martino and Taylor Twellman both scored their first international goals in a seven-minute span to give the U.S. a 7-2-1 overall record in the final round of qualifying. The victory coupled with Mexico’s 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago put the U.S. tied at 22 points with their border rival but the U.S. won the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 3-2 aggregate score.

The U.S. which secured their spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup back on September 3 with a 2-0 shutout of Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus Ohio will learn the venue in which they will play their group matches on December 9 2005 at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Leipzig Germany.

"It was a good win and good experience for a lot of players said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. "I’ve been told that we finished first in the group which is nice but wasn’t critical. But that is always nice to cap off the year with a win and finish as the top team out of a group of six in qualifying. That’s a great accomplishment for our group. We had a fantastic year here at home with the five wins and the 15 points which is the name of the game. Great year."

The U.S. finally broke through in the 51st minute when Martino scored his first international goal on a stunning one-timer from just beyond the left corner of the six-yard box. The goal started off a throw-in from the left sideline by Justin Mapp to Chris Albright who chipped the ball into the left side of the penalty area for the streaking Martino. The Columbus Crew midfielder blasted the ball out of the air past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo from the tough angle skimming it off the left post before it finally rested in the right side netting.

Six minutes later the U.S. secured the victory when Twellman also tallied his first strike in international play by capitalizing on a Panama defensive miscue. Danny Califf cleared a ball from the U.S. defensive half up the field and defender Felipe Baloy slid in to control the ball but instead knocked it behind him in the air. Twellman beat the onrushing Penedo to the loose ball heading it past him just outside the box and then slipping the ball into the open net before the backtracking Luis Moreno could get in front to close down the angle.

With the victory the U.S. finished undefeated at home during the qualifying campaign going 8-0-1 with all eight victories coming by shutout. During the entire 18-game World Cup qualifying campaign the U.S. compiled a 12-2-4 record with 10 shutouts scoring 35 goals for while allowing just 11 goals against.

The U.S. remains undefeated against Panama all-time now holding a 4-0-2 advantage and increased its impressive record in Foxboro to 14-1-4 with the 19 games almost split evenly between Gillette Stadium (9) and the old Foxboro Stadium (10).

A total of three players earned their first international cap with the MNT with Brian Carroll and Justin Mapp getting the starting nod while Ricardo Clark came on in reserve in the second half. Danny Califf started in central defense for his first World Cup qualifying appearance in 13 caps.

In the first half the U.S. was outshot by Panama 5-2 but had the best opportunity when Penedo saved Clint Dempsey’s close range attempt in the 14th minute. Santino Quaranta dropped in the first of his numerous dangerous services from the right wing finding Dempsey at the penalty spot but his first touch got away from him and rolled towards goal. He was able to run it down at the six-yard box but his shot attempt was blocked by Penedo who was able to stand his ground to make the point-blank save.

While Quaranta was serving in crosses from the right flank Mapp was also making an impact on the opposite end of the field taking on players and starting attacking runs on goal.

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was only tested three times overall all in the first half and was up to the task on each attempt to snag his sixth shutout. While he didn’t make a save in the second half he did well to come off his line to clear two through balls away in back-to-back minutes clearing the first with his hands and the following with his feet.

In the 87th minute Dely Valdes had the chance to cut the lead in half when Brian Ching was called for a handball in the penalty box but his low attempt was wide left. Ching committed the handball while trying to bring down a Panama corner kick at the far end of the box the ball hitting his left arm after taking the first touch off his chest.

Trinidad & Tobago clinched fourth place and a playoff spot against Bahrain the fifth place team from Asia with their win against Mexico in Port of Spain Trinidad. Trinidad & Tobago will take on Bahrain for a spot in 2006 FIFA World Cup in a two-game head-to-head series that will take place on Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16. Guatemala was left out of the World Cup despite a 3-1 win against Costa Rica at home as they finished in fifth place with 11 points two points behind the Soca Warriors.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Panama
Date: October 12 2005
Competition: FIFA World Cup qualifier
Venue: Gillette Stadium – Foxboro Mass. USA
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Attendance: 9192
Weather: Windy 52 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
PAN 0 0 0


Scoring:
USA – Kyle Martino (Chris Albright) 51st minute
USA – Taylor Twellman 57.

Lineups:

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 8-Jonathan Spector 22-Chad Marshall 12-Danny Califf 5-Chris Albright; 16-Brian Carroll 10-Kyle Martino (13-Ricardo Clark 68) 2-Clint Dempsey; 21-Santino Quaranta 20-Taylor Twellman (9-Brian Ching 74) 19-Justin Mapp (14-Steve Ralston 58)
Subs not used: 24-Matt Reis 6-Jay Heaps 7-Daniel Hernandez 23-Eddie Pope
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.

PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 5-Felipe Baloy 3-Luis Moreno 6-Gabriel Gomez 2-Joel Solanilla; 4-Ubaldo Guardia 10-Angel Lombardo (19-Gabriel Torres 62) 7-Jorge Dely Valdes 8-James Brown (13-Roman Torres 62) 11-Luis Gallardo (18-Anthony Basile 62); 9-Julio Dely Valdes (capt.)
Subs not used: 12-Jose Calderon 17-Edwin Aguilar
Head Coach: Jose Hernandez

Misconduct Summary:
none

Officials:
Referee: Gilberto Alcala (MEX)
1st Asst.: Arturo Velasquez (MEX)
2nd Asst.: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
Fourth Official: Manuel Glower (MEX)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Brian Carroll

2006 FIFA World Cup Final Standings – CONCACAF Final Round

Team P W L D GF:GA GD PTS
United States * 10 7 2 1 16:6 +10 22
Mexico * 10 7 2 1 22:9 +13 22
Costa Rica * 10 5 4 1 15:14 +1 16
Trinidad & Tobago^ 10 4 5 1 10:15 -5 13
Guatemala 10 3 5 2 16:18 -2 11
Panama 10 0 8 2 4:21 -17 2

* clinched spot in FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
^ clinched playoff spot against fifth-place team from Asia (Bahrain)

U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM SELECTS HAMBURGAS BASE CAMP FOR 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP IN GERMANY (From USSoccer.com) - The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will use the city of Hamburg as their home base throughout the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup being staged in 12 venues in Germany from June 9 to July 9 2006. The U.S. will learn the venue in which they will play their group matches on December 9 2005 at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Leipzig Germany.

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and the northern most FIFA World Cup venue. It is located at the confluence of the Elbe and Alster Rivers where it serves as Germany’s international trade hub as the second largest port in Europe.

The selection of Hamburg often referred to as the "Venice of the North culminates an inspection process conducted by U.S. Soccer across a 16-month period in which all 12 FIFA World Cup venues were closely examined. In Hamburg the U.S. MNT will have the benefit of both world-class training facilities and accommodations. The team will also be able to take advantage of the ease of traveling in and out of the city of 1.7 million people with the Hamburg airport being located within a close proximity to the city’s downtown area.

"We looked at a number of venues throughout Germany to base our team said U.S. manager Bruce Arena "and felt Hamburg was clearly the best choice. We had great success in 2002 staging our operations in one location (Seoul South Korea) and traveling into our venues for games and we feel that strategy will work for us again in 2006. Regardless of the venues we are eventually drawn into the excellent transportation infrastructure in Germany allows us the luxury of choosing any city in the country as our base and clearly Hamburg has as much or more to offer than any city in Germany."

One of the criteria used in selecting Hamburg as the USA’s home base included the city’s fine selection of first-class hotel accommodations located within a 30-minute drive to the USA’s training ground. That training location is a premium facility with playing surfaces that replicate those in the stadiums being used for the FIFA World Cup. Additionally the city’s downtown setting will have an atmosphere in which the players and their families can experience the many facets of the World Cup.

Hamburg whose official city name is the "Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg will serve as a World Cup venue for four first-round games and a quarterfinal match. Games will be played at the 45442 capacity AOL Arena which opened in 2000 and is home to Bundesliga club Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV).

The city is situated where the Aster River flows into the larger Elbe River which flows into the North Sea. The city center is beautifully situated around two artificial lakes the Aussenalster (Outer Alster) and the Binnenalster (Inner Alster) which are formed by the Alster River as it joins the Elbe.

Contributing to U.S. Soccer’s decision to base their operations in Hamburg the leadership of the city through First Mayor Ole von Beust and his entire staff were very accommodating in showcasing the city which includes magnificent promenades and cultural activities. The city is also known for its popular nightlife on the famous Reeperbahn and as Germany’s capital of both music and publishing with numerous magazines and the German press agency (the DPA) calling the city home.

HAMBURG FACTS

Population: 1.7 million (City of Hamburg) 4.3 million (Greater Hamburg Area)
Stadium: FIFA World Cup Stadium Hamburg
Capacity: 45442
Major Events Hosted: 1974 World Cup; 1988 European Championships
Bundesliga Club: Hamburger SV (HSV)
3rd Bundesliga Club: FC St. Pauli
Also Known As: "Venice of the North