The Colorado Rapids announced they team will hold a special good luck "send-off" ceremony for Mastroeni at halftime of this Saturday's home game vs. DC United the last time Mastroeni will play in front of a home crowd before departing to Germany.
Mastroeni who is heading to his second consecutive World Cup (he also was with Team USA at Korea/Japan 2002) becomes the only Colorado resident to represent the Centennial State in the biggest sporting event in the world.
"This is definitely the pinnacle of my career said Mastroeni. "The first time around was amazing but it keeps on getting better. We have a tough group but I think we have the talent to come out of the first round. In the World Cup there are no small opponents and every game will be the most important one. It is simply a privilege to be able to play for my country and all American and Rapids soccer fans."
The Rapids’ Team Captain has compiled 46 caps with the US Men’s National Team since earning his first in a friendly match against Ecuador on June 7 2001. The skillful midfielder/defender was called into Bruce Arena’s World Cup squad for Japan/Korea 2002 despite having never appeared in a qualifying match.
In that World Cup Mastroeni started in three of the United States’ five matches as the Americans shocked several world powers to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 1930. The USA just missed out on reaching the semifinals and many thought they deserved to advance to the next round instead of Germany who recorded a narrow victory over the Red White & Blue.
Born in Mendoza Argentina and a naturalized American citizen the 29 year-old Mastroeni has been a mainstay in the U.S. side ever since. Since the ’02 World Cup he has played for the USA at the Confederations Cup and helped the Yanks to a third place finish at the Gold Cup in 2003 and first place finish in 2005.
The World Cup in Germany will mark the final round of a tournament that started two years ago and featured 194 national teams playing to get down to the final 32.
The FIFA World Cup is the most watched and attended sporting event in the world and takes place every 4 years. The cumulative television viewing audience of the 2002 World Cup was 28.8 billion viewers and more are expected this time around.
The United States will face Italy Ghana and the Czech Republic in first round play in Group E considered by many to be one of the toughest first-round groups in the entire tournament. The two teams with the best record will advance out of Group E to the Round of 16.
The first US game will be played in Gelsenkirchen on Monday June 12 when the US MNT faces the Czech Republic at 10:00 a.m. (MT). The Stars and Stripes will then take on Italy on Saturday June 17 at 12:00 p.m. (MT) in Kaiserslautern and will close their group play on June 22nd when they take on Ghana at 8:00 a.m. (MT) in Nuremberg.
UNITED STATES 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP ROSTER BY POSITION (All-time World Cup Roster Selections)
Goalkeepers (3): Marcus Hahnemann (2006) Tim Howard (2006) Kasey Keller (1990 1998 2002 2006)
Defenders (8): Carlos Bocanegra (2006) Steve Cherundolo (2002 2006) Jimmy Conrad (2006) Cory Gibbs (2006) Frankie Hejduk (1998 2002 2006) Eddie Lewis (2002 2006) Oguchi Onyewu (2006) Eddie Pope (1998 2002 2006)
Midfielders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (2002 2006) Bobby Convey (2006) Clint Dempsey (2006) Landon Donovan (2002 2006) Pablo Mastroeni (2002 2006) John O’Brien (2002 2006) Ben Olsen (2006) Claudio Reyna (1994 1998 2002 2006)
Forwards (4): Brian Ching (2006) Eddie Johnson (2006) Brian McBride (1998 2002 2006) Josh Wolff (2002 2006)