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Reyna ignores Advocaat message, plans to return to compete in Gold Cup.

By Robert Wagman

(Thursday, February 3, 2000) -- Despite intense pressure being put on him to remain with Glasgow Rangers, midfielder Claudio Reyna will play in at least one, and possibly as many as four of matches for the United States in the upcoming Gold Cup.

Coach Bruce Arena has made 25 players eligible to participate in the Gold Cup 2000, but only 18 actually will report for training in Fort Lauderdale Saturday.

Reyna has been under very sharp pressure at Rangers to stay with the club and not to report for national team duty in what has become a test of wills between Arena and Rangers manager Dick Advocaat. To send Reyna a not so subtle message, Advocaat has sat Reyna on the substitutes' bench for the three matches Rangers have played since the American played for the U.S. against Iran January 16.

The Gold Cup will be played in Miami, Fla., San Diego and Los Angeles between February 12-27. The U.S. will face Haiti February 12 and Peru February 16 in Group B play in Miami. The top two finishers in the group advance to the quarterfinals.

Reyna, who has been a late substitute in all three matches since his benching, will remain in Scotland through the weekend of February 12, missing the initial match against Haiti, but will be in Florida in time to face Peru on February 16. He will remain with the squad for the remainder of the tournament.

Goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who was not with the team for last week's 2-1 triumph over Chile, has returned from Liverpool, in England. Midfielder Ernie Stewart, who plays for NAC Breda in the Netherlands, is part of the 25-player roster, but not the 18 selected by Arena for the Haiti match,

The seven players who are eligible for the Gold Cup, but will not train are: defenders Chad Deering, Frankie Hejduk and Carey Talley; midfielders Stewart and John Harkes; forwards Roy Lassiter; and goalkeeper Tom Presthus.

Under the rules of CONCACAF, the federation for North America, Central America and the Carribean, any player on the 25-man roster can play in the tournament, but only 18 players are eligible for each match.

The roster for Haiti match (as of today):

Goalkeepers: Brad Friedel (Liverpool, England, 61 international appearances) Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards, 91).

Defenders: Jeff Agoos (D.C. United, 97), C.J. Brown (Chicago Fire, 10), Robin Fraser (Los Angeles Galaxy, 22), Carlos Llamosa (D.C. United, 6), Eddie Pope (D.C. United, 30), Greg Vanney (Los Angeles Galaxy, 5).

Midfielders: Chris Armas (Chicago Fire, 10), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy, 121), Eddie Lewis (San Jose Earthquakes, 16), Ben Olsen (D.C. United, 10), Richie Williams (D.C. United, 9).

Forwards: Jovan Kirovski (Borussia Dortmund, Germany, 38), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew, 36), Ante Razov (Chicago Fire, 5), Eric Wynalda (Miami Fusion, 103).

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at SoccerWag1@aol.com. SoccerWag1@aol.com.

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