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Mathis Vanney called in to replace injured Agoos, Olsen for July qualifiers.

Jeff Agoos
D.C. United defender Jeff Agoos will miss two-to-six weeks, including both United States World Cup qualifiers in July, after having surgery to remove bone chips in his right knee.
By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Thursday, July 6, 2000) -- For D.C. United, it has been a Major League Soccer season full of bad news. Today, the misfortune overflowed onto the United States men’s national team.

Two D.C. players - defender Jeff Agoos and midfielder Ben Olsen – were selected yesterday to the 18-player U.S. roster which will open World Cup qualifying with semifinal road matches against Guatemala July 16 and Costa Rica July 23 (Both matches will be played at 1 p.m. ET and televised live on ESPN2).

Today, both players were removed because of injury and replaced by MetroStars midfielder Clint Mathis and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Greg Vanney.

Agoos’ right knee swelled after Tuesday’s MLS to the Tampa Bay Mutiny and an MRIs yesterday revealed bone chips which will be removed tomorrow by arthroscopic surgery. He is expected to be out two-to-six weeks.

"It is a potential time bomb waiting to go off," said United athletic trainer Rick Guter. "It's better to do it now than to wait before it becomes a bigger problem."

In addition to being a major contributor to the U.S. men in recent games, Agoos has been mentioned as a leading candidate to be one of the three "overage" players to join the U.S. under-23s for the Summer Olympics in Australia in September.

"It was certainly unexpected, but we all feel that for the benefit of D.C. United, the U.S. national team and potentially the Olympic team, it is something that I needed to take care of now," Agoos said. "I'm certainly disappointed not to be a part of the U.S. squad for the first two World Cup qualifiers, but I should be fine for the rest of the qualifiers. In the long run it's for the best."

Olsen has missed the last five D.C. United games with a left ankle sprain, which has responded slowly to treatment. He has been ruled out for Saturday’s MLS match at the Dallas Burn.

Mathis, the MLS "Player of the Month" for June, returns to the national team for the first time since March 13, 1999, when he appeared in a Nike U.S. Cup game against Mexico. He has three caps.

The former University of South Carolina standout has scored five goals and added eight assists in 10 matches since being obtained by the MetroStars from the Los Angeles Galaxy early this season.

"Clint's outstanding recent play with the MetroStars made him a candidate for this team," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "Plus he's extremely versatile and can fill in at either midfield or forward for us."

Vanney has made three of his seven appearances with the U.S. this year. A deadly penalty-kick specialist with a strong left foot, Vanney trails only national team forward Cobi Jones on the Galaxy this year with five goals, four of which came on penalties.

Also possibly a question mark for Arena is D.C. United central defender Eddie Pope, who is on the U.S. roster, but has been slow to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery. Pope has played well recently, but was unable to return to United’s match against Tampa Bay Tuesday following a 90-minute rain delay in the first half because his knee stiffened.

The U.S. team will begin training Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and depart July 14 for the Guatemala match. After the game, the Americans will return to Fort Lauderdale to train for the week leading up to the Costa Rica match.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Brad Friedel, 29 years-old (hometown: Bay Village, Ohio; club team: Liverpool, England; 65 international appearances), Kasey Keller, 30 (Lacey, Wash.; Rayo Vallecano, Spain; 42).

Defenders: Robin Fraser, 33 (Denver; Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS; 26), Eddie Pope, 26 (High Point, N.C.; D.C. United, MLS; 32), David Regis, 31 (Valenciennes, France; F.C. Metz; France; 11), Greg Vanney, 26 (Chandler, Ariz.; Los Angeles Galaxy, 7).

Midfielders: Chris Armas, 27 (Brentwood, N.Y., 17), Chad Deering, 29 (Plano, Tex., 16), Frankie Hejduk, 25 (Cardiff, Calif.; Bayer Leverkusen, Germany, 27), Cobi Jones, 30 (Westlake Village, Calif.; Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS; 129); Eddie Lewis, 26 (Cerritos, Calif.; Fulham, England; 22), Clint Mathis, 23 (Conyers, Ga.; MetroStars, 3), Tab Ramos, 33 (Kearny, N.J.; MetroStars, MLS, 78), Claudio Reyna, 26 (Springfield, N.J.; Glasgow Rangers, Scotland; 74), Tony Sanneh, 29 (St. Paul, Minn.; Hertha Berlin, Germany; 10).

Forwards: Jason Kreis, 27 (Omaha, Neb, Dallas Burn, MLS; 13), Ante Razov, 26 (Whittier, Calif.; Chicago Fire, MLS, 9), Earnie Stewart, 31 (Point Arena, Calif.; NAC Breda, Netherlands, 59).

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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