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U.S. men's schedule, results

U.S. men's roster

Bocanegra header is enough for 1-1 draw with Poland.

Mission accomplished for Americans in disposing of Grenada.

Americans take it to next round with 3-2 defeat of Grenada.

Lackadaisical Americans are lucky to tie Poland.

Beasley's pair sparks 3-0 victory over Grenada to open qualifing series.

Second-half goals relieve pressure on U.S. for Grenada return leg.

McBride's two goals spark 4-0 romp over Honduras as Reyna reaches 100-cap milestone.

U.S. heads into qualifying on positive note after drubbing Honduras.

Pope knocks home rebound in stoppage time to defeat Mexico 1-0.

U.S. put in impressive effort against Mexico, even before Pope won it.

Beasley goal defeats Poland 1-0, hands Arena first win over host Europeans.

Gritty American effort defeats Poland for first win of 2004.

Califf's tally late in stoppage time salvages 1-1 draw with Haiti.

Outplayed by Haiti, Americans are fortunate to gain 1-1 draw.

Goal by teen Robben sends Netherlands past U.S. 1-0.

Netherlands was clearly superior in victory over Americans.

U.S. men

Qualifying begins in earnest with visit to 'Office' in Jamaica.

By Robert Wagman

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Tuesday, August 17, 2004) -- The last three times the U.S. has played Jamaica at "The Office," the nickname of Jamaica's National Stadium, the result has been the same -- 0-0. When the Americans take on the Reggae Boyz here Wednesday night to open Group 1 of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, it would seem to present the U.S.'s toughest challenge of the semifinal round. However, a number of factors appear to be working against the home team.

Jamaica has a new coach and will be without several key players because of injuries or personal problems. The team has had little practice time together.

Of course the Americans have had little practice together either. The 20-man roster U.S. coach Bruce Arena assembled -- eight coming from Europe and 12 from Major League Soccer -- streamed into Miami, Fla., throughout Sunday. The team was scheduled to fly to Kingston tonight.

The 7 p.m. (ET) match will be televised by ESPN2. The U.S. has never lost to Jamaica, compiling an 8-0-5 record, 2-0-4 in World Cup qualifying. At home, the U.S. is 6-0-1 against the Reggae Boyz, 2-0-1 in qualifying. In Jamaica, the Americans are 2-0-4, 0-0-3 in qualifying.

The gamesmanship already has begin with both coaches refusing to release their rosters, no less who they intended to play tomorrow evening. "Why do we need to release the roster?" Arena asked at the team's hotel in Miami. "We know what the roster is. We're the only ones who need to know. We don't see any value in (releasing) it."

Fans of the U.S. team might disagree. And through witnessing the arrivals in Miami, a pretty good idea of the American team can be formed.

There are one or two question marks in trying to deduce Arena's probable starting lineup. It would appear Kasey Keller will be in goal, fronted by a defense of Carlos Bocanegra and Eddie Pope in the middle with Greg Vanney on the left and Steve Cherundolo on the right.

Claudio Reyna should orchestrate the attack with DaMarcus Beasley possibly moving to the right side to allow Eddie Lewis to man the left flank. Landon Donovan and Brian McBride are expected to be the starting strikers.

Beasley arrived a little banged up from a busy first couple weeks in the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven. If he can't go at full speed, Earnie Stewart might get the call to utilize his speed, defensive abilities and experience.

"In a game like this you lean on experience," Arena told The Washington Post. "Imagine bringing in newcomers in this situation for a qualifier on the road?"

In a minor surprise, midfielder Bobby Convey, who had played in eight of nine U.S. games this year, and forward Conor Casey were not called in. Strikers Eddie Johnson, with no appearances in 2004 and 17-year-old Eddie Gaven, with a nine-minute relief stint this year in his first international appearance, have been summoned. Cobi Jones was a late replacement in the midfield for Chris Klein who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament playing in MLS for the Kansas City Wizards Saturday.

Brazilian Sebastiao Lazaroni. who briefly served as Jamaica national-team coach in 2000, was recently rehired for a second term. Carl Brown , the former coach, has been given the title of technical director.

Lazaroni, who has coached club teams in China, Italy, Mexico and Turkey, brought along three Brazilian assistants. Much will eventually be expected of him by the Jamaican Federation which is reportedly paying the foursome almost $50,000 per month. But right now, Lazaroni has not even seen a number of his players in action.

"The Americans are going to suffer the same fate as we," Brown said of his team having only had four practice sessions. The one difference is that most of the Americans have played together many times under the same coach, while Jamaica's players are trying to establish themselves with a new coach and a new system.

While Jamaica has yet to taste real success against the Americans, the nation has had an increasing number of players going overseas to play for clubs in top competition. "It's our time to play. We have never beaten the Americans and this is our chance," Lazaroni said. "If we should play well, everyone giving 10 percent more, we can do some good. Jamaica has never beaten them and this could be a good opportunity to do so. We just have to try."

Lazaroni has brought together a team of about a dozen players based in England, three from MLS (striker Damani Ralph, midfielder Andy Williams and defender Tyrone Marshall), plus a half-dozen who play professionally in Jamaica. Important players are missing because of injuries or other problems.

Veteran international Onandi Lowe would likely have started on the front line, but he left the team after a drug arrest in England. Lowe, who played for MLS's Kansas City Wizards in 2001 and now toils for Coventry City in the English League Championship (second tier), was arrested with a women on suspicion of possessing around $55,000 of crack cocaine.

Midfielder Jamie Lawrence, a standout in the two matches of the 4-1 aggregate victory over Haiti in the last round of qualifying, has been ruled out due to a hand injury.

Striker Ricardo Fuller, who plays for Preston North End in the English League Championship, has been bothered for months by a knee problem. Last week, he flew to the U.S. to see specialists who told him he would likely need surgery at some point, but would do no further damage by playing. He might be able to go for a half.

Probable starting defenders Ricardo Gardner and Claude Davis are both carrying injuries and starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is having back spasms.

The key men for Lazaroni are striker Marlon King of England's Nottingham Forrest, another second-tier team, and his MLS contingent.

"On the defensive end, we tried to close down space, mark closely and keep the ball away from our box," Lazaroni told reporters after a practice session yesterday. "We must keep attention, mark well and don't give space. When we don't have the ball, we must be compact. We work as a team -- when they have the ball, everyone defends. When we have the ball, everyone attacks."

Since the last time the U.S. played here in 2001, Jamaica has substantially upgraded National Stadium. The playing surface is in considerably better condition, but its grass is interspersed with patches of weeds and closely cropped. Still, it is less bumpy and does not have the bare spots of the past. The field is also more narrow and short than most used in international competition.

While rain is a common occurrence at this time of year in Kingston, the forecast calls for a sunny and warm day without precipitation Wednesday.

The unofficial U.S. roster for the qualifier against Jamaica:

Goalkeepers (2): Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Jonny Walker (MetroStars, MLS).
Defenders (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn, Major League Soccer) , Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew, MLS), Eddie Pope (MetroStars, MLS), Greg Vanney (Bastia, France).
Midfielders (7): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire, MLS), DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End, England), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City, England), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United, MLS), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards, MLS).
Forwards (5): Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS), Landon Donovan (San Jose, MLS), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars, MLS), Ed Johnson (Dallas, MLS), Brian McBride (Fulham, England).

Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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