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U.S. rises to occasion and dominates tough foe in victory over Japan.

Adu, Ralston leave Carson training camp.

Twellman nets three; U.S. rolls over Norway 5-0.

World Cup-bound U.S. outclasses young Norway team.

Adu earns first cap, subbing for injured Johnson in 0-0 draw with Canada.

Final U.S. World Cup preparations will take place in Cary, N.C.

Mastroeni injures left quadriceps, will miss 6-8 weeks; game with Guatemala set.

Women players sign new contract that carries through 2012.

USSF, men's player's union reach deal through 2010.

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Keller, Lilly are over 30 and named best players of 2005.

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  • Klein has goals, two assists as U.S. blanks Guatemala 4-0.

    Analysis

    American men end long camp with easy decision over Guatemala.

    By Robert Wagman
    SoccerTimes

    (Sunday, February 19, 2006) -- The United States men finished their six-week-long World Cup training camp in style by winning their third match in a row, an easy 4-0 victory over badly outmanned Guatemala this afternoon before a chilled crowd of 14,453 that braved 30-degree temperatures at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

    The U.S. is now 3-0-1 in 2006.

    Guatemala, which did not qualify for this summer's World Cup in Germany, brought a team that combined some veterans with a number of young players whose best days will be in the future. They were no match for a U.S. squad which did not include any of its European players or seven players from 2005 Major League Soccer finalists, the Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution.

    Six of the seven started last week in the 3-2 victory over Japan in San Francisco, but returned to their MLS clubs in order to get ready for midweek matches in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

    Among the U.S. starters today were a number of players desperate to make a good showing in hopes they can convince manager Bruce Arena they belong on his roster for Germany 2006.

    The U.S. started with a somewhat unusual formation. On paper it was a 4-3-3, with the three on the front line asked to put pressure on the inexperienced Guatemalan defense and goalkeeper. In practice, though, the forwards dropped into the midfield at times, leaving only one man up top.

    At other times, defenders and midfielders pushed forward, putting six or even seven into the attack.

    The U.S. back-line did its job, holding top MLS scorer Carlos Ruiz completely in check for the 63 minutes he was in the match.

    The Americans were on the offensive from the beginning and had an early goal disallowed. Despite dominating possession and creating numerous chances, they did not score until the 38th minute when midfield veteran Ben Olsen hit with a well-struck long range volley.

    The U.S. made it 2-0 just before the half when forward Brian Ching settled a long cross from midfielder Chris Klein and tucked his shot away. Replays showed Ching might have used a hand to bring down the high pass.

    Reportedly, Arena got on the team during intermission for its failure to convert its numerous chances against a weak opponent which was not playing well. Striker Eddie Johnson, who had been inserted to start the second half, immediately showed his value when he outfought two defenders in the penalty area and knocked home the third U.S. goal in the 47th minute.

    Klein closed out a fine afternoon with an unassisted goal in the 71st minute.

    Guatemala proved to be as weak an opponent as Norway was three weeks ago when the U.S. won 5-0.


    U.S. player ratings

    Starters

    Goalkeeper Brad Guzan - 5.5: Not called on to do much. Had some communication problems with his defenders, but was in good position and made no glaring errors in his first international appearance.

    Defender Frankie Hejduk - 5.5: A solid effort. Pushed the ball forward well, but got back to provide coverage. A veteran performance.

    Defender Eddie Pope - 6.5: In the 53rd minute, he ran down Guillermo Ramirez from well behind to tackle away the ball in the penalty area. This is a play he physically could not have made last summer and shows that he is now all the way back from injury. His third fine match in a row.

    Defender Jimmy Conrad - 6.5: Also excelled for a third straight game, making a statement he belongs on the World Cup roster this summer. Was rarely out of position and covered well when other pushed too far forward and were caught up-field. Did well against Ruiz.

    Defender Heath Perce - 5.5: An average game when he needed to show more. Was not all that effective pushing ahead, but did a better-than-adequate job defensively.

    Midfielder Kerry Zavagnin - 6: Steady as the defensive midfielder and kept disrupting Guatemalan pushes forward. Played with the assurance of the veteran he has become.

    Midfielder Ben Olsen - 6: Probably his best national-team effort in a long while. Was all over the field making plays both offensively and defensively, while scoring with a well-taken strike to put the U.S. ahead for good.

    Midfielder Chris Klein - 6: Came off a poor effort against Japan last weekend to play well at both ends today. His passing was sharp and he was consistently in position to make plays. Scored a nice rebound goal.

    Forward Chris Rolfe - 5.5: At times, showed a lack of maturity. Committed a bad foul and then complained to the referee. Did put himself in position to score once, but then could not convert. He did have a nice-looking first-half goal disallowed.

    Forward Josh Wolff - 5.5: Put in an energetic half with some good touches but, as he has in all the matches thus far this year, shot high or wide on some good chances. He needs to improve his accuracy to at least get shots on goal.

    Forward Brian Ching - 5.5: Scored a very nice goal, settling the ball and then calmly finishing. Otherwise, he put in an uneven effort, good at times, but decidedly less so at others.

    Reserves

    Forward Eddie Johnson (46th minute for Wolff) - 5.5: Scored a big goal with a clinical finish moments after entering the match, but did not contribute all that much for the rest of the match.

    Midfielder Brian Carroll (64th minute for Zavagnin) - 5.5: A young player who continues to show improvement. Made some quality passes and played well defensively. A player of the future.

    Midfielder Santino Quaranta (75th minute for Olsen) - 5.5: Made a few good touches, but his 15 minutes were nothing special. Did get involved in some physical play.

    Defender Bobby Boswell (78th minute for Hedjuk) - 4.5: A young defender earning his first cap. Played energetically, but twice was drawn out of position, forcing other defenders to cover for him.

    Midfielder Kyle Martino (80th minute for Rolfe) - 5: Not enough time to make much of an impression.

    Goalkeeper Zach Wells (84th minute for Guzan) - no rating: Made a brief appearance for his first cap. He was not called on to make a save.

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

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