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U.S. defense collapses, Germany hands rout to depleted Americans.

Hejduk has strained hamstring, is replaced by Feilhaber on roster for Germany match.

Donovan scratched for game against Germany with calf ailment.

Dempsey dropped from Germany roster after suspension by Revs for fight.

Gulati is acclaimed new USSF president; board size is slashed.

Three games in May are scheduled as final World Cup prep.

U.S. game against Jamaica in Cary, N.C., sells out quickly.

Twellman's hustle sets up Dempsey's opportunistic header to beat Poland 1-0.

U.S. victory over Poland is welcome, but not particularly satisfying.

Arena selections for Poland game give hints of World Cup roster.

Klein's goal, pair of assists lead 4-0 rout of Guatemala.

American men end long camp with easy decision over Guatemala.

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

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  • Poor U.S. effort leads to disappointing 1-1 draw with Jamaica.

    U.S. men

    Donovan becomes leader in career assists in 1-1 draw with Jamaica.

    CARY, N.C. (Tuesday, April 11, 2006) -- Landon Donovan became the United States men's all-time assists leader, feeding fellow midfielder Ben Olsen for an equalizer midway through the first half of a 1-1 draw with Jamaica tonight before a capacity 8,093 at SAS Soccer Park.

    While the American effort left something to be desired, the U.S. still has never lost to Jamaica, holding a 9-0-8 mark in the series.

    Tonight's game was the last for the Americans before manager Bruce Arena selects his roster for the upcoming World Cup in Germany. He will name a 35-man player pool Tuesday on ESPN Sportscenter at 6 p.m. (ET) and whittle the number to 23 around May 2. The deadline for submission of World Cup rosters is May 15.

    "It has been a really good 2006 in our chances to evaluate our domestic players," Arena said. "Tonight, and the next three weeks, (Major League Soccer) games will certainly allow me to make some good decisions in terms of rounding out our roster."

    Goalkeeper Tony Meola, who does not figure to be considered for the American World Cup squad, started for the U.S. and reached a milestone with his 100th international appearance.

    All 18 players Arena called in for this match came from MLS, meaning a majority of the probable starters for the World Cup were unavailable, having remained with their European clubs. While most of the U.S. players were trying to impress Arena, hoping to solidify or improve their chances of making it to Germany, Jamaica's players faced a different situation. Having not qualified for Germany 2006, Jamaica was taking the first step in developing its young talent for a run at the 2010 Cup in South Africa.

    The U.S. fell behind early after its defensive disorganization was exploited by Jamaica, which went the length of the field to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

    After taking a headed back-pass from defender Ben Davis, goalkeeper Donovan Rickets threw an outlet pass to midfielder Jermaine Hue on the left flank. Carrying a couple of steps over the center stripe, Hue sent a through ball to Teafore Bennett, a 19-year-old striker who slipped behind the mark of Frankie Hejduk, the right back who was left alone to cover a gaping hole in the central defense.

    Bennett carried alone into the left side of the penalty area. Meola had come 10 yards off his goal-line and Bennett was able to cut around him to the left and shoot low into the right corner of the unattended net to make it 1-0.

    "Obviously, it was a very poor start on our part and I was disappointed about giving up a goal in the first four minutes," Arena said. "Give Jamaica credit, they took advantage of that opportunity. On the night, I thought they gave a great effort."

    The U.S., 4-1-2 in 2006, was able to pull even when Rickets, who was alternately sensational and awful throughout the match, failed to stop what seemingly was a routine shot by Olsen.

    After U.S. midfielder Pat Noonan collected a pass from defender Chris Albright, he was chopped down by Jamaica midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce about 35 yards up the left sideline. With the Jamaicas slow to respond, Donovan checked with referee Jorge Gasso Flores and quickly played the restart to Olsen, cutting down the left center to just above the box.

    Olsen touched once with each foot and then drilled an angled left-footer to Ricketts' feet. The keeper reached down for the ball, a foot to his left, but allowed it to go through his hands to even matters at 1-1.

    The assist was the 23rd of Donovan's international career, one more than Cobi Jones, his teammate on MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy.

    "We were able to use this game as an opportunity to see some players," Arena said, "I thought it was good that we got a chance to see our players have to come from behind. I thought we responded well, from the 25th minute on. In the second half, we had most of the game. We put the Jamaicans on their heels, but we were not clean in trying to break them down with the last pass."

    Jamaica had the first chance in the second half when forward Ryan Johnson caught up with a long pass, but sent his point-blank blast well over the crossbar.

    Ricketts twice robbed Albright after intermission. In the 54th minute, Donovan fed Albright at the penalty spot, but the Ricketts parried the subsequent shot over the bar.

    Rickets made a sensational stop in the 75th minute, diving low to his right post to deflect wide Albright's header which seemed destined to tuck inside the goal-post.

    Jamaica had a final opportunity in the 84th minute when U.S. reserve midfielder John O'Brien lost the ball near midfield. Newton Sterling, a substitute forward, picked off the poor pass to Hejduk and raced upfield, but his drive went wide left.

    Meola became the ninth player, and first goalkeeper, to hit the 100-match mark for the U.S. The most appearances for other American keepers are Kasey Keller (91), Brad Friedel (82), Arnie Mausser (35), Mark Dodd (15) and Tim Howard (15). Keller is sure to be the starter in Germany and Howard is expected to be a backup.

    Meola made his first appearance for the U.S. in a 1-0 loss to Ecuador in Albuquerque on June 7, 1988, exactly 17 years and 308 days ago. That career span is now the longest in U.S. MNT history.

    "Tonight for me was just a great night," Meola said. "I did it with a great group of guys that really appreciated it -- the first 99, as much as they appreciated tonight. They let me know about it all week. We joked a lot about it. Apparently, I'm 67 years old instead of 37 according to them, and 1988 was 100 years ago, not 18. It was great. I am just so happy that I was able to be part of it."

    The U.S. returns to Cary May 10 for approximately two weeks of training before embarking on a three-game sendoff series and then departing for Germany.

    The "Send-Off Series" starts with a game against Morocco May 23 at The Coliseum in Nashville, continues with a game against Venezuela May 26 at Cleveland Browns Stadium and concludes with the Americans facing Latvia May 28 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.


    United States 1, Jamaica 1

    Lineups: United States - Tony Meola, Chris Albright, Eddie Pope, Frankie Hejduk, Steve Ralston (Clint Dempsey 55), Ben Olsen, Pablo Mastroeni, Landon Donovan, Pat Noonan (John O'Brien 67), Josh Wolff (Eddie Johnson 46), Taylor Twellman (Brian Ching 46). Jamaica - Donovan Ricketts, Claude Davis (Demar Stewart 29), Garfield Reid, Omar Daley, Damion Stewart, Jason Morrison (Dane Richards 59), Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Fabian Dawkins 61), Jermaine Hue, Khari Stephenson (O'Neil Thompson 71), Ryan Johnson (Jermaine Johnson 71), Teafore Bennett (Newton Sterling 62).

    Scoring:
    Jamaica - Bennett (Hue) 4.
    United States - Olsen (Donovan) 25.

    Shots: United States 11, Jamaica 9. Saves: United States 2, Jamaica 3. Corner kicks: United States 11, Jamaica 3. Fouls: United States 18, Jamaica 21. Offside: United States 3, Jamaica 2. Yellow card cautions: United States - Pope 28; Jamaica - Daley 34, Reid 74.

    Referee: Jorge Gasso Flores (Mexico).
    Assistant referees: Pedro Rebollar Leon (Mexico), Jose Luis Camargo (Mexico). Fourth official: Ricardo Salazar (United States). Attendance: 8,093 at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Weather: Warm, 67 degrees.

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