USMNT set to face Jamaica on Friday night in Tennessee
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team closes out 2017 January Camp when they welcome regional rivals Jamaica to Finley Stadium on Friday, February 3. Coverage of the USMNT’s first match in Chattanooga, Tennessee, begins at 7 p.m. ET on FOS Sports 1, UniMas and UDN.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 22/0), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls; 2/0)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached; 123/17),Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 10/1), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC; 26/1), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC; 10/0), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC; 12/1), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX; 1/0) Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 43/5)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 56/2), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 127/15), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City; 42/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 1/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 5/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 11/1), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union 1/0)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 22/3), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 100/37), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 13/1),
MNT PLAYS FIRST MATCH IN CHATTANOOGA
With its first trip to Eastern Tennessee, the MNT is heading into a thriving soccer market. NPSL side Chattanooga FC reached the league championship in 2015, where a crowd of 18,277 set a record for attendance at an amateur game in the United States. A little more than a week later, the U.S. WNT played in front of a sold-out crowd on the artificial turf at Finley Stadium and won 7-2 against Costa Rica.
The MNT has previously played four times in Tennessee, going 2-2-0 in Nashville. The U.S. last defeated Guatemala 4-0 on July 3, 2015 and is set to return to Music City for a Gold Cup group stage match on July 8.
U.S. DRAWS 0-0 WITH SERBIA IN ARENA’S RETURN AS MNT BOSS
Just as he began his first tenure as MNT head coach with a 0-0 draw against Australia on Nov. 6, 1998, Bruce Arena’s first match back in charge of the MNT resulted in a 0-0 draw with Serbia in Sunday’s friendly at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
Earning his first international start, Darlington Nagbe’s two close first half chances garnered him Budweiser Man of the Match honors and Jozy Altidore nearly celebrated his 100the cap with a goal early in the second half. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando made two saves, including one stellar stop in the 89th minute to preserve his fifth clean sheet in the draw.
JOZY ALTIDORE BECOMES LATEST MEMBER OF 100 CAP CLUB
Starting and playing 74 minutes in Sunday’s 0-0 draw, Jozy Altidore became the 17th player in MNT history to reach 100 caps . At 27 years, 84 days, the veteran striker also became the second youngest player after Landon Donovan to reach the century mark and now heads into Friday’sfriendly hoping to end January Camp with a goal, just as he did by scoring the game-winner in last year’s 1-0 victory against Canada on Feb. 5, 2016.
Altidore will be joined by his family for a pre-match ceremony to commemorate the achievement.
EARLY RETURNS ON GRAHAM ZUSI’S RIGHT BACK SWITCH
Looking to strengthen both fullback positions, Arena brought veteran winger Graham Zusi into January Camp with the goal of giving him a look at right back. Zusi embraced the move and spent the past three weeks focusing on the nuance of the position. The early results were good, with Zusi playing the full 90 minutes and helping to contribute to the shutout in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Serbia. Following the match, the 30-year-old earned praise from Arena for his performance and is now looking to develop further at outside back in Friday’s friendly against Jamaica.
FIRST AND 127TH CAPS
As is often the case in January Camp, Arena handed three players their first caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team in Sunday’s match against Serbia. The LA Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget brought energy to the U.S. midfield when he replaced club teammate Jermaine Jones at halftime, Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius replaced his teammate Alejandro Bedoya in the 65th minute, while former U.S. youth international Jorge Villafana entered at left back for Greg Garza in the 69thminute. As is tradition, all three players received a game ball from the team to mark the occasion .
Meanwhile, captain Michael Bradley earned his 127th cap, tying him with Marcelo Balboa for fifth on MNT’s all-time appearance list. Bradley will move into sole possession of fifth with an appearance vs. Jamaica on Friday, putting him in closer striking distance of MNT teammate Clint Dempsey (130; fourth) and Jeff Agoos (134; third).
JANUARY CAMP A PROVING GROUND
During his first tenure in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team, it was head coach Bruce Arena that normalized the idea of January Camp, focused mainly on getting the MNT’s domestic-based player pool a jump on their club seasons and to give extended looks to players who had recently impressed. Many regular MNT contributors have jumpstarted their careers in January Camp, with the list including Pablo Mastroeni (2002), Tim Howard (2003), Jonathan Bornstein and Ricardo Clark(2007), Jozy Altidore and Maurice Edu (2008), Sacha Kljestan (2009), Geoff Cameron and Graham Zusi (2012), Matt Besler (2013), DeAndre Yedlin (2014), Gyasi Zardes (2015) and Steve Birnbaum(2016).
- The U.S. Men’s National Team holds a 13-2-8 all-time advantage against Jamaica.
- The MNT is 11-1-3 against the Reggae Boyz on U.S. soil and 5-0-2 all-time in friendly matches.
- One of Jamaica’s two wins against the U.S. came in the last meeting between the teams, a 2-1 defeat in the Semifinals of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Ga.
USA ROSTER NOTES:
- A total of seven players have been part of a final World Cup roster, while 13 players have previous World Cup Qualifying experience for the U.S.
- Currently with 127 caps, captain Michael Bradley will move past Marcelo Balboa into sole possession of fifth place on the MNT’s all-time caps list with an appearance against Jamaica.
- Five players on the U.S. roster have previously scored against Jamaica: DaMarcus Beasley (3), Jozy Altidore (2), Bradley, Brad Evans and Graham Zusi (1 each)
- Hailing from nearby Lawrenceville, Ga., center back Walker Zimmerman will look to make his MNT debut vs. Jamaica.
- Along with Zimmerman, five other players will look for the 2017 debuts vs. Jamaica: goalkeepers David Bingham and Luis Robles, defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Evans and midfielder Dax McCarty.
- Last MNT appearances for the above five players: Robles and Evans (Jan. 31, 2016 vs. Iceland), Bingham (Oct. 11, 2016 vs. New Zealand), Beasley (Oct. 10, 2015 vs. Mexico) and McCarty (Jan. 22, 2011 vs. Chile).
- Making his first international start in Sunday’s friendly vs. Serbia, Darlington Nagbe earned Budweiser Man of the Match honors.
- Four players are alumni of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Juan Agudelo, Steve Birnbaum, Jordan Morris and Darlington Nagbe.
- With his next assist, Bradley will tie Cobi Jones for second on the MNT’s all-time assist list (21). Landon Donovan holds the record with 58.
- Seven players have previously played on Arena-led teams. Beasley, Bradley, Marshall and Rimando were part of U.S. squads during his first tenure in charge of the MNT, while Arena managed Altidore during his time with the New York Red Bulls, and Sebastan Lletget and Gyasi Zardes with the LA Galaxy.
- Following Sunday’s match, MNT head coach Bruce Arena allowed midfielders Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljestan to depart January Camp . With Jones suspended for the MNT’s crucial World Cup Qualifying match against Honduras on March 24, Arena has elected to use Friday’s friendly to survey other midfield options and allowed Jones to join LA Galaxy in order to begin preseason with his new club. Kljestan departed camp to be his wife who is expecting a baby in the coming week.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union, USA), Ryan Thompson (unattached)
DEFENDERS (8): Dwayne Ambusley (Montego Bay United), Sergio Campbell (unattached), Oniel Fisher (Seattle Sounders FC, USA), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View), Kevon Lambert (Montego Bay United), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls, USA), Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies, USA), Ladale Ritchie (Montego Bay United)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Michael Binns (Portmore United), Omar Gordon (Montego Bay United), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United), Omar Holness (Real Salt Lake, USA), Andrew Vanzie (Portmore United)
FORWARDS (5): Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steel, USA), Jourdaine Fletcher (Montego Bay United), Shamar Nicolson (Boys’ Town FC), Allan Ottey (Montego Bay United), Romario Williams (Atlanta United FC, USA)
- After missing out on the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Jamaica has its sights set on June’s 2017 Caribbean Cup Semifinal vs. French Guiana and July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Final.
- Following Friday’s friendly, the team’s will next take on the USA’s upcoming World Cup Qualifying opponent Honduras on Feb. 16 in Houston.
- Jamaica’s 20-player roster features 11 players from their domestic league, seven that ply their trade in the United States and two that are currently unattached.
- Headlining Theodore Whitmore’s roster is 2016 M.L.S. Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake and New York Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence.
- Relatively new on the Reggae Boyz scene, Bethlehem Steel striker Corey Burke has grabbed recent headlines after scoring in both of Jamaica’s Caribbean Cup victories against Guyana (4-2 a.e.t on Oct. 11) and Suriname (1-0 on Nov. 13).