- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2001

The U.S. national team's game in South Korea tomorrow takes on added importance because the Americans were drawn in the same World Cup group as the Koreans last week. The exhibition match, which was arranged long before the draw, has now become an unexpected dress rehearsal for when the teams face each other June 10 in Daegu, South Korea.
The Americans also are scheduled to play the Koreans on Jan. 19 in the opening game of the 2002 Gold Cup at the Rose Bowl.
"It doesn't hurt," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said of playing the Koreans twice in two months. "We won't know until June 10 whether it's an advantage or disadvantage."
Rarely have two teams been given so much opportunity to monitor each other before a World Cup meeting. Teams that find themselves drawn in the same group often cancel any previously scheduled games against each other so as not to give away any secrets.
"We will know each other so well I think we can go to the same training camp," said South Korea coach Guus Hiddink, who guided Holland to the semifinals in 1998. South Korea has been to every World Cup since 1986 but has yet to win in 14 games.
Tomorrow's game also will be monitored closely by Poland and Portugal, the other teams drawn in Group D with South Korea and the United States. The match officially opens Seogwipo Stadium on JeJu Island, one of 10 venues for World Cup games next summer.
The 20th ranked Americans have never defeated South Korea (ranked 43), holding a 0-2-1 record in previous meetings.
Although South Korea will have the majority of its players on hand for the friendly, the U.S. team is bringing a 19-man roster consisting of players exclusively from Major League Soccer. Arena did not call up his legion of foreign-based stars, leaving behind the likes of Claudio Reyna, Brad Friedel, Earnie Stewart and Joe-Max Moore so they could compete with their European clubs this weekend.
Included on Arena's roster is newcomer Jeff Cunningham of the Columbus Crew, a 25-year-old native of Jamaica who became a U.S. citizen Nov. 13. Cunningham's teammate at Columbus, Brian McBride, is also back on the roster after being sidelined with a blood clot in August.
D.C. United, which in previous years sent up to six players to the U.S. team, has no players on Arena's roster. Defender Eddie Pope, a likely call-up, is recovering from knee surgery.
The Americans will have to keep an eye on Korean forwards Ki-Hyeon Seol, who plays for Belgium club Anderlecht, and Jung-Hwan Ahn, a reserve with Italian club Perugia.
The U.S. team got a warm welcome when they arrived at Inchon Airport this week. Heavy security had to keep throngs of Korean fans from the team.
Reyna in England Never has an American player created so many headlines in European soccer. Claudio Reyna's $6.8million move from the Glasgow Rangers to English Premier League club Sunderland was the big news in Britain this week.
Reyna played his last game for Glasgow on Thursday in its win over Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Cup. Sunderland is located in the northeast of England and currently is 12th in the 20-team league. The 28-year-old U.S. team captain should be available for the club's clash with Chelsea tomorrow.
Good deeds The New York Power and Washington Freedom of the Women's United Soccer Association and the New York-New Jersey MetroStars and D.C. United of MLS raised more than $240,000 from the recent Unity Games benefit series for those affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks. …
D.C. United, ESPN Zone and the Eddie Pope Foundation are collecting toys and sports equipment beginning Friday at the ESPN Zone on the corner of 11th and E Streets NW. On Dec. 16, United players Pope, Carey Talley and Brian Kamler will be on hand to collect the gifts, which will be distributed to the Hopkins Boys and Girls Club and the Potomac Housing Complex.
Corner kicks The Washington Freedom waived midfielders Kacy Beitel, Louise Lieberman, Krista Davey and Amy Gray, goalie Dawn Greathouse, and forward Keri Sarver. Only Davey, who is heading for the New York Power, was picked up in the waiver draft. …
Major League Soccer's Board of Governors committed this week to funding the league for the next five years but also decided to "evaluate closely the viability" of several teams. There are reports that the league could close down two teams by the end of the year.

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