- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2004

The U.S. men’s national team plays Haiti at the Orange Bowl tonight in an exhibition game that has political overtones. American troops recently were dispatched to Haiti after the controversial ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The last time these teams met in Miami, 49,000 fans — mostly Haitian — saw the United States win 3-0 at the 2000 Gold Cup. Last month the U.S. men’s Olympic team faced hostile crowds chanting “Osama, Osama” in Mexico, and it will be interesting to see what kind of reception the Americans receive this time.

“The starting point of security is that we don’t talk too much about the security,” a U.S. Soccer game official said.

Coach Bruce Arena’s 18-man roster includes mainly players from Major League Soccer with only two European-based players, defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Tony Sanneh.

Bocanegra is available because he is serving a three-match suspension with his English club, Fulham, and the German-based Sanneh (FC Nurnberg) is hoping to compete in his first competitive game since being sidelined with a serious back injury in December 2002. The former D.C. United star last played for the U.S. team at the 2002 World Cup and was one of three players to compete in every minute of the team’s games.

“I’ve been in training for the last month, and I’m hoping to get some good work in Miami and allow Bruce Arena to gauge my progress,” Sanneh said.

Sanneh, who has worn the American jersey 37 times, played 71 games for United from 1996 to 1998, scoring 14 goals. United’s Bobby Convey is also on the roster, along with former United players Eddie Pope and Chris Albright.

“With World Cup qualifying only three months away, our focus continues to be on developing a deep and experienced roster for the two-year qualifying process,” Arena said.

The game is a chance for Arena to size up a potential World Cup qualifying opponent. If the Americans get past Grenada or Guyana in upcoming qualifying games and Haiti beats Jamaica, the two teams will play each other in the semifinal World Cup qualifying round beginning in August.

The Haitian team is based in Miami and coached by 1994 American World Cup defender Fernando Clavijo, who has purchased training equipment for the team out of his own pocket.

Haiti’s only trip to the World Cup was in 1974 in Germany.

The 8p.m. game will be shown live on HDNet and is also available to DirecTV viewers via pay-per-view.

Champions draw — Yesterday’s draw for the quarterfinals of the lucrative Champions League paired Chelsea with London rival Arsenal. Portuguese club Porto, which eliminated Manchester United, now faces French champion Lyon. Spanish giant Real Madrid takes on Monaco, and defending champion AC Milan plays Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna in the two-game series.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich has offered to play Real Madrid in a charity game to raise funds for the victims of Thursday’s terrorist bombings in Madrid. The German club exited the Champions League in a 1-0 loss at Real Madrid a day before the attacks.

Corner kicks — Trinidad and Tobago will play Iraq in London on May23. It will be Iraq’s first game since the war began. Former Howard University goalie Shaka Hislop, now with Portsmouth, will be in goal for Trinidad. …

All Euro 2004 games will be shown in the United States only on pay-per-view. Setanta, the Irish pay-TV media group, owns the U.S. rights to the games. …

Contrary to rumors, English club Chelsea will not play the MLS-All Stars at RFK Stadium this summer, according to a highly placed source. …

California-born Eddie Lewis has been dubbed the “American Beckham” in the British press after dead-ball specialist David Beckham. Lewis lived up to his nickname Wednesday when he hit a spectacular 25-yard free kick to earn his First Division club Preston a last minute 3-3 tie at Sunderland. …

There are reports that former England and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman, 32, who is now playing alongside American Claudio Reyna at Manchester City, could be headed to the MetroStars once the Premier League season ends in May. Portsmouth striker Teddy Sheringham also has been linked to the MetroStars.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide