- The Washington Times - Friday, March 4, 2005

After going 6-1 in preseason games, D.C. United will play its first serious match of the year Wednesday when it faces Jamaica’s Harbour View FC in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals at the 4,000-seat SoccerPlex in Germantown. The return game will be played in Jamaica on March 16.

This is United’s sixth appearance in the tournament, which includes top club teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. United won the Cup in 1998 and last played in the event in 2002.

“This game is extremely important in our goal to win the Cup because the winner goes on to play in the World Club tournament in Japan,” United technical director Dave Kasper said.

The FIFA World Club event involves the six continental club champions, which means D.C. United could play Europe’s Champions League winner.

“It’s a real prestigious and high-profile event,” Kasper said.

The World Club Championship was first played in Brazil in 2000 as an eight-team event, but it was scrapped when FIFA’s key marketing partner went broke. The new six-team format, which involves $15 million in prize money, replaces the Toyota (Intercontinental) Cup that was played annually in Japan between the champions of Europe and South America.

United’s starting lineup probably will look like the one that defeated Los Angeles 1-0 in Sunday’s Aloha Soccer Cup in Honolulu. That lineup included goalie Nick Rimando, defenders Bryan Namoff, Mike Petke and David Stokes, midfielders Josh Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez and Nick Van Sicklen and forwards Jaime Moreno and Alecko Eskandarian.

Kasper said it’s possible United will sign a central defender in time for Wednesday’s game, which will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel. United’s regular season begins April 2 at Chivas USA in Los Angeles.

American team — The U.S. national team will play Colombia on Wednesday in Fullerton, Calif. It is the Americans’ first international exhibition game of the season and a warmup for World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Guatemala at the end of the month. In a midweek game, the U.S. team beat MLS expansion club Chivas USA 7-0. Taylor Twellman and Pat Noonan scored two goals and Clint Mathis, Eddie Johnson and Chris Albright one each.

Heinrichs speaks — So why did U.S. women’s coach April Heinrichs resign suddenly last month?

“All of these positions have a shelf life,” Heinrichs said in an interview with FIFA.com yesterday. “I don’t care who you are. You’re not going to be a national team coach forever. I also felt it was important to plan my departure carefully. At the moment, we have a bit of time to prepare for the next Women’s World Cup [in 2007]. The next coach will have some time to get prepared, and I owed it to everyone to show them that courtesy. There will be a new era coming in, and it’s a good time to get some new blood.”

Under Heinrichs, who took over the team in 1999, the Americans won the Olympic gold medal in 2004 and went 87-17-20.

Corner kicks — HBO is producing a documentary on the history of the U.S. women’s team beginning with the first tryouts for the team at Bolling Air Force Base in 1984. It will air in November. …

American captain Claudio Reyna could play Monday when Manchester City faces Bolton. Reyna has been out with a thigh injury since Nov. 13. Former D.C. United star Bobby Convey hasn’t played for Reading since Jan. 17 and has started only four league games since joining the second-division English team in August. …

Robbie Fowler scored his 150th and 151st English Premier League goals in Manchester City’s 3-2 win at Norwich. Fowler is now third on the EPL list behind Alan Shearer (250) and Andy Cole (173). …

FIFA will test new technology that determines whether a ball has crossed the goal line completely at the 2005 FIFA under-17 world championship in Peru from Sept. 16 to Oct. 2.


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