U.S. national team Coach Bruce Arena Wednesday named 23 Major League Soccer players, including the Galaxy's Danny Califf, Kevin Hartman, Pete Vagenas and Sasha Victorine, to his squad for games against Argentina on Feb. 8 in Miami and Jamaica on Feb. 12 in Kingston.
Arena, whose team opened the year with a 4-0 victory over Canada on Saturday, called the next two opponents "formidable," despite the fact that Argentine Coach Marcelo Bielsa has not selected any of his first-string players and that in 12 attempts over 15 years Jamaica has never beaten the U.S.
Arena said the experience to be gained in the two games "adds seasoning to a group that is preparing for two major tournaments [the FIFA Confederations Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup] this summer."
The full U.S. roster:
Goalkeepers: Hartman, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando.
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Califf, Brian Dunseth, Nick Garcia, Chad McCarty, Eddie Pope, Ryan Suarez and Victorine.
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Chris Klein, Pablo Mastroeni, Richard Mulrooney, Ben Olsen, Steve Ralston and Vagenas.
Forwards: Jeff Cunningham, Landon Donovan, Clint Mathis and Taylor Twellman.
U.S. in Final
The U.S. under-23 national team, in essence the 2004 Olympic team in training, defeated Russia, 4-1, on penalty kicks, after a 1-1 tie to advance to today's final of the Vale do Tejo International Tournament in Portugal.
Dallas Burn and former UCLA goalkeeper D.J. Countess saved two penalty kicks to knock out the Russians after Chicago Fire forward Nate Jaqua's 67th-minute goal off a pass by D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian had canceled out Alexander Belozerov's 55th-minute goal for Russia.
In today's final, the U.S. will play Portugal, a 3-2 winner over Slovenia in the other semifinal match of the four-team tournament.
The U.S. is preparing for the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic in August and for CONCACAF region qualifying for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
U.S. World Cup goalkeeper Brad Friedel's hopes of leading Blackburn Rovers to a second consecutive English League Cup title vanished quickly Wednesday when Manchester United defeated Rovers, 3-1, in Blackburn in the second game of the semifinal series.
The teams had played to a 1-1 tie in the first game in Manchester, and Blackburn appeared in good shape after Andy Cole gave it a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. But goals by England international Paul Scholes in the 30th and 42nd minutes and another on a penalty kick by Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in the 77th after Friedel had tripped him clinched the series, 4-2, on aggregate, for United.
Manchester will play Liverpool in the March 2 final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Jack Warner, president of CONCACAF and a FIFA vice president, has warned Caribbean countries that unless they prove they are putting the $250,000 they are awarded annually by FIFA to better use, FIFA might withhold the money.
"I will ask FIFA to hold back the funding and we will have to teach the Caribbean [soccer] associations how to invest and use the money wisely," Warner said.