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U.S. MNT Opens 2012 Against Venezuela Jan. 21 in Arizona

Match Televised on Galavision, ESPN3 at 9 p.m. ET

© John Todd/isiphotos.com

Heath Pearce

IN THE IMAGE: Defender Heath Pearce and the U.S. MNT look for their third straight win against Venezuela this Saturday.

The U.S. Men’s National Team is preparing for its first match against Venezuela in more than five years when the two sides will square off Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. MT at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. This is the USA’s first match of the new calendar year since the team defeated Slovenia 3-2 on Nov. 15, 2011. Saturday’s match will be televised live on Galavision and ESPN3, and fans can also follow the games via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.

U.S. MNT 2012 Schedule


GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (6): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders FC), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (3): Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)


GOALKEEPERS (2): Alan Liebeskind (Lara), Leonardo Morales (Anzoategui)

DEFENDERS (8): Joel Caceres (Lara), John Chancellor (Mineros), Javier Gonzalez (Petare), Rubert Quijada (Monagas), Carlos Rivero (Anzoategui), Andres Rouga (Tachira), Carlos Salazar (Anzoategui), Jose Manuel Velazquez (Mineros)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Angel Chourio (Real Esppor), Diomar Diaz (Petare), Agnel Flores (Mineros), Francisco Flores (Anzoategui), Edgar Perez Greco (Lara), Alejandro Guerra (Mineros), Diego Guerrero (Tachira), Miguel Mea Vitali (Lara)

FORWARDS (6): Richard Blanco (Petare), Darwin Machis (Mineros), Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA), Hermes Palomino (Cherno More), Emilio Renteria (Columbus Crew), Jose Reyes (Anzoategui)


  • The USA has a 2-0-1 record against Venezuela all-time. In the first meeting, the U.S. and Venezuela played to a 3-3 draw at the Copa America tournament on June 22, 1993, in Quito, Equador. The USA built a 3-0 lead before watching Venezuela score three unanswered goals in the game’s final 25 minutes.
  • Since the opening draw, the U.S. has won back-to-back 2-0 decisions against Venezuela. On March 29, 2003, the USA netted second-half goals from Jovan Kirovski and Landon Donovan to win the match at Seattle Seahawks Stadium in Seattle, Wash. On May 26, 2006, Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey each tallied a goal during the match at Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • U.S. MNT midfielder Michael Bradley, who is not on the current roster, made his U.S. debut against Venezuela in the 89th minute of the 2-0 win on May 26, 2006.

AGUDELO, BECKERMAN SIDELINED: Juan Agudelo and Kyle Beckerman have both been ruled out of the next two matches. Agudelo suffered a right ankle sprain on Jan. 13 in the scrimmage against the U-23 MNT. Beckerman entered the camp with a groin issue and has not been able to fully participate in the exercises throughout the three weeks. Both players will remain with the team until after the Venezuela match and then continue rehab in the United States when the team departs for Panama.

JONES SUITS UP: Midfielder Jermaine Jones was added to the January training camp roster and joined the team on Jan. 14 at The Home Depot Center. Jones currently is serving a suspension from matches for Schalke, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann thought this provided a chance to keep him active and have him bring experience to this young U.S. squad: “Obviously this is a very difficult moment for Jermaine. He regrets the incident and has apologized to the player, his coaches and his teammates. He respects the decision of the German Federation and accepts the punishment. While an unfortunate situation, it provides me the opportunity to call him in and continue to get him integrated with our system as we prepare the team for qualifying this summer. I have spoken with the coach at Schalke and Jermaine, and we all agree this is what’s best.”

SOUNDERS DUO EVANS, PARKE ADDED: On Jan. 4, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann added Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans and Sounders defender Jeff Parke to the team’s January training roster. They were brought in when Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) and George John (FC Dallas) were given approval to withdraw from the roster before the start of camp in order to deal with club-related matters. Evans and Parke are coming off a 2011 campaign that included a third straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup crown. Evans has earned four caps for the full National Team, including three appearances in the USA’s run to the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. Parke is one of five players seeking to play his first game for the U.S. MNT.


  • Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, 32, is participating in his fifth January camp since 2002. Rimando has five caps to his name, splitting time in goal with Sean Johnson during a 1-1 draw against Chile on Jan. 22, 2011, for his lone appearance in the net last year.
  • Brad Evans is a native of Phoenix, having attended Mountain Point High School.
  • Five players are in search of their first international cap with the U.S. MNT. They include goalkeeper Bill Hamid, defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Jeff Parke, midfielder Graham Zusi and forward C.J. Sapong.
  • Among this current U.S. roster, midfielder Brek Shea was the most frequently capped player for the USA in 2011 with eight appearances. Shea, a member of the 2011 MLS Best XI, is one of only three players to appear in all seven matches since Klinsmann took charge along with Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard.
  • Eighteen players on this current U.S. roster are signed with MLS clubs.
  • Midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Ricardo Clark are looking for their first international cap in more than a year. The 2010 FIFA World Cup veterans did not register an appearance for the USA in 2011.
  • Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong captured 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year honors.
  • Four players on the roster are age-eligible to compete in qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games: Teal Bunbury, Hamid, Johnson and Shea.


  • The U.S. MNT typically performs well during January openers. Since 1998, the USA has posted a 7-1-5 record in their first game of the year, with the lone loss coming against Honduras on Jan. 23, 2010 (a 3-1 loss). All-time, the USA is 9-4-6 in January openers.
  • The USA has played in only one other match at the University of Phoenix Stadium, a 2-0 victory against Mexico on Feb. 7, 2007, in front of 62,424 fans. Jimmy Conrad scored his first international goal to give the USA a 1-0 lead off a Landon Donovan corner kickIn second-half stoppage time, Donovan pushed the lead to 2-0 off an assist from Ricardo Clark. At the time, the U.S. had outscored its CONCACAF rival by a 13-0 margin on U.S. soil since 2000.
  • The USA has an all-time record of 2-0-1 in matches played in Arizona. In addition to the 2-0 win against Mexico, the U.S. played in two matches in the early 1990s at Sun Devil Stadium. The U.S. played to a 2-2 draw against Denmark on Jan. 30, 1993, and a 2-1 win against Norway on Jan. 15, 1994.
  • The U.S. has not won against a South American country for 13 straight games. The last USA victory against a South American team was a 3-1 win against Ecuador on March 25, 2007, in Tampa, Fla.


  • 0.71: Average goals scored per game by the USA under Klinsmann in 2011 (5 goals in 7 games)
  • 0.94: Average goals scored per game by the USA in 2011 (16 goals in 17 games)
  • 1.00: Average goals allowed per game by the USA under Klinsmann in 2011 (7 goals in 7 games)
  • 1.18: Average goals allowed per game by the USA in 2011 (20 goals in 17 games)
  • 5: Times the USA shut out its opponents in 2011
  • 6: Times the USA was shut out in 2011
  • 90: Combined minutes played by goalkeepers Nick Rimando and Sean Johnson in 2011

ITALY ON THE ITINERARY: U.S. Soccer announced earlier this month that it will face four-time World Cup champion Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa. Kickoff at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris is at 8:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Fans can follow the game live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer. “Obviously we are very excited to be playing a team of such high quality,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “We are slowly trying to raise the bar for our team, and this is an awesome opportunity for the players to be challenged against one of the top teams in the world.”

RECAPPING 2011: The USA posted a 6-8-3 record in 2011 and opened the year with a 1-1 draw against Chile on Jan. 22. The big event for the U.S. last year was hosting the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June, and the USA made a strong run to the final. The team posted shutout victories over Canada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and then Panama in the semifinal. However, the USA’s run came to a halt when it lost to Mexico 4-2 in the Gold Cup final on June 25 in front of a crowd of 93,420 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. During the next month-and-a-half-long break between matches, the U.S. MNT parted ways with head coach Bob Bradley and brought in Goppingen, Germany, native Jurgen Klinsmann as the program’s 35th coach on July 29. Klinsmann guided the German National Team from 2004-2006, posting a 20-6-8 record, a third-place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and earning Coach of the Year honors in Germany. Klinsmann made his U.S. coaching debut in a rematch against Mexico, and the USA played to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 10 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Klinsmann earned his first U.S. win on Oct. 8 when the USA shut out Honduras 1-0 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., and the team wrapped up the year with a 3-2 victory against host Slovenia on Nov. 15. The USA was 2-4-1 under Klinsmann in 2011.

ON USSOCCER.COM: Check out the following articles, journal entries and videos on the U.S. Men’s National Team at ussoccer.com:

TRAINING ABROAD: Getting more time on the field and extra training is another key component of Klinsmann’s development plans, and several players were able to take advantage of the offseason. Six of the players in the January camp had training spells with clubs in Europe: Agudelo (Stuttgart, Liverpool), Beckerman (FC Kaiserslautern), Hamid (West Bromwich Albion), Johnson (Everton), Jeff Larentowicz (Bolton) and Shea (Arsenal).


NUTRITION 101: U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has utilized this January camp to focus heavily on educating the roster in many areas, and one key away from the pitch is nutrition. On the nutrition side, the U.S. MNT received instruction and advice from Danielle LaFata, the Director of Performance Nutrition at Athletes’ Performance. Some key nutritional tips include eating the least processed forms of food (i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grains); choosing a variety of colored fruits and vegetables with each meal; eating healthy fats such as nuts, fish and flaxseed oil; eating smaller portions spread evenly across the day; and staying hydrated. Also check out a video of the players receiving this tutorial and going shopping!

SIX-GOAL GAME: Jurgen Klinsmann has introduced a tactical training exercise called the “six-goal game” to focus heavily on shifting and moving as a unit, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The 70-yard-long, 72-yard-wide field is incorporated with big goals in the center of each endline and then two smaller goals on each side of the big goals, placed seven yards from the sideline. Each team has the ability to score on three different goals spread all the way across the field, forcing defenses to quickly move as a group from side to side. Here is a video of how it all works.

U.S. MNT SCRIMMAGES U-23S TWICE: The U.S. MNT and U.S. U-23 MNT converged for two scrimmages on Jan. 13 and 17 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The U.S. MNT netted four first-half goals and earned a 4-0 win against the U-23s on Jan. 13, and the two sides played to a 1-1 draw on Jan. 17. In the second game, U.S. MNT defender Graham Zusi scored a goal, while the U-23’s Jack McInerney had a tally as the two sides settled for the stalemate. The U-23 MNT is now in San Jose, Costa Rica, where it will face Saprissa and Alajuelense in two more games to wrap up the January training session.

CONTINUITY AMONG U.S. SOCCER TEAMS: This year marks an important overlap between the U.S. Men’s National Team and the U.S. Under-23 MNT as the U-23s prepare for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March. U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has emphasized a desire to play possessive and attack-driven soccer, and he wants to see this type of continuity within the younger levels. That holds true for U-23 head coach Caleb Porter, whose group has been training within a 4-3-3 formation and focusing on connection in the attack and combination play. Klinsmann’s current MNT roster includes several players who likely will play big roles for the U-23s in the qualifying and hopefully the 2012 London Olympics.

U.S. U-23 MNT 2012 Schedule

(2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament)

JURGEN KLINSMANN FACT FILE: Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is beginning his first full calendar year in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and brings a distinguished record as a player and a coach.

  • Klinsmann was named the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach on July 29, 2011, making him the 35th coach in the history of the program.
  • Klinsmann was named the German National Team manager in 2004 and guided Germany to a 20-6-8 record and a third-place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He earned Coach of the Year honors in Germany, and two years later he took over the head coaching position at Bayern Munich.
  • As a player, Klinsmann played 17 club seasons from 1981 to 1998 with the following teams: Stuttgarter Kickers (1981-84), VfB Stuttgart (1984-89), Internazionale (1989-92), Monaco (1992-94), Tottenham Hotspur (1994-95, 97-98), Bayern Munich (1995-97) and Sampdoria (1997-98). During that time, he scored 226 goals in 506 appearances. He was named German Player of the Year in 1988 and 1994 and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1995.
  • Klinsmann earned 108 caps with the German National Team, scoring 47 goals. He participated in three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998) and won the 1990 World Cup.
  • Klinsmann’s record as head coach of the Men’s National Team is 2-1-4 as he led the USA squad for the team’s final seven games of 2011. Klinsmann’s U.S. coaching debut was a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Aug. 10, 2011, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. During Klinsmann’s abbreviated 2011 tenure, opponents outscored the USA by a 7-5 margin. The U.S.’s two victories during the Klinsmann era include a 1-0 win against Honduras (Oct. 8, 2011) and a 3-2 victory against Slovenia (Nov. 15, 2011).


Federacion Venezolana de Futbol/Venezuelan Football Association

Founded: 1938

Head Coach: Cesar Farias

Best FIFA World Cup Finish: Has not qualified for a World Cup

Best Copa America Finish: Fourth place (2011)

Caps leader: Jose Manuel Rey (115)

Top scorer: Giancarlo Maldonado (22)


  • This marks Venezuela’s first match of 2012. Venezuela last played against Costa Rica on Dec. 22, 2011, falling 2-0 in the international friendly at Metropolitano Stadium in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
  • Venezuela’s forward corps includes two familiar players from the MLS front – Chivas USA’s Alejandro Moreno and the Columbus Crew’s Emilio Renteria. Moreno is the only forward among this group to have scored in international play with three goals.
  • Midfielder Miguel Mea Vitali has earned the most international caps among Venezuela’s roster with 82.
  • Midfielder Angel Chourio is Venezuela’s leading scorer among this roster with five goals in 17 games. Midfielder Alejandro Guerra is second with four goals in 35 career games.
  • Venezuela’s roster features four teenagers: defender Joel Caceres (18), forward Darwin Machis (18), forward Jose Reyes (19) and defender Carlos Rivero (19).
  • Forward Richard Blanco turns 30 on Saturday.


On the field for USA:

Nov. 15, 2011 – Stozice Stadium – Ljubljana, Slovenia – International Friendly

USA 3 Edson Buddle 9; Clint Dempsey 41; Jozy Altidore 43 (pen)

Slovenia 2 Tim Matav ž 26, 61

USA : 1-Tim Howard; 2-Steve Cherundolo, 4-Clarence Goodson, 5-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 3-Timmy Chandler (14-Danny Williams, 82); 6-Kyle Beckerman (16-Jermaine Jones, 90), 7-Michael Bradley (17- Robbie Rogers, 90+4), 8-Fabian Johnson (18-Brek Shea, 61), 10-Clint Dempsey; 9-Jozy Altidore, 11-Edson Buddle (15-Maurice Edu, 78)
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 13- Michael Orozco Fiscal
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

SVN : 1-Samir Handanovic; 2-Miso Brecko, 13-Bojan Jokic, 5-Bostjan Cesar, 15-Darijan Matič (18-Rene Krhin, 46); 20-Armin Bačinovič (8-Dejan Lazarevic, 88), 17-Andraz Kirm (21-Dare Vrsic, 70), 19-Josip Iličič (10-Valter Birsa, 46), 9-Zlatan Ljubijankič (7-Nejc Pecnik, 80); 23-Tim Matavž (14-Zlatko Dedic, 79), 4-Marko Šuler
Subs not used: 3-Miral Samardžić, 6-Branko Ilic, 11-Ales Mertelj, 12-Jasmin Handanovic, 16-Vid Belec
Head coach: Slavia Stojanovic

On the field for Venezuela:

Dec. 22, 2011 – Metropolitano Stadium – Barquisimeto, Venezuela – International Friendly

Venezuela 0

Costa Rica 2 Rodney Wallace 42; Jose Miguel Cubero 53

VEN: Alan Liebeskind, Alexander González (Carlos Rivero 43’), José Manuel Velásquez, Grenddy Perozo y Gabriel Cichero (Andrés Rouga 80’), Francisco Flores (Juan Guerra 58’), Micky Mea Vitali, Louis Ángelo Peña (Ángel Chourio 58’), Edgar Pérez Greco, Emilio Rentería (Josef Martínez 75’), Darwin Machis (Hermes Palomino 58’)

Head Coach: César Farías

CRC: Daniel Cambronero, Geancarlo González, Roy Miller, Gonzalo Segares, Dave Myrie, Yeltsin Tejeda (Eduardo Valverde 66’), José Miguel Cubero, Rodney Wallace (Pedro Leal 73’), Kenny Cunningham, Randall Brenes (Allen Guevara 87’), Jonathan McDonald (Jairo Arrieta 77’)

Head Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto

Vs. Venezuela:

May 26, 2006 – Metropolitano Stadium – Barquisimeto, Venezuela – International Friendly

USA 2 Brian Ching 36; Clint Dempsey 69

Venezuela 0

USA : 1-Tim Howard; 2-Chris Albright, 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 13-Jimmy Conrad (Capt.), 3-Carlos Bocanegra; 8-Clint Dempsey, 14-Ben Olsen (24-Michael Bradley, 89), 16-Josh Wolff (21-Landon Donovan, 66), 15-Bobby Convey (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 65); 11-Brian Ching, 9-Eddie Johnson (7-Eddie Lewis, 83)

Subs not used: 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 5-John O’Brien, 6-Steve Cherundolo, 10-Claudio Reyna, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Marcus Hahnemann, 20-Brian McBride, 23-Eddie Pope

Head Coach: Bruce Arena

VEN : 12-Javier Toyo; 4-Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, 6-Alejandro Cichero (19-Gabriel Cichero, 65), 20-Hector Gonzalez, 17-Jorge Rojas (27-Jonay Hernandez, 70); 13-Leonel Vielma (16-Edgard Jiminez, 46), 5-Miguel Mea (15-Pedro Fernandez, 46), 11-Ricardo Paez, 14-Alejandro Guerra (10-Jesus Gomez, 56); 7-Jose Torrealba (9-Giancarlo Maldonado, 57), 18-Juan Arango (Capt.).

Subs not used: 1-Renny Vega, 8-Daniel Arismendi, 23-Gerzon Chacon.

Head Coach: Richard Paez

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