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USA preparation hampered by weather, withdrawals
by Ridge Mahoney, May 27th, 2008 7AM



[ENGLAND-USA] The addition of one MLS player and all-too-English weather highlighted the first few days of preparation for the USA men's national team friendly against England at Wembley on Wednesday (TV: ESPN Classic, live, 3 p.m. ET, Galavision, 7 p.m. ET/PT).

Columbus right back Frankie Hejduk was scheduled to arrive Monday to supplement the roster after a hip problem impaired the ability Jonathan Spector (West Ham United) to train with the team. Spector has remained with the team, but his status for the England game as well as upcoming matches with Spain (June 4) and Argentina (June 8) is unknown.
Heavy downpours fell during training sessions over the weekend on the fields of League Championship club Watford, current employer of USA defender Jay DeMerit, which narrowly missed the playoffs for a shot at a Premier League place. Hull City won the coveted spot by beating Bristol City, 1-0, Saturday.

Several of the English players returned to training in the same conditions they left last Wednesday in Moscow at the Champions' League final. Cold rain began falling in the second half and pelted the players throughout overtime and the penalty-kick shootout. The England team features five Chelsea players, four from Manchester United, and one from the Los Angeles Galaxy; David Beckham and Landon Donovan flew to London after a comeback 3-1 win over Kansas City at Home Depot Center Saturday.

Donovan can earn his 100th cap by playing on Wednesday at Wembley. Beckham hit that milestone in England's last match, a 1-0 loss to France March 26 in Paris.
Coach Bob Bradley hasn't revealed his plans about the next two matches, but at least a few MLS players who will play for their clubs next weekend are to be added to the squad to face Argentina and possibly Spain as well. Bradley named a 33-man pool of players for the three matches.

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber was removed from that list after suffering a knee injury playing for the USA in the Toulon Tournament. He is expected to miss four to six weeks following surgery performed by U.S. team doctor Bert Mandelbaum to repair a torn meniscus in Feilhaber's right knee.

Four members of the USA 23-man squad (counting Spector) for the England game are out of contract: keeper Dominic Cervi, defender Carlos Bocanegra and forwards Josh Wolff and Nate Jaqua.

Fulham, which escaped relegation on the final day of the season by beating Portsmouth, 1-0, on the road, has retained midfielder Clint Dempsey and forward Eddie Johnson, and is reportedly discussing contract extensions with keeper Kasey Keller and striker Brian McBride. Both Keller and McBride are also discussing options with MLS.

Bocanegra, who scored eight goals in 116 Premier League appearances, is looking at clubs in Holland and Spain as well as England. He played regularly for managers Chris Coleman, who first brought him to England, and Lawrie Sanchez, but gradually lost a regular spot after Roy Hodgson took over in December. Coleman is coaching League Championship club Coventry City.

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