U.S. Soccer: Berhalter replaces injured Gibbs on World Cup team

U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena has been forced to make his second change to his World Cup roster since announcing it on May 2.

Gregg Berhalter, a veteran of the USAÆs 2002 World Cup roster, has been added to the 23-man roster for the 2006 World Cup, replacing defender Cory Gibbs who was diagnosed with a right knee injury on Thursday. Berhalter will join the U.S. in Cleveland for the teamÆs match with Venezuela at Cleveland Browns Stadium at 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN2.

Berhalter has 44 caps across a career that spans 13 years with the USA. He is perhaps best known for a goal-bound shot off the hand off defender Torsten Frings in the USAÆs 1-0 loss to Germany in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. Berhalter recently helped Germany's Energie Cottbus earn promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2006-07 season. He has served as captain for Cottbus for the last two years. His professional career in Europe dates back to 1994 and includes stints with a number of different clubs in the Netherlands, England and Germany.

ôNaturally we are very sorry for Cory,ö said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. ôWe know he was looking forward to playing in his first World Cup. I believe strongly in him as a player. We are going to miss him. In Gregg, we are fortunate to have a player of his experience ready to step in to his second World Cup. IÆm confident that Gregg will be able to contribute immediately to our team.ö

Gibbs has two caps under his belt in 2006, both at left back. On Tuesday night he played 90 minutes in the USAÆs 1-0 loss to Morocco in Nashville, Tenn., injuring the knee during the match. The 26-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has played professional in Europe for most of his career and recently signed with Charlton Athletic of the English Premier League. He spent the 2004 season in Major League Soccer with FC Dallas. Gibbs has 19 caps in a career that began in 2003 for the USA.

The USA will continue their final preparations for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Friday, May 26, when they take on Venezuela at Cleveland Browns Stadium at 7 p.m. ET, live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo.

After the match in Cleveland, the USA will head to East Hartford, Conn., for their final tune-up against Latvia at Rentschler Field (presented by Hyundai) on Sunday, May 28, at 7 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2, delayed on Telemundo).

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