U.S. SOCCER: Preview -- USA takes on Venezuela

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY
USA vs. Venezuela
Saturday, March 29 in Seattle, Wash.
(Seattle Seahawks Stadium)
4 pm ET/1 pm PT.
TV: live on ESPN 2.

The USA faces Venezuela in tomorrow's game because the original opponent, Japan, canceled its U.S. tour in response to the U.S. military's attack on Iraq, citing air-travel security concerns. Japan's decision came in the wake of Major League Baseball's canceling a series in Tokyo between the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners.

Venezuela is the only South American country never to have qualified for a World Cup, but its five wins in its last campaign indicate it may have its strongest national team in history.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The teams have met once, in a 3-3 tie at the 1993 Copa America, in which John Doyle, Chris Henderson and Dominic Kinnear scored for the USA.

The U.S. lineup was:

Friedel, Kooiman, Doyle, Clavijo, Caligiuri, Lalas, Henderson, Jones (Murray), Ramos, Kinnear (Harbor), Vermes.

BIRTHDAY BOY: Earnie Stewart, who turns 34 today, debuted for the USA in December of 1990. Asked whether being called in for tomorrow's game was something he expected, Stewart said:

''Not at all. I could understand that Bruce would want to go in a certain way, needing to look at younger players with World Cup qualifying about a year away. The team has to keep going forward. I was pleasantly surprised that my name was still up there to be called in. I'm still very honored.''

USA ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS
Tim Howard (MetroStars) 5 caps/0 goals, Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur) 60/0.

DEFENDERS
Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago) 10/2, Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96) 11/0, Nick Garcia (Kansas City) 3/0, Frankie Hejduk (Columbus) 44/5, Eddie Pope (MetroStars) 55/5.

MIDFIELDERS
DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago) 18/3, Bobby Convey (D.C. United) 6/0, Chris Klein (Kansas City) 10/2, Kyle Martino (Columbus) 1/0, Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado) 17/0, John O'Brien (Ajax Amsterdam) 20/2, Earnie Stewart (D.C. United) 84/15.

FORWARDS
Edson Buddle (Columbus) 0/0, Landon Donovan (San Jose) 32/7, Jovan Kirovski (Birmingham City) 54/7, Brian McBride (Columbus) 65/20.

VENEZUELA ROSTER:

GOALKEEPERS:
Gilberto Angelucci (Deportivo Tachira), Manuel Sanhouse (Club Espoli/Ecuador).

DEFENDERS:
Wilfredo Alvarado (ItalChacao), Luis Vallenilla Pacheco (Caracas FC), Jose Manuel Rey (Emelec/Ecuador), Jorge Rojas (Emelec/Ecuador), Leonel Vielma (Maracaibo), Javier Villafraz (Estudiantes).

MIDFIELDERS:
Leopoldo Jimenez (ItalChacao), Ricardo David Paez (Caracas FC), Giovanny Perez (Estudiantes), Gabriel Urdaneta (Lugano/Switzerland), Luis Vera (Caracas FC).

FORWARDS:
Cristian Casseres (Deportivo ItalChacao), Juan Garcia (Mineros), Wilfredo Moreno (Mineros), Daniel Noriega (Deportivo ItalChacao)

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