U.S. Men: Arena calls in eight foreign-based players for June 13 Argentina match

U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena will be armed with arguably his most experienced squad since taking the reins last November, when the United States faces South American heavyweight Argentina on June 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Arena has named a preliminary 20-player squad, as U.S. Soccer awaits official confirmation and player releases from the professional clubs involved. The coach is expected to add two more players to the squad, bringing the total to 22. The marquee international match, pitting a pair of teams who have each accumulated winning records since participating in the 1998 World Cup, will be televised to a live ABC audience at 1 p.m. ET on June 13. Named to the preliminary roster by Arena are eight European-based players, ten from Major League Soccer clubs and two youth national team players. Making their first training camp appearance since Bruce Arena took over the squad are goalkeepers Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel, and defender Mike Burns. Keller and Friedel have not participated in the previous national team camps under Arena in order to remain with Leicester City and Liverpool, their respective English Premier League clubs. "We're preparing for competitions like the Confederations Cup and World Cup qualifying, so we need to start calling in the players who we feel will play a role for us," said Arena. "Both [Kasey] Keller and [Brad] Friedel are players we will look closely at for those tournaments." Of the European-based players to return to the national team, midfielder Claudio Reyna brings the most notable success, having helped his Glasgow Rangers team to the Scottish League championship. Reyna had only appeared in two matches for Rangers before playing the full 90 minutes against arch-enemy Glasgow Celtic in a 3-0 victory at Celtic Park. Also named to the USA's squad were several MLS stars, including Roy Lassiter (D.C. United), Joe-Max Moore (New England Revolution) and Chris Armas (Chicago Fire). Lassiter has been particularly impressive after eight matches, scoring eight goals and adding three assists to lead the league in scoring. Argentina, coached by Marcelo Bielsa, is expected to counter by bringing nearly its full complement of international superstars including Gabriel Batistuta, Diego Simeone, Ariel Ortega and Javier Zanetti as the squad prepares for the Copa America, June 29 - July 18 in Paraguay. In addition to the 18 veteran players, Arena has also called up two younger forwards Chris Albright and Landon Donovan who will round out the U.S. camp. Albright recently competed with the U.S. U-20 side in Nigeria at the 1999 World Youth Championship, while Donovan is a highly-touted U-17 player. "As I have said all along, I want to get younger players as much experience as possible," said Arena. "I think we have two players here who have the potential to step up to the next level, so it only makes sense to bring them in and introduce them to the national team." The last time the senior U.S. national team played Argentina was during the 1995 Copa America, when the Americans shocked the Argentine squad 3-0. It is regarded as one of the great U.S. victories of all time, and propelled the U.S. into the tournament's quarterfinals. Argentina, however, holds a large advantage over the U.S. in the all-time series, having compiled a 5-1-1 record against the Americans. The U.S. is using the match to prepare for the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico. In Mexico, the American team will face Group B opponents New Zealand (July 24), Brazil (July 28) and Germany (July 30), all at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara. The top two teams from this group will advance to the tournament semifinals. Fans interested in purchasing tickets to the USA-Argentina match can do so by contacting the D.C. United ticket office, 703-478-6600, or TicketMaster in any of the following locations: Virginia (703-573- SEAT); D.C. (202-432-SEAT); Maryland (410-481-SEAT) or outside the Metro D.C. area (800-551-SEAT). Here's the preliminary U.S. roster: Goalkeepers -- Brad Friedel (Liverpool, England), Kasey Keller (Leicester City, England). Defenders -- Jeff Agoos (D.C. United), Gregg Berhalter (Cambuur, Netherlands), C.J. Brown (Chicago Fire), Mike Burns (New England Revolution), Robin Fraser (Los Angeles Galaxy), Carlos Llamosa (D.C. United), David Regis (Metz, France). Midfielders -- Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (San Jose Clash), Claudio Reyna (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Richie Williams (D.C. United). Forwards -- Chris Albright (University of Virginia), Landon Donovan (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Jovan Kirovski (Fortuna Cologne, Germany), Roy Lassiter (D.C. United), Joe-Max Moore (New England Revolution), Head Coach: Bruce Arena. Assistant Coaches: George Gelnovatch, Bob Jenkins, Milutin Soskic.
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