Meola to make 100th international appearance

April 4, 2006

CHICAGO -- Goalkeeper Tony Meola was included in the U.S. roster for next week's exhibition game against Jamaica and will make his 100th international appearance.

The 37-year-old Meola was the starter for the United States at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and was the No. 3 goalkeeper for the Americans at the 2002 tournament. Meola, who plays for Major League Soccer's Red Bull New York team, has not appeared for the national team since May 16, 2002, when he came in after Kasey Keller got hurt in the 51st minute of an exhibition game against Jamaica.

"It's an honor for me and U.S. Soccer to recognize Tony's achievements in our sport by watching him earn his 100th cap for his country," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said Tuesday. "We look forward to a special evening and recognizing Tony for an illustrious career."

Meola, who played for Arena at the University of Virginia, is not expected to be included in this year's World Cup roster. Keller is the starter, and Tim Howard and Marcus Hahnemann are the probable backups.

The April 11 game at Cary, N.C., is the last before Arena chooses his 23-man World Cup roster. Arena included oft-injured midfielder John O'Brien, who signed with Chivas USA on Tuesday. O'Brien, bothered by groin and hip problems, hasn't played for the national team since a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago last August.

Also on the roster is midfielder Clint Dempsey, bypassed for the March 22 game at Germany after he punched a New England teammate in practice and was suspended by the Revolution for two weeks.

Defenders Todd Dunivant (strained left calf) and Jimmy Conrad (hernia surgery) were not available because of injuries. Back after injury layoffs are midfielders Landon Donovan (calf), Steve Ralston (torn quadriceps) and Pat Noonan (hamstring) and defenders Chris Albright (torn knee cartilage) and Frankie Hejduk (strained hamstring).

"We will certainly be watching closely as we continue to finalize our plans," Arena said.

He intends to narrow his World Cup pool to about 33 players on April 12 and announce his roster the week of May 1.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Tony Meola (New York), Matt Reis (New England)
Defenders: Chris Albright (Los Angeles), Nick Garcia (Kansas City), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado), Eddie Pope (Salt Lake)
Midfielders: Clint Dempsey (New England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Pat Noonan (New England), John O'Brien (no team), Ben Olsen (D.C.), Steve Ralston (New England), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City)
Forwards: Brian Ching (Houston), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City), Taylor Twellman (New England), Josh Wolff (Kansas City)


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press