U.S. Cup squad runneth over Returning players strengthen team

June 06, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN, CONNETICUT — NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The U.S. national soccer team has scored 13 goals in 14 games this season. It has been shut out in its past two contests. But the Americans won't panic. They aren't even sweating yet.

Help is on the way from Europe.

Several trips to the airport this weekend should produce midfielders Tab Ramos of Spain's Real Betis and Frank Klopas of AEK Athens in Greece; two German-based players, defender Tom Dooley of Kaiserslautern and striker Eric Wynalda of Saarbruecken, are also scheduled to arrive.

These are some of America's top guns, who will begin play for the U.S. national team Wednesday.

"Our explosive foreign players will be here," said Bruce Murray, a U.S. midfielder from Germantown, Md. "They had commitments to club teams in Europe, but we should be competitive from here on out."

The round-robin U.S. Cup '93 tournament begins today when the U.S. meets three-time World Cup winner Brazil at the Yale Bowl. Defending World Cup champion Germany and England are the other nations in the competition.

The U.S. is 1-4-9 against national competition, and its last two losses -- both shutouts -- were against Bolivia and Peru.

"Actually, we have focused on not getting scored on lately, maybe too much," said Murray. "But we haven't had all our players. I also have to admit that scoring is the hardest part of the game, especially in America."

Why?

Murray and defender Desmond Armstrong, who grew up in Columbia, think they know.

"In the United States, we tend to bring the ball up from the back slowly, then attack," said Murray. "In Europe, they believe the long ball or pass will help you attack from anywhere on the field."

Armstrong said: "In this country, our coaches don't teach players to be creative with the ball. The coaches believe in the team concept instead of the individual. But goal-scorers have to be selfish, they have to be hungry. Somewhere along the lines, we're going to need to encourage this type of play more. It's

changed a little over the years with the development of U.S. players like Frank Klopas and Bruce Murray."

Klopas and Murray complement players such as Ramos and John Harkes (from England's Sheffield Wednesday, but there's still some doubt if the Americans can mesh the talent for U.S. Cup '93. Last year, in a similar tournament, the U.S. upset Ireland and Portugal and tied Italy to win the competition.

For the Americans, this tournament will be a test of how much their game has developed.

"You expect a great deal from the five or six European boys that are going to come in -- there's going to be a lot of focus on us," said Roy Wegerle, a U.S. forward-midfielder who plays for England's Coventry City. "But one thing you have to remember: In Europe, we're all playing in different leagues. The Germans play one way, in England we play a different style, in Spain, where Tab is, they play a different style.

"There are four or five systems of play we have to gel together in two or three days. Last year it worked out pretty good at the U.S. Cup. We had some great results and we won the tournament."

If the U.S. wins this year's tournament, it might be because some of the competition is at less than full strength.

Brazil will be without midfielder Mauro Silva and forward Bebeto of Spain's Deportivo Coruna, defender Ricardo Gomes of Paris St. Germain and Real Madrid defender Ricardo Rocha because of commitments to their club teams.

L Midfielders Luiz Henrique, Joao Paulo and Valdo are injured.

Germany will be without Ulf Kirsten, the leading scorer in the German league, and midfielder Thomas Hassler, the top player at last summer's European Championship. German coach Berti Vogts also will be missing forward Andreas Thom and defender Christian Woerns, teammates of Kirsten's on Bayer Leverkusen, which plays Hertha Berlin in the German Cup final on June 12. Kirsten has 19 league goals this season and Thom has 11.

Hassler will miss the U.S. Cup because his club, AS Roma, plays Torino in the Italian Cup final on June 12 and June 19.

England is sending a full-strength squad, despite disappointing results in crucial World Cup qualifying games last week, in which it tied in Poland and lost to Norway.

U.S. NATIONAL TEAM

Goalies

Brad Friedel .. .. .. Bay Village, Ohio

Tony Meola .. .. .. .. .. .Kearny, N.J.

Forwards

Jean Harbor .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Adelphi

Ernie Stewart .. .. .. .. .. .. Houston

Roy Wegerle .. .. .. .. .. Tampa, Fla.

Eric Wynalda .. . Westlake Vil., Calif.

Midfielders

John Harkes .. .. .. .. .. Kearny, N.J.

Chris Henderson .. .. .. Everett, Wash.

Cobi Jones .. ... Westlake Vil., Calif.

Dominic Kinnear .. .. ..Fremont, Calif.

Frank Klopas .. .. .. .. .. ... Chicago

Bruce Murray .. .. .. .. .. .Germantown

Tab Ramos .. .. .. .. .. Hillside, N.J.

Peter Woodring .. .. .Kentfield, Calif.

Defenders

Jeff Agoos .. .. .. .. .. .. ... Dallas

Desmond Armstrong .. .. .. .. .Columbia

Fernando Clavijo .. .. .. .. .St. Louis

Thomas Dooley .. .. .. .. .Albany, Ore.

John Doyle .. .. .. .. .Fremont, Calif.

Cle Kooiman .. .. .. .. Ontario, Calif.

Alexi Lalas .. .. .. .Birmingham, Mich.

Mike Lapper .. .. . Hunt. Beach, Calif.

U.S. CUP SCHEDULE

Today

U.S. vs. Brazil, at New Haven, Conn.

Wednesday

U.S. vs. England, at Foxboro, Mass.

Thursday

Brazil vs. Germany, at RFK Stadium

June 13

U.S. vs. Germany, at Chicago*

England vs. Brazil, at RFK Stadium

June 19

Germany vs. England, at Pontiac, Mich.

* Ch. 13

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