Los Angeles Soccer: Slovenia national team
The best thing about the U.S. national team's 3-2 victory Tuesday in Slovenia -- and there were a lot of good things -- might have been the opening whistle. It gave U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra his 100th cap, a threshold only 11 American men had previously reached.
The central defender from Alta Loma (Alta Loma HS/UCLA) went the full 90 as the Yanks improved to 2-4-1 under Jurgen Klinsmann with their first victory in Europe in 3½ years.
Clint Dempsey forced a turnover that former Galaxy striker Edson Buddle finished from distance in the ninth minute, and Dempsey's header from Michael Bradley's corner kick restored the U.S. advantage in the 41st minute. Jozy Altidore converted a penalty kick two minutes later after Fabian Johnson was dragged down.
Tim Matavz's second goal of the night, in the 61st minute, pulled Slovenia closer.
Other L.A. area players seeing action were Bradley (Manhattan Beach), who started in midfield, and Maurice Edu (Fontana/Etiwanda HS) and Robbie Rogers (Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS), who came off the bench.
Bocanegra debuted for the U.S. in December 2001 and has served as the team's captain since June 2007.
“It was a special night,” Klinsmann told reporters afterward. “The team was pumped up all day, and they wanted to do well for him.”
Five of the top seven on the all-time U.S. caps list are from Southern California -- Cobi Jones (Westlake Village/Westlake HS and UCLA), Landon Donovan (Redlands/Redlands East Valley HS), Marcelo Balboa (Cerritos/Cerritos HS), Paul Caligiuri (Diamond Bar/Walnut HS) and Eric Wynalda (Westlake Village/Westlake HS) -- and Bocanegra is joined at 100 caps by Joe-Max Moore (Irvine/Mission Viejo HS and UCLA).
U.S. Soccer has put together a “infographic” -- a poster, more or less -- commemorating Bocanegra's 100 maches, and a PDF is available for download.
U.S. CENTURY CLUB
(100 international appearances)
1. Cobi Jones 164
2. Landon Donovan 138
3. Jeff Agoos 134
4. Marcelo Balboa 128
5. Claudio Reyna 112
6. Paul Caligiuri 110
7. Eric Wynalda 106
8. Kasey Keller 102
9. Earnie Stewart 101
10. Carlos Bocanegra 100
Tony Meola 100
Joe-Max Moore 100
If the Galaxy advance Thursday night against New York, then beat Real Salt Lake in Sunday's Western Conference final, Landon Donovan will miss some of the preparations for the Nov. 20 MLS Cup title game.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
Donovan (Redlands/Redlands East Valley HS) would be the only player in the MLS Cup final -- or Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman, should the Utahns advance -- in Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for friendlies Nov. 11 against France in Saint-Denis and Nov. 15 against Slovenia in Ljubljana.
He might not make the trip to Slovenia. If he (or Beckerman) are in Major League Soccer's championship, he (or Beckerman) will be released following the game against France.
Only three other MLS players -- Columbus winger Robbie Rogers (Huntington Beach and Palos Verdes/Mater Dei HS), FC Dallas winger Brek Shea and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid --- are in the 22-man group, which gathers Monday in Paris.
U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra (Alta Loma/Alta Loma HS and UCLA) would reach 100 caps with appearances in both games. Other locals on the roster are defender Michael Orozco Fiscal (Orange/Magnolia HS) and midfielders Maurice Edu (Fontana/Etiwanda HS) and Michael Bradley (Manhattan Beach). Former Galaxy striker Edson Buddle also is included.