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WORLD CUP U.S. tries for third straight victory

Published: Mon, February 10, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Americans beat Argentina when they met in 1995 and again in 1999.

MIAMI (AP) -- The United States today seeks its third straight win over two-time World Cup champion Argentina.

Those victories came in 1995 and 1999.

"I think Landon Donovan and Bobby Convey and DaMarcus Beasley were in 10th grade then," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said, referring to three of his top young players. "I don't think that adds up to anything."

Last year, the U.S. team advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals, while Argentina was eliminated in the first round.

Big crowd expected

A crowd of up to 40,000 is expected at the Orange Bowl, and the majority probably will be cheering for Argentina.

"It's all part of it. It's a good challenge for us," Arena said. "The greatest challenge for us is the 11 players on the field for Argentina. The crowd is secondary."

U.S. midfielder Pablo Mastroeni knows what to expect. He was born in Argentina and lived there as a small child but has spent the bulk of his life in the United States and became an American citizen in 2001.

"It's going to be a great experience, being born in Argentina and always watching them growing up," he said, "but to me it's just another international friendly."

The roster for the 10th-ranked Americans comes entirely from Major League Soccer. While the roster for fifth-ranked Argentina is filled primarily by players who lack significant national team experience, it includes five members of the team that won the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship for players under 20.

"It's not going to be a game where we're content defending for 90 minutes," Arena said. "We want to get the ball downfield and create goalscoring opportunities. ... I wouldn't sell our team short in this game. I think it will be a great game."

Argentina has beaten Honduras 3-1 and Mexico 1-0 during its three-game tour. The Americans opened their 2003 schedule with a 4-0 win over Canada on Jan. 18.


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