Look for scoring in this first match between the United States and Kuwait, a soccer no-name that did, however, twice tie Iran, a U.S. World Cup opponent, during qualifying last year.
Some pre-game tidbits from U.S. coach Steve Sampson:
If forward Brian McBride wants to play in France, he must score -- not just come tantalizingly close, which he did four times in last Saturday's frustrating, 0-0 draw with Macedonia before a concussion benched him.
Newly minted American David Regis, the French-bred, -speaking and -dwelling German Bundesliga defender the coach really, truly wants on his back line in France, will play 45 minutes tomorrow -- his first international. But Mike Burns, the man-marking defender now thought most threatened by Regis, will start.
Playmaker Claudio Reyna and fleet Dutch-American vet Ernie Stewart will start in midfield, both healed from minor injuries.
And, barring an act of God, keeper Kasey Keller will start in France.
Gabarra still has it
Carin Gabarra, Navy's women's coach since 1993, retired from international play earlier this year but hasn't given up playing or, apparently, lost the scoring touch that made her a giant of the American women's game.
Gabarra scored twice as the Maryland Pride opened play in the new, two-tier W-League with a 4-0 win over the Delaware Genies last Saturday.
Gabarra, 33, chose motherhood after winning an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. team in the 1997 Atlanta Games. Better remembered by some as Carin Jennings, she is the national team's fourth-leading career scorer with 52 goals and 49 assists in 117 international games over nine years.
She and the Pride play at 7 o'clock tonight at Howard High School against the New Jersey Wildcats -- a showcase for this weekend's annual Columbia Invitational Tournament.
U.S. doubleheader tickets
The Maryland State Youth Soccer Association still has discounted, end-line tickets for next Saturday's American send-off doubleheader at RFK Stadium, the first joint appearance by the U.S. men's and women's teams.
The U.S. women will play New Zealand at 11 a.m., followed at 1: 30 p.m. by the U.S. men vs. Scotland. The latter game is the final tuneup for both national teams before they depart for France and formidable first World Cup matches -- Scotland vs. Brazil in the tournament opener June 10, the U.S. vs. Germany five days later.
MSYSA's tickets are half off for youngsters under 19 ($2 off for adults). But call by Tuesday, or Ticketmaster will be your only option. Call 410-729-2754 days or 301-498-4906 evenings.
Pub Date: 5/23/98