Berhalter steps in for the injured Gibbs in Germany.
Gregg Berhalter, a veteran of the USA’s 2002 FIFA World Cup roster, has been added to the USA’s 23-man roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup to replace defender Cory Gibbs, who was diagnosed with a right knee injury on Thursday. Berhalter will join the U.S. in Cleveland on Friday in advance of the team’s match with Venezuela at Cleveland Browns Stadium at 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN2.
Berhalter has 44 caps across a career that spans 13 years with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Known for his strong play in the air, the 32-year-old is a highly competitive central defender with excellent man-marking abilities. He is perhaps best known for a goal-bound shot off the hand off defender Torsten Frings in the USA’s 1-0 loss to Germany in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. The non-call is among the most infamous in FIFA World Cup history.
At the club level, Berhalter recently helped Energie Cottbus of the second division in Germany earn promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2006-07 season. He has served as captain for Cottbus for the last two years. His professional career in Europe dates back to 1994 and includes stints with a number of different clubs in Holland, England and Germany.
“Naturally we are very sorry for Cory,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. “We know he was looking forward to playing in his first World Cup. I believe strongly in him as a player. We are going to miss him. In Gregg, we are fortunate to have a player of his experience ready to step in to his second World Cup. I’m confident that Gregg will be able to contribute immediately to our team.”
Gibbs has two caps under his belt in 2006, both at left back. On Tuesday night he played 90 minutes in the USA’s 1-0 loss to Morocco in Nashville, Tenn., injuring the knee at an unspecified point during the match. The 26-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has played professional in Europe for most of his career and recently signed with Charlton Athletic of the English Premier League. He spent the 2004 season in Major League Soccer with FC Dallas. Gibbs has 19 caps in a career that began in 2003 for the USA.
The U.S. will continue their final preparations for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Friday, May 26, when they take on Venezuela at Cleveland Browns Stadium (presented by Sierra Mist) at 7 p.m. ET, live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo. Fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
After the match in Cleveland, the U.S. will head to East Hartford, Conn., for their final tune-up against Latvia (tickets) at Rentschler Field (presented by Hyundai) on Sunday, May 28, at 7 p.m. ET (live on ESPN2, delayed on Telemundo). At the game, Nike will distribute 30,000 red “Don’t Tread on Me” rally towels bearing the snake and ball mark. All fans attending the game are encouraged to wear red to celebrate the U.S. Soccer team’s final game in the U.S. before leaving for Germany on June 1.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Ghana, and Italy. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy on June 17 in Kaiserslautern and then finishing off group play against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg. The U.S. has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as their base of operations throughout the tournament.
courtesy of ussoccer.com