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Final chance for Major League Soccer players is El Salvador match

February 4, 2010 | 12:23 pm

With the overwhelming majority of the players likely to represent the United States at the 2010 World Cup playing in Europe, there is one final chance for Major League Soccer players to break into the squad.

The U.S. will play El Salvador in a Feb. 24 friendly in Tampa, Fla., and on Thursday Coach Bob Bradley invited 23 players into camp at the Home Depot Center, starting Feb. 10, to prepare for that match.

All of the players are from MLS and include Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton, defender Jonathan Bornstein and midfielder Sacha Kljestan, as well as Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.

The roster includes 21 of the players who were in the January camp in Carson that preceded the U.S. team's 3-1 loss to Honduras at the Home Depot Center.

"This camp and the game against El Salvador provide a chance for the coaching staff to get one more long look at this group," Bradley said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. "El Salvador demonstrated during World Cup qualifying that they are a difficult team to beat, so we expect a good match."

The U.S. had to come from behind twice against the Salvadorans during qualifying for South Africa 2010, first to earn a 2-2 tie in San Salvador and again when defeating El Salvador, 2-1, in Sandy, Utah.

The game at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium (4 p.m. PST, televised on ESPN Classic and TeleFutura) will be followed by a March 3 game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, for which Bradley is expected to rely primarily on his European-based players.

-- Grahame L. Jones