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Reyna to Miss Next Two World Cup Qualifiers; Arena Out for Three Games

CHICAGO (Thursday, September 14, 2000) - U.S. Soccer has been notified today by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee that U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Claudio Reyna and head coach Bruce Arena have been suspended for the next two and three games, respectively, of 2002 World Cup Qualifying for their actions after the USA's 2-1 qualifying loss in Costa Rica on July 23, 2000.

While Reyna's suspension is final with no chance of appeal, U.S. Soccer is currently evaluating the appeal process in regards to Arena's three-game suspension.

"We respect and understand the FIFA Disciplinary Committee's decisions in this matter," said U.S. Soccer Secretary General Dan Flynn. "We have spoken to both Bruce and Claudio, and they understand the reasons behind FIFA's decision. What's important now is how we move forward in preparation for our two remaining World Cup qualifiers in this round. All of our preparation is geared toward advancing to the next round of qualifying, and that is what our team needs to be focused on."

The U.S. hosts Costa Rica on Oct. 11 at Columbus Crew Stadium in their next game (live on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET), before traveling to Barbados for their sixth and final semifinal round World Cup qualifying match on Nov. 15.

"The game in Costa Rica was an emotional defeat for us, and our reactions to that loss were equally emotional," said Arena. "We acknowledge and understand FIFA's decision in this process, and need to put it behind us and move forward in our preparation for these upcoming games."

Already without suspended midfielders Earnie Stewart (two yellow cards) and Eddie Lewis (red card against Guatemala on Sept. 3) for the Costa Rica match, the U.S. will now have to cope with the loss of Reyna in the center of the field.

"Everyone that has watched me throughout my career, knows how uncharacteristic my actions were after the loss in Costa Rica, and I am sorry for losing my composure," said Reyna from Scotland.

The U.S. is currently in second place in their four team group with seven points, behind Costa Rica's nine points and ahead of Guatemala (four points) and Barbados (three points). The top two teams in the group will advance to the final six-team group of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying to be played in 2001.

Source: US Soccer