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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Twellman steals the show

CARSON, Calif. -- Taylor Twellman obviously is pleased the United States is headed for this summer's World Cup in Germany. He just hopes he's asked along. Twellman made a statement for being included on the final U.S. squad, scoring three goals Sunday in a 5-0 rout of Norway -- the largest margin of victory for the Americans over a European team.

"Germany is my goal now. The team is there. However, Taylor Twellman is not," Twellman said after scoring on a left-footed drive and a pair of powerful headers. "I will do my best to gain the trust of my teammates and the coaching staff. I want to be in Germany." Bruce Arena took note. "If what Taylor is seeking is a spot on the final roster that is traveling to Germany, he is definitely on the right track with a hat trick performance," the U.S. coach said. The Americans, tuning up for the World Cup, used mostly domestic-based players in the victory. Foreign-based U.S. players will join the squad later. Twellman, who plays for the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer, provided a quick 2-0 lead, then added his third goal in the 76th minute. Coming off a scoreless tie against Canada a week earlier, the United States dominated the game against the young Norwegian team. Moving the ball crisply on the attack, the Americans spent most of the afternoon deep on Norway's side of the field and outshot the Norwegians 24-2. "It is always gratifying to score and even more when it's three goals," Twellman said. "Overall, we took the chances we had. I am happy with my performance, but even more with the overall performance of the team. "If we keep this up, we should have a decent World Cup." The 25-year-old Twellman, a former University of Maryland star, gave U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman all the scoring he would need when he drove a left-footed shot past Norway's Espen Johnsen in the fifth minute. Twellman made it 2-0 with a powerful header past Johnsen 12 minutes later. After scoring only one goal in his 14 previous appearances for the national team, Twellman scored his third of the match on another header that made it 4-0. It was only the ninth three-goal game for a U.S. player, the first since Eddie Johnson against Panama in October 2004. Eddie Pope, the 32-year-old defender making his 75th international appearance for the United States, scored the third goal. Todd Dunivant set up the score with his second assist of the match. Chris Klein capped the scoring in the 87th minute. Landon Donovan, who skillfully orchestrated much of the U.S. attack, assisted on Klein's goal. Clint Dempsey also provided spark, and Arena said, "These types of games are for testing out players and surely Twellman, Dempsey and Dunivant did not let anyone down today with their performance." Hartman had a relatively quiet day in goal because Norway was unable to mount much offense, but the American goalie did make a spectacular lunging save on Frode Kippe's shot from point-blank range in the 13th minute. But for Norway's 6-foot-4 Brede Hangeland consistently clearing U.S. passes out of the box, the score could have been considerably more lopsided. Norway failed to qualify for the World Cup, losing out on a pair of 1-0 losses to the Czech Republic. The rebuilding Norwegians were coming off a 2-1 loss to Mexico in a match in San Francisco on Wednesday. The United States faces Japan in another friendly match on Feb. 10 in San Francisco, then plays Guatemala in Frisco, Texas, on Feb. 19. "Now we have to head back to camp to touch up the mistakes we made today," Arena said. "Overall, we looked good. The soccer is there, we just need to finish all our chances."