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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 20, 2006

Arena trying to settle on U.S. team starters

CARY, N.C. -- The starting lineup still is far from complete, but a core has emerged on the U.S. team that will head to Germany for the World Cup.

DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Landon Donovan and Oguchi Onyewu have played together on national teams since they were teenagers, and figure to be crucial elements on coach Bruce Arena's squad.

"It is a great compliment to our program that we were able to identify them and develop them together," Arena said Saturday.

The team is wrapping up training camp this weekend in preparation for the monthlong tournament, which begins June 9.

Donovan, with a pair of goals in five games, and Beasley, with three games but no goals, are playing in their second World Cup. Convey and Onyewu are getting their first experience in the tournament.

Arena said Beasley and Donovan were on his radar back in 1999 before they were chosen for the under-17 team.

"DaMarcus, you look at him and you see he is slight but after you see him play a couple of times, he can play with anybody," Arena said.

Donovan said coming up through the ranks with Beasley, Onyewu and Convey has been insightful.

"It helps so much on the field," Donovan said. "You get comfortable with them. You understand how they want to play and they understand how you want to play.

"We have been around each other long enough to know that you play the ball this way to one and that way to another."

The team finishes camp with one more practice Sunday before playing three games next week. They open with Morocco on Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn., then face Venezuela on Friday in Cleveland and Latvia on May 28 in East Hartford, Conn.

"All we've done for the last 10 days is run and kick each other," Donovan said. "You want to see where the benefits come in. When we get to Tuesday then we get to do the fun stuff."