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Armas Rejoins U.S. Team

Times Staff Writer

The return of Chris Armas from injury and the surprise recall of veterans Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart highlighted the selections Tuesday when U.S. Coach Bruce Arena announced an 18-player squad for a May 8 game against Mexico in Houston.

Armas, the 30-year-old Chicago Fire midfielder who suffered torn ligaments in his right knee one month before Korea/Japan ’02 and missed the World Cup, returns after a 12-month absence from the national team.

His selection was less surprising than that of Jones, 32, and Stewart, 34. The pair have played a combined 244 games and scored a combined 29 goals for the U.S., but were expected to make way for younger players as Arena rebuilds the U.S. in preparation for the 2006 World Cup.

Jones and Stewart are among nine World Cup 2002 holdovers on the roster and among six who played in the 2-0 victory over Mexico last June that put the U.S. in the World Cup quarterfinals.

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Neither took part in the four games the U.S. has played since then.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (MetroStars), Adin Brown (Revolution).

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fire), Danny Califf (Galaxy), Nick Garcia (Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Crew), Eddie Pope (Metro Stars).

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Midfielders: Armas (Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Chris Klein (Wizards), Pablo Mastroeni (Rapids), Richard Mulrooney (Earthquakes), Stewart (D.C. United).

Forwards: Landon Donovan (Earthquakes), Jones (Galaxy), Clint Mathis (MetroStars), Brian McBride (Crew).

Goalkeeper Stabbed

Do Ngoc, a goalkeeper for the Vietnamese first division team Danang, was beaten and stabbed by an angry mob after helping his team to a 1-0 upset victory in a league game on Sunday.

According to Associated Press reports, police raided two cafes after the incident, arrested 18 people and confiscated “swords, knives, ammunition and a hand grenade.”

The goalie was attacked outside a disco in Danang and left in a coma. He underwent surgery Monday and was recovering in the hospital. Betting on soccer is rife in Vietnam and is believed to have prompted the attack.

Quick Passes

Real Madrid on Tuesday categorically denied having any interest in signing Manchester United midfielder and England captain David Beckham. The club made the announcement on its Web site “with the objective of ending the growing speculation which has circulated without any foundation.”

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