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Dallas Soccer News - FC Dallas, Chris Gbandi, Dominic Oduro, Carlos Ruiz, Anthony Wallace, mls

National teams pluck FC Dallas players

Published 5/28/2007 10:01:48 PM by staff from mlsnet.com
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This week, four different FC Dallas players will be away from the club to join various national teams for action in early June. They include left back Chris Gbandi (Liberia), forward Dominic Oduro (Ghana under-23s), captain and striker Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala) and rookie midfielder Anthony Wallace (United States under-20s).

Gbandi was set to leave on Tuesday to join the Liberian national team for the first time since 2004. The FCD left back, who was born in Liberia but grew up in Houston, was set to represent his home country in a June 2 match against Cameroon in the qualifying stage of the African Nations Cup.

"I'm pretty excited," Gbandi said. "It's my second cap for them, so I'm pretty excited about that. It's a big game since it's in the African Nations (Cup) qualifiers and they're playing Cameroon, a big country in Africa and I'm looking forward to it.

"You should have about 40,000-50,000 screaming Liberians and I think my dad will make the trip. I have a lot of family members back home who are excited about seeing me play. I haven't been back there since 2004. I should have a lot of family members at the game."

Since Gbandi has been called up by Liberia, it means that the Houston native will have to miss the first meeting of the year on June 3 between FCD and Houston, his hometown team.

"I'm going to have quite a few fans who will want to see me (in Houston), but they will be disappointed. It's an opportunity for me to play for my country," he said. "But to miss the Houston game, which is one that I especially want to play in because I have a lot of friends and family down there. I will be a little sad, but if I'm playing for my country, that's more important."

Oduro, a second-year striker, got his first-ever call to join Ghana's U-23 national team for a match against Nigeria later this week.

"I think it's a great honor for my country to call me to play for their national team," he said. "My hard work has paid off and I have been productive."

The week promises to be a family affair for Oduro as much of his family still lives in Ghana.

"My whole family lives over there," he said. "It's only like a four-hour flight from Ghana to Nigeria. There's a rivalry between those two countries and since it's an Olympic qualifier, it's going to be big."

Ruiz left this weekend for Guatemala, where he will join his country's national team as they prepare for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He is the leading scorer in the history of the Guatemalan national team, which opens play on June 3 against the United States at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. They will also face El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago in the opening round.

He last played for Guatemala in a scoreless draw against the U.S. on March 29 in Frisco. Depending on how long his country lasts in the Gold Cup, Ruiz could be away from FCD for anywhere between three and six games in the month of June.

Wallace, an 18-year-old defender who was the ninth overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, will depart for a training camp with the U.S. U-20 national team from May 30 to June 6 in Canada. The U-20s will play Canada twice during that camp - on June 3 in Ottawa and three days later in Kingston.

"I'm excited," Wallace said. "It's been a little while since I have been with the U-20s. I am looking forward to getting back into things as we prepare for this World Cup. It is an honor, but I don't see it as a big event."

FCD head coach Steve Morrow will be without Gbandi and Oduro only for next Sunday's match at Houston, meaning some lineup changes will be in the works. But Ruiz will be gone a bit longer and could miss much of June depending on how far Guatemala advances in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Label: FC Dallas, Chris Gbandi, Dominic Oduro, Carlos Ruiz, Anthony Wallace, mls
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