The US national team has arrived in sunny, less-humid-than-usual South Florida. They held a spirited 75-minute practice in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday. Landon Donovan did not make the trip because he has a strained right quad. He was replaced by Edson Buddle, who is on his way. 18 players were in camp. Three others -- Juan Agudelo, Tim Ream, Nick Rimando -- have MLS obligations and will join the team later this week.
Jozy Altidore tweaked his right ankle, but coach Jurgen Klinsmann said it "shouldn't be a problem.''
The practice was open to the media (more relaxed atmosphere than with regimes past) and Klinsmann was very chatty afterward. He had nice things to say about Kyle Beckerman "He is a one-thousand percent team player and smells where the ball is going to go.'' Also talked about how Da Marcus Beasley has matured since joining Mexican club Pueblo, and how Gooch "has his body back in balance'' with Sporting Lisbon after a series of injuries.
Danny Williams was in US camp for the first time. Born in Germany 22 years ago to a US military father and German mother, he finalized his US passport last Friday to be eligible to play. Williams is a midfielder for Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga. He told yanksabroad.com that his first visit to the US was this past June, and he came to (where else?) Miami! He attended Miami Heat NBA Finals games and met his girlfriend at one of the games. That trip, he said, helped convince him to pledge his allegiance to the red, white and blue uniform.
Plenty of tickets are still available for Saturday's 6 p.m. game against Honduras at Sun Life Stadium. In fact, ticket sales have been disappointingly sluggish, even by South Florida standards with only 7,000 sold as of Monday. Surely, it would have helped if US Soccer had promoted the game better (has anyone seen a single billboard or flier?), and a 6 p.m. start on Yom Kippur isn't ideal, but here's hoping the local soccer community -- as passionate and knowledgable about international soccer as any place in the world -- will step up and give the two World Cup teams the crowd they deserve.
Honduran team arrived on Monday and is training in Sunrise.
Jozy Altidore will make an appearance Thursday night at Mickey Byrnes Irish Pub in Hollywood (1921 Hollywood Blvd.) He'll chat with fans, sign autographs and play video games.
BTW, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (preparing for the NASL semifinals) trained in an adjacent field to the US team on Tuesday. Afterward, Beckerman and Strikers assistant coach Jim Rooney caught up. They were teammates with the Miami Fusion, way back in the day.
So, you going to the game? If not, why not? Tell the group.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers shut out FC Edmonton 5-0 last weekend in the NASL quarterfinals with three goals from Abe Thompson and two goals from Brian Shriver. They are on the road at Puerto Rico this weekend for the first leg of the semifinals against the Islanders and return for second leg on October 15th at 7:30 PM at Lockhart Stadium.
Tickets start at $10. Group rates are also available for groups of 10+. Call 954-606-0400.
So, the US national team plays Honduras here at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday night, a rare opportunity to see two World Cup teams up close. All the US stars will be here -- Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, etc...and how many tickets had been sold as of Monday? 6,800. No, that is not a typo. According to a US Soccer official, fewer than 7,000 tickets had been sold in the same market that drew 71,000 to Barcelona vs. Chivas in August.
Shame on you, Miami! If fans don't step it up big time, I don't EVER want to hear whining about how this market deserves an MLS team. Ok, so the game is at 6 p.m. (not ideal), and it's on Yom Kippur (the Jewish population in the stadium probably won't be very high), but still...USA vs. Honduras in your town, you haven't bought tickets and you call yourselves soccer fans?
C'Mon, Miami. You can do better than that. Thoughts?
It's a big week for South Florida soccer fans... Sunday: UM women vs. No. 11 North Carolina at Cobb Stadium on UM campus, 1 p.m. UM has upset Tar Heels on their last two visits, 1-0 both times.
Monday: US national team arrives and they practice Tuesday through Thursday (closed to public)
Thursday: Meet and Greet with Jozy Altidore at Mickey Byrnes Irish Pub -- 1921 Hollywood Blvd. Altidore will be interviewed, play FIFA2012 with fans and sign autographs. Also, the pub is sending a bus to the game on Saturday, $25 includes food, beer and bus. Leaves 4 p.m.
Friday: US national team practice OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, 5-6 p.m. Sun Life Stadium. Register and get more details at www.ussoccer.com
Saturday: USA vs. Honduras, 6 p.m. Sun Life Stadium.