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.