06/19/2014

Altidore out for Sunday

Quick notes from USA training Thur morning:

1. Jozy Altidore is officially out for Sunday's game vs. Portugal. Strained left hamstring. Team hopeful he will return later in the tournament. He is at camp undergoing treatment.

2. Matt Besler is fine, expected to play. Clint Dempsey hasn't decided if he will wear mask over broken nose or not. Team travels with masks if he wants one.

3. US players are preparing for Cristiano Ronaldo to play, despite his injured knee and rumors he won't play.

4. It is chilly and drizzly in Sao Paulo today, perfect weather for England, which plays Uruguay later this afternoon.

06/18/2014

Touring Museu do Futebol

SAO PAULO -- If you ever find yourself in this city for any reason, be sure to take some time to visit the Museu do Futebol, a terrific interactive museum of soccer history embedded in the Pacaembu Stadium (Municipal Stadium), site of 1950 World Cup matches. And yes, there is a gift shop!

Rather than tell you about it, you can see for yourself...

SPmuseumfront

SPmuseumart

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This man in the moustache is Charles Miller, the Brazilian of English roots who brought soccer to Brazil after studying in England...

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Guess who's jersey this is???

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Evolution of the soccer ball (early one looks like American football)

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Loved this exhibit! In Brazil, EVERYTHING's a ball..socks, a doll's head, ball of string, etc..

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Romario: I don't want to play well. I want to make goals.

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View of the stadium from museum balcony...

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Kids used to sneak peeks of matches through the fences...

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06/17/2014

Miami teens carry U.S. flag at Ghana game

Gulliver students may have noticed a pair of familiar faces on the field during the flag ceremony before the USA v. Ghana game in Natal.

Brothers Alexander and Christopher Joch were selected to carry the American flag into the stadium and during the anthems as part of a global Coca-Cola promotion. Alexander, 16, and Christopher, 14, are the ones on the left side in this photo. The boys got to spend the day at the stadium, get behind-the-scenes tour, and help prepare the locker rooms and training sessions for the two teams.

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Postscript from Natal...

It was a long night after that thrilling US win over Ghana. The US media had a midnight bus to catch to the Natal airport, where we caught at 2:45 a.m. flight back to Sao Paulo. The airport was JAM-PACKED with US fans. People sleeping on the floor, eating at the snack bars, buzzing about the game. Felt a lot like the train stations in France "98 and Germany '06. Great atmosphere, and fun to see so many US fans make the trek to this farflung beachtown. Feels like our team and fans are all grown up! 

Landed in Sao Paulo very early..

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Then took hour and a half bus ride to hotel, rest, and off to US training at 2:30 p.m. (I plan to post video)

Some thoughts on the win, the day after...

- Jozy Altidore limped really badly after the game and it appears doubtful he'll be able to play anytime soon. Feel awful for him, as he was really fired up to do well here. "I was crushed,'' he said of the injury. "I knew right away I wouldn't be able to continue.''

- Matt Besler also had hamstring issue, but his seems less severe and it's possible he'll be back for Sunday's Portugal match.

- Alejandro Bedoya, our Weston local, started and worked hard every minute he was on the field. He seemed to pull something on his hip area, but is expected back for Sunday.

- Clint Dempsey's nose (likely broken) was still bothering him after the game. He said he had trouble breathing. Klinsmann brushed it off, saying he broke his nose 3-4 times in his career and it should not affect Dempsey's ability to play. As long as you have legs, Jurgen figures you can play.

- Jurgen Klinsmann is looking smart for putting John Brooks in there to replace Besler. The 6-4 kid was the unlikely hero with his 86th-minute header.

- The U.S. won with its American fighting spirit. Ghana dominated possession and took 21 shots to 8 for the U.S., but Ghana's shots were errant and the U.S. capitalized on the few chances it got. The win will give the Americans a boost of confidence and energy, but expect Portugal to be tougher than Ghana, especially coming off a 4-0 loss to Germany. "They're going to be angry, and we all know how Cristiano Ronaldo behaves when he's angry,'' Klinsmann said.

What are your thoughts on the US win? Curious to hear what you think back home....

 

 

Poll: Who will win? Russia or S.Korea?

Poll: Who will win? Brazil or Mexico?

Poll: Who will win? Belgium or Algeria?

06/16/2014

USA-GHA! 30 minutes away!

30 minutes til kickoff! USA v. GHA

Weather: Nice breeze. No rain.

Crowd: Looks pretty evenly mixed. Lots of yellow shirts, lots of red, white and blue. Fans still pouring in.

USA uniform: All Red.

USA lineup: Howard, Beasley, Cameron, Besler, Johnson, Beckerman, Jones, Bradley, Bedoya, Dempsey, Altidore.

Ghana lineup: Kwarasey, Gyan, Opare, Atsu, Ayew, Muntari, Ayew, Rabiu, Mensah, Asamoah, Boye

Sightings in the halloway: former US coach/soccer nomad Bora Milutinovic,  Miami Dolphins media honcho Harvey Greene, here working with VP Joe Biden. 

Here's what it looks like during warmups:

USAGHAfield
 

Weather Forecast: Natal

USA plays Ghana in Natal at 7 p.m. local (6 p.m. ET)...Thirteen inches of rain have dumped on this coastal town over the weekend, causing street flooding and mudslides. More showers expected tonight at kickoff. Temp High 84, Low 72.

Fabulous Landon Donovan commercial!

If you haven't seen this Landon Donovan ad, do it now!