Hi from Manaus, a very cool, funky town on the Amazon...This town is in the World Cup spirit with lots of yellow and green street decorations, streamers and balloons. USA vs. Portgual is just over five hours away! I have lots of photos from historic downtown/Port of Manaus and street scenes I will post as soon as wifi is good enough. In the meantime, here are a few shots from USA training yesterday and a few street scenes...
Family from Pittsburgh...
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.
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..
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....
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:
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.
If you haven't seen this Landon Donovan ad, do it now!
The U.S. team held a training session at Arena Das Dunas Sunday afternoon...here's what we got to see...Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his staff showing off their dribbling skills (if you missed, you had to do pushups, as Klinsmann does here)...and the US players jogging and stretching in a circle. The 39,000-seat stadium, by the way, is very nice.