We are getting closer and closer to the World Cup.
The USMNT landed in Brazil yesterday and began training at Sao Paulo FC’s training facilities. Jurgen Klinsmann, Berti Vogts and Matthias Hamann stayed behind in Miami to watch Ghana defeat South Korea 4-0 at Sun Life Stadium (I think that is the current name, but it changes corporate sponsors every two months).
From my non-expertise of watching that game, Ghana look a little shaky in the back, so the US should get chances. But they pounced on South Korea’s mistakes so the back line will need to be crisp with their passing out of the back. Also while watching, I have determined that the key matchup will be DeAndre Yedlin’s hair vs. John Boye’s hair.
The US will face Belgium in a closed-door scrimmage on Thursday at Sao Paulo FC’s grounds. We *might* get a score, but I highly doubt we will get lineups or any real details of what happened. The other news to come out of training today is that Brad Davis is fully healthy after picking up a knock last week.
While I am sure it will feature on tonight’s episode of Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil on ESPN (you can watch the first five episodes here), US Soccer put together a little video of players attempting to reach the green on the famous 17th island hole at TPC Sawgrass. US Soccer also put together a great video series telling a quick story on each of the 23 players. They are all pretty good, but Mix Diskerud is slowly winning me over with each little thing I find out about him.
If you are a soccer tactics nerd, you probably liked the tactical cam that ESPN has been using during these friendlies. Will Parchman was able to use the screengrabs from it to break down Jozy Altidore’s goal going all the way back to when Tim Howard first touched the ball.
The US is one of six countries entering the World Cup on a 3+ game winning streak. Brazil leads the way with nine in a row, Japan is next at five, Algeria is third with four and the US is tied with Spain and Belgium at three wins in a row. Maybe that is why the Vegas odds for the US to win it all dropped from 200-1 to 125-1 recently. Vegas is catching on that the US is going to win this easily. . .
You know we like random numbers here at OT and FIFA has some random numbers on the World Cup for us. FIFA also has an interview up with Tim Howard.
Speaking of Howard, I quickly just scanned the rosters listed on Wikipedia and only Spain’s Iker Casillas (153), Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon (140), Honduras’ Noel Valladares (122) and Croatia’s Stipe Pletikosa (111) have more caps than Howard among goalkeepers at this year’s World Cup.
If you are awake early on Thursday morning (6 AM Eastern to be exact), ESPN2 is re-airing US vs. Algeria from 2010. Or just set your alarm clock for 7:55 AM.
HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a great show and Oliver attacked FIFA on Sunday night in his usual witty/charming way.
Now onto some club news.
Brad Friedel has signed a one-year extension with Tottenham. He will be a back-up goalkeeper as well as a “club ambassador”. I believe he is also still finishing up getting his coaching licenses.
Philadelphia Union’s Amobi Okugo is apparently getting some interest from some teams in Germany.
Oguchi Onyewu wants to stay in the UK as he ponders his next move, which could still be re-signing with Sheffield Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Paul Rachubka has signed a one-year extension with League One side Oldham Athletic. Rachubka appeared in 13 games last season for the Latics
Here is an interivew up on Hoffenheim’s site with U-19 midfielder Russell Canouse.
FC Dallas midfielder Ethan Sonis signed with SC Freiburg earlier last week.
Finally, I have updated our goal tracker with some more goals from guys in lower leagues. And you still have time to sign up for our Brazil Bracket Challenge league.
Also, I am flying down to Brazil on Friday/Saturday (I am on the American Outlaws trip. If you are also going on that trip, let me know so we can meet up for a beer). I have no clue of my internet situation, but I will try my best to keep things updated as normally (and post some photos from my trip). Howie and possibly some new people will also be helping out while I am gone.
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Matt likes soccer. He likes sleeping in. He is also amused easily. That is pretty much it.