Good morning all. It's Monday and the start of one of the most important weeks of the year for American soccer fans. A week from now, we will know who the 23 players on the World Cup squad are, as well as knowing just what kind of shape that squad is in after playing a pair of friendlies on the East Coast.
The United States has moved its training camp headquarters from Princeton to Hartford, Connecticut ahead of Tuesday's friendly vs. the Czech Republic at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. According to U.S. Soccer, only 23 of the 30 players in camp will dress for the match (though at this point there have been no cuts made yet). Considering the injury status of some veterans such as Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit, you can expect a handful of starters to sit this one out as players still vying for roster spots get a look.
The past weekend was also one filled with its share of impressive events, as well as weird ones. Here are just a few:
Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich, 2-0, to lift the UEFA Champions League title, giving Jose Mourinho is second title and likely sending him off to Real Madrid in style.
Toluca defeated Santos Laguna in penalty kicks to win the Mexican League championship. Santos Laguna had two different opportunities to finish Toluca off in PKs, but failed both times.
From the "This stuff only happens to France" department comes word that French national team defender William Gallas was injured in a buggy racing accident that was part of a team-building exercise. The injuries weren't serious, but at some point you wonder if Raymond Domenech should be committed.
Australia began its World Cup preparations with a 2-1 victory against fellow World Cup participant New Zealand. The United States takes on Australia in the final pre-World Cup friendly for both teams on June 5th.
South Korea disposed of Japan, 2-0, in another friendly featuring World Cup teams, on Monday.
Today will have its share of intrigue, as England takes on Mexico in a friendly at Wembley Stadium (3pm, FSC). The match will the first chance American fans will have to see the team the United States will face in its World Cup opener on June 12th (while also giving them a glimpse of arch-rival Mexico).
In other friendly action, Argentina takes on Canada as Diego Maradona gets to unveil the squad he is putting together, and lets us know whether there is truly a method to his madness.
These are just some of the stories to get your day going. What did you think of the weekend's championship action? Impressed with Inter's performance? Still can't believe Santos Laguna lost that penalty shootout? Glad you're not a French national team fan?
Share your thoughts below.