By FRANCO PANIZO
CLEVELAND — The U.S. Men’s National Team took the field at FirstEnergy Stadium amid a light drizzle on Monday afternoon, and the roster continued to fill out even as the training session went on.
Sixteen players started the practice that continued the U.S.’s preparations for Wednesday’s friendly with Belgium, but forward Terrence Boyd arrived via a shuttle form the local airport midway through the session and suited up to join his teammates. With Boyd included, 17 players took part in Monday’s training ahead of what will be the first of of five summer games for this group of Americans.
Seattle Sounders tandem Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans and LA Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez are expected to arrive in Cleveland on Monday night to round out the 20-man roster that will face off against Belgium. The three players all took part in the Galaxy’s 4-0 mauling of the Sounders on Sunday night.
As for Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona, they will meet up with the U.S. in Washington D.C. at the end of the week ahead of the Americans’ friendly with Germany at RFK Stadium.
Here are more notes from U.S. practice on Monday:
HOLDEN TOUCHES ON ROGERS’ RETURN
Stuart Holden was fighting to not fall asleep late on Sunday and with good reason.
Along with several others in the U.S. camp, Holden was watching the Galaxy-Sounders game with the hopes that former teammate Robbie Rogers would make his return to professional soccer. Rogers did just that for LA in the 77th minute of the game and in the process became the first openly gay male to play in a major sport.
Holden could not have been any more happy for his friend.
“Obviously, proud of him as a friend but as a competitor it’s nice to see him back,” Holden told SBI, “because I think if he’d left the game as he hinted at it before, it would have been a shame and a waste of such a talented player.”
TICKET SALES UPDATE
As of Monday, more than 22,000 tickets had been sold for the U.S.’s friendly with Belgium while the upcoming exhibition with Germany had surpassed 40,000. The World Cup qualifier against Panama at CenturyLink Field in Seattle had more than 32,500 tickets sold.
Think this 20-man U.S. roster can knock off Belgium on Wednesday? Happy to see Holden and the U.S. team showing support to Rogers? Surprised by any of the amounts of tickets sold?
Share your thoughts below.