Good morning from Houston

Good morning from Houston

U.S. Men's National Team

Good morning from Houston

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Good morning all. I’m coming to you from Houston, where the US-Mexico rivalry is set to play its latest installment.

I made my way to Robertson Stadium on Monday for U.S. national team practice and couldn’t help but feel like it was a MetroStars reunion. Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Ramiro Corrales and Brad Davis were all in the house, along with current Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore. Throw in head coach Bob Bradley and assistant coach Mike Sorber and I kept waiting for Charlie Stillitano to show up.

The line of the day came from Michael Bradley, who tried to be humble when he said, "if I play on Wednesday." As I wrote in today’s Herald News, Hugo Sanchez has a better chance of shaving his head than Michael Bradley does of not starting.

Here are some other tidbits from Monday’s training session:

Eddie Lewis stated that he plans to play out his current contract with Derby, meaning he won’t return to MLS until summer of 2009. I also got the impression from Lewis that Benny Feilhaber plans on staying at Derby.

Ramiro Corrales was a popular interview subject today, mainly because of his Mexican heritage and ability to speak Spanish. He danced around a question about what team he will play for now that he has signed with MLS. My money is on Corrales winding up with San Jose.

Bob Bradley wasn’t biting on questions about Mexico’s seeming lack of respect for the United States. Some of the Mexican media hasn’t caught on yet to Bradley’s ability to avoid controversial comments. I think they’re still adjusting to life after Bruce Arena.

Ricardo Clark was in good spirits and admitted that he still hears his share of kick jokes. No word yet on whether Clark actually took up karate while he served his suspension for kicking Carlos Ruiz.

My column in today’s Herald News is not on the paper’s website yet but here’s hoping it gets put up soon so I can give you a link to it. I wrote about the young stars who will be making their debuts in the rivalry on Wednesday. Michael Bradley, Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore for the USA and Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela. Yes, I know there are a bunch of other players making their debuts in this series but that’s the five I focused on (in retrospect I should have included Guillermo Ochoa for Mexico.)

I will ask SBI Mafia members in Houston to help me out with some things to see and places to go in Houston. Email me at soccerbyives@gmail.com with your suggestions. I’m hoping to actually see some of the city this time around, unlike the last time I was here, back in 2003.

That’s all for now. I will be attending Mexico and United States practices today and will be checking in with updates throughout the day so stay tuned.

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