The U.S. men's national team held a press conference today in advance of Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica and while there were no real surprises, the event still had its amusing moments and interesting comments from head coach Bob Bradley, Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra.
Among the funnier moments was one reporter calling Carlos Bocanegra Pablo Mastroeni, another reporter calling Bob Bradley Michael and four Costa Rican "journalists" asking Donovan for autographs after the press conference (along with one sporting a Costa Rica jersey).
Here are some of the comments from Bradley, Donovan and Bocanegra ahead of Wednesday night's match:
When asked about the difficulty of playing in Saprissa and whether the United States would be prepared, Donovan
"We had the advantage now of playing in El Salvador and I think that was our biggest test," Donovan said. "Cuba and Guatemala were tests in the first round of qualifying but I think the El Salvador game opened our eyes."
One popular questions for the veterans is what are they saying to prepare younger players for what is sure to be a stunning sight on Wednesday night. Donovan revealed that there isn't much that can be said.
"Until you play in a game like this there's not a whole lot you can tell people," Donovan said. "I know in my first game (in Costa Rica) the older players said a lot to me, but until you play in it you don't understand, but we have a lot of guys who have experienced that and will be prepared for it."
"My first away qualifier was in Costa Rica," Donovan said. "You watch the games on TV, and you hear about it, but that was a massive wake-up call. It's exciting, at that time it was intimidating, but now I really look forward to these games. They're a lot of fun for us."
Bradley address the right back situation and expressed confidence in both Jonathan Spector and Marvell Wynne.
"In both cases we feel the players have had good experiences along the way with some of our youth teams," Bradley said. "Certainly Marvell benefited a great deal from his Olympic experience last summer. Jonathan, playing in the (English) Premiership, has seen what it's like to come up up against great players playing in difficult environments.
"We feel good that when there are injuries, when there are suspensions, that we've got players that not only can step in, but we've had them into camps, we've had games, it's familiar to them how we go about our business."
When asked about Costa Rica's resurgence, Bradley pointed to the work of head coach and former Olympic team coach Rodrigo Kenton, who has done a very good job to have a young Costa Rican side in second place in World Cup qualifying.
So what's the lineup going to be? If I had to bet on one I'd go with this one:
Why this lineup? Well, Bob Bradley said that Jozy Altidore is healthy enough to start and if Altidore is healthy, can Bradley really leave him out the way he's been scoring goals for the national team? If Altidore is up top, then we will pretty much see the same starting lineup Bradley used against Trinidad & Tobago, with Spector replacing the injured Frankie Hejduk.
What do you think of the above notes? Feeling good about Spector or Wynne at right back? Starting to feel confident that the U.S. team will be able to hand Saprissa this time around?
Share your thoughts below.