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U.S. national team practice report

U.S. national team crest 


MIAMI- The U.S. men's national team reconvened on Monday under the hot South Florida sun, and while only thirteen players were in camp, the team is already starting to focus on the tests that lie ahead: Potential World Cup berth clinching-qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica.

"We have been working hard for the past three years to get to this point so we've got two games left and all we really need is three points. Let's get it over and done with is our mentality," said forward Charlie Davies.

The first test comes on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Honduras in the unfriendly confines of San Pedro Sula, where Honduras is flawless, compiling an 8-0-0 record during this World Cup qualifying cycle.

"They have a really good team, and they have got a lot of players playing in Europe," said midfielder Benny Feilhaber. "Some of their players are doing really, really well this year so it's going to be a really tough game playing [as visitors]."

As visitors, the U.S. is 1-2-1 in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying with four goals scored and seven goals conceded. While those road numbers aren't terrible when compared to the rest of teams in the hexagonal, the Americans know they will need to play better and make it more difficult on los catrachos on Saturday in order to walk away with a victory and a sixth-straight World Cup qualifying berth.

"We know it will be a tough and complicated game because they are a good team with good players," said midfielder Jose Francisco Torres. "But the U.S. has always made it tough on opponents, and we plan on making it tough on Honduras."

Some other news and notes from Monday's training session:

  • The 13 players in camp are: Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Bradley, Conor Casey, Steve Cherundolo, Brian Ching, Jimmy Conrad, Charlie Davies, Landon Donovan, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Robbie Rogers and Jose Francisco Torres.

  • With no goalkeepers in camp yet, the U.S. national team practiced with goalkeepers from a local university.

  • Brad Guzan will be the last player to arrive to camp, and will first train with the team on Wednesday.
  • Honduras has been training together since last Thursday.
  • The U.S. will practice in Miami through Thursday.


What do you think are the United States' chances of beating Honduras? What will you do on Saturday if the U.S. clinches its World Cup berth? Think it's unfair that Honduras has been together since last week?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. DC Josh,

    I can’t see how you can classify Honduras as a ‘mediocre’ team. Their front 6 are probably better than our front 6. It is our D, GK and depth that make us better overall, but to think we can simply ‘impose our will’ in San Pedro Sula would be a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it, but having seen enough road qualies in Concacaf, we’re kidding ourselves that we have the style or ability to roll over the better teams in the region.

  2. US needs to come out like they did against Egypt, Spain and Brazil. They need a win now, not later. Why wait until the Costa Rica game, and then end up losing both games?

    Soccer is the wackiest sport out there. You can dominate a game, control the ball, and allow a silly mistake to cost you a goal in the last minute.

    I say go for the win in Honduras. I am SICK of playing counter attack ball against these mediocre teams. If we can’t go head to head with a CONCACAF team, how will we fare in the World Cup?

    We have the talent, lets do it. Take it to them, don’t sit back. Go at them full speed. Pressure the ball. Move off the ball. These are all simple things that we never do but must do to get to the next level.

  3. Tico = referes to Costa Rican habit of using dimunitives, like our adding a ‘y’ to the end of names, such as Scott ->Scotty….they add ‘tico’ to the end of many nouns…thus “Ticos”.

    I am surprised that there is not more discussion about the Yellow Card situation. Because we have so many players on yellows going into what no doubt will be a chippy match, we stand a very good chance of losing not only Deuce but other key players for Costa Rica. This by far will be Bradley’s biggest challenge. how to maintain the discipline when things start getting rough on the field. I fully expect that we lose eiher Clark or Bradley and maybe both for Costa Rica.

    I just can’t imagine we will not have this be a BIG story before this is over.

  4. A tie or loss does nothing for us unless Costa Rica ties or loses at home to T&T. BB should be going for the win and fielding a more attacking side (we suffered enough with RC and MB as our CMs to beat T&T away)

  5. Anyone know what time the practices are held in Miami? I live a few blocks from the practice site and would like to show some support for the fellas.

  6. Catracho, Tico, Cuscatlecos, are just nicknames for peoples from those countries.

    Catracho comes from Florencio Xatruch, who was a general from Honduras whose army defeated William Walker and other Americans who were trying to conquer Central America.

    Cuscatleco comes from the word Cuzcatl√°n, which is what the indigenous Pipil tribes called the area now known as El Salvador.

  7. DYCS,

    Thanks for that. I will now be at the Grad in lovely Davis, CA for the game. Was just reading the comments and wondering to myself where I was going to watch the game. Problem solved. Viva Ives.

  8. Robert,

    My mistake. You and Fitz are correct. Thanks for the correction. I’m now in total agreement with more offensive tactics and taking some chances with the line-up.

  9. Does anyone know of any bars for certain that will be carrying the Honduras match? My local sports bar, The Davis Graduate, will be televising the match. Unfortunately, I will be in Buffalo for a wedding. Does anyone know of any friendly USA soccer bars in WNY?

  10. Brooklyn FC – I agree w/ your assessment of Mike B as a CM of the box-to-box category. The first Q is not who to partner him with. Rather it is what is our best formation/tactics/11. That said, I think that Mike B is not a lock for the Nats once his Dad leaves. If we wanna take advantage of skilled/offensive minded CMs, then we’ll look at partners who are box-tobox guys BUT who can adjust for Nat duty. He will have to alter his role (like Clint and LD and others) or not play. His model is Essien, Roy Keane, young Ballack…box to box for club, yet capable/flexible/smart enuff to play as DM lite (ie not exclusively a destroyer like Makalele was for club & FRA).

  11. Why are people under the belief that Lil Bradley is a D-Mid. He is NOT. He is a CM, not CDM or CAM, simply a center mid. A player who can attack as well as defend. A player that is basically asked to play box-to-box. Whether he truly is gifted enough to play that position the way say Pirlo or John Obi Mikel or Essien, but that is the position he has played in europe. He is best paired with a player who can do the same things. They just have to have good communication and know who is playing d and who is going up on offense at any giving time. When he gets paired with a strictly d-mid he is forced to only attack and he is not comfortable doing that so he’d rather fall back and be a d-mid, but if he could partner with someone (Maurice Edu) who can do the same things than we will be solid. They basically would share the responsibilities of attacking and defending from Center Mid and those they will both be able to shine. If I am not mistaken, Edu was very effective when with toronto pushing forward as well as playing D, and same goes for his time with rangers. So a partnership of Lil Bradley and Edu would be ideal. Stop making Mike Bradley a D-Mid. He can go both ways.

  12. I agree with Blokhin…it would be awesome to see Benny and Holden in there to see what that does to our style of play. I know it’s a crazy concept, but one way to play good defense is to not give the ball away. Of course Bob will “play it safe” and go with two D-mids though.

  13. d-bar,

    Regardless of how Saturday’s match turns out, the US only needs a win or tie versus Costa Rica to ensure a top-3 finish in CONCACAF and a trip to SA. Current standings:

    US 16

    Mex 15

    Hond 13

    CR 12.

  14. Paul,
    Catracho, Tico, Cuscatlecos, Guanacos (El Salvador)…are all just slang terms to refer to people from that country. Kind of like “Yankee” for Americans. What does Yankee mean? They aren’t considered insults as far as I know.

    The story I have heard most often about Catracho is that it comes from the name of a Honduran general during the various civil wars fought in CA

  15. Honestly, beyond a surprising victory, a loss or tie (which I give about 80% chance to one of those) does little to change the US status heading into the Costa Rica match.


    I’ve seen variations on your post quite a few times in different places and I respectfully disagree. If the US can get a point in Honduras, then a tie versus Costa Rica would be enough to guarantee a trip to SA.

    That being said, I don’t expect big changes from the way we have been playing on the road during the hex.

  16. Finally, glad to see that we are using as much time as possible to prepare for a match. Why did we not do this before? Oh yeah, Bradley is lame. Instead in trusting in his players, he decides give an element of surprise that does not exist. Bring on Castillo. Let him practice and do his thing.

  17. I thought Palacios and Hendry Thomas were all playing this past weekend. Suazo probably as well. So the Honduras based players were practicing together since Thurs.(?) B.F.D.

  18. Not a chance Landon sits, you take it game by game we need at least a point.

    I like Altidore and Davies up front,

    Donovan Bradley Clark Holden

    Spector Boca Gooch Dolo


    I would really like to see Torres in this match but I know Bradley loves his bucket formation and his son too much. Little Bradley’s form has been off the last few games, hopefully he’ll pick it up. I think he’ll go with Clark for his athletism and strength to match up with the CM power of Honduras i.e. Guevara and Palacios.

  19. Honduras is in the same situation as the U.S. Their domestic players have been training since Thursday, but their European players are only still arriving.

  20. That must have been a great opportunity for those goalkeepers they had from the local university. I know it won’t ( or at least shouldn’t) lead to something but it’s a huge confidence builder.

  21. Honestly, beyond a surprising victory, a loss or tie (which I give about 80% chance to one of those) does little to change the US status heading into the Costa Rica match. Cautiously optimistic that Bradley will see this as the opportunity to take the chance of either starting with an attacking strategy (i.e. Feilhaber at attacking mid and strong attacking tempo) or trying new players (i.e. start Torres along with Holden and potentially new back line look). More likely to see the counterattacking strategy usually employed by Bradley, especially at San Pedro Sula.

  22. as for who replaces Dempsey… is it Feilhaber or Holden? I’d like to see both starting… and have US play its three best ball-handlers/creators (Donovan, Holden and Feilhaber) together to retain possession and put us in position to score first…. playing for a tie isn’t going to do us much good…

  23. it’s okay- this is already much better than preparation going into Mexico and Costa Rica… US only has 1-2 days to prep for those with the entire roster together…

  24. We’ve already got enough midfielders and wingers in camp – replace him with Castillo! Come on Bob, here’s a good excuse to get the kid in camp to see what he’s made of.

  25. What exactly is John Harkes going to do with no Dempsey to kick around?

    Posted by: DCD33 | October 05, 2009 at 02:41 PM

    Hmmm, Dempsey was injured against West Ham. John Harkes used to play for West Ham. I smell a conspiracy.

  26. ….Honduras has been training together since last Thursday.

    This annoys me with the USMNT. I know we have games but come on! Clearly they already want it more.

  27. What exactly is John Harkes going to do with no Dempsey to kick around?

    (SBI-ESPN isn’t doing the Honduras match so Harkes wasn’t going to get to rip on Dempsey anyway.)

  28. dempsey is out with a shoulder injury for honduras and is questionable for costa rica…no replacement on the roster yet. per

  29. Can I get some translation help? What are Catrachos? Or Costa Rica’s Ticos? Or El Salvador’s Cuscatlecos? No hidden agenda here — I’m just curious.


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