Photo by ISIphotos.com
The last day before the U.S. national team's match vs. the Netherlands had some surprises, some good news and some promising signs for the Americans.
Before we get into tidbits from Tuesday, here is my preview piece on Wednesday's match for FoxSoccer.com.
U.S. head coach Bob Bradley spoke positively about Clint Dempsey and Oguchi Onyewu's recoveries from knee injuries. He stated that Dempsey should be back in action for Fulham soon while Onyewu's participation in training with the U.S. team in Amsterdam was the latest evidence that he is close to rejoining AC Milan.
The biggest surprise was the news that Jermaine Jones was with the team. Jones drove up from Germany to meet up with the team and spent Tuesday with the squad. He could be seen around the team hotel in his U.S. national team gear in what has to be seen as a sign that Bradley is keeping the door open for the Schalke 04 midfielder if he can get back on the field and back to his stellar pre-injury form. There is still no timetable on Jones' return from injury, but the fact that he made the trip out here would seem to suggest that he's serious about eventually suiting up for the United States, even if that might mean doing so after the World Cup.
I spoke to Carlos Bocanegra about his situation with Rennes, and as you might expect, the veteran defender kept things in perspective when asked to discuss his somewhat unsettled position with the French club, a position that saw him lose his starting job, then get it back, then get pulled from a recent match at halftime.
"You get ups and downs with your career," Bocanegra said. "Luckily I’ve been able to be around the game for a while and you have to take it all in stride and look at the big picture.
"When you’re younger I think you get a lot more frustrated right at the beginning. You think the whole world is crumbling," Bocanegra said. "Obviously you want to be playing week in and week out, but when you look at the whole picture you just have to take it one game at a time."
Landon Donovan deflected questions about his future with Everton and whether he would like to stay with the club. All signs point to him finishing out his loan and returning to MLS, even though a strike could still take place in MLS. His last match at Goodison Park is set for Sunday against Jozy Altidore and Hull City.
Bob Bradley filled out his coaching staff on Tuesday with the official hiring of Lubos Kubik as the team's new assistant coach. Kubik joins Jesse Marsch as replacements for Peter Nowak and John Hackworth, who left the national team to join the Philadelphia Union.
The MLS Defender of the Year on Bradley's 1998 MLS Cup-winning Chicago Fire, Kubik is a veteran of Serie A, Ligue 1 and the German Bundesliga. He previously served as an assistant coach to Peter Nowak on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, the same team that features current national team players Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Maurice Edu and Stuart Holden.
Steve Cherundolo spent two days with the team, but left on Tuesday evening to resume training with Hannover 96. He is still a good bet to make the 23-man World Cup squad if healthy.
There were several members of the English media in attendance as they worked on their pre-World Cup coverage. Bradley might have given them some good tabloid fodder when he light-heartedly revealed that there were some EPL managers who were rooting for the United States against England. Bradley didn't name any names but he pointed out that they weren't English managers. Something tells me Gianfranco Zola and David Moyes will be answering some questions about that.
That's all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on these items as well as on Wednesday's friendly in the comments section below.