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USMNT turns focus towards Honduras

Jurgen Klinsmann 1 (Reuters)


FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After four training sessions in two days, the U.S. men's national team returned the practice field on a cool Thursday evening finally able to do one thing: Focus on Honduras.

Having been recovering from weekend games and with their upcoming friendly against the Catrachos getting closer, the Americans went through a 90-minute session in which every player aside from Nick Rimando (who is not yet in camp) participated. The team did some one-touch passing, keep-away drills before breaking out into a 10-v-10 game. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann wrapped up the session by having the players work on some set pieces.

The preparations for Honduras continue on Friday at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. But that practice is mostly going to consist of an intra-squad scrimmage for the fans in attendance, meaning most of the heavy duty work has been completed.

"The quality is always high when the national team comes in, but there are other issues to battle," said Steve Cherundolo. "You have travel, you have tough schedules, you have injuries and guys coming from different clubs, so it's always a challenge of getting the guys back on the same page and that's been the job this week."

Here's more from Thursday's lone training session:


For anyone following the United States ever since Klinsmann took over, it's quite obvious how much of a foreign influence is on the squad.

From the integration of several German-Americans to the addition of more players with Latin roots, the U.S. team has changed somewhat in terms of culture. But rather than it being something of a barrier, the foreign influence has been embraced and has helped the team grow.

"It's a little bit of a different swing for us," said Tim Howard. "At first it's somewhat funny to have such a large amount of guys speaking another language. We've got a lot of Spanish speaking guys and a lot of German speaking guys, and then you kind of get the feeling that it's a really positive thing. It just brings a uniqueness to the squad, and I say that, a lot of times you find cliques, and it's not like that. The guys just feel really comfortable."

Whether it's a new German-American like Danny Williams or a grizzled veteran like captain Carlos Bocanegra, the players are being relied upon to continue the implementation of Jurgen Klinsmann's ideas while also pulling out a victory after failing to do so in their first three attempts under the new coach.

But not all players feel added pressure after one draw and two losses under Klinsmann.

"It's always important to win for us. Obviously, they didn't come the last few games and that's something that disappointed us," said Bocanegra. "But every time we go out there we try to win. Obviously, we're trying to influence things and what we've been doing in training and bring those over to the field. I thought we actually did a lot of those things very well the first few games, so the results will come."


The foreign U.S. players aren't the only ones trying to jell with the U.S. team.

With just two caps to his name, Teal Bunbury is still one of the new guys. As a result, he is still slowly finding his place within the squad, something that, so far, has been relatively easy for him.

"Everyone's kind of being really friendly to me and I'm just trying to build a relationship with the guys," said Bunbury. "I'm one of the newer guys, and I'm just trying to feed off of everybody. Most importantly, trying to feed off the coaches."

After enduring a rough few months in his sophomore season as a professional, Bunbury has gotten back to his scoring ways in recent weeks. His form has improved drastically to what it was in the summer, though Bunbury doesn't attribute the rough patch to a lack of confidence.

"I feel like always when you're scoring goals obviously you're confident, but I don't know if it was a thing of confidence," said Bunbury of his slump. "It happens in players' careers, ups and downs, and I was thankful to help my teammates (at Sporting Kansas City) and have faith in the Lord and things are looking good now."

Here are some other tidbits from the practice:

  • All 21 players in camp participated in the training, including Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream, who arrived to South Florida on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Nick Rimando, the only player not with the team yet, will join the squad on Friday.
  • Bill Hamid will return to D.C. United following the match against Honduras.
  • The team began training by warming up and then splitting up into three groups and playing one-touch, keep-away games or monkey in the middle, if you will. Five guys passed the ball in a small square while two others were in the center attempting to steal the ball. When someone had a pass intercepted, they would move to the middle.
  • Goalkeepers Hamid and Tim Howard were off training to the side, so Jurgen Klinsmann and Claudio Reyna participated to make numbers equal among the three groups during the drill.
  • Following that exercise, the team split into two teams of 10 (yellow and gray) for a scrimmage that was played 3/4s the length of the field at first. The scrimmage wound up being played on the full field. Michael Bradley began the scrimmage by being a two-way offensive player in the center of the field.
  • Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler, Jeff Larentowicz, Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley, Jozy Altidore and Teal Bunbury were on the gray team.
  • The yellow team was made up of Hamid, Jonathan Spector, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Danny Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo and Edson Buddle.
  • After about 10 minutes, Beckerman was used as a two-way offensive player. Following another 10 minutes, Edu became the two-way player.
  • Goals were scored in the scrimmage by Altidore (twice, with one coming off an assist from Beasley) and Buddle (once).
  • The team concluded practice by working on their set pieces.


What do you think of the United States' preparations for Honduras? Should the players feel more pressure to get that first win? Hoping to see Bunbury earn his first cap under Klinsmann on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “Jurgen Klinsmann and Claudio Reyna participated to make numbers equal among the three groups during the drill.”

    We need video of this…

  2. Without Adu or Feilhaber I don’t think you’ll see that many goals. If Klinsmann plays Dempsey, Shea, Agudelo, and Bunbury, then you might see that as all of them take a lot of shots.

  3. Yeah I read that line too and I was like: “Grizzled? Bocanegra is far too pretty to be considered grizzled.”

    I’d consider DeMerit or Gooch to be grizzled.

  4. I agree. He’s got untapped potential. But to tell you the truth I think he may be best suited on the wing for us, as a defensive minded winger. With his ability to shoot from distance with either foot, it’s best to have him closer to the goal. And I don’t see him getting past Bradley, Jones, Williams, etc. I’m not going to say he makes mistakes along the lines of Rico Clark, but he does have holes in his game. I think he could be our Essien. But please. Someone tell his agent to shop him around to a better league. If he can make the switch to one of the top 5 Euro-leagues I think he offers a lot more.

  5. Not worth a reply, and yet here I am…

    How many languages do players speak at club level throughout the world? Playing with people from other cultures has become a fundamental part of the game. Certainly not the norm with national teams, but nothing unusual to professional players.

  6. Are you implying our players are too ignorant to communicate with one another because of language?

    I made the statement that it’s beautiful because it’s extremely representative of our multi-cultural/diverse nation.

    Sorry it didn’t fall into your xenophobic criteria but my point remains. I’ll trust Tim Howards assessment that there isn’t any “cliques” over your….opinion.

    Chemistry has never been an issue with this squad, not sure why you think it would start now. I give our team more credit on a number of fronts than you do, apparently.

  7. Probably right that the gray team defenders are the starters along with MB, as for the others I’m not so sure which team they were on is any kind of indication about whether or not they will start. (Of course, I expect Dempsey will start, but not because he was on the gray team.)

    You might even argue that the best defense was on one team (gray) while the starting attackers were on the other to provide a tougher training session. (Of course, that puts both Dempsey and Altidore as non-starters which I think is pretty unlikely.)

  8. Not really. Shea typically starts w/ Klinsi. Orozco, Edu, Beckerman, Williams, and Buddle all could start depending on the formation (actually, probly not Buddly, bc Klinsi doesn’t like 2 forwards).

  9. Two more possibilities:

    Rimando’s mother is of mexican descent
    and A.J. DeLagarza’s father is Mexican-Guamanian and his mother is native american.

    Both are players Bradley called up.

  10. MB won’t dribble at defenders. You don’t ever want your CMs to take on defenders except in VERY limited, high reward, low risk scenarios up the field. Turnovers in the middle of the field are deadly. That’s why you just don’t see any Ronaldinhos anymore. Your creative, fast, ballhandling players go on the wings or up front. CMs job is to distribute, not to dribble. You won’t see Torres or Benny take on defenders either. MB is a decent distributor – he has nice touch on the long ball and makes pretty good outlet passes. His head is up and he looks for guys making runs. He’s not Xavi or even Paul Scholes, but he’s a more offensive distributor than Mo who is more of a short, safe passer.

  11. I think we got some insight into who is likely to start…..

    “-Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler, Jeff Larentowicz, Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley, Jozy Altidore and Teal Bunbury were on the gray team.

    -The yellow team was made up of Hamid, Jonathan Spector, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Danny Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo and Edson Buddle.”

    I’ll hazard a guess but the gray team seems to be numero unos, with Bradley playing two-way and likely on the gray team. I just hope that Larentowicz is a place holder and that Edu is playing for the yellow team to get some time defending a better team.

    Obviously, speculative, but my thoughts.

    Anyone else get this feel?

  12. Seems like Klinsmann wants Mo Edu more involved in the attack. I’m glad he has faith…despite his horrible mid-season form last year, Edu’s got some serious skills. I feel like he’s one of the biggest underachievers for the Nats in terms of what he is capable of. Don’t believe me… go watch his sick left footed long-distance goal from a couple weeks ago.

  13. Hey, Franco: Love these reports with the little vignettes and all the training details. Keep them coming. I would have no problem at all with them being even longer. Virtual space is free and those who don’t want to read so much can move on. Photos would be great also. Also maybe you should do one of those live chats taking questions like Ives does.

  14. You forgot Omar Gonzalez, and Feilhaber (if a brazilian-born american with jewish ancestory can be called latin)

    I never thought Bradley cared much about a player’s roots, but rahter about whether or not he could play soccer well.

  15. Do you speak a second language? There are certain things that only make sense in one language or the other, and additionally people always feel more comfortable speaking their native tongue, so if you run across somebody else who does then you speak it. If it creates a disconnect within the team then there is a huge issue and it needs to be addressed. If it makes everyone feel loose and like they can be themselves and express themselves and still feel accepted by the others on the squad I can’t think of anything wrong with that.

  16. Yes, I agree.

    One thing I find odd is that the Princeton University graduate is the one that did not talk and explain what he was trying to do, while the german (a nationality with a reputation of being a bit taciturn) can’t seem to stop talking about what he is trying to do.

    In reality, I do not see much different in what their teams actually do on the field. Other than playing Torres a bit more (with somewhat mixed results) and putting MB in a position where he needs to dribble at defenders (not MB’s forte) there is very little difference. Except perhaps that under Bradley the same group of guys (more or less) scored more goals per game.

  17. We still have too few players who are capable of getting behind a defense. We look like England-lite.

    We’re relying on Brek Shea (promising, but still just a kid) and Beasley (other side of his prime) to split through defenses.

    Agudelo isn’t quite there yet. Altidore is a capable battering ram and (but is becoming a much better finisher), and Clint is rarely capable of the magic pass.

    This team has almost no creativity as it stands.

    Guess we’ll see what Clint can do when Donovan and Torres aren’t on the field.

    Could be interesting, but I’d prefer to have another player along the lines of Donovan, Torres, Holden, and even Adu– playmakers. Shoot.. I’d settle for Feilhaber at this point. He used to be capable of the occasional piece of magic.

  18. Correct me if I’m wrong but klinsy has yet to call in a player or play a formation that bob didnt do.. It’s still early but so far it’s all talk

  19. How come Klinsi is getting all this credit about bringing in a latin american flavor. Who has he brought in??????

    Klinsi-0 unless I’m missing someone

    Bob Bradley- Boca, Bornstien, Torres, Agudelo, Bedoya, Castillo, OROZCO FISCAL. I’m probably missing someone as well

  20. Grizzled… Not a word I think of or Bocanegra. DeMerit yes, Bocanegra, nit…

    Don’t know why I felt the need to share that…

  21. Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler were on the gray team.

    Well I think there’s your starting defense.

  22. What’s beatiful about speaking a language (german, spanish) that most of the team doesn’t understand? This is supposed to be a team game, right? With cohesion and communication?

  23. “At first it’s somewhat funny to have such a large amount of guys speaking another language. We’ve got a lot of Spanish speaking guys and a lot of German speaking guys, and then you kind of get the feeling that it’s a really positive thing. It just brings a uniqueness to the squad – Tim Howard
    Very apropo for an American squad, representative of our country if you ask me. Beautiful thing.

  24. I hope they actually score 1 goal. We are supposed to be playing an attacking brand of soccer and so far don’t score goals and keep giving up goals. No one else gets the “we’re changing the culture” excuse for this long. It worked really well at bayern.

  25. what are our actual options for strikers in our roster for the WC?

    Jozy is our no 1

    Buddle, Gomez are maybes but most likely not

    Agudelo, Bunbury have a shot.

    another newcomer perhaps Brek Shea

  26. I hope we explode with 4 or 5 goals against Honduras. And as much as people harp on the international breaks, I personally love them.


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