U.S. national team practice report

USA Crest

by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

The United States' men's national team continued its preparation for next week's pair of World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras on Thursday in hot and humid temperatures in Miami.

The team, which still has only 11 players in camp, has admitted that the lack of time together before the qualifier against Costa Rica on Wednesday presents a challenge. But the team also understands that the next month will be the most time they spend together before the World Cup next summer.

"We don't get a lot of time to spend together to train and work so it is nice when we do have some time because you can really tell the team starts to gel a little bit more," said defender Jonathan Spector. "I think we will be looking forward to the Confederations Cup but first and foremost we have the two qualifiying games which are really important."

With the news on Frankie Hejduk's injury status hitting the camp, Spector also said he would be ready if he was called upon to start next week.

"I don't know what's happening with Frankie. Obviously, it is the manager's decision who is playing and I certainly respect what Bob (Bradley) will decide," said the West Ham United defender. "Whether I'm starting or not, I'll certainly prepare for it."

Another player who will soon start preparations for next week's games is Freddy Adu, who is expected to arrive to Miami on Thursday afternoon. No word yet on if Adu will train on Friday, but he has one player eagerly awaiting his arrival.

"Yeah, he's going to be in here. I'm going to take care of that kid, get his mind right," said Altidore with a chuckle. "He is definately coming along and I'm happy to see that. Of course, there is always room for improvement from all of us but he is a guy with a lot of potential and we have all seen what he can do on the pitch. It is just about now putting all the pieces together."

Some other news and notes from today's practice:

  • For the second straight day, Oguchi Onyewu sat out of practice as he was being rested.

  • Clint Dempsey also did not participate in Thursday morning's session as he was also being rested.

  • Frankie Hejduk's groin injury has not ruled him out of next week's matches but he will be re-evaluated before his status for the qualifiers is finalized.

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Do you think Spector should start at RB if Hejduk can't go? Or should Marvell Wynne get the nod instead? Hoping Adu gets a chance in the upcoming qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.

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30 Responses to U.S. national team practice report

  1. RJ says:

    spector has played is higher quality and intensity matches, he needs to start unless the costa rican left mid is a speedster, then i choose wynne

  2. nico says:

    Cool, nice update. Is there a projected schedule of player arrivals? Also, would be curious to know when team leaves for CR and goes to Chicago. (This might have been posted elsewhere and I missed it).

  3. Angel says:

    nice the this eleven guys are practicing together specially if they all coming from Europe that will give them time to adjust to the time and weather plus time to get to work more together too.. We need to win this two games against Costa Rica and Honduras. then go to the Confederation Cup and do the best and better the Asian, Occiania and Africa Federation bring the Concacaf to be noticed. At least be 3-4th place.

  4. Alex says:

    I don’t care where spector plays his lateral movement is slow… I give the nod to marvell.

  5. sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Nico, I believe it was posted earlier they leave Miami for Costa Rica on Monday.

  6. nico says:

    sonic, thanks much.

  7. Aquaman says:

    Does anyone know where exactly in Miami the team is practicing? Probably at Barry Univ. again. If there was a soccer fan willing to drive 2 hours south to see them practice would he be able to get in to see the players?

  8. Jose A. V. says:

    Both would do a good job replacing Hejduk, but i would like to see Marvell

  9. DC Josh says:

    Spector has played in bigger games, has played in front of Alex Ferguson, Old Trafford, trained with the best players in the world, hostile stadiums. I dare say he gets the nod over Wynne. If Boss Bradley denies Spector a fourth time I will cry.

    Aquaman, if you check the USMNT blog you can see pics of the facility, it may help, and I’m sure it is closed, but you can definitely hang around and get an autograph. You may be the only one.

  10. NickCali23 says:

    Edu if healthy should be converted to a centeral defender.

    I would start the follwoing in Costa Rica, A tie game would not be bad for the USA if they can win v. Hondoras this is why it is a very defensive line up.

    Altidore-Ching

    Donovan-Pablo-Bradley-Dempsey

    Boca-Gooch-Edu-Hejduk-Wynee-Spector

    Subs: Torres,Davis,Adu,felihaber

    Starting v. Hondorus more offesive.

    Altidore-Ching

    Donovan-Torres-Bradly-Dempsey

    Boca-Gooch-Edu-Hejduk-Wyne-Spector

    Subs: Adu,Pablo,Beasley, fehiliber

  11. Andrew says:

    Nick – I’d love to start a 6-4-2 formation in Costa Rica too. Hopefully the ref doesn’t take exception. ;-P

  12. Never First says:

    So Onyewu wants to play in Spain, England, Italy, Germany or France next year. Thanks for narrowing it down!

  13. Tonerl says:

    What else does Specs have to do?

    Give the guy a freaking chance!

  14. Timoteo says:

    How about Wynne at RB and Spector at LB?

  15. Tommy says:

    Who is Costa Rica’s LM? If he is extremely fast then I think Wynne would be a good option. Putting Spector at LB.

  16. bondopher says:

    play lichaj i bet he’s sick, wouldn’t be surprised if he is the future left back

  17. Ryan says:

    Spector, simply put, is our most talented defender.

    There is absolutely no reason he should be on the bench for any game the US plays.

    Personally, I think Edu should move to the center of defense, move Boca to his natural left back slot, and move Spector to right back.

  18. usa says:

    would love to see what spector can do at left back, im a huge wynne fan because he has world class speed that makes up for other holes in his game that if he can tighten up would make him a world class defender. also agree with edu as a center back for our NT, i felt he showed stretches of class at the olympics that few of our centerbacks have ever been capable of

  19. The Gentleman Masher says:

    NickCal23 – it’s not a very defensive lineup when it doesn’t include a goalkeeper…

    Spector is talented enough to keep up with Premier League wingers, I think he can handle whatever Costa Rica puts out there.

    I would like to see Wynne in a high profile match, because he is impressive in his athleticism. That said – I’d rather get the points in the bag before he gets a start.

    If we come through the next 2 matches with 4 or 6 points…I’d be more comfortable with it.

  20. The Athority says:

    Hi,

    People forget that Spector started at LeftBack in the Gold Cup Finals a couple of years ago when we beat Mexico. He did a great job at shutting down Mexico’s speedy wingers (before being knocked out cold in the 2nd half). The Frankie Simek came in and did a great job….people have short memories, or are maybe too young to remember back.

    I always thought Edu should play CB too…….until I saw him play CB every game in the Olympics last year. He just doesn’t have a feel for the position and is really bad defending set pieces there.

  21. The Athority says:

    Check my last post….I noticed the error as soon as I posted. Spector started at right back.

    Bornstein started at left back (and got toasted on Mexico’s first goal).

  22. Arthur Spooner says:

    spector plays for freakin west ham… get him in there!!!

  23. Barksdale says:

    I think Spector should start even if Frankie could go. Sure Hey Dude had some good games, but we already know he’s not the answer outside of CONCACAF. Spector needs some tune ups before he becomes our permanent starter in WC 2010.

  24. WK says:

    Edu is not a defender, he’s evolving into a holding midfielder w/ a lot of defensive responsibilities, a la pablo. I’d like to see spector as one or the other backs. does marvell even half a left foot? wouldn’t make sense to put him there, expecting him to get forward to keep the CR attack in check if he can’t get a cross in.

  25. hdtv says:

    i said this before but the idea that spector, a player for a top EPL team and who has been getting valuable minutes, is considered back up to a columbus crew old guy to me shows how ridiculous US soccer can be sometimes. minutes are obviously important, but training also matters – and when guys like altidore and spector and adu are training day in day out with the best in the world i think that leaves them better set than say starters like kljestan or hejduk at their respective clubs. i think most would agree (see a guy like paolo ferreira starting for portugal, to name one)

    here’s the lineup id like followed by the lineup i think.

    alti – davies
    dempsey – edu/bradley – torres – donovan
    spector – boca – gooch – wynne

    ching – donovan
    beas – bradley – edu – dempsey
    pearce – boca – gooch – spector

    both are good, but im tired of defensive football. torres plays a holding role for pachuca and he can do it here while still providing the offensive flair and creativity we lack (except for when feilhaber was in form). i also think a ching – altidore forward partnership is horrible. 2 target men always fail (see altidore – mcbride, ibrahimovic – adriano, etc)

  26. TCompton says:

    Personally, I haven’t been overly impressed with what I’ve seen from Spector on the National Team. Perhaps that’s because he was asked to play left back then, but I didn’t really come away seeing anything special.

    I think Wynne’s a much bigger X-factor (I had using that phrase) if he plays. His speed and size are a legitimate threat in any game. He’s much more suited for an attacking atmosphere though, so he may be a better choice for the Honduras game over Costa Rica.

  27. The Athority says:

    Wynne has the size and speed that make him sexy, but his soccer IQ makes him funtionally retarded on the field.

    He has NOOOO feel for the game at all. He gets WHIPPED defensively all game long but just has such incredible make up speed that he runs back and catches up with wingers and forwards before the get to goal. MLS level he gets away with it, maybe against scrub CONCACAAF teams too. But against good teams they will literally run circles around him.

    Mr. Wynne, please go to Holland to learn how to play.

  28. David says:

    Spector should start even if Hejduk is healthy!!!!

    If Hejduk is our right back in SA, we’re screwed. The man is a walking turnover, and no amount of hustle makes up for that.

  29. JustinG says:

    I kinda want to see Beaz at LB again to see how he does. And start Spector at RB. Obviously Gooch and Boca in the middle. Midfield will be more interesting. It will be nice to see what combo Bradley decides to go with in Costa Rica. I know I will catch a lot of flack for saying this, but I want to see Pablo and MBradley in the center of midfield. Most don’t like Pablo, but I do, just my opinion. Now the big question is will Donovan start up top or at one of the wing positions? If he is a winger, then I can see Ching and Altidore up top.

  30. JohnR says:

    Altidore

    Donovan

    Torres Bradley Dempsy

    Edu

    Spector – Gooch – Boca – Wynne