USMNT Notes: Dempsey, Altidore train; team shifts gears for Brazil and more

USAScotland (Getty Images)

By AVI CREDITOR

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — For the first time since cutting his roster down to 23, U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann had all of his players available and in training on Monday evening in a public session in front of an estimated couple thousand fans at the University of Maryland's Ludwig Field.

Jozy Altidore joined the team in Washington, D.C., on Monday and practiced, and Clint Dempsey participated in full training for the first time as he bounces back from a groin injury to round out the group.

"We are happy to have Clint back in training, Jozy joining us today, so obviously that's exciting news for us," Klinsmann said. "Now we are all together 23 players. It's a good situation now for me as a coach to be in."

Dempsey was candid about his fitness, saying that if the Brazil match were Monday night, he would not be able to start because he is not yet 90-minutes fit. He still has two more days to reach that point and give Klinsmann another option for his starting lineup.

"I felt OK," Dempsey said. "As far as getting on the ball I felt confident, but I lacked a little bit of fitness. "I'm just working hard to get back to max fitness and getting back to the form that I was on.

"You don't want to go back unless you feel like you can make an impact. After I get another training session under my belt and see how things go and push myself a little bit further I'll know whether or not I'll be ready."

As for Altidore, he has been out of action since AZ Alkmaar's last game on May 6 and has just one training session under his belt so far, so Wednesday could be a bit soon for his return to the starting lineup.

"It was his first training session after I don't know how many weeks," Klinsmann said when addressing his expectations for Altidore against Brazil. "We'll have a close look at him tomorrow, and then we'll take it from there. We're not stressing out about it." 

LOOKING AHEAD TO BRAZIL

It is no secret that playing against Scotland and playing against Brazil are two entirely different tasks, and the U.S. men are well aware of the challenges presented by playing against the traditional world power.

"It's Brazil. We've all played Brazil. We know what playing against them means," Michael Bradley said. "We know on our end we're going to need a really strong effort, but we're confident.

"This will be a really different game (than Scotland). They've been together training now. It's a different team. They're using these games now to really get themselves ready for the World Cup, so it's going to be a really hard game."

Brazil, currently ranked sixth in the world, is coming off a 3-1 victory over Denmark in Germany, but the Selecao will be without the likes of young midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso (knee surgery), centerback David Luiz (thigh injury) and fullback Dani Alves (broken collarbone). Even so, there's plenty of talent to push the Americans to the limit.

"(Brazil) is a team that belongs in the best in the world," Klinsmann said. "You can't get tougher than that game on Wednesday night. The players have already forgotten about the Scotland game. They know that this is a completely different story."

Don't expect the United States to cower just because of the opponent, though. While some tactical changes will be necessary to offset Brazil's attacking and possession prowess, Klinsmann looks at the match as a true measuring stick with just a couple of more dress rehearsals before World Cup qualifying begins.

"We want to mesh ourselves. We want to look good against them," Klinsmann said. "We're excited to play them, because players like Marcelo, Neymar, Hulk, and all these guys coming, that is huge. We expect a very difficult game.

"This is a high-energy, high-focus game. This is what we need now to see where we really are."

WELCOME HOME

The trip to Washington provides a homecoming of sorts for a number of U.S. players. Maurice Edu and Clarence Goodson played collegiately at Maryland, and Oguchi Onyewu and Kyle Beckerman are both Maryland natives.

The four were given a special salute by Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski, who was among the dignitaries to address the crowd over the course of the session. 

TRAINING NOTES

  • All 23 players were involved in the most spirited drill during the session, when one side of 10 attacked toward two goals and one side of 10 went at a single goalkeeper as a way to get Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando all involved. The sides were evenly split in terms of starters from Saturday, with one side being comprised of Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, Beckerman, Joe Corona, Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski and Terrence Boyd. The other had Edgar Castillo, Carlos Bocanegra, Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst, Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Edu, Jose Francisco Torres, Herculez Gomez and Altidore.
  • The forwards ran through a finishing drill at the end of the session, with Gomez being the most accurate and sharpest of the bunch as they all received passes in different positions, turned toward goal and fired away. Altidore was the most inventive, opting to try and volley some of the balls first-time instead of settling and shooting.
  • D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid and former United forward Joseph Ngwenya were among those in attendance.
  • The U.S. men will train at FedEx Field on Tuesday afternoon in a closed session prior to Brazil's training session. Brazil started its preparations for Wednesday's match at American University on Monday.
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62 Responses to USMNT Notes: Dempsey, Altidore train; team shifts gears for Brazil and more

  1. DC Josh says:

    Forgot to mention it was hot as balls. Over 2,000 people there. I expected 500. What a surprise to see that line to get in.

  2. Kp says:

    No one’s really asked…what’s the verdict on NBC sports coverage for the game? I thought it was good, with room for improvement…maybe a B overall?

  3. Travis in Miami says:

    And LD and Dempsey still haven’t played together on the national team – not even in drills. Ok, I kid…

  4. Seriously says:

    I didn’t notice the coverage. This is a good thing. I want to watch the game and too many times the commentary detracts from that. So I thought it was pretty good. I like NBC Sports’ coverage of MLS and the USMNT so far.

  5. OC says:

    Loved it. They won me over

  6. franky says:

    Better than FSC or ESPN when they don’t put their full effort in. Slightly below espn’s full effort. Overall pretty solid

  7. Rlw2020 says:

    You know things have changed when 2,000 people show up for a training.

  8. Vic says:

    Nice scrimmage. It looks like either team would be competitive against most teams around the world.

  9. pd says:

    Boy, nothing makes a team increase it’s popularity like an impressive win, eh? I’m more a process over product guy, but I can’t help but wonder if 2k had showed up if the us ad tied or lost.

  10. DrewRoc says:

    Love that Klinsmann has pushed to get the practices open to the public…

  11. George3000 says:

    Agreed. FSC has to have the worst production (broadcast quality/commentary) and it’s not even close. It’s not limited to soccer, either. Any sport you watch on Fox in general (maybe outside of the NFL) is a poor man’s substitute for ESPN.

    I think NBC has a chance to be better than the other two. It will take a bit of time for Arlo White and the other guy (forgetting him name right now) to perfect their presentation.

  12. Jorge Moreno says:

    Gomez looked really good today and not only in the finishing drill. I sure hope he gets a chance in at least one of the upcoming 4 games.

    The team looked sharp overall.

    Dempsey limped on to the practice field but looked fine during the practice sessions. I’m not sure it’s worth risking him for the Brazil friendly.

  13. CO says:

    Does anyone have a link with the stats for the game including possession?

  14. elgringorico says:

    Herc looked great today. By far the sharpest of the forwards. Jozy was a bit sluggish… wouldn’t be surprised if Boyd or Gomez get the start on Weds!

  15. Wispy says:

    Some observations from training:

    Clint looked pretty good to me. He didn’t ouul the sled weights that everyone else did in pre-scrimmage sprints, but during actual play, he looked like himself.

    Fabian Johnson has some major skills. On one field switch he dropped a dime across the field from about 70 meters away.

    On one sequence, Donovan totally tooled Corona one-on-one. Felt kind of bad for the new guy for a second : )

    Never saw Goodson in person before. Not sure what he’s listed at, but I estimate he’s, like, 6′ 5″, 175. Dude is lean.

    Team looked sharp. If we we ever to get a win against a Brazil side, this Wed may be our chance.

  16. Jason B says:

    Yes, that is a great way to engage fans and get them to really care about the national team.

  17. Lost in Space says:

    Nice to hear everyone was able to participate today. I think JK uses the same 11 as the Scotland match, except switch Gooch in for Cameron. Have Jozy & Dempsey come in around the 60th minute mark. Other subs base on need/fatigue.

  18. Jason B says:

    I know its easy to say after a 5-1 win over a halfway decent European team, but it just feels good to be a Nats fan right now.

    It feels like we’re finally reaching a point where we have special players at every position and that we have maybe 15-16 starters we can choose from.

  19. crocajun says:

    The only drawback is that you can’t watch the replay online.

  20. MicahK says:

    Isn’t Jozy jet lagged ? Also, I do not think it is a good idea to risk Dempsey for Wednesday.

  21. crocajun says:

    That’s what I’m thinking too. Although Herc could start over Boyd (Assuming Jozy doesn’t start).

  22. crocajun says:

    Doesn’t sound like either will be starting, but I wouldn’t be surprised if JK uses all 6 subs again.

  23. SD says:

    it’s possible he was home in miami all this time…

  24. Juan says:

    Based on what Klinsmann did with Parkhurst when he arrived late…there is no way Jozy, who hasn’t tun in weeks, makes the bench.

    Not fair to any of the others if he did and Klinsmann needs to be consistent in how he deals with players. No exceptions

  25. x says:

    Wow, very impressive.

  26. x says:

    Well what was the number that showed up to watch open training down in Jacksonville PRIOR to the impressive win? I’m pretty sure it was comparable…

  27. x says:

    He was with the rest of the AZ squad on some Dutch Caribbean island.

  28. x says:

    Good to know Bill Hamid was there, but please keep Joseph Ngwenya far away from our guys!

  29. biff says:

    yeah, lot of nice changes under Klinsmann that Bob Bradley would have never thought of that are getting the fan base fired up and also drawing more and more new fans every week. It is really amazing to see what is happening. Even the guys on the team seem different now under JK than they did under BB. Love it.

  30. biff says:

    Herculez Gomez was outstanding Saturday in his 26 minutes. I like Boyd a lot, but against Brazil we need more experience up top and, since Jozy probably won’t be fit, I am going to be surprised if Gomez does not start.

  31. SBI Troll says:

    Maybe, but Parkhurst isn’t fooling anyone as a starting caliber player.

  32. biff says:

    +1 Herc deserves a shot

  33. Neal says:

    Kasey Keller and Preki may have something to say about “ever” getting a win vs. Brazil.

    link to youtube.com

  34. Allan from Pittsburgh says:

    Not a Klinsman thing. The open practices started when the US Soccer Supporters Club membership was introduced. Been to a few great every time.

  35. yoda says:

    Fairness, It’s not fair to other players that Boyd gets a call-up and a start even though he doesnt play for his club

  36. chris says:

    Does anyone know if it is possible to watch NBC games in HD? We didn’t’ see a separate channel listing for our provider. Maybe they don’t bring that gear. Too bad if so, I had gotten used to the clarity of HD, and had a hard time identifying players for a while.

  37. Nate Dollars says:

    had to have been far more than 2k, right? doesn’t the place hold +4k? and it was packed. you’re right about the temps, though. i expected around a hundred people to show up with temps in 90s.

  38. Awesome turnout for training. I’m a huge proponent of open training sessions for pro squads – always found them to be almost as interesting as the matches.

    Looking forward to seeing whether Klinsy starts Deuce and/or Jozy, and if so, how the lineup shifts. If Deuce starts we could see a straight swap for Boyd. If they both start I think we’ll see Jozy striking and Deuce on the left – with Torres possibly dropping into the center mid triangle.

    Regardless, it’s nice to have options.

    Love this team!

  39. poy says:

    BB is a tool!

  40. Me says:

    I enjoyed the coverage. It was simple and the commentators didn’t annoy the crap out of me with their analysis. So many times I get annoyed to death by a member of the broadcast team attempting to provide some analysis which is quite often flat out WRONG. It’s like they think the audience is ignorant so they can spout off whatever drivel they want and we’ll take their word for it because they’re on TV and we’re morons. That hasn’t happened on any of the NBC broadcasts I’ve watched.

    The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the singing of the national anthem. Holy cow! You would think they would make sure the poor girl could actually sing before putting her on live national television. I actually felt sorry for her, and my wife made me mute it because she couldn’t take the terribly off-key notes anymore.

  41. Stoop says:

    Gomez looked great! I didn’t recognize him at first because of his longish hair, and so I kept thinking: who is that guy? He looked really sharp. And Terrence Boyd is an impressive young man, too.

  42. Judging Amy says:

    I don’t want a kindergarten coach who is making sure every special snowflake is getting their “fair” shot. This is a national team not youth rec league. It shouldn’t matter if its fair. Klins needs to do what’s best for the team. If its holding off until Jozy is healthy then so be it. If its playing him at less than full fitness then that’s what it is.

  43. scooter says:

    I was watching it in HD so there is definitely a channel

  44. BrianVT says:

    -1

  45. Eurosnob says:

    What are you talking about? Boyd had 20 goals for Dortmund’s second team last season. And while he did not play with the first team of Bundesliga’s champions, he got plenty of playing time with the second team and did really well. If you are suggesting that he is less match fit than other players, you are mistaken.

  46. THomas says:

    If he started I doubt it would be at forward, maybe one of the wide spots where torres or donovan were.

  47. Brian says:

    Chris you may be like me and be S.O.L. because your cable provider doesn’t even offer an HD channel for it. I thought maybe it just wasn’t part of my package but I checked my entire channel listing and my provider (Charter) doesn’t even offer NBC Sports Network in HD.

  48. jones says:

    Definitely. Herc offers great combination play as well. I actually think he and Boyd up front together would be an interesting pair to watch.

  49. Siberian says:

    “Now we are all together 23 players. It’s a good situation now for me as a coach to be in.” You might say Jurgen is deep in perfectenschlag right now.

  50. US Soccer says:

    Follow this page about US Soccer

    link to uszerotohero.wordpress.com

  51. sam says:

    THomas, why do you think so? Is he not enough of a hold-up player to step in at center forward?

  52. johnnycougar says:

    Bradley really says “really” a lot.

  53. vince says:

    70 meters? this is the USA…use the standard system…70 meters is like 80 yards…i think he dropped a dime from 70 yards fool

  54. b says:

    Yeah they had these under Bob Bradley but all of a sudden it’s a Klinsmann innovation!
    Not surprising given that cults of personality have never let facts stand in their way…

  55. chris says:

    Thanks scooter and Brian. No channel for me, so no HD. Pub time. #firstworldproblem

  56. bryan says:

    exactly. in a 4-3-2-1 you aren’t going to use Gomez as the lone striker. or if you do, it’s essentially an experiment to see how it goes. Boyd is much better suited. yes, it looks like a 4-3-3 on offense, but even still, he would be better on the outside.

    which means if Gomez starts, it’ll likely be for Torres. that way, on offense, he’s out wide in a 4-3-3. problem is, dropping back on defense, they seemed to revert back to a 4-3-2-1 and i am not sure Gomez would recover like Torres did all night so he could win balls.

    i wouldn’t change anything for this game except Gooch in for Cameron.

  57. bryan says:

    Goodson didn’t just go to MD, he went to high school at Woodson. which is in Fairfax County, right outside of DC in Virginia. so he belongs in the “native” category as well as the “played at MD” category. come on Avi!

  58. mclamb6 says:

    And I thought I was the only one that couldn’t stand Christopher Sullivan…

  59. GW says:

    What about AJ, Gonzo, and Robbie Rogers? Where they local?

  60. bryan says:

    what? none of those players are with the USMNT right now. what are you talking about?