U.S. Soccer provides this update from the menÆs national team camp in Herndon, Va., where Coach Bruce ArenaÆs men are preparing for their World Cup qualifier against Guatemala Sept. 3 in RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., (live on ABC 2:00 pm ET.):
Camp opened Aug. 28 today, as 16 of the 20 players selected by Bruce Arena met for a 75 minute training session at D.C. UnitedÆs United Park.
Cobi Jones, John OÆBrien, Claudio Reyna, and David Regis will arrive in the on Monday afternoon, giving Arena and the coaching staff a full complement of players to work with.
The team will train once daily at United Park until Saturday, when the team will hold its final practice at RFK Stadium before the 2:00 p.m. ET match on Sunday, Sept. 3.
The team worked through a relatively light training session Monday, allowing the players time to recover from weekend matches and long travel itineraries. The daily practice sessions should increase in both length and intensity, building to a crescendo on Thursday when the team will play an intra-squad scrimmage.
By Friday, Arena should have a pretty good idea about which players will be available, and who is likely to be included in the starting 11 on Sunday.
The first team meeting of camp was held this morning after lunch, where Arena walked the players through the weekÆs schedule and introduced the newest member of the national team, Richard Mulrooney. Mulrooney, an
uncapped 23-year-old midfielder from the San Jose Earthquakes, becomes the 64th different player invited to a national team camp by Arena.
Q&A with John OÆBrien (who will celebrate his 23rd birthday Tuesday)
Q: Do you think your time away from Ajax while on national team and Olympic duty hurt your standing on the team?
A: The Ajax coaching staff know whatÆs going on, and they canÆt really hold it against me. They canÆt watch me everyday and see that I should be playing, so I just need to make that up when I get back there. I led the team in minutes played in preseason, and the coach was pleased with how I played. But when it came to the first league game of the season, I didnÆt play, and the coach said I was the only player who deserved a personal explanation about why I wasnÆt playing. It just came down to him wanting to play some older, more experienced players.
Q: Are you comfortable playing the Chris Armas defensive midfield role if called upon?
A: ThatÆs where IÆd like to play if I had a choice. Sometimes if you join a team and you replace their star forward, the team is used to playing around that forward, and it can have an effect. I donÆt know if this team is dependent on Chris that same way, but I think I can step in and play my game and help out.
Q: Is there any more anxiety coming into camp for a World Cup qualifier as compared to a friendly match?
A: IÆm not at the stage yet where IÆve played a lot of international games, so they are all pretty special. I havenÆt really distinguished the difference between the two yet. IÆm sure when we start training and talking about the opponent this week it will all start to sink in.
Q: Are you looking forward to the benefits of being the home team on Sunday?
A: When we have our preparations in a nice hotel, and everything that surrounds us is American, it helps a lot. I hear people say that the American fans have been outnumbered some times in the past, but when we get to the stadium it will still feel like a home game for us.
Q: Do you remember what was going through your mind just before you scored against Barbados at Foxboro?
A: Normally, they say that the best thing you can do when you come into a game and the score is 3-0 is to score a goal, and I though about that at halftime.
When I got the ball I started dribbling and things just opened up for me. I saw a guy ahead of me defensively, and I couldnÆt figure out what he was doing, so I just took advantage of the situation and put it on net.
Q: Did you feel that you got a good taste of what qualifying is all about in the half you played?
A: I think I probably got more out of the days of training I had leading up to the match. Barbados was already down two men when I got in, so I think some of our practices during the week were more intense.
But it was good to be around the team leading up to the match, and being in on all the team talks. I think thatÆll help me out a lot.
Q: Does the long travel from Amsterdam have any effect on you?
A: Yeah, IÆm glad we have a whole week this time to get ready. Mostly itÆs a physical thing, because your body is tired and needs time to adjust. You donÆt know when your body needs food, and it has an effect on your energy level.
Q: What do you know about GuatemalaÆs team?
A: Not too much. I wasnÆt able to see the last game against the U.S., and Eurosport doesn't cover too many of their games.
No comments yet.