Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
USA is motivated by Saturday's historic Cuba clash in Havana
by Mike Woitalla, September 5th, 2008 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

On Thursday evening, the U.S. national team arrived at the Hotel Melia Cohiba, two blocks from Havana's charming Malecon, the four-mile waterfront walkway. Before heading for the team dinner, Coach Bob Bradley discussed the significance of Saturday's Cuba-USA game (TV: ESPN Classic & Galavision, 8 pm ET), which will most likely be one of the USA's 18 games in 2010 World Cup qualifying.

"We are honored to represent the United States in this historic occasion to come here and play Cuba," said Bradley. "It's exciting for all of our players. We have clearly a good idea of the importance of this match for both teams.

"I don't think there's extra pressure, but we do understand the fact that this game will bring extra attention. We really motivate ourselves at times knowing that more people than usual will follow the match, and that it's an opportunity always to show off our team, our character, our ability."

The USA started the semifinal road of qualifying with a 1-0 win at Guatemala, while Cuba fell, 3-1, at home against Trinidad & Tobago.

Two straight home losses are sure to doom Cuba's hopes of reaching the World Cup for only the second time since in 1938 it became the first Caribbean team to reach the finals. Cuba's loss to the Trinidadians, Bradley believes, will give the Cubans extra incentive for a good performance.

"In all parts of the world you see smaller countries rise to the occasion because of how much is at stake," Bradley said. "We also know that when you play a team that comes off a difficult game you expect a strong response."

For their part, the Cubans are hoping for a record crowd at the 28,000-seat Estadio Pedro Marrero.

"The team needs the support of the public and it will be a important advantage for our players," said Cuba's German coach, Reinhold Fanz, on Wednesday.

For sure, the team that struggled against Trinidad & Tobago will need all the help it can get.

"To win against the USA will be difficult but not impossible," Fanz said. "The players know they have to take charge of the game. We made some modifications and have strengthened our midfield. We will not play with fear. We'll take an attacking posture, with order."

For the USA -- whose next game is against the Trinidadians in Illinois on Wednesday -- starting with two road wins would put it in a fine position to cruise into the final round.

The top two finishers of the semifinal phase advance to the six-team, home-and-home final round. The top three finishers in the final-round group qualify for South Africa 2010 and the fourth-place finisher plays off with South America's No. 5 team for what could be Concacaf's fourth spot.

For a team that brings in more than half its roster from Europe, clinching a final-round spot early on could prove beneficial. It would allow foreign-based players to stay with their clubs - increasing their chances to keep or win starting jobs - while giving Bradley the opportunity to test new players.

"That could be something that works in your favor, but coaches tend not to think ahead that way," said Bradley. "Should you get to that point, the possibility to get different players experience is something we've worked hard to do in the last year and a half."

But for now the focus is on Cuba.

"We know that this game will get extra attention," said Bradley, "and it's always exciting to play in that type of situation."

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
NWSL: Reign's Fishlock sidelined with fractured tibia    
Jess Fishlock, an NWSL Best XI pick in each of her three seasons with the Seattle ...
MLS Week 9: Weekend schedule    
One of five Saturday afternoon matches features the Montreal Impact, first in the Eastern Conference, against ...
Soccer gets new Vegas pitchman: David Beckham    
A surprise pitchman at Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis' Thursday meeting with Las Vegas government officials ...
MLS Countdown: FC Dallas looks to rebound quickly    
FC Dallas, which plays at the New York Red Bulls in a battle of 2015 conference ...
Alex Morgan flexes her social media muscle    
If U.S. women's national team players want to show off their clout to make their case ...
What They're Saying: Seattle Sounders sports scientist Dave Tenney    
"One of the biggest red flags we have is guys that have kids. Almost across the ...
U.S. U-19 men fall to Slovakia on the way to final    
The Brad Friedel-coached U.S. U-19 men's national team, having already clinched a spot in the Slovakia ...
Video Pick: Dog invades field, kisses player    
The hound who ran onto the field during a Copa Libertadores game seemed especially happy to ...
What They're Saying: Tweet from Argentine club Tigre    
"Carrying the club inside you won't just be a metaphor." -- Tweet from Argentine club Tigre ...
Awards: Club America's Sambueza takes top CCL honor    
Captain Rubens Sambueza, who provided seven assists in nine starts in leading Club America to the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives