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USA Preparations

A few items to pass along from U.S. men's national team training camp in Bradenton, Fla.:

-- Knee injuries have sidelined midfielder Ricardo Clark (Houston) and forward Chris Rolfe (Chicago). Their replacements are a pair of Dynamo players, midfielder Brian Mullan and defender Wade Barrett.

-- Defender Jay DeMerit did not practice today because of a minor groin strain. He should begin training Wednesday.

-- Most of the 24-man squad arrived in Bradenton yesterday, six players came in today and goalkeeper Tim Howard will land Tuesday.

-- About 22,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's friendly against Ecuador in Tampa. Sales are lagging for next Wednesday's match vs. Guatemala in Frisco, Tex.

By Steve Goff  |  March 19, 2007; 4:18 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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If sales are lagging for next Wednesday's friendly with Guatemala, US Soccer only has itself to blame. Last year's fixture in Dallas, against the same weak opponent, was a total snore (4-0 if I remember correctly). I'm all up for travelling to watch the Nats play, but a yearly Guatemala match? Please send us someone worthy of spending the cash to see!

Posted by: Nic | March 19, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, Mullan and Barrett?

I was hoping Mastroeni would get called in, I'm a little wary of how our inexperienced/young DM options will do against an attacking team like Ecuador.

Posted by: Bill | March 19, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

by my calculation this leaves team usa with NO experienced defensive midfielders on the roster

i guess michael bradley and benny fielhaber will get plenty of field time

Posted by: brucio | March 19, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to see more of rico clark...

Posted by: that's a shame | March 19, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

when is the us MNT actually going to, you know, maybe go to ANOTHER country to play some challenging futbol? they should be going to brazil, italy, czech republic, getting their asses beat. much better in the long run than.

Posted by: fever | March 19, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Chris Armas is tanned, rested, and relaxed.

Posted by: Shane MacGowan's Teeth | March 19, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I think the big story is 22,000 tickets sold for a soccer match in Tampa? TAMPA?! That's like the entire final season's attendance for the Mutiny.

I didn't know that so many Ecuadorans lived in Tampa.

Posted by: I-270 Exit 1 | March 19, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Thousands and thousands of Ecuadorans in the States. They travel for the love of the game.

Who cares about the lack of experience at d-mid? If I recall Pablo had little to none before WC 2002. He actually played better there than 4 years later when he had loads of experience.

Posted by: delan | March 19, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I just purchased 2 tix for the Guatemala game here in Dallas. Very interested in seeing the Euros back here. I think the tickets will start moving this weekend after the Ecuador game, plus there will be plenty of walk-ups.

Posted by: alixwhyte | March 19, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Pablo had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee on 16-Feb.

Let's see what Feilhaber & Bradley can do

Posted by: Andrew | March 19, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

regarding Brucio's comments, maybe Bradley will switch away from using 2 defensive midfields and go towards a diamond midfield with Donovan as the attacking midfielder, Beasley on the left and Dempsey on the right. I much prefer Landon in this role. Of course, this new approach to the 4-4-2 would've worked better with Rolfe in the line-up.

oh, and as far as defensive midfielders go there's also Brian Carroll. He's not all that experienced but more so than Feilhaber and Bradley.

Posted by: Diego R. | March 19, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

It'd be nice to see the big countries play; but most of them are in qualifying matches for Euro08, arent they?

I don't think at this stage it really matters who we play, as its more about getting Bradley a chance to see the pool. But, matches against brazil or argentina sure would be preferable to guatemala.

An annual match in Jamaica in March would work for me.... Be happy to go to that one.

Posted by: Hacksaw | March 20, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The Ecuador & Guatemala games are friendlies to prepare the USMNT for this summer's big action. Ecuador is a fine team that has qualified for the last two WCs and has several European based players. Guatemala deserves some respect too, they are not as seasoned or talented as Ecuador but they still provide us with a worthy opponent in these tune ups. Don't assume we will blow them away. Bradley will have new combos on the field and at this point its unclear how the players will gell. Give the Chapines a break, their federation needs a payday too.

Posted by: sbgoldman | March 20, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

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