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Chengdu by Foot

For the first time since my arrival, I looked up and saw the sky. Yes, the actual sky. Mind you, it's not San Diego sky, but at least it's no longer obscured by that strange brew of sulfur, fog and haze. The timing could not have been better. For the first time in all my worldly football travels, I have been struggling with severe jet lag. The metereological gloom was not helping.

After a better night of sleep (courtesy of the fantastic pharmaceutical industry -- American, not Chinese), I took a casual stroll up Renmin Nan Road. Destination: Tianfu Square in the heart of this vibrant city. On the northern side of the park, a few hundred yards from a McDonald's, Starbucks and Cartier, stands this guy:

For stadium traditionalists who prefer an arena in the city and not stuck off a turnpike exit in the middle of swamp land, Chengdu is for you. Chengdu Sports Center Stadium is a five-minute walk north of Tianfu Square and the streets around it bustle with energy day and night.

Okay, enough tourist stuff. The U.S. team trained this morning and made final preparations for Friday's crucial Group B match against Sweden. Like most coaches, Greg Ryan was not willing to share his lineup, but judging from the upbeat manner in which Lindsay Tarpley declined to answer whether she would be included (does that make any sense at all?), we just might know one new starter. We'll see, we'll see.

A few other items to share below.....

You may have noticed that Ryan made only one substitution vs. North Korea, and it didn't come until second-half added time. Asked by's Graham Hays if he was trying to settle on a firm starting 11, Ryan said: "Oh, no. Definitely not. That North Korea game was a very unique situation. You look at that team and you are really looking at them like the '99 China team. I think they are on par with that. If they can survive defending set plays, they are going to go a long way. So that was a game where I knew I had a specific group of players that I thought would be able to beat North Korea, and in the end, I thought things went pretty well other than that period of time we were shorthanded."

More Ryan, on the magnitude of Friday's match: "This group is like playing a semifinal and a final in our first two games because that's the quality of the teams. ... This start is unbelievably challenging."

Talk to ya tomorrow.....

By Steve Goff  |  September 13, 2007; 3:19 AM ET
Categories:  Women  
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Next: Post-RSL Quotes


Goff - if you get a hankering for Mexican food while in Chengdu, look for "Pete's Tex-Mex Grill".

It's down by the University, and surprisıngly authentic - they make their own tortillas their and everything.

Posted by: Bad Hair Day | September 13, 2007 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey, what's the weather like there (I mean, is it cold?) Looks like folks are wearing jackets.

On a completely unrelated note, how about SCOTLAND!

Posted by: Hacksaw | September 13, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"and in the end, I thought things went pretty well other than that period of time we were shorthanded."

Well, very few of us who watched the match would agree with him.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 13, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Ryan meant to say "I think things went pretty well on the scoreboard other than that period of time when we were shorthanded." Which is true; it just did not look too pretty or impressive.

Posted by: Clark Coleman | September 13, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Coach must have some psychological purpose to his answers in these press conferences, I don't think he can really believe that things went pretty well or that Boxx had a great game, etc etc. I hope whatever he is up to works.

Tarpley (O'Reilly 75), Wambach, Lilly

Lloyd, Chalupny


Lopez, Markgraf, Whitehill, Rampone


US 3: Sweden 1 on goals by Tarpley, Lloyd and Wambach.

Posted by: WNT fan | September 13, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Anyone see this -- China cheating by spying on Denmark?

Posted by: RK | September 13, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

PS -- Mr. Insider -- I enjoy the travelogue as well, but what was it like INSIDE the stadium? What were the North Korean fans up to? Did you see stick around for Nigeria/Sweden? As I recall the Nigerian fans were pretty crazy in 2003. Many Americans? Swedes?

Posted by: WNT fan | September 13, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Scotland indeed! There is a lot of other stuff to note in this brief lull before many of us drag ourselves out of bed in the pre-dawn hours Thursday:

* I understand that Brazil-Mexico packed Foxboro Stadium.

* Jaime played about 60 minutes down south.

* Soccer America reports that Beckham may be in the BSPN2 broadcast booth tonight.

* Did anyone see Maryland-WVU or any other interesting college action lately?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 13, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Denmark accuses China of Bill Belichick style cheating and China calls Denmark out for foul language and a one finger salute? WTF? Is there any attention to this over there? I'd hate for foul language to continue at sporting events between competition.

Posted by: sitruc | September 13, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

ME-OW! Actually I'd say that filming a team strategy session thru a 2-way mirror in a private place is a whole lot different than filming coaches on the sideline of a public place. I am surprised (somewhat) that FIFA aren't persuing it, but I suppose it wouldn't be good for the tournament to throw out the home team. Where else do they have their cameras hidden?

Posted by: Glenn | September 13, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I've actually been a bit surprised by how much I'm enjoying the WWC, but then it occurred to me -- I haven't seen any diving and general gamesmanship has been at a minimum. There's a lot to be said for that. (Of course, this thing with the Chinese videotaping Denmark's strategy sessions through a one-way mirror is shocking, but at least the action on the field has been pretty clean.)

Posted by: JJH | September 13, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Make that the pre-dawn hours Friday.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 13, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

All the big tourist hotels in China have rooms set up to spy on people. Every time I went I was warned by the State Department that I would be spied on no matter where I stayed. Not much you can do when it is the government itself doing the spying. I'm sure that some tapes "magically" appeared in the Chinese teams hands.

Posted by: Steve | September 13, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

China's spies need to update their resumes, and re-invent themselves, what with globalization and all. Now they can apply for jobs with an NFL-Asia franchise.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 13, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Goff won't be allowed to comment on this issue while a guest of China...

Posted by: RK | September 13, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Did my earlier post disappear? I guess Goff can't comment while inas q w2532353@$#$#%(FAS.dll.share//''err
###---NO CARRIER---

Posted by: sitruc | September 13, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought WVU-Maryland was tonight, Section 410. ;) I'm not really looking forward to Becks' 90 minute interview. I can't imagine him being somebody I want to listen to in the booth. Hopefully, he'll surprise me. I hope the WNBA finals go long again. The playoffs have produced some pretty good games. I expect the opposite from the Chivas-Galaxy match. If it is a Chivas crowd, will the HDC be empty?

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