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USA-Mexico Update

The USA national team, currently training in Miami, will not arrive in Mexico City until late in the day Tuesday, less than 24 hours before the World Cup qualifier against Mexico. The team won't visit Azteca until gametime. Basically, the players will go directly from the airport to the hotel, play the next afternoon and then catch flights back to their clubs throughout Europe and the United States.

During a media conference call today, Coach Bob Bradley said the decision for the last-minute arrival in Mexico City (elevation: 7,300 feet) from sea level in Miami was based on consulation with experts in the field of athletic performance at altitude, including those in the U.S. Olympic family.

"The research we have stuck with is one that says: 'If you don't have enough time to acclimatize, which can take 10 days or so, then coming in late is your best bet,' " he said. "That is the way we have scheduled things, knowing that on a single-fixture date, players have only arrived [at training camp] in the last day."

Bradley's visit to Azteca will be his first as a coach. The Americans are 0-18-1 in Mexico City against El Tri, 0-22-1 all-time on the road vs. Mexico.

In the past, the Americans have trained at altitude before traveling to Mexico City or attempted to adjust a few days before a match. It's not just the altitude, though; poor air quality, 105,000 spectators and a very good opponent are major factors.

I'm heading to Mexico soon and will rejoin you Tuesday. A video look at the famed Azteca (it takes about 20 seconds to get started):


By Steve Goff  |  August 10, 2009; 2:20 PM ET
Categories:  Mexico , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Adu to Denmark

Comments

Can't wait for the US's Aztecazo...
lets hope the research is right...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | August 10, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand Spanish, but that first intro made me a little scared. If I was Mexican I would love to be in the crowd, the atmosphere looks amazing.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 10, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"The Americans are 0-18-1 in Mexico City against El Tri, 0-22-1 all-time on the road vs. Mexico."

Huh? How can these number be right? We beat them in Korea/Japan 2002, and that was 'on the road', right? So if we have one win in Mexico city, and one in Asia, how can we be "0-22-1 all-time on the road vs. Mexico"? It seems we should be 0-22-2. No?

Posted by: WorldCup | August 10, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I mean 1-22-1.

Posted by: WorldCup | August 10, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Why choose to train in Miami when you could train at altitude in Colorado? I understand that the Euro based players have yet to arrive in Miami but at least more of the guys would be prepared for the thin air.

Posted by: FrancoNiell | August 10, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The World Cup is a neutral venue. "On the road" means all locations in Mexico, not just Azteca.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Like Jalisco, their second home...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | August 10, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I've been to Azteca. For the box seats, you can drive right up next to them and park. Sweet.

Posted by: Reignking | August 10, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

FrancoNiell, how would the MLS based players have trained in Colorado when they've been busy playing here? I was actually surprised that Chingy, Stuey, and Rico actually played their second league match in 5 days yesterday. I guess Holden couldn't miss his own bobblehead night? I think the research will hold true and the US will prevail on Wednesday.
Go USA!

Posted by: DadRyan | August 10, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice video. It shows that Mexico soccer championship between America and Necaxa I went to in 2002. That place is crazy! Aside from watching out for urine and batteries being thrown from the cheap seats up top, I had a great time. Tough place to play, but I feel like we're the better team and should be out to prove that the Gold Cup final was an aberration stemming from our use of a team of subs. Then again, we've never won there.

Posted by: ManuteBogues | August 10, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The only time we've ever left Azteca with a point was in a 1997 WCQ under Steve Sampson. They boys trained at altitude for two weeks and gutted out a 0-0 draw while playing 60 of the 90 minutes down a man.
Getting three points there on Wednesday is looking like a stretch.....

Posted by: FrancoNiell | August 10, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

FrancoNiell, Bradley answers your question

"""The research we have stuck with is one that says: 'If you don't have enough time to acclimatize, which can take 10 days or so,""

So going to any high altitude Colorado, Mt. Ranier, Everest, whatever, isn't going to help UNLESS you have at least 10 days.

What they need is some PRO CRIT (EPO) or an autologous blood transfusion. Crank up the hematocrit. O 2 on the sidelines and the locker room.

Posted by: delantero | August 10, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Kev29 | August 10, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Absent EPO, blood transfusions, and O2 on the sidelines.....we'll be dragging in the first 30 minutes and they'll be coming at us in waves.
We shouldn't ever count on getting points from this game when we look at the WCQ schedule. That's why it's important to not get blown away @ Costa Rica or struggle for ties @ El Salvador, much more winnable games.

Posted by: FrancoNiell | August 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

What they need is some PRO CRIT (EPO) or an autologous blood transfusion. Crank up the hematocrit. O 2 on the sidelines and the locker room.

Posted by: delantero

You got that from an episode of "House," didn't you...?

Posted by: joedoc1 | August 10, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

How long has Mexico been training for this? If it's been less than 10 days from the match, you'd think their European based players would be at just as much of a pure physical disadvantage as we are. In the long list of daunting advantages they have at this venue, at least that one should be a relative draw (of course, the mental aspect of having played there before still gives them the edge in terms of coping with it).

Posted by: psps23 | August 10, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm just happy that mun2 is being made available for free for this game. At least on DTV.

I take back 3 of the 5 nasty things I said about NBC when it was announced only mun2 would have English :-)

Posted by: dcufan | August 10, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@I-270Exit1 -- I hate to disagree with you because you might pun me to death, but the editor in me can't resist splitting hairs.

"On the road" means not at home. Since a neutral venue is by definition not a home game, it must be "on the road." It's actually a road game for both teams.

Posted by: edgeonyou | August 10, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jack Kerouac, I think of your mother and the tears she cried, she cried for none other than her little boy lost in our little world that hated and that dared to drag him down. Her little boy courageous who chose his words from mouths of babes got lost in the wood. Hip flask slinging madman, steaming cafe flirts, they all spoke through you.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Why is this video on the Azteca in Mexican! I demand ESPN pick up the English language rights to the History of Azteca video!

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | August 10, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't really believe the Arrive As Late As Possible To Deal With The Altitude theory. 15 years ago I hiked to the top of Mt Olympus in Greece. It's a popular tourist activity and the peak is listed at 9577 feet. Anyway, most folks walk up from a town near sea level and stay overnight at a hosted about 1000 feet below the summit. In my case it was much easier to breath the thinner air on the 2nd day (after a night near the top) than it had been a day earlier.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Olympus

Winning or tying at Azteca is a tall order for the US. But it would be great - even a tie would do some really serious damage to Mexico's WC qualifying aspirations. It could drop them down to 5th place with only 4 games left to make up the deficit.

CONCACAF WCQ Standings:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/nccamerica/standings/index.html

Eliminating our closest neighbors, friends and enemies should be a cause everyone can get behind.

YES, WE CAN!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 10, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

hostel, not "hosted"

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 10, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

From the Goff's Twitter:

Soccer Insider learns from Danish connections that Freddy Adu is heading to Odense this week on a 1-year loan. Awaiting confirmation....

Posted by: addick | August 10, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

OK, but did you run around for 90 minutes when you got to the top of Mt. Olympus?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

...and how's your left foot?

Posted by: JkR- | August 10, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Odense? He might as well come back to MLS.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 10, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Odense? He might as well come back to MLS.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 10, 2009 4:30 PM

MLS clubs probably aren't/weren't interested in paying his wages on loan.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 10, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I was disappointed that the field on the top of Mt Olympus didn't meet FIFA standards so I didn't have too much room to run around. But I could have used my left foot to kick a ball much further than El Diablo ever could at RFK!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 10, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I drove to the summit of Pikes Peak a long time ago. When I got out of the car and walked around I had no trouble breathing. But, I did spend the previous week in Colorado Springs doing high-altitude drinking.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Bradley got it partially correct. The ideal thing to do is to get there just a few *hours* before the game, as opposed to being there the day before. They could have gone to Veracruz or Guadalajara and then travel to DF the day of the game.

Posted by: JPHT | August 10, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Goff,
What does the research suggest about the appropriate time for a blogger to arrive to get acclimated, so to avoid misspellings, writer's block, carpal tunnel, etc?

Posted by: DCUMD | August 10, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

You got that from an episode of "House," didn't you...?
Posted by: joedoc1

Back of a Cheerios box, joedoc.

-On Old Olympus' Towering Top A Fin And German Viewed Some Hops

Posted by: delantero | August 10, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Si se Puede.
Si se Puede.

Posted by: castroviejo | August 10, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Ay caramba, that video sucked.
How many times did we need to see shaky shots of the exterior of Azteca?
Was he saying something really riveting?

Posted by: gary9smith | August 10, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Yo universityandpark, thanks again on the heads up on the Freedom replay in the kickaround.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Time and TV schedule necessary.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | August 11, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

IF DON'T KNOW HOW TO WATCH THE GAME, BUT HAVE COMCAST AND LIVE IN D.C. READ THIS!!!

I live in the District and have Comcast cable (I believe that I have some sort of expanded digital cable package). Here's the channels where I expect to be able to watch the game:

* Telemundo (in Spanish) - channel 12

* mun2 (reportedly in English, albeit with Marcelo Balboa, aka the Idiot, calling the game) - channel 178

Based on everything that I see on my cable set-up, that would appear to work. Hope it works for you too.

And let's go U.S.A.!!!!!! Let's go for the jugular against El Tri and relegate them to the BOTTOM OF CONCACAF!!!! If we could eke out a win, or even a tie, the double whammy of solidifying our World Cup standing and devastating theirs would be so incredibly, indescribably, unfathomably sweet. (I'm not optimistic, but I am hopeful. C'mon guys, let's pull out this one.....)

Posted by: mannewskie | August 11, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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