USA News & Notes
Midfielder Clint Dempsey, sidelined with a shoulder injury, remains in London and hopes to be ready, if needed, for Wednsday's match against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium. Said Bob Bradley: "He has made progress this week and we will address it over the next day or two. At this time, he is still clearly an option to bring him into D.C."
USA yellow cards: Altidore, Bocanegra, Casey, Cherundolo, Clark, Donovan, Feilhaber, Hejduk. Another one will result in suspension for Wednesday's match.
Landon Donovan, on the setting in Central American stadiums: "For us, there is an aspect of intimidation if you allow it to be, but there's also an aspect of excitement. It's better than playing in a stadium that is empty. For those of us who really enjoy competing, we like situations like this.
"The unique thing in a lot of [Central American] countries is the passion of everyone in the stadium. Generally, when you play in Europe, you get a section of the stadium that is passionate - maybe 3-4-5-10,000 people. But here it's going to be 25-30,000 -- whatever the stadium holds -- incredibly passionate people. You can just feel the difference in the energy."
Bradley, on preparing for the early stage of the match: "We will certainly be ready for the fact that, with their crowd behind them, we expect them to come out flying and we need to be able to match their intensity early on and have the right kind of energy but to do it in a smart way. You can't be so anxious to establish your side of things that you leave gaps and spaces. There is an element of managing the game early on but we've learned the necessity for positive energy so now we have a good start."
Much more on the continuation of this thread.....
Donovan, on the opportunity to clinch a World Cup berth: "In a perfect world, we do it tomorrow. Our objective is to win the game. That being said, if we give it our best shot and we don't win, we've been through this process enough times that we know how to get mentally and physically ready for Wednesday if we need to.
"For me, and I think I speak for the guys who were in Germany in 2006, this would be an opportunity at redemption in some ways -- to get to the World Cup and do better than we did last time. It has certainly been part of my motivation along the way. This is obviously the biggest step to getting there: winning the final game to get you there."
Donovan, on so many players carrying yellow cards: "You have to think about it. If you have to make a play that is ensuring you are going to qualify in that moment, you make that play and you take a yellow card. But you have got to be smart and aware of it in event that we don't qualify tomorrow and be an option in the next game. You don't want to change the way you play -- and I am not the type of player who is running around the field tackling people in general -- but you do think about it if you are going into a challenge that maybe 40 percent of the time you are going to win and 60 percent you are not. Maybe you think about it for a second, but you don't want to let it dictate the way you play. The other thing is that tomorrow is the most important game right now, and if we can win tomorrow, it doesn't matter how many yellow cards we pick up."
Carlos Bocanegra, on TV coverage in the States limited to closed circuit in bars and restaurants: "It's pretty sad."
Added Onyewu: "I didn't even think [my family in Washington] knew it wasn't televised until I told them today."
Onyewu, on the attractiveness of the match: "Tomorrow might not be the prettiest of games, but if we are able to come out with three points playing a terrible game, I am going to be the happiest man in the world after 90 minutes."
Bocanegra, on what it would mean to reach the World Cup again: "I remember the passion of the Italy game [in 2006], just the feeling inside of pride, of being able to represent your nation, your country, and knowing just how many people are behind you, pulling for you. It's a special feeling, something that's not replicated ever. Even the buzz after the Confederations Cup, going back home, people who don't normally watch soccer were like, 'Good job beating Spain.' We saw [NASCAR driver] Jeff Gordon backstage at the ESPYs and he made a point to come up to us and say how cool it was. It's crazy how many people soccer touches, and the World Cup is the biggest stage of it all. It's not hard to get movitated to get back to it again."
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