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U.S. World Cup news & notes

Greetings from the farm. The roosters say hello.

*U.S. forward Jozy Altidore, who suffered a mild ankle sprain Wednesday, received treatment Thursday evening and Friday morning and will be reevaluated at the training session in Pretoria later.

There's no official word yet on his status for Saturday's friendly against Australia in Roodepoort (8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2, Galavision), but with the World Cup opener against England a week away, his participation seems doubtful.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard said Altidore's injury has not become a major concern. "We are not losing sleep over it," he said.

Robbie Findley, coming off an effective performance in the second half against Turkey last weekend, might end up in the lineup in place of Altidore.

"I just try to mainly focus on being ready if I am given the opportunity, whether it is starting or coming off the bench," he said. "Hopefully, [Altidore] gets ready real soon."

Commenting on Findley's speed and impact, defender Steve Cherundolo said: "If we are in a defensive mode and playing counterattack, he is very useful to us. Especially in the second half against Turkey, everyone got to see why he is effective not only going forward, but I remember plays where he was chasing down forwards. For a defender to see a forward do that, it's magic. It really sets the tone for everybody else. There are no excuses for any defender or midfielder if a forward is chasing back."

Much more.....

*Every other World Cup goalkeeper has chimed in about the World Cup ball. Tim, you're next.....

"The ball is tragic, but I think once you get to a certain level, particularly in goalkeeping, you realize there are no excuses," Howard said. "There are going to be some crazy goals in this World Cup, and none of them are going to be called back" because of the ball.

Howard has had to adjust to not only the ball, but the ball at altitude.

"I am just trying to pick up the pace of the ball, try to find that rhythm. Not only is it light and it's moving, it's different now at altitude than when we trained with it in the States. I'm trying to be safe with my decisions. A lot of balls that are comfortable for me to catch on a normal day aren't, and so I need to figure out how to get the ball out of danger if I am not going to hold it."

Asked about the form and chemistry of the backline, which was beset with injuries this spring, Howard responded: "We are ready. Sometimes you feel like you are completely ready and everyone is playing in a rhythm, and then it goes pear-shaped on that particular day, so it's hard to call, but right now I feel good about the back four -- and probably back six because we have a bunch of guys who can play back there."

*Howard, on what he would like to see against Australia: "No injuries, first. Our second-half performance against Turkey was very, very good. If we can build on that and go into next week feeling like it was a good performance, everyone seemed to play well and that we are in a good rhythm, that will be important. I don't think the result is too much of an issue."

*Howard, on the way Wayne Rooney is viewed in England: "He is revered. People think of him as a sporting god, and they should. He is amazing, quite simply. ... We are going to have our hands full, but we know that. All the pressure that England is facing is heavily on his shoulders, but those shoulders are broad and he relishes those opportunities."

*Howard, on facing Australia midfielder Tim Cahill, his Everton teammate: "He is miserable to play against, and that makes him a fantastic teammate. ... He is the first one to take the fight to the other team."

What will be the tone of Saturday's match, given both teams are in final preparations for their World Cup openers?

"I certainly don't expect anyone to be playing in a reckless manner," Cherundolo said. "The best way to get injured is to go out and try not to get injured. Guys are going to go into tackles, play soccer, play hard. I don't think you will see any of these real dirty tackles that would be rewarded with a red card. It will be hard, there will definitely be some body contact, which is good."

By Steve Goff  |  June 4, 2010; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Jozy Altidore, Robbie Findley, Steve Cherundolo, Tim Howard, U.S. national team, World Cup  
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Next: Didier Drogba out of World Cup? Ferdinand in doubt


New proposed 'Phrase O' The Insider' :

'It's gone all Pear Shaped'

Also acceptable:

'It's going Pear Shaped'

'It went Pear Shaped'

and finally,

'I am Pear Shaped'

Posted by: JkR- | June 4, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

More jibber-Jabulani from players, though Tim Howard's the first one that I know of thus far to say, essentially, "I don't like it, but I'm going to figure it out" as opposed to "waahhhhhh this ball sucks change it back." That's alright by me.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | June 4, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I had a girlfriend that went all pear shaped once...

Posted by: SomeSoccerFan | June 4, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Used in a sentence...

The over-egged pudding has left me pear shaped and feeling argy bargy.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | June 4, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I am sure the defenders like to see a forward pressuring high, and tracking back and defending, when the US is out of possession.

I am also sure that the mids who also are working back and defending hard like to see forwards who can hold possession in transition, as Dempsey was saying the other day.

If Altidore's "mild" sprain lingers, who among our remaining forwards is going to do that?

Posted by: OWNTF | June 4, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Howard, and the rest of the world, is right to complain about the ball. I recently kicked one around and the thing dances, even with heavy back- or side-spin. Not only is it hard for the goalie, but for field players too. Should make for some nice long-range shots and free kicks though.

Posted by: dahx4 | June 4, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Pear-shaped girls make the rocking world go 'round.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 4, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"right now I feel good about the back four -- and probably back six because we have a bunch of guys who can play back there."

Back six, huh? And Bradley brought seven defenders. I wonder who the missing man out is... Zing on Bornstein.

Posted by: TwinCity | June 4, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The Altidore ankle sprain again raises the question of why Ching isn't on the team. When the team was announced, my first thought was "who plays up top if Altidore gets injured?" Although Findley did well against Turkey in a different role, there is no other forward who can even come close in size or ability to be a target if Altidore goes down.

Posted by: macheath | June 4, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Hope Ching has his bag packed.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 4, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Why the EFF-WORD does FIFA introduce a new ball for the World Cup when it takes 3 years to qualify using the old ball?

Why the EFF-WORD don't they introduce the new ball at the start of qualifying for the next EFF-WORD-ING Cup?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | June 4, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Can't find a Jozy uni anywhere. Ordered one from las tngiht, said in stock, this morning I get an email "This product is back-ordered"

Anyone have any tips? I checked worldsoccer shop and the US soccer website already.

Posted by: saltine182 | June 4, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Cockle-doodle doo!

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | June 4, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@9: Not too hard to figure out: $$$$$.

Now the real question of the day: to sing or not to sing the anthem of your country.

This article also tackles some of the "national identity" questions that I wish the Post's article on France covered, but didn't.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 4, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Saltine182: try (Eurosport). Just customize with "authentic" numbering.

Posted by: TwinCity | June 4, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I play soccer to prevent from going pear shapped. JkR, well played.

On a serious, but off topic, even though I am a regular on this blog and grew up in the DC area I know nothing about area soccer for adults and I lost contact with all my old local friend who played soccer. It didn't help I went to college in Syracuse and lived in Stl for a while. Now that I am back from Arizona and settled in with work I would love to play again. I honeslty didn't play all last semester at graduate school and would love to get back on the field. I did play college soccer (I am a yr and half removed), so what I am trying to say is I almost have to ability to trap and pass. I know nothing about soccer in the area but I would be looking for any type of play -even just pick up games. I live with my gf in college park and work at the Praklawn buildings in Rockville. I do own a car. Can anyone help me out? Thanks.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 4, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

oh, and I'm assuming that Adidas will also say that it takes a good amount of time to develop and test the new balls. But I still think it's more about timing/marketing than anything else, and that's what drives to decision of when to introduce the ball.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 4, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

thanks nairsbod. fascinating. Hell yes we should all sing.

The Turkish-German players might want to check out their fellow German athlete the tennis player Andrea Petkovic (for many reasons, not just her politics). From her website:

"I was born in what was then called Yugoslavia, but was growing up my whole life in Germany. As I became older, my interest in the history of Ex-Yugoslavia increased. I wanted to know what happened to this torn country and why everything fell apart. I started to read books about it and simultaneously began to appreciate the political system of Germany with all its strengths and weaknesses.

From a general interest in my country of birth I developed a specific interest in political systems, especially the one in Germany - the land that has offered me so many chances. As life isn’t only about taking but also giving, I am eager to take part in politics actively. As long as I’m on the tennis-court, this won’t be realistic, but when I chuck away my racket one day, the time has come."

Posted by: OWNTF | June 4, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Grubbsbl - I play on an adult co-ed team with Syracuse alumni. If you are interested, go to and click on Sports on the left. You'll find the contact info there.

Posted by: isaac101 | June 4, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that Findley is more effective as a sub.

If Jozy can't go, why not Buddle? This notion that Jozy holds the ball up well makes me scratch my head too.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 4, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The pressure on Wayne Rooney's shoulders just got a little heavier:

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | June 4, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

grubbsbl: There's almost always a game in Germantown every Friday. If you want to come that far e-mail me at

Posted by: b18bolo | June 4, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Peace Drogba!

Posted by: alan19 | June 4, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks nairsbod and OWNTF. For another viewpoint from a far tenser time, see the preface to Jackie Robinson's autobiography, in which he explains why he refused to sing the anthem. (The link chops off the first page of the preface, setting the scene at the start of Game 1 of the 1947 World Series.)

Posted by: hungrypug | June 4, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Isaac, does it matter that I didn't go to Syracuse but instead played at Le Moyne (the other school in Cuse?)

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 4, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Isaac, does it matter that I didn't go to Syracuse but instead played at Le Moyne (the other school in Cuse)?

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 4, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

grubbs how did a school in syracuse end up as the Dolphins? Always wondered about that.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 4, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

'I am Pear Shaped'
Posted by: JkR-

A T-shirt that reads:
I'm with Pear Shaped
is not a good idea.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Bad injury for Drogba. He broke an arm today in a friendly w Japan and his World Cup participation is in doubt. We should get more info as the Cup approaches.

Also Rio Ferdinand hurt a knee at the end of practice and was taken to a hospital to be diagnosed.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 4, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

So it is not just the new ball, it is apparently the new ball at altitude that is perplexing the goalies. I ask again (from a month ago), why did the US train at Rutgers, instead of in Denver? The comparatively cool temperatures, the mile-high elevation, the rather new Rapids complex, all was there for the taking, I think.

Posted by: jojosbo | June 4, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

For grubbsbl - nope, doesn't matter - we'll take Le Moyne people too!

The injury for Drogba would be crushing for Ivory Coast.

Posted by: isaac101 | June 4, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan | June 4, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

OWNTF.... Le Moyne's mascot is the Dolphin's becuase Le Moyne is a Jesuit school. The dolphin was used as a symbol to allow for its followers to meet safely when Jesuits were being persecuted in Europe (often in Spain) during the middle ages (see I learned something in College). Also, somehow my school's colors were green and gold. No, our mens program did not have a gold jersey but I am stating to wish it did.

Can't tell you how many awful heckles I have heard about dolphins.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 4, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

grubbsbl -

its indoor, but they let you sign up as an individual, and place you on a team. that team will probably stink, but it gets you in the door, and then you can find better teams to catch on with.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 4, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Pear-shaped girls make the rocking world go 'round.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 4, 2010 9:01 AM

You just made my day.

I'm glad that Howard saw just how improve the US was in the second half against Turkey, that should be the goal for every half.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 4, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Isn't France playing China today at noon? If so, does anyone know a place downtown that is showing the game. I may have to call Lucky Bar - I don't see it on their site.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 4, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

there was a group of guys who used to play pickup at saturday morning's at 10am at the engineering fields on UMD campus, but not sure if they are still doing it. that was 8 years ago since i played with them, but, on the hopeful side, they had been playing several years together at that point, so anything's possible. the very very cool and it was a fun game of guys from all over the world. students professors, taxi drivers, etc.

these are the engineering fields:,+MD&sll=39.052155,-77.16474&sspn=0.014231,0.033023&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=College+Park,+Prince+George%27s,+Maryland&ll=38.987476,-76.936317&spn=0.003561,0.008256&t=h&z=18

Posted by: dfunkt | June 4, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dfunkt

there was a group of guys who used to play pickup at saturday morning's at 10am at the engineering fields on UMD campus,

I used to play with that group 8-10 years ago too, nice crowd, good play, lot of fun.

There's also WISL to check out, some quality teams there (but often too much aggro).

Posted by: edgeonyou | June 4, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

There's also WISL to check out, some quality teams there (but often too much aggro).

Posted by: edgeonyou | June 4, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I play with the British Tigers in WISL and its first class. We just won the Terril Cup last month, and will play in the DCU Supercopa again this Fall.

What do you mean by "aggro"? Agressive?

Posted by: tphasbdp | June 4, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

saltine182 -- the official numbers and lettering for jerseys are on back order everywhere around here.

Posted by: sec133row5 | June 4, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As for Drogba, he got hit with the Vanity Fair cover curse

Posted by: tphasbdp | June 4, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

grubbsbi: if you are willing to cross the bridge into VA, my every-Saturday team is in need of some new regulars. Drop me an email if you'd like to come out (glfrazier AT Our home field is Idylwood Park in Vienna.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 4, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

grubbsbi - has a place where players looking for teams (or teams looking for players) can post ads. Check it out.

Pear-shaped...for a minute I thought Timmy was talking about Maradona.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | June 4, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Wife of Nine kinda pear shaped but so is her husband!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | June 4, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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