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U.S. World Cup news & notes

Highlights from the U.S. media briefing with goalkeeper Tim Howard and forward Jozy Altidore at Irene Farm on Thursday morning.....

Altidore, on his recovery from the sprained ankle: "A lot of treatments, two, three times per day. As it healed, as it got better, [Jozy did] some fitness away from the group. There's not much else you can do. I am hopeful. Mentally, I am ready to go. The fitness level is fine."

Just a hunch, but I've got a feeling that Edson Buddle and Robbie Findley are going to end up partnering up front against England. Why? I don't believe Altidore is 100 percent and I think Bob Bradley liked the Buddle-Findley pairing against Australia: Buddle's finishing combined with Findley's pace. Findley's scoring touch is flawed, but he stretches the defense and opens space for Buddle. Herculez Gomez seems likely to fill the role of second half sniper. And why mess with Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, who have found comfort on the midfield flanks?

Howard, on Buddle: "He doesn't waste his touches, he doesn't dilly-dally with the ball. He has that instinct. He just seems to be simplifying things, which is probably better for him because, at this level, things go so quickly. He made it look easy."

Altidore, on Findley: "Robbie's confidence has grown every time he has stepped on the field. He is more comfortable with the guys, he feels more comfortable with himself. With each touch he takes on the ball, when he takes people on now, his swagger is different. That's huge for us because he is an outlet with the long balls over the top. Not only that, he tracks back and tries to defend. He's been a real plus."


Howard, on David James and England's goalkeeping situation: "To criticize him, to criticize any goalkeeper, is probably easy but you have to look deeper than that. He puts in some amazing performances. Joe Hart is very up-and-coming; he showed this season how spectacular he can be and how consistent he can be. For me, I have always liked Robert Green because he is steady. I admire goalkeepers who aren't flashy but get the job done every week. Contrary to what you read every week, I think they are in pretty good hands."

Howard, on being two days from the England match: "We get tired of kicking each other, we get tired of training. We are together like, forever. We are just ready to get it on and see what we are made of. All the talk is over, or soon will be over. We are prepared. We know exactly what type of game we are going to be in -- we are under no illusions. It couldn't be a better challenge than to be the first game for us."

Howard, on the English Premier League's impact on his career: "It's 100 miles an hour, and that is what makes it so appealing. Challenges flying in everywhere, nonstop action. No teams in the Premier League just sit back and defend; it's end to end. For me, it has hardened me. I was criticized a lot when I was over there, I bounced back. I feel like I was able to take my lumps and get better. I have definitely become hardened and more resolute. For me, it's been an amazing journey."

Howard, on the different feel to this World Cup being in Africa: "I don't mean this in a bad way, I mean it in a positive way: The Confederations Cup kind of diluted it for us last year because we became so familiar with our surroundings. When we landed here [last week], it was just like, 'Oh, right, we have been here before for a long period of time.' I do think, though, as time goes by, over the next five or 10 years, it will feel a lot more special when people start talking about it being the first World Cup on African soil. It is hard to get your mind around it right now because of the other stuff going on, but it certainly is special."

Howard, on the USA-England showdown: "It's going to be special. I think our country is going to stop, I really do. I think everyone is going to stop and be watching, have one eye on the result. It's a lot of pressure, but it's also pretty cool to see how far we have come. It puts a lot of pressure on us to win and to get a result. It's a massive game."

By Steve Goff  |  June 10, 2010; 9:16 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , South Africa , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: American soccer, Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard, World Cup  
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Next: World Cup TV schedule: U.S. listings for first 3 days


man I can't WAIT!!!!!

Posted by: torrey151 | June 10, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The time between now and 2:30PM (EDT) on Saturday will feel like a week.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 10, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Oh when the Yanks!
Take down England!
Oh Lord I want to be in that number
When the Yanks take down England!

Interesting quote from Timmy about feeling the pressure, surely the general public doesn't expect us to win... Right?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 10, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

What are people's work plans for the next month? Sick days? Vacation? ESPN3?

Posted by: davemcl | June 10, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Sasha to Anderlecht.

Posted by: Reignking | June 10, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

It's funny to think of Jozy's comment on Findley when you realize Findley is 5 years older. Imagine yourself in the same position.

I-270, if you think from now until Saturday 2:30 is long for us, think of the players...

Posted by: Reignking | June 10, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

i would love to see buddle and findley up front, and torres and bradley and donovan and dempsey in midfield. we could really cause lots of problems for england with that offense.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 10, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I hope you're wrong about Findley/Buddle is all I will say about that.

OT: Wambach top vote getter in WPS All-Star balloting. She will pick one team, Marta will pick the other. Whitehill and Bompastor are also All-Stars.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 10, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I just got doosh chills!

Posted by: DadRyan | June 10, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing that Robbie Findley went from being most people's "least likely to make it to the World Cup along with Robbie Rogers" in USA Camp to probable starter

If Findley and Buddle start, that's one reason less to also start Onyewu (we're going to need the subs we can).

I'm also hoping for Maurice Edu over Ricardo Clark

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


Posted by: schmuckatelli | June 10, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"It's amazing that Robbie Findley went from being most people's "least likely to make it to the World Cup along with Robbie Rogers" in USA Camp to probable starter"

I agree 100%. I will be the first to take back my harsh criticism of Findley when the initial 30 were announced. Not only am I pleasantly surprised by his performances, I want him to start on Saturday.

As for Buddle, though also a great surprise, I'm just hoping Jozy is fit enough to go on Saturday.

Posted by: psps23 | June 10, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I am as eager for the World Cup as anybody but you would never know that United has a game tonight. It seems to be completely off the radar screen. Vamos United and U-S-A, U-S-A!

Posted by: Gambrills4 | June 10, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else see that Maradona finished practice with "butts up"?

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

I can't believe we're talking about Buddle & Finley. I do not know whether Buddle can play against England; it's possible. I do know that Finley would be a disaster. He would be what my coach used to call "less than zero." You think you have a teammate on the field, but in fact, you just have a guy in your uniform playing for the other team.

Not that I feel strongly about Finley.

Posted by: jack35 | June 10, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Steve: great post with great quotes. What ever it is that you and Liz Clarke are drinking certainly has the creative juices flowing. Don't forget to stop by the diamond mine to do some quick shopping for WOI! I completely agree and support your proposition that it will be Buddle and Findley up top. Both of them come back and play agressive defense, which is needed to overcome Deuce's lack of zeal in that area. I think we might also see Holden get some meaningful minutes against England.

Posted by: dcarmy | June 10, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

man i really might get fired in the next month...

buy the ticket and take the ride i guess...let's go YANKS

Posted by: cho_kettie | June 10, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

SO pumped.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 10, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I think Goff is probably right about the Buddle-Findley pairing. I think Bradley is blowing smoke about Altidore's and Onyewu's readiness. If Jozy couldn't go last week, he's probably not a good bet to play against the very physical English. Onyewu's limited minutes don't bode well for seeing him play a full 90. Yet, he might start, if only because Bradley might not be confident starting Goodson against England. If the first game were against another team, I'm pretty sure Gooch would sit.

Anyway, I'm just going to try and enjoy the game.

Posted by: fischy | June 10, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Findley's finishing is troubling, but there is reason to hope for improvement. Watching the '02 games against Portugal and Mexico, I'd forgotten Donovan's own troubles around the net. He missed a sitter that could have iced the game against Mexico. He was slow to react to rebounds that came his way against Portugal, and he missed the frame on a couple of other shots he should have done better with, including pushing the ball wide after getting behind the defense. Kinda like Findley. He's older than Donovan was, but probably even less experienced. For all his troubles, Donovan did create an own goal by the Portugal defense and put in a great header against Mexico. Maybe Findley could do something similar. His speed should create some chances. If he gets enough of those, something good should happen.

Posted by: fischy | June 10, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

OT - could anyone who has ordered/received one please tell me if the new US jerseys are "slim fit" or if they have more of a regular t-shirt fit?

Posted by: VTUnited | June 10, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Findley's attributes are less about finishing, more about his pressure and penetrating runs. Against an English side that's likely to take the game to us, Findley would be the best option as an outlet on the counterattack, aside from Donovan.

That said, it wouldn't tear me up to see Buddle or Dempsey start in his spot next to Altidore up top (with Holden in the midfield if Dempsey is pushed up).

Posted by: psps23 | June 10, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Findley's level of skill on the ball is not remotely close to Donovan's at any stage of Donovan's career.

I'm behind U-S-A all the way, but let's discard the rose-colored glasses.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 10, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Jozy Altidore wins my dumbest quote of the year award for this gem:

"As it healed, as it got better"

Gee, thanks for that insight Jozy.

Healed means "got better" technically Jozy said, "As it got better, as it got better." Ha!

Posted by: JPO2200 | June 10, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DadRyan | June 10, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I think Findley would be better as a sub, coming in when defenses are tired. Start Buddle and Altidore. Bring in Findley for Altidore in the 65th minute.

I like Gomez a lot too, so I hate to see him sit, but he'll get minutes against Slovenia and Algeria.

I'm also hoping Torres gets some minutes. I like what he brings.

Posted by: WorldCup | June 10, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

findley has consistently looked quite dangerous, not only with his speed on the counter and in run of play, but also drawing fouls in good positions, with his passing, and positive decision making. additionally, his ball-handling and touch has looked *far* better to me than beasley's has ever looked, at any stage in his career (including psv champions league semis year). his finishing is mildly concerning, but in my mind it is better for findley to be pinging them off the crossbar, than it would be for us to boot the ball yet again upfield for altidore-playing-alone-up-top to not get and us lose possession.

my bottom-line: we are best when we:
* possess the ball calmly in midfield (remember reyna and o'brien in 2002?), hence my torres' inclusion
* can counter effectively (recent friendlies, confed cup, dempsey's 2006 goal, all 2002), hence findley. he is most charlie-like.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 10, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Like a t-shirt. US Soccer has a guide on the website as to chest size/shirt size that seemed spot on for me.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 10, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone watch the USA/ENG games on ESPN classic night and notice the following:

1) Looking at the skill of the Colombia team (Valderrama and in particular Freddie Rincon)- I am absolutely amazed that we won that game...the Colombian keeper's incompetence and Colombia's inability to make tactical adjustments are the reasons they lost.

2) You don't hear announcers on an American telecast have to explain basics like "this is the ball" anymore-we've come a long way...

3) Did anyone notice in those games that the USA won all the games and England lost each and every one! :)

Posted by: targetmedia | June 10, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse


Yes, the Columbians were huge.

I also noticed how many errant passes from the US went out of bounds, how choppy play was, and how it looked at times like the US was playing a 2-8-2 (no outside defender play at all). In fact, the commentator went nuts at one point because Meola just booted one ball out of bounds.

I'm not saying the US is a top-flight club now, but it's rare to see any of those things happen now. It's just amazing to see how far we've come.

Posted by: biga116 | June 10, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Mr Goff, I understand that after these interviews that you wrote you editor and said "I ain't gonna work on Irene Farm no more!"

Posted by: Nahm | June 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I've been saying for months that Coach Brads would be nuts to start Altidore against England. Hopefully it is Buddle and whoever up top. I'd prefer the 4-5-1 but a 4-4-2 would work as well.



Posted by: jayrockers | June 10, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Timmy!


Posted by: bs2004 | June 11, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

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