MNT Jun 7, 2011
Maurice Edu takes a shot during training.
Last night the U.S. took to the temporary grass installed inside Ford Field for a 45-minute training session; the only on the field prior to opening the Gold Cup. After a warm-up, the team got into formation to review some tactics and then also worked on corner kicks before doing some positional drills and finishing.
Kickoff on Tuesday night is at 8 p.m. ET and as of Monday night organizers said that more than 25,000 tickets had been sold. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Soccer (pregame starts at 7:30) and TeleFutura.
The grass itself was a major story for the local press, but as the third temporary grass field the U.S. has played on in 2011 the players rated it well. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra noted that they kept the field wet so it played a little bit faster, and told the media that playing on a grass field like this is still 100 times better than playing on artificial turf.
Following the session, the U.S. team spoke with the media in a mixed zone on the long ramp up to street level from the sunken field at the indoor stadium.
U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, who will be appearing in his second Gold Cup, summed up the importance of the tournament in one statement.
"For us it’s a big international tournament, the biggest aside from the World Cup," Bradley said. "Obviously we have some new faces and the time we spend together this month goes a long way toward molding our team as we go forward. In the Gold Cup, obviously you want to be champion of your region and with the berth to the Confederations Cup on the line it certainly holds extra importance.
"We want to be holding the trophy at the end and we have to know to do that it’s going to take hard work, commitment, concentration and sharpness and all of that has to be there from the start tomorrow night."
With the local media focused on the grass, the national soccer media were focused on asking about the turnaround from the defeat to Spain. Steve Cherundolo summed up the mood heading into the Gold Cup opener.
"The team is pretty focused and just trying to get the last game out of our bones before the game tomorrow against Canada," he said. "We know it’s going to be a tough game but the mood has been fairly normal, like any pregame preparation. We’re ready and looking forward for this game."
With nine players yet to make a Gold Cup start, the U.S. lineup could feature several debutantes alongside the veterans of the previous tournaments.
"It’s a group effort and it’s always the job of the coach to find a good mix of old, young and middle,” Cherundolo said. “Bob has done a good job with that this time around and now it’s up to us to perform on the field."
The U.S. trained for 45 minutes per CONCACAF regulations.