U.S. U-23 MNT head coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick finished his first camp of 2004 and had a lot to say about the two-week session at the National Training Center. Saying "camps are like labratories: you mix a little here, you mix a little there," Mooch talked about everything from what the team accomplished, to what work they still have cut out for them once they arrive to acclimatize in Guadalajara.
On the goal of the camp:
"Overall, the camps are like laboratories: you mix a little here, you mix a little there. We're trying a bunch of different combinations of players, because this is the first time that we've had Landon (Donovan) and Bobby (Convey) and Beas (DaMarcus Beasley) and a couple other guys all in camp at the same time."
On the injuries from camp:
"What was disappointing was losing Eddie Johnson to some kind of viral infection that he had from the start of the camp and had a tough time getting over. And the fact that Ricardo Clark was diagnosed with that sports hernia and had surgery is disappointing, because that's two players that could have helped us."
On the six scrimmages that the team played while in Carson:
"We were trying to get some competition in which the players were going to be stretched, and we knew that holding the training camp along with the full National team allowed us to do that. As you know, we culminated camp last night with a game against Aguila in which we certainly produced an environment that will be similar to Mexico, in which we're definitely the away team. It was an atmosphere of not many people in the stands rooting for the U.S. team, and that's what we're going to find down in Mexico. We wanted to produce that atmosphere, and we did. The team showed a lot of character going down 1-0 and having a guy sent off, and then coming back to win 2-1. That part was extremely pleasing."
On remaining areas of improvement for the team heading down to Mexico:
"All you have to do is look at the experience of the team, and more of the players in the attacking positions are experienced than on the defensive side of things, so we need to work on doing a little bit better job in the back of just basic defending, playing as a unit, and playing the ball forward faster, so we'll spend a lot of time with that group."