Countdown to Opener of World Youth Championship Enters Final Stretch; Galavision to Air Sunday's Match vs. China on Same-Day Delay
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. SQUAD MEETS ADMIRING YOUNGSTERS: Following the USA's practice on Thursday, a group of 30 youngsters joined the U.S. on the field to pose with the American players, get autographs and play soccer. The children came from AMARU, a football (soccer) school in San Martin and drove two hours to watch the U.S. go through their training session. The players spent 25 minutes with the children, posing for pictures, signing autographs and knocking around soccer balls. D.J. Countess stepped in goal as the kids rifled shots at him - often five shots at one time. Alecko Eskandarian took on four youngsters in a game of 4 v 1. As the U.S. team began to shuffle off the field to board the bus, Wolfgang Suhnholz rounded up a group of 15 of the students to take a picture with his own camera. The event seemed to put smiles on the faces of the players and coaches, as well as the schoolchildren. "I think it is great that they wanted to come all this way to watch us train," Suhnholz said. "We had a great time meeting them and playing with them, and I think they had a great time as well."
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%FULL-FIELD SCRIMMAGE HIGHLIGHTS FRIDAY PRACTICE: The United States went through a 90-minute training session today at Guaymallen Stadium, in one of the coldest days the team has seen yet in Argentina. After warming up with various ball exercises, the U.S. broke into an offense v defense exercise. The offense had a numerical advantage, allowing the U.S. attackers to work on their finishing Suhnholz put the team into a full-field 10 v 10 scrimmage as Juan Carlos Michia and equipment manager Joe Ahearn supplemented the 18-man U.S. roster. The practice finished with the U.S. team going through another finishing drill, and then the players were given the final 10-minutes to work on their own.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%THURSDAY'S TRAINING SESSION: The U.S. trained at the Estadio Juan Bautista Gargantini on Thursday afternoon, just 24 hours after beating a local Mendoza squad on the same field. The session marked Landon Donovan's first practice with the United States' team since March 19. The U.S. spent the majority of the 90-minute practice playing a reduced-field 9 v 9 scrimmage. The highlight of the practice session came afterwards, when the U.S. team was greeted by a group of Argentine schoolkids.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%COPA LIBERTADORES: The U.S. players have been given a ton of free time during the days and they have spent a lot of it watching television. Wednesday and Thursday night the majority of the team gathered to watch the second legs of the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores. Wednesday's semifinal saw Boca Juniors advance to the final after a wild game that included goals, red cards and a penalty shootout. After the 2-2 draw against Brazilian side Palmeiras, Boca advanced on penalty kicks as Oscar Cordoba came up with two huge saves in the penalty shootout. The win by Boca set off huge celebrations throughout the city of Mendoza, and firecrackers went off and horns blared after the victory and into the night.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%MONDAY POW-WOW: On Monday evening at the USA's Hotel Huentala, members of the U.S. delegation will meet with a group of local Mendoza coaches and discuss the state of the game in the United States and answer other questions the local Argentines have. Wolfgang Suhnholz, Francisco Marcos and Juan Carlos Michia are scheduled to speak. The event will be open to the media and will take place at 7:00 p.m.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TWENTY-FOUR HOURS TO GO: The U.S. will go through their final training session Saturday afternoon, before the XI th World Youth Championship kicks off on Sunday. The U.S. will travel to Malvinas Argentinas Saturday and spend 15 minutes walking the stadium field and checking out the locker rooms, before heading to the stadium's auxiliary field for a final training session at 2:00 p.m.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%STAT OF THE DAY: The U.S. Under-20s have posted shutout wins in the last three opening matches of the World Youth Championships, including a 1-0 win against China to open the 1997 tournament. The U.S. also topped England, 1-0, to open the 1999 tournament and crushed a heavily favored Turkey, 6-0, to open the 1993 tournament.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Most of the people we have met have told me or told other guys here with us that they hope the U.S. wins every game - except when we play Argentina."