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Off the Ball: Landon's Little Band-Aid, Bobby Goes West Coast

OFF THE BALL, a chronicle of the U.S. Men's National Team and their journey through the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup as seen from the unique perspective of U.S. defender and SoCal native Carlos Bocanegra.

I.  The Playing Field
OK, so the weather out here changes more than Beckham's hair styles.  We had a nice "English weather" practice yesterday at the insane asylum. Practices can get a little feisty when we don't play a game for over a week.  The competitiveness is great, but it can get a little heated sometimes. Unfortunately, Landon was the unlucky recipient of a slash to the ear from a fingernail. Everyone felt bad that it happened, but in the end it was only a little cut on the ear. But for some reason Landon felt the need to sport a band-aid. I couldn't believe it. I don't think I've worn a band-aid since I was seven frickin' years old. I was very disappointed in the display from our little friend, but luckily he is gonna score four goals this tournament to make up for it.  Good work buddy.

A few possession games later, we were done with practice and headed back to our hotel to chill out and walk around the mall. We had a team meal, and meeting to prepare for El Salvador, which consisted of us watching some game tape and learning about their team tactics. Our assistant coach, Curt "Costa" Onalfo, finished up the edits with some very embarrassing footage of myself, Landon and Jeff Agoos jumping around like fools yelling 'goals, goals, goals' for a Philips promo we recorded. Thanks Curt.  Coulda done without that one, dude.

II. Cross Culture/Counter Culture
We are training about a half an hour away from the hotel, and the bus rides can get kind of long because of all the traffic. The good thing is that the bus is equipped with TV's, and we can occupy our time by watching intellectually stimulating movies like "Jackass". Some of our Euro-based buddies on the team had not had a chance to see this yet, and they were thoroughly intrigued. I thought it was great to see Kasey Keller laugh at three guys hiding in the woods with fog horns on a golf course (those of you who have seen the movie know what I'm talking about).

III.  The Back Four (Holla Back)
It's getting close to game time, so I've only got one interview today. Today we chat with Bobby Convey, the youngest member of the Gold Cup roster. "Junior," as he is affectionately known in camps, laces them up with D.C. United for the day job. Right now he's trying to go West Coast, sporting some blonde tips. 

1.  Traveling all over the world, what countries' women do it for you?
Bobby: Either France or Italy, 'cause they've got topless beaches.

2.  Who is your favorite athlete to watch in a sport other than soccer?
Bobby: Michael Jordan, because he made people look stupid.

3.  Tell us about your most romantic date (yes, he's had one).  Also, how do you serenade the ladies?
Bobby:  My romantic date was when I was travelling. I flew a girl out to L.A. for the weekend. We went out to dinner and hung out.  The pool was closed, so we wound up in the hot tub. That part was definitely a little risky because everyone could see us, so not much happened. I serenade ladies with my smooth voice.  I can sing a little bit, and like to get my groove on.  I also write poems. 

4.  What three people in history would you invite to dinner?
Bobby: Bill Clinton, so I could ask him about Monica.  Obviously Michael Jordan, to see what he's up to. And I'd invite the Olsen twins. They count as one.

IV.  Quote of the Day
"Three-Six-One, Three-Six-One."
    -- U.S. Supporters before as Costa Rica took the field for it's opening Gold Cup match, referring to head coach Steve Sampson's infamous formation.

Sorry it's been a while, we've been experiencing some technical difficulties, but I'll be back Sunday with a post-game version. Loving the feedback, keep sending stuff to

'bout time for game time.  We'll see you after we womp El Salvador (Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET on's MatchTracker, Tape Delayed on Galavision Sunday at 7 p.m. ET ... gotta pay the bills)