Wednesday, Feb. 7 @ 8:08 a.m. MT
The first sign it's a Mexico game day. Seems Pablo Mastroeni got a good luck phone call from one of the Mexican supporters at 3 a.m. Not sure how that one got past the hotel operator, but we're sure it's only the beginning.
Tuesday, Feb. 6 @ 9:08 p.m. MT
As you read this - or at least as we write this - Bob is holding his final meeting and informing the players that Pablo Mastroeni will be wearing the captain's armband tomorrow night. Quick math says this will Pablo's fourth time serving as captain for the national team, the previous three occasions all coming in 2005 and including the 0-0 qualifying draw against Guatemala on Sept. 7 at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.
Tuesday, Feb. 6 @ 8:02 p.m. MT
Wow, the stadium is cool. Aside from the portable field, retractable roof and first-class amenities, it will have one other special quality for tomorrow night. IT WILL BE SOLD OUT! That's right - 62,000 plus will fill the University of Phoenix Stadium. If you are coming to the game and have never been to one like this before, you are in for an amazing experience.
Tuesday, Feb. 6 @ 5:14 p.m. MT
We're coming to you live from the pre-game conference that you should all be watching right now on MatchACCESS. That's right - typing as Landon answers the same question for the fourth time. Wish these guys could come up with something a little ... different? Anyway, hope you're enjoying the debut of MatchACCESS. Let us know what you think ...
Tuesday, Feb. 6 @ 2:38 p.m. MT
Wish we could say it's more exciting, but these days are really slow days. With training not until 5:30 p.m., time goes by pretty slowly. Meals, some treatment, and guys looking to pass the hours. Books get read, video games played, and trips to the mall if there's one nearby (just saw Bobby Convey hanging in the lobby surfing the net). But have we taken the time off? No sirree. We've been digging through some of the plethora (yes, we know what it means) of facts and figures that ussoccer.com has posted about the Mexico rivalry and pulled out a few gems:
* Of the 12 players on the U.S. roster who have never played against
Mexico, one of them is Clint Dempsey
* The USA's streak of seven-consecutive shutouts in home games
against Mexico is the longest against any opponent in team history.
* The USA won the first ever match between the two nations in 1934,
a one-game World Cup qualifier in Italy to decide who would
represent CONCACAF in the second FIFA World Cup.
There are loads and loads more, so have a look around as you get geared up for tomorrow.
Monday, Feb. 5 @ 7:10 p.m. MT
The boys can really get creative when left to their own devices. Tonight's dessert was chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and several guys quickly sniffed out that there was milk nearby. The ice cream floats started flowing, and soon they had the banquet staff digging out cans of root beer. What the heck, they deserve it ...
Monday, Feb. 5 @ 6:08 p.m. MT
A rather spirited session this evening. With the addition of the European-based players and the reality of the big matchday approaching, you could see the level and intensity really starting to pick up. Sorry to say it was a mostly-closed door session, which means our lips are sealed about what when on. There were, however, about 20 reporters on hand to get interviews afterwards, with Bob Bradley, Pablo Mastroeni, Tim Howard and Carlos Bocanegra the most sought after. We knew Pablo was a Phoenix native, but turns out he grew up playing on almost the exact same spot where training took place. Pablo and the rest of the players and staff would like to thank head coach Petar Draksin and all the staff at Grand Canyon University for providing an excellent training field and all the help necessary to pull off a national team training session. You'll be hearing more about GCU from some of the MLS boys later this week ...
Monday, Feb. 5 @ 12:28 p.m. MT
Monday, Feb. 5 @ 8:08 a.m. MT
The English-based guys are the first ones into breakfast this morning. Commitment, you ask? Punctuality? Try jet lag. But it's good to hear they go through the same stuff as everybody else; the table conversation focused on high rents in London, parental responsibilities and where to go to buy clothes in England. Ah, the things that unite us...
Sunday, Feb. 4 @ 8:46 p.m. MT
A pretty mellow affair watching the Super Bowl as many of the players just chilled out in their rooms. Still haven't received the full reviews of the commercials yet, but the early favorites were the Budweiser commercials about the 'new fist pound' and 'rock-paper-scissors'. Dinner tonight was the first full meeting of the 20-man group that will prepare to face Mexico. The trio who traveled from England this morning looked a bit weary from the 18-hour journey, but they all sounded genuinely happy to be here. The coaching staff are letting everyone sleep in tomorrow; training takes place Monday afternoon.
Sunday, Feb. 4 @ 2:28 p.m. MT
A surprise announcement at lunch. Unbeknownst to the team - but beknownst to his family and friends - one the players used his down time between training camps to get married. Congratulations to Ricardo Clark for joining the off-the-market club.
Sunday, Feb. 4 @ 1:58 p.m. MT
Wireless cards are a beautiful thing. We report from the bus on the way to the team hotel, with nothing much to report other than that we could report if we wanted to thanks to the wireless card. That and we can check the scores from Europe today. Actually, there is one thing: Bobby Convey is on the ground and about 10 minutes behind the bus. The rest of the Euros are scheduled to land just before 5 p.m. local time.
Sunday, Feb. 4 @ 9:58 a.m. PT
Gate 2 at LAX is a pretty desolate place. Of course the guys quickly scoped out the nearest Starbucks, and a card game has broken out. Laptops are on laps, magazines passed around, and the waiting game begins. Airports are no fun for anybody...
Saturday, Feb. 3 @ 9:52 a.m. PT
The ranks have obviously thinned today as the released players begin making their way back to their clubs and the beginning of the MLS preseason. Both Matt Reis and Matt Pickens still elected to participate in the morning session. This being one month to the day since training began and also a day off for those two, pretty impressive they chose to put another day's work in. Training began with a warmup followed by a crossing and finishing exercise, then went to 7 v. 7 plus one to big goals. Just by their demeanor, you can tell this group is starting to feel the buzz about the game on Wednesday.
Saturday, Feb. 3 @ 9:38 a.m. PT
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: Songs heard - and sung, we must admit - during the van ride to training today:
Rocket Man - Elton John
Everlong - Foo Fighters
She will Be Loved - Maroon Five
How to Save a Life - The Fray
I'll Be There - The Four Tops
Friday, Feb. 2 @ 7:38 a.m. PT
As the sun shines on another fine morning in SoCal, the ink is slowly drying on the U.S. roster announcement that will identify the group of players that will convene in Phoenix on Sunday. Check back early this afternoon (depending on your time zone) for the exclusive announcement on ussoccer.com
Thursday, Feb. 1 @ 4:38 p.m. PT
U.S. Soccer announced today that more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the Mexico game, and they are moving like hotcakes. Now that Mexico has announced their roster and the U.S. will follow shortly, we're going to get pretty close to a packed house, so get your tickets now. We swear this is a public service announcement, not a plug. Also, if you are coming to the game, please either pick up your tickets in advance (which you can do Friday, Monday & Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) or arrive to the stadium early on game day. Even with all the ticket windows open, there could be some serious lines at will call. Box office opens at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and the FREE parking lots open at 3 p.m. So wouldn't you rather spend your pre-game playing 6 v. 6 in the parking lot and talking smack with rival fans rather than standing in line praying you get inside before the national anthems? We hope that you get a chance to join us. The atmosphere is gonna be something else ...
Thursday, Feb. 1 @ 1:28 p.m. PT
Not too much to report from the morning training, other than two items of note: both Justin Mapp and Dasan Robinson returned to action, and Peter Nowak put the group through a rather grueling fitness exercise at the end that involved a lot of sprints over varying distances. We got tired just watching...
Lunch is pretty mellow. ESPN is setting up for their pre-game interviews, and the conference room is being prepared for Bob Bradley's media teleconference call at 1 p.m. MT. You should check back later this evening for a transcript of Bob's give-and-take with the fourth estate.