As the #USMNT seeks to capitalize on its 2-1 victory over Ghana, the players prepared for Portugal this week in São Paulo. After a regeneration session on Tuesday and a day off Wednesday, training resumed in earnest.
After a day off, we got back to work and are zooming in on Portugal. We will be ready !! #OneNationOneTeam— Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) June 19, 2014
And the prep work continued Thursday morning at São Paulo FC's Barra Funda training center.
After practice, #USMNT winger Brad Davis shared how he is fine tuning his game for Sunday.
Tuesday's regen and Wednesday's time off, helped #USMNT captain Clint Dempsey recharge and get accustomed to playing with a broken nose, something he said kept him from properly breathing during the game versus Ghana. Dempsey will most likely play without a protective mask, but a fan familiar with his situation will be there in case the captain has an about face.
With the match already on the weekend horizon, eager fans are already gearing up for Sunday's showdown.
Local watering holes across the country are preparing for the big game and hope to #SeeYouSunday.
Back in Brazil, the team was in high spirits before its trip into the humid heart of the Amazon jungle. When the team captain, who has a broken beak, is photo bombing the coach, you know times are good. #Dempseying > #VanPersieing.
And the good times continued on the #USMNT's coach while en route to Guarulhos airport.
And with that, the team settled in for the four hour flight to Manaus.
Off to Manaus #BusinessTrip— tim howard (@TimHowardGK) June 20, 2014
Sorry Matt Besler, had to do it to you. Feel free to blame Mix Diskerud.
On Feb. 9, 2013, the U.S. Women’s National Team kicked off the new year with a 4-1 victory against Scotland in Jacksonville, Florida. Christen Press, then 24-years-old, was responsible for two goals that day, scoring in the 13th minute and adding another in the 32nd to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The early goal was Press’ first for the USA, coming in a match that was also her first cap.
Becky Sauerbrunn hugs Christen Press in the aftermath of Press scoring on her WNT debut.
Earning that first cap is special for any player, but a debut and a goal in the same game? That’s a rare feat. In the 30+ year history of the U.S. WNT 21 players have scored in their first caps.
NOTHING TO LOSE
Press’ path to that first game three years ago was an interesting one. In early 2012, she made the decision to move to Sweden after U.S.-based Women’s Professional Soccer folded. Press thought leaving the country might negatively impact her hopeful National Team career, but little did she know, it was only just beginning.
“I think just because I always thought that the National Teams would be watching the American league, I thought that going abroad was kind of like saying goodbye to my dream of playing for the National Team,” recalled Press. “I left around this time, in February, and I thought I would not get a call, I sort of thought that I would fall out of U.S. Soccer’s radar.”
As it turns out, head coach Pia Sundhage kept tabs on players in Europe, especially in her native land of Sweden. Press got off to a hot start with her new club, and it wasn’t long before she was on her way back home.
Press returned to the U.S. and joined the WNT in Florida in April during the final stretch of what had been an intense fitness camp. She kept to herself and tried to quickly learn as much as possible despite only being there for five days.
“I had nothing to lose,” she said. “It was my first camp, it was warm and I was so happy. I don’t think I spoke to anybody. I was not nervous, I was just happy to be in Florida and my dream was coming true. I’m always quiet when I don’t know my surroundings, so I just kept to myself trying to learn the rules, how to behave; it was all so quick.”
That short stint turned out to be the only one for Press before she was named an Olympic alternate in 2012. The following February, Tom Sermanni took over as WNT head coach, and it was then Press learned she would start against Scotland. Her chance had arrived.
“I went on the field, the crowd was so much bigger than I’d ever played in front of, and for me it was so much bigger than life,” said Press. “But I kept telling myself, ‘I’m not nervous, I’m confident, I’m a good player and I believe in myself.’”
Years and multiple goals later, plus one Women’s World Cup title to her name, the dream is alive and well for Press.
Press celebrates scoring her first World Cup goal against Australia in the USA's opening match of the 2015 Women's World Cup