As is tradition all over the world, training on the day before the game was supposed to take place at 5:30 pm in the Estadio Mateo Flores. Not so fast:
4:58 p.m. - The Guatemalan Federation says we can't train in the stadium because of inclement weather from earlier in the day. Debate ensues. Meanwhile the whole team and staff is waiting on the bus. Our departure time was supposed to be at 5 p.m.
5:05 p.m. - The debate continues. The players have been ordered to retrieve their runners from their rooms. There's now a chance that we can go to the stadium and do some running and a warmup.
5:08 p.m. - No backup location is offered to us for training so now there is a scramble to find a place to play. The MNT Blog decides to take a power nap on the bus.
5:20 p.m. - The MNT Blog is awake again and Bob Bradley is addressing the team. Thanks to the connections of a Guatemalan national who works for the U.S. Embassy and the generosity of a local club, we're going to train at the training ground of CSD Municipal. Off we go!
5:23 p.m. - We haven't made it far. In fact, we're about 200 feet from the hotel. It's gridlock traffic in Guatemala City - Rush Hour. In fact, at this moment the movie Rush Hour is quoted by a member of the staff.
5:33 p.m. - We're moving a bit and we've turned onto the main street that houses the Estadio Mateo Flores. That's where CSD Municipal plays, so their training ground must be around here, right?
5:43 p.m. - Woohoo! We're here. Time to make the most of the what little daylight we have left. Sunset in Guatemala City is 6:24.
5:52 p.m. - Game on. We make a mad dash down the stadium ramp and onto the field. The boots are on and the team is warming up running around the pitch. Photographers have managed to brave the weather conditions and are snapping away on the side of the field.
6:00 p.m. - It's really dark out. The waning daylight is definitely not augmented by the rain clouds all over the place. A man with a red umbrella looks on from the side of the pitch where his house is. He probably didn't expect anybody training here today...
6:05 p.m. - The guys are stretched and the balls are out now. The coaches are leading some short passing drills and ball movement exercises.
6:15 p.m. - Players are splitting up now and doing their own things - The goalkeepers are still working on their drills in one waterlogged part of the pitch, while Sacha and Mo are juggling with Coach Peter Nowak. Michael and Heath knock a few long balls that skid across the ground.
6: 20 p.m. - A finishing drill is starting up. At this point, the only person that the Blog can distinctly point out is Frankie. He skips into the box and taps in a cross from, um...somebody who kicks with their right foot?
6:28 p.m. - That's about all she wrote and the mosquitos agree. They're out having a go at our staff and players, sending a few people scurrying towards the bus.
6:35 p.m. - We manage to stop Eddie Lewis outside the bus before he can get on. Pablo is doing Spanish language interviews with the rest of the press and we ask Eddie and Heath a few questions...
7 p.m. - We're back in the hotel and the guys are showering before dinner. Welcome to World Cup Qualifying ....