Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It's a bit of a good thing to have the next game so soon after the first one. The coaching staff has pinpointed things that the team will work on in training tomorrow, but there's absolutely no time to dwell on Tuesday's game. Starting tomorrow it's all about Italy. That's Italy who we played in 2004 and Italy who squeaked out a 1-0 win against Thailand today.
If you want to hear some thoughts on the game today, then we've put a podcast up for you. You can hear Keith Tozer and Jamar Beasley talk about the game here.
And even if things didn't go so well, the blog, like the team, will be persevering! Check back tomorrow for an update from training, another scouting podcast with Vava, and the return of Word of the Day. The Blog had to drag WotD off the beach in Copacabana after it took a long weekend but it is back and ready to go to work!
40 min - And that's a Final.
39 min - Jeff Richey gives the ball away and R. Villalaba rolls the ball into the goal from just over halfway line.
38 min - Gazolli gives the ball away and Naumoski tries to capitalize. Gazolli sprawls imself out and makes two saves - the ball just won't go in for the U.S. today.
38 min - the Paraguay goalie wants a piece of the action and he tries to catch Richey out with a lofted effort from a punt.
37 min - Good play between Wiesner, Hamms and Myers, but Osorio makes a vital last ditch tackle.
36 min - Foul called on Paraguay - they have two this half.
34 min - U.S. with lots of possession in this second half but they're struggling to create meaningful chances. Another quick counter from Paraguay off of a giveaway and Richey just tips the ball wide with his fingertips.
33 min - Another save from Richey. U.S. goes up to the other end and Myers plays in Beasley, he scuffs his shot wide of the goal though.
32 min - Stewart with a header that finds Wiesner but his flick back across the goal is just out of reach. The U.S. resets and Stewart tries his luck but the ball drifts high and wide.
30 min - U.S. takes a timeout, the energy of this game is dwindling. The U.S. needs to start something quick.
29 min - U.S. on the attack but its stolen by R. Villalba. He tries an audacious effort from the other end of the court but Richey scrambles back to tip the ball over.
28 min - Myers with a shot wide. From the restart Paraguay goes straight up the field and Richey gets down well to block Roman's effort.
26 min - Farias called for a foul an he's not happy. The U.S. steals the ball off the restart and Beasley earns a corner.
25 min - Now the U.S. has some posession and they try to set up an attack. Nothing doing though.
24 min - The U.S. is trying to get things going here in the second half but Paraguay is playing tough defense. Some passing from Cabral and Beasley almost opens up some space, but Santander breaks up the play.
23 min - Beasley loses the ball and Paraguay counters kick W. Villalba plays the ball to Chilavert and he slots it home to the far post. 4-0 Paraguay.
22 min - Jacbosen is fouled and the U.S. sets up a dead ball. Cabral standing over it and he hits it to Jacbosen low at the far pos but his flick doesn't come off.
22 min - Paraguay with some good ball movement to open up the 2nd half, but the U.S. hangs tough and wins it back. Jacobsen flicks it by his man and earns a kick in deep in Paraguay territory.
The 2nd Half Kicks off!
HALFTIME - U.S. with it all to do in the 2nd half here. We'll see if Tozer can rally the troops for the final 20 minutes...
20 min - R. Villalaba takes a corner short to Fernandez who turns inside the area and fires into the roof of the net. Just 11 seconds to go in the half.
20 min - Less than a minute to go now, and Paraguay have the ball. They work an inbounds play to Rotella who turns inside the area. Richey is there to deny him though.
19 min - Roman crushes the ball off the cross bar from a freekick. Pat Morris was booked for the foul there.
18 min - Great ball from Morris to Stewart but his left footed shot is saved by Gazolli. Corner for the U.S....they could sure use a goal before halftime.
17 min - Paraguay counterattacks with devastating effect. W. Villalaba finds Alcaraz with a slide rule pass and he finishes under Jeff Richey. 2-0 Paraguay
15 min - Great defensive cover by Wiesner who comes all the way back to take the ball off Fernandez' feet.
15 min - U.S. finding itself a little bit here - they've had more possession in the past few minutes...
14 min - Paraguay's Rene Villalba goes down in a heap but the referee is not interested. The U.S. counters now and Stewart finds Jacobsen on the right side, his first time shot is saved by Gazolli though.
13 min - Here's a bit more attacking from the U.S. - a nice combination releases Myers but his shot is blocked by a Paraguay defender.
11 min - Save again by Richey. It's all Paraguay right now and the U.S. goalkeeper is doing his part to keep his team in the game.
10 min - Foul on Beasley sets up a dead ball for Paraguay but nothing comes of it.
9 min - Big collision between Beasley, Hammes and a Paraguayan. Referee plays on and Chilavert is in alone. He dallies on the ball too much and Richey picks it up right off his feet. Hammes is a bit shaken up but he's over on the sideline walking around...
9 min - Another good save from Richey who denies Rotella's drive with his chest.
9 min - Shot by Stewart over the goal. The U.S. look a bit stunned after that first goal.
8 min - The numbers have really piled up inside the stadium, looks like a lot of kids, high-schoolers etc have all been recruited to wear blue and white shirts and cheer for the teams.
7 min - Paraguay opens the scoring. Fernandez cracks a shot that deflects off Santander and off the post. Santander reacts quickest off the rebound and puts the ball in the net to give his side the lead.
6 min - Great save by Richey who gets down to his right to block a ball with his foot.
6 min - Still scoreless here, Paraguay has just been called for foul number three. Jacobsen tries a shot but it bounces wide.
5 min - Fancy dribbling from Paraguay's Walter Villalba - the crowd enjoyed that.
4 min - Double save from Richey as he denies Fernandez twice at the near post. U.S. with a corner but they can't get a shot off.
3 min - Paraguay now with their first effort, and ts deflected out for a corner kick. USA does well to clear though.
2 min - That's two early fouls on Paraguay and this one is going to be a yellow card to number 9 Fernandez. He took down Stewart from behind there...
1 - min - First foul on Paraguay as Alcaraz takes out Cabral...and from the freekick the U.S. work a nice play to Matt Stewart but his shot is off the post!
And we're underway!
Both teams are huddling up and the captains are now in the center of the field for the coin toss...
Now the Star Spangled Banner...what a moment for our guys...
First the anthem of Paraguay...
There's a much bigger crowd for this game then there was for the previous game (which finished 1-0 to Italy)..Most of the fans have been imported by the LOC - much in the same way fans in China were for the Olympics and Women's World Cup. Nonetheless, they're making a fair bit of noise!
The warmups are over, the flags are out on the field and here come the teams! The U.S. is about to begin its World Cup quest...First the FIFA anthem.
The USA lines up with Jeff Richey in the goal, Joe Hammes, Denison Cabral (who captains the U.S.), Matthew Stewart and Jamar Beasley. Andy Rosenband (suspension) and Mike Apple are inactive for this game.
Paraguay meanwhile starts three players who also started the World Cup match against the USA four years ago - Fabio Alcaraz, Carolos Chilavert (their captain) and Wlater Willalba.
Our team just arrived and their currently warming up on the auxiliary court. Kickoff is just under an hour away, and we'll be here the whole time letting you know what's going on.
Monday, September 29, 2008
While you're following don't be afraid to leave a comment either. Tell us what you think, what you want to see, or ask us a question. The Blog will gladly answer most queries and if it is something we don't want to address, well then we'll just pretend that we never got the message!
Small disclaimer: This whole plan is contingent on the internet in the Maracanãzinho being available. At last check, the T1 line was up and running so hopefully things run smoothly.
Oh, you read that right! Galavision will be broadcasting the U.S. games from the FIFA Futsal World Cup on a tape delayed basis. The schedule is as follows:
U.S. vs. Paraguay Oct. 1 12:30 a.m. ET/PT
U.S. vs. Italy Oct. 3 12:30 a.m. ET/PT
U.S. vs. Portugal Oct. 5 12:30 a.m. ET/PT
Now 12 hours is a long time to wait to watch the U.S. play but at least the games are on TV, right? Nonetheless, the FNT Blog knows that all of you out there are craving some FIFA Futsal World Cup action, so we'll have a remedy for you later on...
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The game kicked off with rain coming down and the teams took a bit of time to get into the match. Flamengo was in need of a win - three points would take them into the top four, which in Brazil is good enough for a playoff spot.
The match was progressing slowly with the teams feeling each other out. The weather was playing a bit of a role, and the pitch was becoming increasingly slick as the half wore on. The best chance of the first 45 minutes came from a Flamengo corner. An outswinging ball wasn't dealt with properly by the Sport defense and a Flamengo player took a shot through a crowd of players. The ball deflected and the Sport keeper, Magrao, just got a hand to it before a defender eventually blasted the ball clear.
Halftime gave our guys a chance to regroup and we walked around a bit on the upper concourse. We coudn't really go far though - a locked gate separated the box seats from the rest of the upper terraces. The stadium itself was still under much renovation, especially as far as the box seat amenities are concerned. Lots of the box seats on our level were gutted and awaiting redecoration. Renovation is going to be a constant theme for this stadium and many others around Brazil. The target, of course, is the World Cup, which will return to Brazil in 2014 for the first time since 1950.
The second half commenced with a renewed intensity from both teams, and about ten minutes in, Sport struck first. A corner kick was completely misjudged by the Flamengo goalkeeper, and Roger was lurking at the far post to knock the ball into the unguarded net.
The crowd was stunned, but in the far corner of the stadium, the traveling fans were going mad. The Sport players ran over to celebrate with them, but at the Maracanã there's no chance of jumping into the crowd, Lambeau Leap style. There is a large moat surrounding the field, separating the crowd from the pitch, so Sport's players were restricted to some jubilant fist pumping with their traveling support.
Flamengo were up against it now, and they were struggling to create chances. The fans were getting restless, but when the coach decided to change things up, nobody in the Marcanã was pleased. Vandinho came on for Ibson and the substitute was roundly booed by the crowd. Of course, head coach Caio Júnior knew something that the fans did not, and Vandinho changed the game for the home team.
Flamengo started to create chances, and soon after, they were level. Juan, Flamengo's marauding left back, was the architect, playing a beautiful give-and-go with Vandinho. Juan calmly finished past Magrao and, just like that, the game was tied. The fans were in a frenzy - the flags were out again and the flares relit.
The downpour on the field was reaching its heaviest, and Flamengo, galvanized by the noise of the crowd, always looked like the side most likely to score a winner. Eventually the heavy pressure told, and just minutes from time Vandinho justified his manager's tactics by netting the winner. Off of a short corner, Marcelinho lifted the ball to the near post where Vandinho angled his header past the helpless Sport goalkeeper.
The crowd was in raptures and the final whistle came soon after. With the win, Flamengo boosted itself up to fourth in the standings and the team left the fied with the fans chanting Vandinho's name. Jeered and derided by the his club's supporters not 20 minutes before, he was now their hero - a paradigmatic example of how quickly fortunes can change in football.
We left the booth and headed to the ground floor. At the main entrance to the stadium, famous players in soccer history have left their mark by imprinting their feet in the cement by the entryway. The footprints of Brazilian legends from all eras mark the entrance to the famous ground, and our guys stopped by for one last picture.Eventually we returned to the hotel for a late dinner, but a slightly cold meal is only a small prince to pay for a match and an experience that none of us will soon forget.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Maracanã is right in the middle of Rio, and even though it was a foggy night in the Brazilian metropolis, we could still see the city lights and the surrounding mountains (In the picture above you can see the Maracanãzinho, where we'll be playing our games). There's no denying that Brazil is a great place to watch a soccer game, and as kickoff approached the atmosphere became more and more enjoyable. Watching one of the most famous club teams in the world at twilight in Rio? There aren't many things more exciting for a soccer fan.
The noise of the crowd was steadily increasing and as the game drew closer, the fans were getting ready. Big flags of all their heroes - Zico, Junior, Dida, and more - were unfurled and readied for the walkout of the teams.First the lineups, where the Flamengo fans took timeout from their singing to roundly boo the starting eleven of the visitors, Sport Club do Recife. Sport, as they are known, were garbed in their white away kits while the home side was outfitted in its traditional red and black hoops. When Flamengo took the field pandemonium ensued.
At one time, the Maracanã was famously large, holding close to 200,000 people. Renovations and restrictions over the years have cut that number in half and in tonight's game, the stadium was hardly a third filled. But, nonetheless, it was loud. We were lucky enough to be sitting right behind the most rabid section of Flamengo fans and the noise was constant.As the energy built to kickoff, flares were let, fans were jumping up and down, and when the center referee finally put a start to the game, there was no chance that we were going to hear the whistle.
Part 2 coming up soon...
A ludicrous seven pedaladas from Robinho en route to earning a penalty -
How about this ridiculous goal from Mancini in the UEFA Champions League two years ago?
Today's demonstration brought to you by Andy Rosenband and Andrew Jacobson:
After about an hour we were in and out, and we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower ahead of our journey to the Maracanã in the evening. There was no time for a meal in between, but equipment guy, Marthell Vazquez, came through in a big way - he stopped and picked up some Chicken McNuggets for the guys.
Some random notes:
- Both Paraguay and Italy are familiar hotel mates for the U.S. After all, the U.S. played both of them in the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Cup.
- Right now the coolest piece of official team apparel is the Fanny Pack sported by members of the Italian coaching staff.
- The blog hasn't actually seen the Thailand team yet. Apparently they're here, so we'll believe the authorities...this time.
- If you thought five teams in one hotel was crowded, imagine all of us sharing a meal room! Actually it doesn't get too crazy though. The aforementioned authorities have done a good job of spacing out meal times enough that there's only ever one other team in the buffet line at any given time. The food is kept well stocked too, which is an essential.
For now, we're off to training, but later the guys will be heading to the Marcanã to take in a game. Flamengo is playing tonight, and the team has been fortunate enough to acquire tickets for the game. It should be a great experience.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Tomou um Chocolate -
The literal translation is "eating chocolate" and when a team is eating chocolate in Brazil, they're playing terribly. There are probably less savory terms for a losing streak as well, but in Brazil, you want your team to stay away from the sweets.
Today's Phrase of the Day was told to us by our liason, Thiago. He was thrilled because Fluminese and Vasco de Gama are the teams eating chocolate in Rio these days. The two teams, both traditional powerhouses of Brazil, have encountered tough times in the domestic league this year and Thiago couldn't be more gleeful about their suffering. He's a Flamengo fan and as fans of the U.S. MNT know, there's nothing like watching your rival suffer...Hi, Mexico!
That's right - it's a PARROT! South America is well known for having a large diversity of parrots and in fact the famous Estadio do Maracanã is nicknamed after the bird with the same moniker.
What facilitated the discovery of the Parrot logo was our introduction to Parangolé, the FIFA Futsal World Cup mascot. Apparently, South America loves a good parrot mascot - if you'll remember last year Guaky was the mascot of the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela.
Side Note: The Blog can't wait to take its picture with Parangolé.
Our drive to training today featured lots of traffic, which seems about par for the course in Rio. We drove through Leblon and Ipanema, two of the most famous beachside neighborhoods in Rio. Even through the thunderstorm you can see that these are the places to be. We detoured away from the beach and just blocks from the sand the streets are lined with Cafes and boutique stores.Unlike yesterday, today we trained at the Maracanãzinho, the venue where we'll be playing our games. Some roof leakage aside, the venue looks great and there should be quite the atmosphere for the games.
Under FIFA regulations, our training session can only be an hour long so the team had to quickly get down to business. The focus was on defensive situations and the bulk of the training consisted of one team trying to hold the lead while the other team pressed for an equalizer.
Driving back to the hotel involved less traffic than the ride there and the guys are looking forward to dinner in the early evening before the having the rest of the night off.
We caught up with head coach Keith Tozer and defender Pat Morris after training yesterday. Listen to the podcast here.
Here's a video from the first day of training:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Directly translated as the "litle hat," "little cap," or "little balloon," the Chapeuzinho is simple but, when deployed effectively, lethal. It involves a quick touch over an opponents head into space and a burst of speed to slip by the wronfooted defender. If done correctly, your foe will be bamboozled, leaving you to sprint by him or her with the goal in your sites.
Ronaldinho in action.
Wonder-goal from Gaizka Mendieta
By assistant coach Vava Marques and midfielder Denison Cabral.
The first training session from Rio is in the books. The team left the hotel in the afternoon and drove across the city to train at the HSBC Arena. Used for basketball in the 2007 Pan American Games, the gym is part of the Riocentro Sports Complex that hosted a variety of sports during last year's competition. We trained in the auxiliary gym, which was more than satisfactory for our team.
We arrived just as Italy were finishing training and the guys headed to the locker room as our Group B colleagues finished up their session. A warmup and stretch lead into some small sided games with the emphasis on defense. The pace is always fast in futsal, and there's not too much time to take a breather. The 90 minutes flew by and son the guys were finishing up the workout with some shooting drills.
The ride home involved less traffic than usual and soon the guys were showering up in their rooms. Dinner is next and a team meeting to follow - it's certainly been an eventful first day!
According to Denison Cabral, who was doing the translating, one custom named U.S. Futsal National Team license plate can be yours for just 40 Brazilian. Apparently receiving random trinkets outside of your hotel is a very South American thing. For those of you loyal blog readers, you may remember the MNT encountering a botled ship maker during last years Copa America. Anyhow, the license plate dealer has given the guys some time to make their decisions - and chances are that asking price isn't final either... (From left to right in the picture -Team Doctor Nicholas Romansky, Cabral, and Myers)
We landed in the Rio de Janeiro airport and collected our bags before getting on the team bus. The team hotel was a bit of a drive away, so we settled in for a nap or a good long look out the window, depending on your choice.
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Driving through Rio you can see how soccer permeates everyday life in Brazil. Soccer fields are everywhere, of all different shapes and sizes. You can see an outdoor field and on the next block, a dirt pitch. Anything can serve as a pitch for football - just put some goals up and get after it.
The local kids were doing just that, and we drove by numerous pick up games on our way to the hotel. It was 8:30 am, but neither the early hour nor any apparent school commitments were stopping these kids from kicking the ball around.
We drove by some professional stadiums as well, including the famous Maracanã. We could just see the famous ground off in the distance, but couldn't make out the Maracanãzinho beside it. Known as "the litle Maracanã," it is a gymnasium adjacent to its bigger brother and is the venue for the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Rio.
Before heading into a huge tunnel, the bus got a good look at the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue perched atop Corcovado mountain. No word on whether we'll be able to get up the mountain for a closer look, but hopefully we'll find some time to go take a few pictures.Getting closer to our hotel we drove by the Gávea Stadium (above). It's the home of storied Brazilian club, Flamengo, but is rarely used anymore these days as the team prefers to play most of their home games at the Maracanã.
Soon after we arrived at the hotel and the guys are currently getting situated in their rooms before lunch. We've got a training session this afternoon but surely there will be some naps taken in he meantime. For now, you can do a lot worse than this view from your hotel balcony...
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The MNT isn't in session right now - they're waiting until October to resume their World Cup Qualifying campaign in Washington D.C. against Cuba. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything going on in the world of U.S. Soccer, in fact, there are a few World Cups just around the corner. One of those is the FIFA Futsal World Cup, which is set to begin next week in Brazil.
With the U.S. FNT (That's Futsal National Team!) set to kickoff Group B on Sept. 30 against Paraguay, we'll be chronicling the team's fortunes from Rio de Janeiro here on the blog. It should be a fun time - after, all it is Rio and Futsal couldn't be more popular in Brazil.
The team is en route to South America today, and we're currently in the midst of an epic four hour layover in Atlanta. If all goes well (fingers crossed) we'll arrive in Rio tomorrow morning before getting situated in our hotel. For now - here's a few things you should know:
- Head coach Keith Tozer has named a 14-man squad for the FIFA Futsal World Cup. You can read about his selection here and listen to the head coach talk about the roster here.
- As previously mentioned, the U.S. is in Group B, along with Paraguay, Italy, Thailand and Portugal. The top 2 teams go through to the next round. You can check out the full World Cup schedule here.
- Brazil is super psyched to host the Futsal World Cup. The game enjoys an immense following in the country and the Brazilian Futsal National Team is ranked number one in the world. They've won the World Cup title three times but they haven't lifted the trophy since 2000. You better believe that their fans want the team to reclaim that hardware on home turf.
- Want some more info? Check out U.S. Soccer's Futsal page here and FIFA.com's World Cup page here.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Marcus Hahnemann was also involved in the game for Reading, making 6 saves for the Royals during the game. As a result of the draw, Reading remain in sixth place while Watford continue to struggle in 17th place at the start of the Championship season.
Michael Bradley made his Borussia M'gladbach debut on Sunday, but his team were unable to get by Hertha Berlin. Midfielder Patrick Paauwe was injured in the pre-game warmup, thus thrusting Bradley into the starting lineup for his first appearance with his new club.
-Rennes Draws at Home
Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes fought out a scoreless tie with AS Nancy on Sunday. The result leaves Rennes in 12th place in Ligue 1, but the point on the road should be a satisfying enough result for the club ahead of next Saturday's encounter with Nice.
-Standard Liege Ready for Top of the Table Clash
Standard Liege and Oguchi Onyewu continued their solid start to the 2008-09 season. A 1-0 victory over Tubize on Sunday took the reigning Belgian League Champions level on points with Anderlecht at the top of the table.
Anderlecht and Standard Liege meet this coming Friday in what will be a crucial early season match-up between the two title favorites in Belgium.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
ussoccer.com: What’s it like going up against a U.S. teammate in match as big as a UEFA Cup match?
Gooch: “Now that I think about it, this is the first time that I’ve played in a UEFA Cup game against another American. It should be fun. It will be a lot more fun if the results go our way.”
ussoccer.com: Is it strange to be playing against Tim, particularly when you work so closely together in the U.S. defense?
Gooch: “Definitely different than what I’m usually doing with him. Timmy is my boy and all, but for 90 minutes he’s going to be my adversary. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the ball past him.”
ussoccer.com: Have your teammates asked you for the scouting report on him?
Gooch: “Yes. You can’t say too much about him other than he’s a great goalkeeper.”
ussoccer.com: What do you think he’s telling them about you?
Gooch: “I don’t like to cite my weaknesses, but I’m sure if I have any he is telling his coaches about it and they will try to expose them.”
ussoccer.com: Coming off such a great season in Belgium, how is the team’s mood as you head to the UK?
Gooch: “It feels like yesterday we were coming away from that. We’re confident. We know they are a big club, and it’s always a good atmosphere when you play a Premiership club. Everton has aspirations to go far in UEFA Cup. Even though we are from a smaller country, I’m sure they respect us.”
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
You can read about Mo's debut on the Rangers website. Click here.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
U.S. vs. T&T post-match checklist:
- Three wins, nine points, first place in group
- Shutout streak reaches 551 minutes
- Six straight matches without giving up a goal - team record
- Five straight victories in one World Cup qualifying cycle - ties a team record set
- 9-0-2 lifetime against T&T in qualifying
- Clint Dempsey has scored four goals in the four World Cup qualifiers he has played in during 2008
That's it from what has been an extraordinarily memorable 10 days with the U.S. national team. The U.S. can secure their place in the final round of qualifying with a win against Cuba on Oct. 11 at RFK Stadium (tickets), or complete the deal when they travel to Trinidad & Tobago. Both of those matches will be shown live on the ESPN Networks and Galavision, or you can always follow along on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
Thanks for following along. We'll see you in D.C.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
5:54 p.m. - Hey all! We're sitting here in the press box at the stadium and we're heading towards the 7 p.m. CT kickoff for the USA vs. T&T.
5:55 p.m. - We'll be here through all the pre-game buildup with the lineup, some pictures and also some help from a special guest! That's right, Blog all-star Amy will be helping us all the way until game time.
6:00 p.m. - One hour before, and that means lineup time! Here's how the U.S. will start tonight's game against T&T:
6:02 p.m. - Woo! Here's Amy: What's up everyone? The coaches are walking around and checking out the condition of the pitch. And the sprinklers have just come on to wet the field a bit.
6:05 pm. - For those of you familiar with Toyota Park, notice anything different about the layout of the field in this shot?
6:07 p.m. - What a view! Not many stadiums have a view like that! I guess Soldier Field has a pretty good view too. Only in Chicago!
6:09 p.m. - "Eye of the Tiger" is playing. You better believe the Blog is really psyched up!
6:11 p.m. - Hey Geoff! Thanks for the support, but to be a Blog All-Star you have to start answering all the trivia questions correctly! And within five minutes of them being posted.
6:12 p.m. - Says the MNT Blog: "Oooh, zzzzzing!" And just as we're all high-fiving eachother in the booth some of the players are out. Well, only Michael Bradley is out. He looks lonely.
6:17 p.m. - Hey Joel, those are some ok opinions, but you should channel that energy into supporting the team instead! :-p
6:19 p.m. - The weather is gorgeous. No sign of rain!
6:20 p.m. - My wonderful, beautiful, talented, intelligent sister Katie is here too. She was varsity soccer in high school. Go Parker Vikings!
6:22 p.m. - (ed. note: The MNT Blog also has a wonderful, beautiful, talented and intelligent sister too. The WNT Blog! Woot! Achieve Your Gold!)
6:23 p.m. - There seemed to be a pretty good contingent of T&T fans in the parking lot earlier this evening. I'm sure the Soca Warriors will be inspired by their presence.
6:26 p.m. - This song is now playing:
Just as the U.S. team enters the field! How can you not be excited?
6:30 p.m. - "Don't Tread On This" by Clint Dempsey is playing now and I will admit that I know all the words. I have it on my iPod.
6:33 p.m. - (ed. note: In case you need some more reading material, you can read some game previews here and here.)
6:35 p.m. - I'm glad it has only taken us two years to get a game at Toyota Park, but I am very glad that they are here. I got my tickets the first day of the pre-sale.
6:38 p.m. - The Blog is jealous now that it knows I'm going to the Old Firm game on December 27th at Ibrox. I'm bringing my big American flag and if anybody says anything, I'll just mention the last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament.
6:42 p.m. - (ed. note: That would be 1998, for those scoring at home. Also for those scoring at home, that's Amy 1, Scotland 0)
6:44 p.m. - Soon I'll be covered completely with the giant "Don't Tread On Me" banner, joining the rest of Sam's Army in Section 8.
6:45 p.m. - A little tidbit: as you heard in the podcast with Maurice Edu, he was happy to have been serenaded by the visiting Rangers fans at Celtic Park the first time he was on the gameday roster. What he may not know is that the Rangers fans had looked him up on YouTube and found video of the Toronto FC fans singing to him. They happily adopted it for their new signing.
6:53 p.m. - Those are the starting lineups for both teams, which means it is time for me to head down to Section 8. I want to thank the Blog for letting me take it over. It was fun! For now, GO USA!!