SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
On Friday, the United States men’s national team plays its seventh of ten games in the final stage of World Cup qualifying against Costa Rica.
Here are five urgent questions heading into the game:
Is Jozy Altidore ready to go?
The young target man, newly of Sunderland, is recovering from a hamstring injury. After getting an MRI in Miami upon joining the team, he was given the go-ahead by the medical staff. But how effective he will be, and how durable, remains to be seen.
His importance can hardly be overstated. There is no other striker available who is so proficient at holding up the ball and getting the adjoining attackers involved. And Altidore has scored in his last five USA games, a record, tallying seven goals in all.
Image courtesy of AP Images
Who will play right back?
Steve Cherundolo is still out with an injury. Timmy Chandler is unavailable too. And Brad Evans, who has played in the spot most recently, was a late scratch from the team because of a calf injury. He was replaced on the roster by Michael Parkhurst, but he, like fellow candidate Geoff Cameron isn’t a natural at the right back position.
Both have their limitations going forward. And both are fourth-stringers at best.
Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer
By Jamie Trecker, FOXSoccer.com
The Lakeshore Segway riders caromed through Soldier Field’s plaza. They wobbled and weaved, but didn’t hit anyone. There was almost no one to run in to.
This was the Gold Cup final at Soldier Field, an event CONCACAF and the city of Chicago both hoped would fill the lakefront on this unusually chilly July afternoon. Instead, both were to confront the reality that this soccer game was to be a quiet one.
Two hours before kickoff, the sponsor’s tents sat vacant; the speakers at 7UP’s pavilion were turned down so as not to deafen. A group of Panamanian fans posed for the local Univision channel, a rare splash of color on an otherwise quiet afternoon day. Tickets were freely available for $30 – the scalpers that showed up didn’t even make an effort – and some sponsors were simply passing them out to early arrivers.
Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer
The reason? Mexico didn’t make the final, and that killed whatever walkup crowd might have showed up. Chicago has an enormous Latino population, and it is overwhelmingly Mexican in origin. One of the biggest communities of Mexican emigrants sits just twenty blocks west of Soldier Field, with Pilsen and Little Village comprising the largest concentration of Mexican ex-pats outside of Mexico City itself.
After winning the Copa Del Rey in dramatic fashion against arch-rivals Real, Atletico Madrid are in Singapore ahead of a charity exhibition match in the country.
So, how would you expect them to train and warm-up for the event? Well, by facing 128 kids in a preparation match, of course!
In the hilarious video, you’ll see Atleti taken to task by over a hundred youngsters. The sight of one of the best strikers in the world, Radamel Falcao, blazing over the bar with a ton of kids surrounding him will certainly stay in the memory!
Image taken from our colleagues at 101 Great Goals
Too long have pitch invaders been coming on to the field to interrupt the game. Now, it seems, we have a potent weapon against such anti-social behavior! A new breed of super stewards ready to take on the invasion. This video shows a fan on the pitch in the Brazil vs Russia game. The unsuspecting fan is running around the pitch (obviously lapping up his moment), before the steward takes him down with a move more associated with WWE.
The steward’s 15 minutes of fame continued after the match, when fans were eager to get a photo with him!
Image via @Pagey13
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