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Notes and late news on the U.S. trip into Antigua

Oct 11, 2012, 9:20 AM EDT

us soccer

Jurgen Klinsmann and Co. boarded up bright and early today, bound for Miami’s airport and then the big plane into Antigua.

What will they find? Good question.

They’ll have the usual day-before happenings (“Match-day minus-1” in official U.S. Soccer federation parlance); a press conference in Antigua and a practice at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

That’s where the mystery element will disappear; U.S. Soccer staff is eager to see the condition of the field, which is actually a cricket ground. Combined with the fact that showers are predicted for game day (60 percent chance), and then lumped in with memories of a poor field in Guatemala … yes, there is a bit of concern.

“We haven’t seen the field yet but anything can happen there in Antigua in terms of the field and conditions,” U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said earlier this week from Miami.

I talked to a U.S. Soccer spokesman as he left for the airport this morning. He reiterated that nothing had changed on the left back situation; there will be no additional cover for a position that just became super model thin: No Fabian Johnson and no Edgar Castillo.

At present, there is no plan to summon additional cover for next week’s match in Kansas City; if all goes according to plan, Johnson will meet the team there on or near the team’s Saturday arrival.

  1. dfstell - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Is it really so hard to get a look at the pitch? Do the Antiguans keep it a secret? Or could some knowledgeable American on vacation visit the stadium and send back a report?

    It seems fascinating that we don’t know what it looks like. It’s like the Loch Ness monster or something.

    • kballnation - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      I was at the Antigua – Guatemala match in September. The pitch was dry (they were experiencing a bit of a drought) but in good shape, and certainly appeared to be better than the field in Jamaica.

      Why the US couldn’t find this out ahead of time, I have no idea.

    • Steve Davis - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Loch Ness … awesome! Made me laugh.

      Thing is, conditions change. Rain over a few days? Was there a cricket match in the last few days? Or a rock concert or equine event? (Just throwing things out here, really.) Have they let the grass grow over the last few days? Point is, what the field looked like a week ago is not necessarily what it will look like (and play like) on Friday.

      • cdhoeger - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        I understand your point, but under normal circumstances, assuming they mow and water on a regular schedule, it would seem that sending somebody down there this time last week would at least give the team a good educated guess as to what pitch conditions would be like, right? With the amount of money they have, this seems like it would be well worth the money spent.

  2. wordone9 - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    All these stories about the USMNT seem to be making excuses for an eventual loss. All teams have home field advantages of one type or another. You don’t hear these central and south american teams claim they lost to the US because it was cold in the US and they aren’t used to the cold.

    I am starting to question JK. If the away field is in poor condition have the team practice on a poor condition field.

    • Steve Davis - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      See reply on the other post … (sorry, just saw the other one first)

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