Friday, December 15, 2006

USA vs. Guatemala in March?

According to La Red Deportiva, the USMNT will host Guatemala at the Home Depot Center on March 28th. According to the FIFA calendar, this date falls into the Official listing of dates for FIFA sanctioned matches. As FIFA has the 24th to the 28th set aside for two matches, and clubs must release their players 4 to 5 days before the first match, I see no reason for Bradley to not have all of his players available for this match and hopefully one more on the 24th.

One does have to question why the USSF would be scheduling a home date against a CONCACAF team when we know that we will be able to have the entire roster available and the European powers are free. Well, they might not be free as UEFA should have already scheduled the two dates as Euro 2008 qualifying dates. Switzerland and Austria, as hosts, do not need to qualify and should be available, so a trip to Europe should still be an option for the 24th of March. That said, I wouldn't schedule it.

My suggestion is to try and schedule an away match in either Central America or South America. Bob Bradley will only have roughly 5 to 6 months to get his coaching staff and line up ready for the Gold Cup and Copa America. The USMNT will not play a European side in either tournament, so being able to get matches in against countries we are either likely to face or who play a similar style of football to those who we will face in the two tournaments is a better option.

I would try and schedule a match with Costa Rica in San Jose for the 24th. Better yet, how about having the USMNT travel to Lima, Peru and take on the Peruvian National Team? How about Uruguay in Montevideo? Get the team out of the country, play in a foreign territory and have them see how it is in hostile conditions. Yes, I know the match in Phoenix will really be a "road game" but the players will still stay in American hotels and still be surrounded by Americans. Have them play the 24th outside of the USA. After giving the guys a taste of the outside world and what they might expect from the Copa America, then bring them back and have them play in Los Angeles.


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