RECAPS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
by BRENT LATHAM
June 24, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Can the United States - under any circumstances, beat Spain?

That's the question I keep getting asked. Here's what I just told Spanish sports journal Marca:
by BRENT LATHAM
June 23, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Yesterday was a travel day for us and the US national team, as we headed south from Rustenburg down the main highway to Bloemfontein. The US flew in but we journalists got to drive - four hours through a midwestern like countryside, to the cold city on the border with Lesotho. So here is what I've been thinking about during the trip.

The Potential Excuses
by BRENT LATHAM
June 21, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Well, the wins over Mexico and Portugal in 2002 were probably more important, but it's been a while since the US has had a victory like this. The team came out loose and flowing, spurred by Landon Donovan and Charlie Davies, and put three (it could have been more) on an Egyptian team that was clearly not ready for the US. It was a role reversal on what the Americans usually do in the third game of these tournaments.

The Line-up
by BRENT LATHAM
June 21, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Well we're back live in Rustenburg, and it's dead here. Most everyone involved with soccer in the country is in Pretoria for the Italy-Brazil match, but YA is up the road in the countryside, at the white elephant in the middle of Northwest Province. FIFA wanted to put a World Cup stadium in each of the country's nine provinces, and this is their attempt to bring football to Northwest. The city of Rustenburg is a small town just a couple of streets wide, and Royal Bafokeng Stadium is outside the city in the countryside. It's kind of like playing a match outside of Pierre, South Dakota, I imagine, with apologies to South Dakotans. Anyway the countryside out here is beautiful, and the US is staying on a game reserve, so there's that.

The Egypt Game
by BRENT LATHAM
June 19, 2009

Yanks Abroad
As poorly as the US played on Thursday, the skill gap between the American players and their Brazilian counterparts seems to be as wide as ever. That can be said about most teams in the world, but it was disappointing to see the US fumble around like star-struck kids for 20 minutes before turning back into professionals.

The team
by BRENT LATHAM
June 18, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Here's what I'm thinking a few hours before the Brazil-USA match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria…

U.S. Moral
by BRENT LATHAM
June 16, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Here are my thoughts on last night's US-Italy game:

The Initial Line-up
by BRENT LATHAM
June 15, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Less than ten hours to match time, and it is an absolutely perfect day for soccer in South Africa's capital. The sky is blue, the weather is crisp like a northeastern day in early fall, and the stadium is ready to go. I'll arrive at Loftus Versfeld with plenty of time to spare so as not to be bothered by the unusual traffic patterns of the capital, especially on the first match day here. FIFA has pulled out all the stops at the media centers, and it is quite easy to just lounge around here all day and communicate, which is, in fact, the job at hand.

That said, a few final thoughts on US-Italy before the match gets underway this evening.
by BRENT LATHAM
June 14, 2009

Yanks Abroad
It seems more like a party than a soccer match at Ellis Park today. The stadium in downtown Jo-burg is surrounded for miles by jubilant South Africans in an array of their national colors (they have plenty to choose from on their rainbow flag). An hour and a half to game time though, and the stadium is still about half empty, and filling slowly. Still, the homemade horns and colorful outfits and chanting of the crowd, combined with the steep design of the seating here make it seem full already. I can't wait to see how the crowd reacts when South Africa and Iraq take the field in about an hour.

The US v. Italy
by BRENT LATHAM
June 13, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Spain Training

I took the opportunity today to run up the road to Rustenburg to catch the press conference of the Spanish national team, and a bit of their training. I can say what I saw for an hour or so watching the Spanish side train was incredible. They spent the first forty-five minutes playing a ten v. ten game of of keep away in a 30x20 box, and the decision making is so crisp and clear on all levels, it blows the mind. I think our youth coaches should watch a tape of Spanish training sessions before they even begin to train kids. If six-year olds were playing in tight spaces instead of full sided scrimmages weed be in better shape soon. But that is redundant by now.
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