The European leagues are finished and now we can turn our attention to the race to South Africa 2010. The U.S. has made a great start to the World Cup campaign, as it currently leads the six-team regional finals with seven points through three games. Costa Rica is one point back followed by Honduras with four points and Mexico with three points. El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago are bringing up the rear with two points each.
The U.S. have two huge qualifying matches this week. First up is a match Wednesday in San Jose, Costa Rica, where the U.S. has never beaten or tied the home team in five visits. After that, the U.S. will play host to Honduras in Chicago in another qualifier on Saturday. Four points from these two games would be amazing, but I will settle for three.
One of the challenges team USA will face in Costa Rica is the artificial turf awaiting them in Costa Rica’s Saprissa Stadium.
“Obviously, the majority of us aren’t used to playing on turf, so I think a couple of days here and training over there should help us become more acclimated to their surface come Wednesday,” said defender Oguchi Onyewu, the only player on the field for the U.S. the last time the two teams met in San Jose — a 3-0 loss in October 2005.
“You feel the heat a lot more on turf, the ball rolls differently, your touches have got to be a lot more different and you’ve got to concentrate more when you have the ball at your feet,” Onyewu said. “But that’s what being a pro’s all about and I think we have the players in camp that can handle that.”
Kickoff for the game on Wednesday is set for 8 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on the ESPN Networks and Galavision.
The game against Honduras promises to have a great atmosphere as more than 44,000 tickets have been sold for the game at Soldiers Field. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Classic and Galavision. You can also follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.