Time limited for U.S.
Published on -6/24/2014, 9:56 AM
By Kevin Baxter
SAO PAULO -- Time is not on the U.S. side as it tries to move on from its tie Sunday with Portugal and prepare for Thursday's crucial group-play final against Germany.
The U.S. played its second World Cup game Sunday, a day after the Germans played theirs, leaving them with 26 fewer hours to prepare for the game that will determine whether the U.S. goes on in the tournament or goes home. And that time is precious given that the U.S. played in the energy-draining humidity of the Amazon.
Add to that the 3,300 miles the U.S. will travel between games, 1,100 more than Germany will cover in the first round, and it's clear the American squad faces an uphill climb heading into a game in which it needs at least a tie to be sure it advances to the round of 16.
"Everybody knew that this World Cup will be a very, very different World Cup in Brazil with the huge distances, different climate zones and all the different challenges that this country brings along," U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Monday. "It's a very exciting World Cup, but it's also a very challenging World Cup."
The U.S. will be able to save some time on scouting, though, because many of the U.S. coaches and players are familiar with the German team. Klinsmann led Germany to a World Cup title as a player, coached it to the tournament semifinals eight years ago and hired Germany's Coach Joachim Loew. Berti Vogts, a U.S. special assistant, is a former German national team player and coach, and U.S. assistant Andreas Herzog played in Germany's top professional league. Five of the players on the U.S. roster are German citizens.
But Frankfurt-born U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones says there will be no split loyalties come Thursday.
"It's not the point that we're American Germans," he said. "We're all Americans. We're one piece. We stick together like a team. We don't look at who's half German."
WORLD CUP DEBUTS
Three Major League Soccer players, Omar Gonzalez of the Galaxy and fellow defender DeAndre Yedlin of Seattle, along with forward Chris Wondolowski of San Jose, made their World Cup debuts as second-half substitutes against Portugal. Yedlin, 20, made the biggest contribution by helping set up Clint Dempsey's go-ahead goal in the 81st minute.
"I was just excited," Yedlin said. "This is the biggest stage. This is what every soccer player dreams of and those dreams were being made a reality, so it was pretty amazing. It's one of those times that you just have to calm yourself because if you're too excited, too hyped up, that's when you don't play as well.
"I definitely was nervous. I think there's something wrong if you're not."
U.S.-PORTUGAL SETS TV VIEWING RECORD
The U.S-Portugal game was watched by a record 18.2 million people on ESPN, the largest audience for a soccer game in U.S. television history.
The previous high was the 17.9 million for the 1999 Women's World Cup final on ABC.
The U.S.-Portugal game also drew a 9.6 rating for ESPN, the highest-rated men's soccer telecast ever. Another 6.5 million watched on Univision, a record for a U.S. game on the Spanish-language network.