Greetings from Jacksonville, where it’s not cold.
The game-time outlook at 8 p.m. ET calls for 84 degrees, 51 percent humidity and light breezes along the St. Johns River.
A few notes ahead of tonight’s friendly between the U.S. national soccer team and Scotland at EverBank Field.....
*TV coverage begins at 8 on NBC Sports Network and Galavision but kickoff isn’t until 8:21. Arlo White and Kyle Martino are the NBC commentators.
*Attendance projection: 40,000+.
*Of the 23 players on the U.S. roster, 18 will be uniform and six substitutes are permitted. Clint Dempsey (groin) won’t suit up and Jozy Altidore has yet to join the squad because Dutch club AZ Alkmaar declined to release him until Monday. That decision “made us very upset,” Juergen Klinsmann said. Clubs have the right to retain players until the FIFA fixture window opens June 1, but with the Eredivisie season complete, Alkmaar’s decision seems silly.
So three other players won’t make the game-day roster cut: a goalkeeper and two field players.
*Will Dempsey be available Wednesday against Brazil?
“I’m progressing every day, doing more things,” he said. “Yesterday I was on the field doing some sprinting and shooting. I still not quite there yet. We’ll push it a little bit further tomorrow and then make sure I’m 100 percent when I go out there. You don’t want to go out there and be dead weight.”
*The field dimensions here are tight: 110 yards long by 70 yards wide. It’s going to be the same at FedEx Field, site of Wednesday’s friendly. The first World Cup qualifier, June 8 in Tampa, will be staged on a 116-by-74 pitch at Raymond James Stadium.
*The second home qualifier, against Jamaica in September, was awarded to Columbus some weeks ago, leaving the October date against Guatemala to be decided. The USSF expects to finalize the venue next week and announce it shortly thereafter. I’m guessing Denver or Salt Lake City.
*Brazil began a four-game tour today with a 3-1 victory over Denmark in Hamburg, Germany. Porto striker Hulk scored twice in the first half. That Hulk, he’s incredible.
*Congratulations to longtime colleague and good friend Grahame Jones of the Los Angeles Times, a 40-year scribe who has been elected to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Wednesday at FedEx Field, along with Claudio Reyna, Tony Meola, Desmond Armstrong and Bob Gansler.
*Road trip shout-out to Joseph’s Pizza in Atlantic Beach, a corner kick from the surf. (Banana split gelato, are you kidding me?)
USA: Howard; Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Cameron, Johnson; Jones, Edu, Bradley; Donovan, Boyd, Torres. Subs: Guzan, Onyewu, Castillo, Beckerman, Corona, Wondolowski, Gomez. Not in uniform: Rimando, Goodson, Parkhurst, Dempsey, Altidore.
SCO: McGregor; Bardsley, Caldwell, Webster, Mulgrew; Brown, McArthur, Bannan; Phillips, Miller, Maloney.
Your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts are welcome in our comments section.