The United States national team arrived in New Jersey on Thursday afternoon after opening its training camp in Cary, North Carolina earlier this week.
There was media availability upon the teams’ arrival to the hotel at the Meadowlands, within eyeshot of the stadium where they will host Argentina in just a few days. Impressively, nine players came in to chat with the media in the session. Props. Major, major props.
I am going to save most of what I picked up for my story that will run in Saturday’s paper about the logjam in the midfield and the different combinations and formations that are available to Coach Bob Bradley with some of those players, but I did want to share a few quotes about two recent news items.
You can, of course, get all that good stuff after the jump.
First, regarding the comeback of Charlie Davies and his two-goal performance in his MLS-debut with D.C. United on Saturday.
As you might imagine, his former U.S. teammates were watching.
“Charlie’s the kind of person, you can’t tell him no,” midfielder Maurice Edu said. “You can’t say this is impossible to you. If he has his mind set on something, good luck trying to deter him from that.
That’s the situation he was in before, he told himself, ‘I’m going to get myself fit and get myself back.’ He told me he was going to be better than he was before the injury and he’s on the right path right now. The first game, that’s the first step. I know he’s desperate and dying to get back here and we all miss him and want to see him back here but I think that’s [going to happen] soon enough. Obviously you’ve got to crawl before you walk and I think the game on the weekend was him crawling, and we’re all looking forward to seeing him line up back in the U.S. jersey and show them what he’s truly capable of.”
Said U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey: “It’s not so much about what it means to us as to him. It’s a confidence boost for him, and much-needed after being out for I think a year and a half, to show that he’s still gots it and he can still score goals. I think a lot of people counted him down and he proved them wrong. The most important thing is he’s a competitor, he’s a fighter and I think he’ll continue to improve, and I could see him being back in camp. And I wish him the best because he’s a good character to have around the locker room and he’s a good player. I just hope he continues to get his full fitness and be playing with him again one day.”
Obviously, with the news of one player’s comeback comes the news of another’s unfortunate injury and oncoming rehabilitation. Here is the reaction of a couple U.S. players on Stuart Holden’s six-month recovery from a knee injury.
“It was really unfortunate for Stuart,” said captain Carlos Bocanegra, who wasn’t biting at my question about how much Holden’s absence would have on a revamped 4-2-3-1 formation. “He’s having a fantastic season over there, he was kind of the in-form guy over there. To pick up an injury like this and cut his season short is disappointing. I’m not sure about your tactical switch, what was going to happen or not, but it’s just unfortunate for us because he’s become a big part of this team. Especially a player who is in form like he is right now it’s disappointing for us and it’s disappointing for him on a personal level because he was playing so well.”
Edu on losing Holden: “I saw the replay and I was just instantly devastated for him, texting him trying to figure out how bad it was because…I’ve been through a similar situation. My heart goes out to him because it was terrible timing, he was in great form doing so well. Talked to him about this camp and we were all looking forward it. … It was definitely a blow for the team, we’re all missing him here.”
I’ll obviously have much more for you tomorrow from East Rutherford, and as I said will have a story for the paper edition on Saturday. For now, time to enjoy some of the sights in the city.