by GIANFRANCO PANIZO
For the first time since this week's training camp began, the United States men's national team practiced on artificial turf on Saturday morning as they continued preparations for their looming World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.
The U.S. national team gathered for an hour-long training session and got a feel for a surface similar to the one they will play on next week. Defender Oguchi Onyewu believes a collective defensive effort will be needed in order to secure a positive result in Costa Rica, where the U.S. is 0-5-1 all-time in World Cup qualifying.
"We have to have a strong showing defensively and that doesn't just mean the defenders," said Onyewu. "Strikers, midfielders, defenders, goalkeeper; we all have to have a solid display defensively and once we do that the offense will take care of itself."
Onyewu, who is now a free agent after finishing his fifth season with Belgian champs Standard Liege, was tight-lipped about teams that have expressed interest in him so far this summer.
"There are reports linking me with a lot of teams. Right now I don't want to confirm or deny any reports but hopefully within the weeks to come I will be able to make a decision," said the 27-year-old.
Onyewu and the rest of the U.S. national team will have their final training session in South Florida on Sunday morning.
Here is some more news and notes from today's practice:
- Frankie Hejduk and Maurice Edu will travel to Miami to be evaluated by the national team medical staff.
- All 14 players in camp trained Saturday morning, including recent arrivals Freddy Adu, Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein.
- The remainder of the players will arrive to South Florida on Sunday and Monday with the lone exception being Danny Califf, who will meet with the team in Costa Rica.
Do you see the artificial turf as a big factor in the qualifier against Costa Rica? Do you agree wth Onyewu's approach to the match, or should the team be attack-minded? Where do you see him signing this summer?
Share your thoughts below.