by GIANFRANCO PANIZO
The United States' men's national team continued its preparation for next week's pair of World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras on Thursday in hot and humid temperatures in Miami.
The team, which still has only 11 players in camp, has admitted that the lack of time together before the qualifier against Costa Rica on Wednesday presents a challenge. But the team also understands that the next month will be the most time they spend together before the World Cup next summer.
"We don't get a lot of time to spend together to train and work so it is nice when we do have some time because you can really tell the team starts to gel a little bit more," said defender Jonathan Spector. "I think we will be looking forward to the Confederations Cup but first and foremost we have the two qualifiying games which are really important."
With the news on Frankie Hejduk's injury status hitting the camp, Spector also said he would be ready if he was called upon to start next week.
"I don't know what's happening with Frankie. Obviously, it is the manager's decision who is playing and I certainly respect what Bob (Bradley) will decide," said the West Ham United defender. "Whether I'm starting or not, I'll certainly prepare for it."
Another player who will soon start preparations for next week's games is Freddy Adu, who is expected to arrive to Miami on Thursday afternoon. No word yet on if Adu will train on Friday, but he has one player eagerly awaiting his arrival.
"Yeah, he's going to be in here. I'm going to take care of that kid, get his mind right," said Altidore with a chuckle. "He is definately coming along and I'm happy to see that. Of course, there is always room for improvement from all of us but he is a guy with a lot of potential and we have all seen what he can do on the pitch. It is just about now putting all the pieces together."
Some other news and notes from today's practice:
For the second straight day, Oguchi Onyewu sat out of practice as he was being rested.
Clint Dempsey also did not participate in Thursday morning's session as he was also being rested.
Frankie Hejduk's groin injury has not ruled him out of next week's matches but he will be re-evaluated before his status for the qualifiers is finalized.
Do you think Spector should start at RB if Hejduk can't go? Or should Marvell Wynne get the nod instead? Hoping Adu gets a chance in the upcoming qualifiers?
Share your thoughts below.