By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The U.S. men's national team isn't quite thinking about Honduras just yet.
The United States returned to the practice field on a cloudy Wednesday morning in South Florida, but rather than turn their attention towards their soon-to-be opponents, the Americans used the session to focus on themselves.
"Tomorrow we will be more focused on Honduras," said DaMarcus Beasley. "But right now, the last couple of days has been getting our team right. Everybody from the games on the weekend (are) getting back fit and getting to know the guys again."
The team went through a lively one-hour training session, which included drills that emphasized movement and quick transitioning. All 19 players currently in camp practiced, including Jonathan Spector, who sat out of Tuesday morning's session to recover from a slight ankle knock.
Here's more from Wednesday's training:
ALTIDORE UNAFFECTED BY GOAL-SCORING SURGE, COMPETITION
Jozy Altidore has gotten off to red-hot start with AZ Alkmaar, scoring seven goals across all competitions. That goal-scoring run is something that U.S. fans believe has come as a result of Altidore playing more confidently after cementing his place in Alkmaar's line-up.
But Altidore disagrees with that.
"Myself, personally, I don't think I ever changed," said Altidore when asked if he feels that he's playing with more confidence. "If I'm scoring goals, I'm not going to say I'm ecstatic. When I go through a bad spell, I go through a bad spell. It's normal. I just think things happen in your career. You just have to ride with the good and ride with the bad."
Altidore is likely to start against Honduras at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, though the competition for his place in the starting XI is as heavy as its ever been, with Juan Agudelo, Edson Buddle and Teal Bunbury all in camp.
But no matter who plays, Altidore is hoping the Americans can get Jurgen Klinsmann his first victory as U.S. coach when they face Honduras in three days.
"I think we want it for (Klinsmann)," said Altidore. "He's been really good to us. He's been working really hard, doing a lot of things and teaching us a lot of different stuff. As players, we want to actually help him get that first win and get that off his back."
Here are some other tidbits from Wednesday's early training session:
- The team trained twice on Tuesday and will train for a second time on Wednesday. It will only train once on Thursday, as the players will undergo testing during the morning.
- Former U.S. teammates Claudio Reyna and Fernando Clavijo shared pleasantries before the practice session. Clavijo, who is the current Director of Soccer for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, attended the beginning of training while his club trained on an adjacent field.
- The session began with the players splitting into two groups for warm-ups before they worked on a drill that emphasized movement and quick transitioning.
- Practice for the players ended with a two-touch game between two teams of eight (gray vs. yellow). The game was played with big goals from one end of the field to just over the midfield line, and included three two-ways players in Danny Williams, Brek Shea and DaMarcus Beasley.
- Williams played centrally amongst the rest of the players while Beasley and Shea stayed on the outside to provide players with outlets on the flanks.
- The gray team was made up of Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Timmy Chandler, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Teal Bunbury.
- The yellow team had Bill Hamid, Michael Orozco, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector, Jeff Larentowicz, Maurice Edu, Clint Dempsey and Edson Buddle.
- Altidore, Edu and Cherundolo looked good during the game, while Larentowicz scored the only goal.
- After training, the players went in for cold baths while the coaching staff stuck around on the field and ran a few laps. After running, Jurgen Klinsmann continued to workout by doing some push-ups.
- Altidore, whose family lives in South Florida, joked that out of the 6,800 tickets sold to Saturday's game, 3,800 were bought by his friends and family.
- The search for an U-20 coach and Olympics team coach is slowly nearing a resolution, a U.S. spokesman said.
What do you think of the latest goings on from USMNT training? Think Altidore's club form will carry over to the national team?
Share your thoughts below.