The United States will train in Miami ahead of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match against arch-rivals Mexico, only flying in to Mexico City on gameday for the match.
The lack of time for the players to adjust to the altitude and smog has raised eyebrows, but U.S. head coach Bob Bradley pointed toward research backing his plans in a conference call.
“We have worked for a long time with different experts on altitude training, including many from The U.S. Olympic Committee,” Bradley said. “The research that we have stuck with is the one that says if you don't have enough time to acclimatize, which can take 10 days or so, then going in late is your best bet. That is the way we've scheduled things, knowing that in a single fixture date, players have only arrived on the last day.”
Appointed in 2006, Bradley has yet to preside over a match in Azteca, where the U.S. team has never won. However, the former Major League Soccer coach says he's done his research and knows what to expect. He also highlighted the solid core of his team and how he would lean on that when things got rough on the pitch.
“This will be my first time to Azteca,” Bradley stated. “But we have communicated with a number of people around the country that have expertise in this area. When you talk about the soccer part of it I think it's important as a team to just stay together. It's very important to have a good solid base of organization and then the ability to play from that.”
Coming, most recently, from a 5-0 beatdown in the Gold Cup final against his countries biggest local rival, Bradley understands the importance of the match. However, he remained focused purely on the point implications for qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa.
“When you look at the final round, this is the first game of the second half, a game we knew all along would be important in terms of the goal of qualifying,” Bradley said. “We understand the fight for finishing first in the group and the potential of a seed, but, no, we don't get caught up with too many of those kind of things. We try to concentrate always on where we are as a team.”
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com
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