Saturday, January 28, 2006

US Men vs Norway

The US men continue their warm up for the Cup tomorrow afternoon when they take on the folks from Norway. With all hope, this will be a much more interesting outing then their one last week. If the US plays like they did then, they will not walk out with a tie.

Anyway, 18 players will make it to the game in US jerseys; hopefully one of them will be Eddie Johnson. He is still listed as day-to-day due to the right calf contusion he suffered during last week's game. If he misses this game, it will not be that big, but after his long time off due to toe problems, I would like to see him getting as many minutes as he can.

The game also looks to be a milestone moment for two of America's stars. Both, recently engaged, Landon Donovan and defender Eddie Pope will get their 75th cap on the national team. They join on 21 other US players to play in 75 or more games, but there are only 6 other defenders to get the many caps.

"It's amazing to me that I've come this far," the 32-year-old Pope said. "I never would have thought that I would've played this many games for the national team, being a country boy from North Carolina."

Pope's career began inadvertently. He said when he was about 5 or 6, he wanted to play football in a recreational program in his home of High Point, N.C.

"But they didn't have my age group yet," Pope said. "The only thing they had left was soccer. So my parents said, 'Well, do you want to try to play soccer?' I was like, 'No, I want to play football.' I was kind of stuck on that. Then I said, 'Fine, I'll try it and see if I like it.'"

This game will also see Dave O'Brien get his first short at announcing a soccer game for ESPN. He will be the main guy for the channel in Germany, so the pressure is on.

When O'Brien was hired on by the channel he asked for the Cup gig because he loves the beautiful game.

"I played all through high school in New England, then club stuff in college and in summer leagues. I was a spirited, tackling midfielder in school ... and way back then could run all day. I just didn't have any idea what to do when I got there."

Let's hope he brings something exciting to the broadcast booth.

US vs Norway
5pm EST


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