Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

June 16, 2014

Kinsmann sounds more confident on eve of World Cup opener

— NATAL, Brazil (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann speaks with pragmatism. He books his airline tickets with hope.

The U.S. coach caused a stir in the lead-up to soccer’s championship when he said that “I think for us now, talking about winning a World Cup is just not realistic.”

But on the eve of the Americans’ opener against Ghana, he revealed this: “I booked my flight after the final.”

The U.S. has never advanced after starting with a loss, and it is grouped with the 37th-ranked Black Stars along with No. 2 Germany and No. 4 Portugal.

A two-day downpour has flooded some streets in this northeastern Brazilian beach town. While the skies started to clear a bit Sunday, the forecast was unsettled for Monday night’s game, when the Americans try to avenge losses to Ghana that knocked them out of the past two World Cups.

Klinsmann sounded just like the U.S. Postal Service.

“It’s raining. If it’s snowing. If it’s — what else? — thunder or lightning ... field wet, field dry, heat, humidity, whatever,” he said Sunday. “We’re not worried about that stuff at all.”

A total of 3.11 inches of rain fell Friday and 2.95 more Saturday, according to AccuWeather’s Anthony Sagliani, and by late Saturday night cars had to navigate at least 18 inches of standing water. Natal’s City Hall declared a flood alert and evacuated dozens of residents as a precaution in the Mae Luiza neighborhood in the city’s west.

Still, the field appeared firm during workouts Sunday at the new Arena das Dunas, whose wavy, asymmetrical exterior was designed to resemble the nearby sand dunes of a city nearly as close to west Africa (1,800 miles) as to the American base camp in Sao Paulo (1,400 miles).

The forecast calls for a temperature of about 80 degrees (27 Celsius), high humidity — Natal is 400 miles south of the equator — and a slight chance of showers.

“The weather is what it is, and as players that’s not something we can control,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “You get to this point, you’re not worried about little details, about whether the wind is blowing, whether the sun is out.”

Thousands of U.S. fans are expected. The American Outlaws supporters group chartered two Boeing 767s from Houston that brought 530 fans to Brazil, and the U.S. Soccer Federation said it sold its official allotment of about 2,000 tickets.

Ghana beat the Americans by identical 2-1 scores in the final group-stage game at Germany in 2006 and in the second round at South Africa four years ago. The U.S., appearing at its seventh straight World Cup and 10th overall, has never lost to a team three straight times in the tournament.

“It’s going to be like they’re coming for revenge,” said Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan, whose overtime goal was the difference in the 2010 match.

Teams that won their openers have advanced 85 percent of the time since the 32-nation format began in 1998. Just 9 percent of nations starting with a loss advanced, and 58 percent of those beginning with draws reached the knockout rounds.

“This is just an awesome moment, because that’s the biggest stage you can have, where you kind of want to show that you improved, and nothing better than against the team that beat you the last two World Cups,” Klinsmann said. “So this, as we mentioned before, is like start the whole World Cup with a final.”

Ghana lost a shootout to Uruguay in the 2010 quarterfinals. The Black Stars are the youngest of the 32 World Cup teams with an average age of 25 years, 6 months, according to FIFA, while the U.S. is the 12th-oldest at 27 years, 10 months.

“Now people back home believe we can do more, which puts pressure on the players,” Gyan said.

Barring late injuries, Tim Howard will be in goal, and Fabian Johnson figures to start at right back, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler in central defense and DaMarcus Beasley at left back. Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones and Bradley anchor the midfield, and Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will be up front.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Ridgeley, Lakeview advance to finals

    POTOMAC PARK — Blake Rhodes doubled and singled twice while Wyatt Yates and Caleb Hare singled three times to power Ridgeley to a 14-4 victory over the Cumberland Kiwanis for a sweep of the Hot Stove League’s National League Championship Series Wednesday at Hamilton Field.

    July 31, 2014

  • Laurel’s Jake Snyder Laurel tops defending champs

    POTOMAC PARK — Falan Garner had three hits and chased home a pair of runs and Laurel held of a furious ninth-inning rally by Funkstown to beat the defending state champs 9-8 Wednesday afternoon at the Maryland American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Memorial Field.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sports Calendar - 07/31

    July 31, 2014

  • Sports Briefs - 07/31

    July 31, 2014

  • HEAT RILEY Riley insists Heat will be competitive

    MIAMI — One of the last things Miami Heat President Pat Riley told LeBron James before free agency began this summer was that he would be selling potential players on the notion of playing alongside a four-time NBA MVP.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • STEELERS Speedy Steelers rookie making quick impression

    LATROBE, Pa. — Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ORIOLES TRADE Orioles say they won’t dangle young arms for trade

    BALTIMORE — The Orioles apparently won’t give up some of their young arms to get pitching help this season, and that likely means Jon Lester won’t be coming to Baltimore.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stotler’s hit lifts Post 13 to 5-3 win Stotler’s hit lifts Post 13 to 5-3 win

    Brandon Stotler singled home Brady Hillegas to snap a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning and all nine starters hit safely as Fort Cumberland beat Severna Park 5-3 on a chilly opening night at the Maryland American Legion Baseball State Tournament Tuesday at Memorial Field.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • TOM BOSLEY Bosley returning to Southern sideline

    Tom Bosley is back, again, at Southern Garrett High School.
    And so are a few of his friends.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casselman beats North Side, 9-1

    Connor Christner fired a two-hitter and Lance Leydig had three hits to lead Casselman Valley to a 9-1 victory in the opening game of the Rec League Championship Series Tuesday evening at Frostburg State University.

    July 30, 2014