U.S. team prepares for Barbados again

June 18, 2008

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Carlos Bocanegra and his American teammates expect Barbados to be more energetic on their home turf.

The U.S. team will not be complacent coming off an 8-0 rout of Barbardos in their World Cup qualifier in California on Sunday. The Americans know that Barbados will have learned from the blowout and will be hungry for a win.

"They're going to try to jump out on top of us," Bocanegra said Wednesday. "But we'll go out there and impose our game plan again and we're go out there and do a professional job."

The United States basically clinched the home-and-home series in one game with their record-setting win in the opening qualifier for the 2010 World Cup. Total goals decide who takes a two-game set, but the U.S. team is not viewing this weekend's match as a mere formality.

"We still understand that it's important to finish the job," said Bob Bradley, who is coaching the American team in a qualifier for the first time since replacing Bruce Arena.

The team practiced at a South Florida park Wednesday before an audience of about a dozen teenagers and an occasional children's group. There will be roster changes before this weekend's match, Bradley said, but he declined to elaborate. He released 10 players after the win over Barbados, including Brian Ching, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. All three had goals Sunday.

"The roster will change slightly," Bradley said. "We have some players that have had little injuries and have had long seasons, so we'll adjust the roster and therefore it also provides opportunities for some different players. All of those things, hopefully, keep us fresh and sharp."

The Americans scored three times in the opening 20 minutes against Barbados and added five goals in the second half. The margin of victory was the largest in the 92-year history of the American team, which is ranked 21st in the world.

"I'd say probably in a lot of ways, it can be more dangerous than positive," midfielder Eddie Lewis said of the rout. "Bob's done an excellent job of reminding everyone that although it was a very good performance on the day, we're to keep our focus and not get caught up in thinking that we're perhaps better than we are."

The only other time the United States scored that many goals was in an 8-1 victory over the Cayman Islands in 1993. The Americans had 7-0 wins against El Salvador in 1993 and Barbados in a 2000 qualifier. The U.S. team has outscored Barbados by a combined 19-0 in three meetings.

"Ultimately, we're just trying to build on performances," Lewis said. "Although it might not reflect necessarily in goals or shots on goals, there's lots of things that they teach that we need to work on. Hopefully we can adjust this weekend."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press