AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tyler Adams admits American players weren't fully ready last month for the physical, fast-paced start of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF, where fields in Central America can by dry and bumpy, and atmospheres intimidating.
“Maybe we were just a little bit naive and we didn’t really know what to expect, and that’s why we had to use those first three games as a learning process,” he said Monday after arriving from Germany for the second set of three qualifiers. “It’s been one training, but at the end of the day, you can tell that the group is focused. ... just that game-by-game mentality.”
The U.S. opened with a 0-0 draw at El Salvador, a 1-1 draw at home against Canada and fell behind at Honduras before scoring four goals in the second half for a 4-1 victory.
The 13th-ranked Americans play No. 59 Jamaica on Thursday night at new Q2 Stadium in the first U.S. qualifier ever in Texas, then are at 68th-ranked Panama on Sunday and host No. 44 Costa Rica on Oct. 13 at Lower.com Field in Columbus Ohio another new venue.
Defender John Brooks was dropped from the roster on Monday because of a back issue and joined star attacker Christian Pulisic (ankle), midfielder Gio Reyna (hamstring) and defender Tim Ream (family issue) on the sidelines.
Players who had Sunday games in Europe with their clubs were still arriving Monday and missed the practice at St David’s Performance Center.
With only two days off between games, Adams was one of two Americans who played all 270 minutes last month, joined by defender Miles Robinson. A 22-year-old from Wappinger, New York, who is with RB Leipzig, Adams regretted looking too far ahead last month.
“I remember, even myself, I previously said, `Let’s get nine points in the window.' Let’s focus on each game and what we need to do in order to to to win each game. And then I think that’s going to set us up for the best success.”
Seventeen holdovers from last month are joined by D.C. United winger Paul Arriola, Columbus forward Gyasi Zardes, Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah and Lille forward Tim Weah, who have recovered from injuries.
Venezia midfielder Gianluca Busio and Mallorca forward Matthew Hoppe were added along with Tenerife right back Shaq Moore, Hoffenheim defender Chris Richards and Heracles midfielder Luca de la Torre.
“It’s on the players, it’s on the staff, for us to really be able to manage every moment," Arriola said. “A lot of these guys played in the last in the last round of games. So they have some experience. They know what to expect. They know what away games look like. They know what the home games look like. We all know how important this is for all of us in this country.”
Notes: Adams and Arriola both did not express an opinion on the U.S. Soccer Federation's proposal that U.S. men give up a portion of FIFA's World Cup prize money passed along as bonuses by the USSF. The federation proposed the men and women agree in collective bargaining to add their bonus payments together and split them to counteract FIFA giving far more in bonus money to the men than the women.
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