Aug. 10, 2008
We defeated Japan 1-0 to earn valuable points in our group. Norway leads the group with six, and they are through to the next round. We will play New Zealand in our next game and need to win or tie to advance. It was an emotional win, but, more importantly, how we played will give us confidence for the next game. We created a lot of chances and kept good possession at times against a very talented Japanese team. There was a pretty good crowd on hand, and occasionally we could hear chants of "USA, USA!" After the game, the players looked like they had been in a swimming pool - the humidity was close to 90%, and our medical staff was urging the players to take on fluids.
Today we boarded a train for Shenyang. Not quite sure why we have to move around in our opening round, but every team is in the same predicament. Ironically, New Zealand was on the same train in the same car, so we had a two-hour ride sitting opposite our next opponent. It was a pretty ride through the Chinese countryside. It was mostly flat, green, rice fields with some hills off in the distance. Most of the players and staff slept or listened to their ever-handy iPods.
Shenyang is a much bigger city, and our hotel is in downtown on a "Vegas like" strip. Our hotel is appropriately named the Marvalot! It is huge and very luxurious. The Brazilian men's team is staying here, and some of the players got to meet Ronaldhino, one of the biggest names in men's soccer. We settled in and will start tomorrow to gear up for New Zealand.