U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann directs training at Sao Paulo FC in Brazil during the second leg of the Americans' January camp. (Alex Silva/AP)
The U.S. men's national team is into the second leg of its January training camp, taking in the training facilities at Sao Paulo FC that it will be using during this summer's World Cup. Thursday, the U.S. men will play the first of two closed-door friendlies while in Brazil, taking on their host club.
According to Sao Paulo FC's website, the Tricolor and the U.S. men will scrimmage in what amounts to a tune-up affair for the Americans before the Feb. 1 friendly against South Korea at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. U.S. Soccer had previously confirmed that the U.S. would play two games during this part of camp, but it did not specify its opponents.
Sao Paulo FC boasts the likes of Luis Fabiano, who scored twice for Brazil against the USA in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup final to bring the Selecao out of a 2-0 hole, and Paulo Henrique Ganso, former running mate with Neymar when the two were at Santos.
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The U.S., meanwhile, has brought all 26 players invited to camp to Sao Paulo after initially announcing that it would only bring 23 from California to Brazil.
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“We have been extremely pleased with the performance of the group in the first week,” Klinsmann said in a U.S. Soccer statement on Sunday. “The players came in very fit and have done really well in training. Therefore, we believe they have all earned a chance to go to Brazil for these next 12 days. We are excited about getting down to Sao Paulo and continuing the work. This is a huge opportunity to get to know our environment for the World Cup.”
The details of Thursday's friendly might not make their way through the pipeline so easily. According to Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte
, the U.S. has asked Sao Paulo FC not to divulge the score
or details of the scrimmage.