Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What the World Cup draw means for U.S. soccer

Over the course of 12 days, the team will travel over 9,000 miles for their three games-more than any other World Cup squad. What's more, the second of the three games-against Portugal-will be played in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

What the World Cup draw means for U.S. soccer

0 comments
The United States soccer team. (Jay LaPrete/AP)
The United States soccer team. (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Friday’s World Cup 2014 draw was wildly panned by fans of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT), as the team was selected into the foreboding “Group of Death” alongside Ghana, Portugal and Germany for June’s world championships in Brazil.

The matchups alone are enough to give fans apprehension—Ghana, the nation that’s eliminated the USMNT from the last two World Cups, alongside perennial powerhouse Germany and Portugal, who feature one of the world’s best in Cristiano Ronaldo. But the conditions in which the USMNT will play their games offers equal cause for concern.

Over the course of 12 days, the team will travel over 9,000 miles for their three games—more than any other World Cup squad. What’s more, the second of the three games—against Portugal—will be played in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

Concerns about the conditions have already caused enough uproar to cause the game to moved from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. local time—out of the worst heat of the day—but this game promises to provide the USMNT with their stiffest test, in terms of conditioning.

More coverage
 
More soccer coverage from The Goalkeeper
 
USA 2015 Women's World Cup Champs Gear & Collectibles
 
2015 Philadelphia Union schedule
 
Major League Soccer national TV schedule

“It’s going to be difficult—for both teams,” says Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC, who’s worked extensively with the USMNT. He traveled to South Africa for World Cup 2010.

“Most of Portugal’s players are playing professionally in Europe. They’re not accustomed to that climate either. If they were to be playing against a South American country in that environment, the South American nation would have an advantage because of their familiarity with the climate.”

Shaginaw adds that people can’t focus on the environment in Manaus as the only challenge the team will face. “It may not be as hot as the jungles,” he admits, “but those other two aren’t exactly going to be mild, either

In terms of travel, Shaginaw says that the advantage in South Africa was the ability to set a home base, and drive to and from each game. That won’t be possible in Brazil, with games being played throughout the nation at points hundreds and even thousands of miles from one another.

It may sound funny, but at least with all the travel the players won’t be cooped up indoors all day. Shaginaw explains.

“There are pluses and minuses—in South Africa, we couldn’t leave the hotel without security detail—and my understanding is it’ll be pretty much the same in Brazil,” he adds. “In Europe, the players can kind of come and go—they can walk around town, have coffee… you can’t really do that in Brazil.”

The travel, he added, can be notoriously difficult on team staff members who are responsible for transporting about 10,000 pounds of gear to and from each game. “Warm-up gear, cleats, Gatorade, etc… shipping all that stuff back and forth can take a toll on you,” Shaginaw says. “But for the players? They might like the change in venue—a chance to get out of that same hotel you’ve been in for the last 20 days.”

In the end, while Shaginaw admits there’s a decided advantage for South American sides in this tournament, he adds that there’s reason for optimism for USMNT supporters. “If they can make it out of that group, they should have a good shot of going pretty far in the tournament,” he says. “All three of their opponents are strong teams, so if they can make it past that group, that’s evidence you’ve got a pretty strong team.”  


Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

J. Ryan Bair, PT, DPT, SCS Founder and Owner of FLASH Sports Physical Therapy, Board Certified in Sports Physical Therapy
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Ellen Casey, MD Physician with Drexel University Sports Medicine
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Justin D'Ancona Philly.com
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Brian Maher, BS, CSCS Owner, Philly Personal Training
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Gavin McKay, NASM-CPT Founder/Franchisor, Unite Fitness
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Producer, Philly.com
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor, Philly.com
David Rubenstein, M.D. Sports Medicine Surgeon, Rothman Institute
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
Thomas Trojian MD, CAQSM, FACSM Associate Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at Drexel University
Latest Videos
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter