With all of the turmoil and questions surrounding Ukraine, the fact that the game was moved to Cyprus was better for everyone. It did leave a lot of last minute planning for U.S. Soccer, but they did a great job of getting everything sorted on such short notice.
With this being the last time that European based players would have a chance to get together before the summer camp, the game was always going to be an important one. After all players and staff met in Frankfurt, and having a few training sessions, the team charter left for Cyprus. The weather was much warmer then what we were accustomed to, but something we all welcomed. Some of us have not seen the sun for a few months so it was nice change.
We know that come Brazil, some things might not go according to plan, so this was a mini mental test with itineraries being changed last minute and adjusting our schedule. Everything from now until the summer is all preparation for Brazil and the game was against a very tough opponent in Ukraine. The result did not go the way we wanted, but we were able to see weaknesses and areas we can improve so come the summer we don’t make the same mistakes again.
Although we were only together for a few days, there is a real sense of competitiveness amongst the group as players are trying to put their best foot forward. Players know that opportunities don’t come along often and when they are given you have to make the most of them. Everyone wants to be on the plane to Brazil and the coaches are going to take the team they feel can compete against the best and more importantly, get results. Having the chance to represent your country at a World Cup is a highlight in any players’ career, so for someone like myself, to hopefully be able to do it again would be a dream come true!
Guzan is a current member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. He received the first of his 24 international caps when the U.S. played Guatemala in Frisco, Texas, on February 19, 2006. Brad was the goalkeeper in the now infamous “SnowClasico” match against Costa Rica, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win. Four days later, he played the full 90 minutes as the U.S. played Mexico to a 0-0 draw at Estadio Azteca, marking only the second time in history that the U.S. took a point away to Mexico in World Cup Qualifying. He has earned a remarkable five shutouts in eight career appearances in qualifying. At the club level, Guzan is currently the starting goalkeeper for Aston Villa F.C. of the Barclays Premier League. He has made over 50 appearances in league play since joining the club in 2008.