|S. CHERUNDOLOBack from injury|
Confidence is full for Gold Cup
SEATTLE - Leave it to the most experienced international veteran on the US Gold Cup roster to give this tournament perspective.
Right back Steve Cherundolo has been hurt since November. He had hip surgery in April. The 30-year-old defender was home last month while the Americans shocked top-ranked Spain in the Confederations Cup in South Africa, then led Brazil by two goals before losing, 3-2, in last Sunday’s final.
So for Cherundolo, getting back his starting job by playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup is as big as playing Spain or Brazil last week would have been. Right?
“Our goal is obviously to win the tournament. Anyone who doesn’t have that goal shouldn’t be here,’’ said Cherundolo, who has 51 appearances with the US team.
He joins veteran scorer Brian Ching as the two regular national team starters returning from injury to join the Americans’ quest for a third consecutive regional championship for North and Central America and the Caribbean. The 12th-ranked United States opens tonight against Grenada, a tiny island nation ranked 88th in the world.
“It’s a different tournament,’’ Cherundolo said. “I don’t think it’s comparable at all. There’s a lot more travel involved between games within the country. The teams are different, the level of competition is as well.
“But our goal is to win.’’
The Americans have never lost in Gold Cup group play, going 21-0-1. The tie was July 12, 2005, with Costa Rica in Foxborough, Mass. That’s where the US team will play its final match of the opening round, July 11 against Haiti. That will follow Wednesday’s game in Washington, D.C., against Honduras.
Haiti and Honduras play the first game of today’s doubleheader at Qwest Field.
Coach Bob Bradley has given most of the national team’s regulars the next few weeks off before the start of the European preseason or allowed them to return to their MLS teams.
“We know that at times there are many different factors that get considered when putting a roster together,’’ Bradley said. “But once we are together, our focus is to go about our business and the way we play.’’
Cherundolo, who grew up in San Diego, is excited to be back. And relieved. He played through pain for months after colliding with a Hannover teammate last fall. He missed the second half of the Bundesliga season plus five World Cup qualifiers and Confederations Cup following surgery April 20 to remove a calcification in his hip. He had to wait that long because the joint was too swollen to operate on it.
Canada 1, Jamaica 0 - Ali Gerba scored in the 75th minute to give Canada the opening-game victory in Carson, Calif.
Gerba volleyed Mike Klukowski’s left-wing cross inside the left post from 7 yards while being marked tightly by defender Claude Davis.
El Salvador 2, Costa Rica 1 - In the second game in Carson, Osael Romero scored his second goal in the 86th minute to give El Salvador the upset victory.