It is game day in Manaus - our boys will take on Portugal at 6pm local time. The weather as of 7:00am is beautiful - a mostly sunny blue sky day with the heat starting to build and the humidity needle sliding upward as well. But the weather at 7am does not usually look like the weather at 6pm on any given day in Brazil ... so we will see.
I love that the US Team does not talk or think about the weather. While other teams have obsessed over the weather and the field conditions our team uses all of their energy to focus on the input that they can provide during the 90 minutes that determine the result. That attitude starts with the coaching staff and as a fan of the team - I love it. After all we do have players who play in Houston and others who grew up in Florida. Furthermore we do our World Cup Qualifying in Central America and play in horrid conditions in Jamaica and Haiti. I predict that our attitude combined with our fitness will help us in the last 15 minutes of this evening's game.
Family Group hits the road at 12:30pm today after a security briefing by our Diplomatic Security Agents. I've had a chance to meet some of the Agents and they are an impressive group. They travel with us and stay with us and watch over us in airports, stadiums, etc whenever we are in our group. Thanks to the Department of State for the help. US Soccer will take us to a pre-game 'tailgate' of sorts and then on to the game.
The Family members are filing into the dining room for the breakfast buffet. The breakfasts down here are fantastic and the coffee is strong --- those two things are always in my top ten of important elements to a good start of the day. The fitness center here is better than the non-existent one in São Paulo but it is a bit spartan. Nevertheless I am going to go upstairs to it now and see if I can carve out a corner of the gym because I am sure that the Beslers and Zusis have already sent at least a scout group up to it this morning - if not the whole families.