BY SEBASTIAN SALAZAR (@SebiSalazarCSN)
Never one to mince words, U.S. National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann left no doubt as to his feelings about Baltimore following his team’s visit to Charm City last weekend.
"We really enjoyed every day here, it’s an absolutely gorgeous city,” Klinsmann said after the United States’ 6-0 win over Cuba at M&T Bank Stadium. "The venue is great. Having more than forty-thousand people against Cuba is outstanding -- it’s a growing soccer city.”
Since debuting with the national team in 2001, DaMarcus Beasley has played plenty of national team matches in the Mid-Atlantic region. The veteran defender -- who has enjoyed a front-row seat for soccer’s growth nationwide -- was quick to echo his coach's sentiments.
“This area is growing as far as from a youth [soccer] standpoint and fanbase standpoint,” Beasley noted. “It’s always great to be here and the fans were amazing. They weathered the heat and they were definitely our 12th man out there.”
Baltimore’s fans weren’t alone in receiving praise. The playing surface at M&T Bank Stadium also drew plaudits.
“They’ve done a very good job with the field as well you know,” Klinsmann added during his post-match press conference. “We had some other fields where it was not so easy to play. The field today was fine for both sides.”
Perhaps no one appreciated the location of Saturday’s Gold Cup quarterfinal quite as much as Kyle Beckerman. The U.S. midfielder grew up in nearby Crofton, Maryland -- providing Beckerman a rare opportunity to represent his country in his own back yard.
“I remember watching these national team games right here and at RFK just down the street -- so to be able to play in them is just a dream come true,” said Beckerman, who started and played 67 minutes in the win. “[There’s] nothing like it. It’s an incredible experience and you don’t get many like them, so I don’t take any for granted.”
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