First, a few words about the National Sports Center. Personally, not having visited NSC since the Thunder left at the end of 2003 allowed for several major changes in the interim. The marsh/mosquito factory behind the east stands is now Schwann's Super Rink. The north end of the stadium is now home to a large visitor and concession area.
While the Jimmy has an atmosphere that the NSC has always lacked, the NSC has an air of professionalism a high school football field can not hope to offer. Matt Schmidt echoed that sentiment earlier in the week when talking about how excited he is to play on the large and well maintained field in Blaine. Schmidt is one of the few players to have played at the stadium with the exception of last season's exhibition against Dorados.
Maybe it was the professionalism of the surroundings, maybe it was the 4-0 result in Montreal, maybe I've never been to a professional practice before and don't know what I'm talking about, but the team seemed focused and driven. The demeanor throughout practice was serious. Mistakes were called out by teammates. Players were competeing to win.
There will be a few minor surprises in the starting lineup for tomorrow's game. However, the lineup was only partially overheard and I did not ask, nor was given permission to publish it so I won't post it here. If you happen to catch me at the Sweetwater for the US vs. Venezula game I'll fill you in.