Charlie Davies, a New England Revolution forward who also played at Boston College, was a breakout star for the 2009 US men’s national team before a car accident derailed his international career. He is in his first full season with the Revolution after he was acquired in a trade from DC United last August. He previously spent seven years playing in Europe.
While the Revolution continue to practice during the MLS hiatus, Davies has been keeping a close eye on the World Cup and has been able to touch base with the injured Jozy Altidore, a close friend of Davies.
We caught up with him to get some of his takeaways so far as group play reaches its final week in Brazil.
How is Altidore doing since his first-half injury against Ghana?
Jozy is a very, very close friend of mine, so it was very painful to see that. I’ve talked to him and he’s down, but his spirits are up.
On US coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup adjustments in Altidore’s absence:
It’s tough because I’m sure Jurgen never planned on Jozy being inured in this World Cup. I don’t think he had a backup plan for Jozy. … Clint [Dempsey] did a great job playing the high striker position. We had more possessions [against Portugal] due to that. That’s not Clint’s best position, but he did a great job. … Now I think it’s just about finding the right pieces in that five-man midfield.
On the sting of the 2-2 tie with Portugal:
I think we did a great job containing Cristiano Ronaldo for 94 minutes. … I think a draw versus Portugal was great. With that being said, we should’ve won. We’re still in a great position not losing that game. Now it’s set up for a pretty interesting match with Germany.
On the US’s performance thus far in the World Cup:
I’m not really surprised, to tell you the truth. … It took a little while for the players to get adjusted to what Jurgen wanted. … The [team] has really just taken a huge step toward being a country that the world has to respect.
Most underwhelming team:
I would definitely say Portugal. I think everyone would agree with that. ... They have not played well at all. Neither has Cristiano and it could be because of the knee, not knowing how bad it really is. The rest of his team hasn’t helped out at all. Nani, it feels like his mind is somewhere else. He’ll show up for 30 seconds here and then you won’t see him for another 30 minutes.
On Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa:
He’s been unbelievable. It makes me even happier knowing that I got a chance to score on him. He’s the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment and I’ve scored on him. [Davies scored on Ochoa when Mexico and the US played on Aug. 12, 2009 in Mexico City. The US lost 2-1.] He’s also a free agent, so he’s going to have the pick of the litter.
Where this World Cup ranks:
This has been the best World Cup that I’ve seen and I started watching in ’94. [Davies turns 28 Wednesday.]
Best game so far:
It’s tough to say. … Probably the [Netherlands vs. Spain game] just because it was such a shock no one expected it.
On the officials’ performances:
At the start, there were a couple of shaky performances from the officiating crews. They’re starting to get it together.
If it advances, which team does America want to avoid in the round of 16:
Belgium. They’re so dangerous. They’re definitely beatable. Every team is. … They have a lot of dangerous players who can create things out of nothing.
Strategy vs. Germany:
Usually when you go out to play for a draw, things don’t work out the way you want them to. The first half is going to be interesting. The second half you might see a big change in the way the game is played, keeping possession. It might end up being a tie. Come the 80th minute, that’ll start to set it. [Both teams may say], ‘We don’t have to take this risk and we can take our foot off the pedal.’ I think the first half, you might see a couple of goals.Rachel G. Bowers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @rachelgbowers.