The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, right?), we're previewing all the participants, bringing you Four Things You Don't Know About Them. Today: the United States! And for World Cup previews that are even better than ours, check out That's On Point, who helped us with these as well. For the next two days, by the way, we'll be featuring leftover tidbits from all the teams. So if you have something you haven't seen here, send 'er over to tips@Deadspin.com.
• 1. Mr. Johnson's Neighborhood. Even if you hate soccer for whatever stupid reason you have, remember this name — Eddie Johnson a.k.a. GAM (Grown Ass Man) — the finest and perhaps only good thing to ever come out of Palm Coast, Fla. Four international games: SIX goals. (That's LeBron territory.) — (thanks to Mike Cardillo).
• 2. Not Looking Mah-velous. Assorted quotes from U.S. coach Bruce Arena, on his team's loss to Morocco on Tuesday: "They shortened the game with fouling, delaying and both are fair and within the rules of the game." ... "On the other end, we weren't sharp." ... "We were a little leg weary, a little over-trained at this point." ... "If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change anything we've done." ... "Our objective is still to look ahead to June 12 and not necessarily these games, although we certainly would have liked to have a positive result tonight." Please print these out, clip and use again in June! It's fun!
• 3. I, Claudio. U.S. captain Claudio Reyna will have an MRI today to determine the extent of a hamstring injury which forced him to retire in the 16th minute of the Morocco match. Reyna tends to think he'll be OK, and he should know; he's had every injury known to man. The Send-Off Series continues on Friday at Cleveland Browns Stadium as U.S. takes on Venezuela.
• 4. Meet Landon Donovan. At age 16, Landon Donovan took a teddy bear given to him by a girlfriend on all road trips, despite the mockery of his teammates. It is said that he left Germany to play for the San Jose Earthquakes because he was homesick ... Donovan, who now plays for the LA Galaxy, had two goals in the 2002 World Cup, leading the U.S. team to the quarterfinals; its best showing in 72 years.