Brad Davis’s inclusion and the infusion of youth in Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster could be potential explained by a healthy respect for the Brazilian climate’s potential to impact a team’s performance. Even though it will be winter time in Brazil everyone is planning on the heat and humidity of Brazil to play a significant role in the World Cup. The Brazilian players union has even sued FIFA about the kick-off times for games.
The players’ federation filed a lawsuit this week to change kickoff times of the 24 matches scheduled to start at 1 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), saying players would be at risk because of intense heat and humidity in some venues. It said FIFA, at least, must introduce two-minute water breaks in each half during those matches. – CBS News
Apparently, the heat is such a worrisome issue that some people think it is worth suing over. Having grown up in North Carolina (I had a 6 inch wide vine in my yard), lived in Southern California (I experienced 122 F heat out int he desert), and currently living in Utah I have experienced different types of heat. Heat and humidity definitely can sap your energy quickly, and you can almost get used to playing in it. I think that is part of the reason why Brad Davis is on the team and not Landon Donovan. Playing in LA is very different than playing in Houston. Thus, part of the reason why the Houston Dynamo have the longest home unbeaten streak in MLS history. One has to manage their effort more in heat and humidity.
Plus, the USMNT will have to deal with long travel times that their bodies will need to recover from. In 2002, when the World Cup was played in South Korea and Japan (not really known for heat and humidity) Bruce Arena was quoted as saying that the World Cup is a ‘young man’s game’. I would guess that Klinsmann is betting that the climate will play a big part in Brazil, and he has decided to bet a little more on youth and those with experience dealing with heat and humidity. European teams have historically done much worse in South America than in Europe and vice versa. Interestingly, a lot of South American teams have players who play in Europe. I wonder how much this will affect their acclimatization. Also, I recognize that the heat and humidity will not have the same impact in all venues. Plus, I think Donovan would have done just fine with the heat and humidity as a sub.
Basically, I believe the Brazilian climate and the expected especially grueling nature of this upcoming World Cup campaign significantly influenced Klinsmann’s recent roster decision.