With only four games remaining to prepare for soccer's World Cup, U.S. players are spending almost as much time reacquainting themselves with late-arriving teammates as they are actually practicing.
Four players who joined the team within the last 10 days after finishing their seasons in foreign professional leagues are expected to play in today's game against German club champion Bayern Munich at Municipal Stadium.
After the arrival early next week of two more players from Europe, the only member who probably will not be available for the U.S. team's final pre-World Cup test June 4 at the Rose Bowl against Mexico is midfielder John Harkes. He is committed to Derby County in England through May 30.
With Saudi Arabia and Greece on the schedule next week, today's game is the only one the United States has remaining against a team that is not involved in the monthlong tournament that starts June 17.
As champions of Germany's first division, Bayern Munich is considered one of the world's most potent club teams. But there is some question about how seriously it is taking this game. Its four best players decided to join their national teams in preparation for the World Cup, and the others did not arrive here until 10 p.m. Friday after six days of vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
They will be coached by an assistant because their coach, Franz Beckenbauer, decided to begin his most recent retirement from the profession immediately after the playoffs in Germany. Choosing between playing golf near his home in the Austrian Alps and coming to Cleveland for a soccer game apparently was not difficult for him.