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As pressure mounts, U.S. not afraid to joke around

After the United States defeated Turkey Saturday and the team began what would be about 20 hours of travel from Philly to D.C. to South Africa, I was curious how the team relaxed off the field, and more importantly, who supplied the laughs.

Turns out, the first guy I spoke with, midfielder Stuart Holden, is one of the team's class clowns.

"I'd say Steve Cherundolo and myself are kind of in the middle of everything," Holden said. "It's fun. Some guys get annoyed at the humor because you're always doing it, all the time, but it's good for the mood of the team and it really brings us closer together."

Captain Carlos Bocanegra said Holden is usually the culprit of any off-the-field shenanigans.

"All the guys are pretty good, but I think he's the biggest clown on the team," he said.

As for Cherundolo -- one of five players on the team over 30 -- he compared the constant tomfoolery to grade school.

"There's a lot of joking going around. It's basically a group of kids," Cherundolo said. "It's like kindergarten ... with grown men."

New York Sports