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Klinsmann not allowing USMNT to get complacent ahead of group stage finale

photo by Jim Brown/USA Today Sports


The U.S. Men’s National Team has already booked a spot in the quarterfinals, but do not expect Jurgen Klinsmann to allow his side to get complacent.

Klinsmann said as much Sunday night ahead of the USMNT’s third and final Gold Cup group stage match-up against Panama, scheduled for Monday night at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Entering its Group A finale, the U.S. has failed to really impress despite taking care of business by snagging six points from the opening two games. Lackluster against Honduras, the U.S. again struggled to muster much of anything this past Friday against a major underdog in Haiti before finding a winner in the second half of a 1-0 victory.

Because of the Americans’ struggles, Klinsmann said that his team is far from complacent and still has expectations to live up to regardless of if advancement is already secured.

“I think they understand the difficulties of this competition and the fact that people expect them to do well,” Klinsmann said. “They expect them to win the games and I think that’s a very good thing. The expectations are higher now and the fans want to see good games and want to see them succeed.

“With those expectations, you have to be on your toes. That’s what we want to see. If we see some things that don’t work out the way we want it, we talk about it. If there are some critics, that’s good.”

One of the more commonly criticized members of the U.S. to this point has been forward Jozy Altidore, who has struggled in recovering from an injury in the build-up to and throughout the Gold Cup.

Klinsmann has been quick to point out that Altidore will continue to be a focal point of the U.S. attack, as getting the forward back into a groove is deemed essential as the tournament wears on. In addition to Altidore, Klinsmann all but confirmed appearances for Alejandro Bedoya and Alfredo Morales, the two field players who have yet to make an appearance to this point in the tournament.

However, Klinsmann has indicated that he wants to continuing to build rhythm heading into the knockout stages. As such, a strong lineup is expected vs. a Panamanian side playing for its tournament life.

“There’s not much about resting,” said Klinsmann. “It was good for us that we started with a win right away against Honduras, and with the fact that games are every three games in the group stage, yes, you bring in a bit of a rotation system because some of the players are just not ready to play every three days.

“We used that rotation in the game against Haiti and now we have, again, the option to get fresh players into the game as well. That’s just a tricky situation with the group phase, but also it’s something positive as long as you get the results at the same time. ”

Klinsmann and his team know that the games that matter are around the corner, and need to be better prepared for them. That is why the focus is on not only beating the Panamanians, but doing so with a much-improved performance.

“Panama is desperate to get a result, at least a tie, but they will be looking for a win,” Klinsmann said. “Knowing that, it’s going to be another grind. It’s going to be another fight and we’re ready for it.”


  1. So looking at the line up. Interested to see how Morales and Bedoya look, Also do we have a starting back line or is it just a rotation now?

    Panama has to play for a win, a draw or loss makes no difference to them now. Should open the match up some.

  2. i would like to see the usmnt get in the habit of playing with intensity, the way they played against holland and germany recently and the way the wnt played against china, germany and japan. maybe jk should feed them less so they’re a little more hungry?

    if there is a style of play that has the potential to set us apart and that we can do well if we commit to it, it’s driving forward and playing on the front foot. laying back and bunkering gets us into trouble every time — even against teams like haiti and hondurus. these recent gold cup games could easily have left the usmnt floundering with 1 or 2 points in what jk has stated publically is our most important tournament. if it’s so important, why all the patience with players like altidore who are not fit and not producing. put dempsey and zardes on a diet of lean red meat. stop feeding altidore.

    • The US were underdogs vs Germany and Holland.

      THE US are heavy favorites vs anyone they will play from now on in the Gold Cup unless they face Mexico.

      Intensity should not be a problem vs. Mexico but otherwise every other Gold Cup opponent going forward will be bringing their most intense game when they play the US.

  3. The USMNT need to find some way of maintaining possession. That is why the counter attacks have been so many and so scary – our guys can’t keep the ball. Do that and I like our chances from here on out. posirive signs from Zardes, Deuce and Aron in the second half vs. Haiti. Add Yedlon back to the mix on one side and Fabian on the other and I like our side.

    • Right, Sheriffbart. Just usual coach talk, trying to balance all the differing dynamics. There is still the aspect of every appearance being a try-out for future call-ups. There’s also CYA with the fan base.

  4. In the knockout first round we are likely to face either El Salvador or Guatemala, so I think Klinsmann is crying wolf a bit here to make sure the US doesn’t slack off. Still, we shouldn’t have a tough game until the semi-finals and I would emphasize resting good players over a result in the Panama game. One of JK’s main goals has been to deepen the US pool, now it’s time to utilize that.

    • Crying wolf?

      Hardly. That is easy for you to say, you don’t actually have to get on the field.

      I guess you didn’t see Mexico stink it up vs Guatemala, a team that, on paper, does not belong on the field with Mexico.

      The US SHOULD beat everyone they might meet in this tournament going forward going forward but that does not mean they will.

      Have you watched the other games in this Gold Cup? Every one of the teams that the US MIGHT meet from now on is perfectly capable of pulling the upset.

      Arrogant, overconfident and complacent is no way to go through a tournament .

      • Coaches, do this all the time–inflate their opponents. Not totally buying it doesn’t mean complacent, etc. A lot of things COULD happen. Most of those coulds never will. I had a boss like that once and we spent a lot of time planning for things that never once happened. It was much wasted time and effort. You prepare for your next challenge and then move on. We’ve already beaten Honduras while not playing well so realistically, the main problem would be Mexico or CR. The Caribbean nations have been playing well, but remember we’ll be playing at home and we have by far the deepest squad which will have the most rest.

    • That was my analysis, too. All of Group B is still in play, however, and we could face any of Jamaica, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Canada in the QF.

      If El Salvador upsets Jamaica, and Costa Rica beats Canada, that knocks Jamaica down to 3rd at 4 points, and if the 3rd place team in Group A (Honduras / Haiti) were to beat out the 3rd place team in Group C on points, then we’d face Jamaica in the QF.

      A Canada win over CR likely sees us facing Canada and CR likely eliminated.

      A CR draw could see us facing CR in the QF, if the 3rd place results in Groups A & C are weak.


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