Just a small, but relevant, addendum to this morning’s post on the difficult circumstances of tonight’s contest in Mexico:
Jurgen Klinsmann, as noted, wants the mettle-testers, the tough matches. Oh, they’ll probably splash around in the shallow end for matches that punctuate the January camp, a gathering arranged annually to inspect younger elements of the player-pool herd.
But when it comes to presiding philosophy of arranging the friendlies, Klinsmann’s prefers legit tests over confidence boosters. He wants his team stretched. Bob Bradley had drifted that way as well in his later years in charge.
All that said, and in the interest of accuracy, I found out that tonight’s contest at Azteca Stadium was actually on the books prior to Klinsmann’s arrival. This is important, because the timing of it all did look a little half-baked.
U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe tells me this was part of a one-and-one agreement with Mexico. The southern border rival played here about this time last year – that was Klinsmann’s debut match, in fact – so tonight’s contest represents the reciprocal date.
That’s not to say Klinsmann would or would not have preferred this one; given the highly imperfect timing of this FIFA fixture date, you do wonder if future schedules might be adjusted to avoid such a stiff test in August?
But it’s good to know this, at least: this one was selected for Klinsmann, not by him.