Everyone knows that U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann is a stein half-full kind of guy. That man could be starving – and still find something favorable to say about an empty cupboard.
But that does not mean Klinsmann cannot work up some good German consternation. I think we’re seeing something close to it seeping through the words, an early effort perhaps to head off any costly slippage in the critical days to come. Specifically, it sounds like Klinsmann wants his men mashing the doggone gas pedal right from the opening kick next week – and pity the poor man who sees another approach.
Just reading between the lines a little on his latest Q&A up at U.S. Soccer web site, Klinsmann is clearly bent on impressing upon his men the need to approach these matches with the ferocity of a chain saw.
No namby-pambying around and easing their way into it!
The upcoming games against Antigua and Barbuda a week from today and then the semifinal round closer against Guatemala, as we said in an earlier post, leave zero margins for error.
In the Q&A, Klinsmann notes the difficulty other teams in CONCACAF qualifying Group A have encountered when traveling into Antiqua for matches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. (Which is really a cricket ground, so who knows what kind of conditions the field may be in next week?)
The most telling bite from Klinsmann:
You learn obviously that you can’t take things for granted. Every game from CONCACAF, especially away from home, is very, very difficult. You have to be focused and mentally prepared for it. We gave the game away in Jamaica because we were not ready to fight against them, to take the physical challenges and respond to them. We gave away free kicks away in situations where we shouldn’t have and we paid the price for it.