Comparing it to the 2014 World Cup opener against Ghana, USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called Friday’s Copa America Centenario opener against Colombia “starting a tournament with a final.”
While Costa Rica and Paraguay are far from slouches, Colombia is the best team in the United States’ group.
A win would set the tone for the group stage and, historically speaking, winning the first game gives teams a tremendous chance to advance to the knockout rounds.
In a Facebook live chat on Sunday, Klinsmann implied that his Yanks wouldn’t play for a draw against Colombia.
“We are going to go for it. We are going to do that and we are going to try and make it happen on Friday night because it would give us a big, big boost towards the game against Costa Rica and then finishing off the group with Paraguay. Similar to the World Cup, we need a good result in the first game.”
There’s no denying a win would be massive, putting Colombia up against the wall for both of its remaining games. Los Cafeteros have not kept a clean sheet in three matches, but all of those were wins. Their only losses since mid-June 2015 came against Uruguay and Argentina.