Jurgen Klinsmann took charge of the United States national team
10 months ago he promised to bring a change of style as well as
results and if Saturday's 5-1 win over Scotland is any measure
his influence is bearing fruit.
It was only a friendly against a modest team but coming
after the impressively ground-out away win over Italy in
February, the team's fifth successive victory was another
What pleased Klinsmann the most was the style with which
Scotland were taken apart as Landon Donovan helped himself to a
"We saw many elements of what we have been talking about. A
fast paced game, nice tempo, one-two touch combinations through
midfield, finding our forwards, having pace in the build up from
the back, no long balls," said Klinsmann.
"I think we saw all those elements. Obviously it is more
difficult to play that way against Brazil or against Italy but I
think the players understand more and more what we are trying to
Klinsmann's predecessor Bob Bradley, who took the U.S. to
the second round of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before
falling to Ghana, built a team that was strong on determination
and organisation but sometimes lacked the movement and flexible
shape the modern game demands.
On Saturday the former German national team coach played a
midfield diamond with Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley
dominant in the centre with Maurice Edu sitting deep.
With Jose Torres on the left and Landon Donovan on the right
there was never a shortage of a passing option and plenty of
creativity to feed lone forward Terrence Boyd.
Klinsmann says his message is getting through but also
suggests he is benefitting from key players blossoming with
their clubs at the right time.
Bradley has enjoyed an excellent season with Chievo Verona
in Italy's Serie A while Jones was strong in Germany and the
Champions League with Schalke 04.
"Over the last season a lot of players have just made the
next step in their careers, Michael Bradley, Jermaine, Fabian
Johnson, a left back of the highest quality, and we have Landon
back and he gives us the goals," he said.
The return of Donovan, who had not featured for the U.S.
since September, gave Klinsmann a major boost before the World
Cup qualifiers start against Antigua and Barbuda on June 8,
while Clint Dempsey, who scored 17 times for Fulham in the
Premier League, should also be back from a groin injury.
Before the bid for a place in Brazil 2014 gets underway in
Tampa, the U.S. face Brazil on Wednesday and then take on Canada
Klinsmann has set up the fixtures to simulate a tournament
and said that is now the next test for his team.
"That's why we have taken that approach. Now the players
have to just look ahead to the next game," he said.
"The players understand more and more what we are trying to
achieve but this was really fun to see some of those elements
that we have been working on."
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