By Travis Clark
LANDOVER, Md. – When the U.S. Men’s National Team kicks off against the Brazilians tonight, it’ll be just another friendly.
Reading too much into it would be a foolhardy exercise, as nothing is at stake with a win, loss or draw.
However, all the work and effort Jurgen Klinsmann has put into renovating and refreshing the full national team in the past year is going to be put to the test against one of the best teams in the world.
“We want to improve on all elements of what we’re working on starting eight or nine months ago, and we want to see where we’re at against one of the best teams in the world,” Klinsmann said in a Tuesday press conference.
That’s what makes this an important matchup for the USA. And while it’s a bit unrealistic to expect a result against Brazil – even a Brazil that won’t have all its best players – the opportunity is ripe for Klinsmann to get an accurate reading of where this group is.
But although it is important, placing too much stock in it would of course be foolish. The goal, at the end of the day, is for the U.S. to make the 2014 World Cup, not to beat Brazil in one friendly.
A positive result – a draw or win – would be good, but it would also be rendered moot by a loss in either World Cup qualifier in mid-June.
With that in mind as the U.S. takes the field against Seleção on Wednesday night there still is plenty to watch for – can the U.S. hold possession against Brazil? Is it just going to be 90 minutes of constant defending?
“They love to dictate their own game, they use it to set the tone and they have wonderful players, there’s no doubt about it,” Klinsmann said. “But now it’s interesting to us, the situation is how much we can take to them. How can we kind of go eye-to-eye on the field in certain ways.”
We’ll soon find out as we learn more about where the U.S. progress under Klinsmann.