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Don’t look too deeply into U.S. friendly vs. Brazil

Written by Jahmal Corner

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.


 

By Travis Clark

 

Landover, Md. – The U.S. Men’s National Team is in final preparations for its friendly on Wednesday (8:00 EST, ESPN2) against Brazil.

 

Playing Brazil is always a big deal, even if nothing is on the line, as it’s a chance to measure up against one of the best teams in the world and the U.S. is facing nothing different when they take to the field then.

 

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and goalkeeper Tim Howard chatted with media on Tuesday. Some highlights after the jump.

 

Howard on the danger Brazil poses

 

“They like to dominate the ball, dominate possession, but clearly know we were good the other night on the counter attack. So I think it’ll be wide open, that’s how they like to play the game, but we’re going to try to do a few things to put the game into the way we like.”

 

Klinsmann on how they want to use the game

“Obviously, 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. As Tim said, they love to dictate their own game they use to set the tone, and they have wonderful players, there’s no doubt about it. 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 areas.”

 

Klinsmann on what makes Brazil so difficutl to defend

 

“The fascination of the Brazilian style is always how they change positions. Their strikers how they come into midfield, midfielders become strikers, even fullbacks become strikers. If you look at [Brazilians] Marcelo or Danilo, they are used to go play as right wingers. That is what their style is about and everybody likes to attack from there.

 

 

Klinsmann on how the U.S. has improved

 

“There’s no turning point. What we’re doing is simply working hard. So every time we have players in camp, we try to play high intensity training scrimmages. We try to work on a more aggressive and a more possession-oriented style.

 

“We try to introduce those elements, but you only have them for a limited amount of time. So then your games come along, you try to do it work the best way possible, and I think the players are starting to understand where we’re heading to. And it’s not heading to something that’s coming out of my mind, but it’s something that’s dictated by the best nations in the world.

 

“So if you want to catch up with Spain or other big nations like Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Holland, then you have to adjust to a way of doing things. And then we still have a way to go, and we know that. We’ll keep working, and hopefully it comes along with some positive results, because as Tim said, positive results give you more confidence, so you’re more convinced of what you’re doing.

 

“I think that our goal is to catch up, we have a lot of catch up still to do. Tomorrow is going to be a big stepping-stone for us, but I think that step-by-step we’re getting a little bit closer, but it will still take some time.”

 

Klinsmann on having a healthy Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey in camp

 

“We’re happy that Jozy finally joined the camp. He was not released by his club AZ Alkmaar till yesterday which made me very angry. It put Jozy in a very difficult position, because he had a couple weeks off, he was not allowed to train with us. The guys came in here on the 15th of May, they trained sometimes three sessions a day. He’s behind, it makes it very difficult for him to catch up.

 

“With Clint we are pleased, he’s back in the training, his groin injury is gone, but he also knows that he has to catch up. Finally we have the 23 guys together that we wanted, that gives us more options and opportunities.”

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