Direct from Sarajevo
Confident Klinsmann Targets Top 15 Ranking
United States men's soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants to build on his team's impressive 4-3 win over Bosnia. He says the Americans should target a Top 15 world ranking.
BY Graham Ruthven PostedSARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina—United States men’s soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann has set a target for his team: He wants the squad to break into the world’s top 15 after the 4-3 comeback win against Bosnia. Jozy Altidore’s hat-trick, complimented by Eddie Johnson’s neat finish from an Altidore assist, saw Klinsmann’s side complete a morale-boosting win against a high standard of opposition. But with more important games looming, the U.S. coach has bigger objectives in his sights. “We’re working on catching up with some of the bigger teams. Our aim is to break into the top 15 one day, “Klinsmann told ASN in Sarajevo. “There’s still some way to go, but I think you can see we’re getting closer to that. “We have a team now that can really play the game. We came here to play, move the ball, attack and not be too defensive. We went eye to eye with Bosnia and came out on top. However, it wasn’t plain sailing for the Americans, having to come back from a 2-0 deficit at the break. Klinsmann made a number of tactical changes, including moving to a 4-4-2 formation and introducing Edgar Castillo at left back while removing Mix Diskerud. Yet Klinsmann remained confident his side would find their groove in the second half. “Even though we were down I felt we were in the game. All that was needed was a few adjustments." “I told my players to stay calm and believe the change in momentum would come, which it did. We’re working on keeping the tempo of our game high, like European teams do, and when we did that in the second half we were better." “We kept hearing how Bosnia has four or five big leaders in their team, but I feel we have the same thing. Players like Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Jones in the middle can make the difference for us.” The coach gave Aron Johannsson his international debut in the second half—the player made the switch from Iceland this week—and praised both the AZ Alkmaar forward and fellow debutant John Brooks. “We were talking to him (Johannsson) for about a year-and-a-half trying to get him to play for the U.S., so to get him integrated is a huge positive,” the coach explained. “I think you saw his qualities in the 30 minutes he played, and perhaps now everyone understands why I tried so hard to get him to play for the United States. Together with John Brooks, they are two of our biggest young talents.” Now focus turns to next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, as the U.S. hopes to book its ticket to Brazil next summer. Klinsmann acknowledged that this week’s exercise has been to evaluate his options ahead of those games. “We’ve got a real rhythm at the moment,” he continued. “This game was important to me as it gives me the chance to have a final look over my players before the real stuff starts next month." “For us it’s important to see where our European guys are in their pre-season. That was part of the thinking behind having a mostly European-based team. And they’re looking good.” What did you think of the win, and Klinsmann's stated goal of reaching the Top 15? Share your thoughts below.
August 14, 2013
August 14, 2013