Direct from Kansas City
It's Business as Usual for the World Cup-Bound U.S.
A trip to Brazil next summer is already on the books for the Jurgen Klinsmann-led squad, but the head coach won't let his charges relax. There's always more work to be done, reports Jon Arnold.
BY Jon Arnold PostedKANSAS CITY, MO—Jurgen Klinsmann wants his team to act like nothing has changed. Of course, everything has changed. The U.S. has completed its task and qualified for Brazil. Beyond the bragging rights that would come with topping the Hex and an immensely unlikely chance at getting seeded for the World Cup by moving into the top eight of the FIFA rankings, there's not much at stake in the final two qualifiers. Yet Klinsmann has called in his best available roster and won't be giving a free pass to the Americans' final two opponents in the Hex, Jamaica and Panama. It looked like business as usual at training Tuesday. Klinsmann looked on while assistant coach Martin Vasquez led attackers through drills during the portion of the practice open to members of the media. "The mentality is still the same. We want to win our group. I think you can see the players that he selected for these two games, we want to finish off on a good note," said left-footed veteran DaMarcus Beasley. "But, you know, obviously I'd be lying if I said we're not a little more relaxed coming into this camp knowing that we've qualified, but at the same time right now the spots are for Brazil, and everyone knows that." It's hard to imagine Beasley not making the World Cup roster. He's become a regular at left back but plays in the midfield for his club. Another versatile player who could end up on a flight to Brazil next summer is the Seattle Sounders' Brad Evans who returns to the national team after missing the September games with an injured calf. As someone who might be farther on the fringe than Beasley, he recognize the importance these final two Hex games can have. "There's only a couple of games until that roster is selected, so it's about putting in good, solid performances and hopefully solidifying your spot," he said. There's room for fun too, though. The team began assembling Sunday and, judging from the barrage of social media posts, thoroughly enjoyed a bowling outing Tuesday night. "Obviously the beginning of the week is a little bit relaxed and everybody's kind of laughing and very easygoing," Beasley said, "but obviously (Tuesday) we'll pick up the pace and come Wednesday, Thursday, we're full stride ahead and looking forward to getting to the next three points against Jamaica."
October 09, 2013
October 09, 2013