13114_isi_usmnt_usmntmj010914122 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
U.S. National Team

Jurgen Klinsmann Expects Stern Challenge Saturday

South Korea likes to take the game to its opponents, but will it have enough left in the tank to provide a real challenge to the United States national team? Jon Arnold reports from Southern California.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
January 31, 2014
11:18 PM
CARSON, Calif.—Jurgen Klinsmann is excited to see his team line up against Korea on Friday at the StubHub Center.

"The reason why we asked South Korea to play this game, and we are extremely happy that they accepted that invitation, is it's a team that will high pressure you, that will interrupt your rhythm, a team that has tremendous amount of energy and individual talent," Klinsmann said at his news conference.

The high pressure would provide a test for his young back line and simulate the style they'll face from some teams at this summer's World Cup.

But after limping through a 4-0 defeat against Mexico in San Antonio and closing a tour of three games in seven days with this weekend's match, the Reds might not have the legs necessary to keep up a high-pressure attack.

Korean coach Hong Myung-Bo spoke about tempering his expectations for his domestic-based team after a tough week of travel and coming off a disheartening result.

"I think players are physically and mentally very tired, but I'm not anticipating perfect conditions," Hong said through a translator at a news conference Friday. "It's an ongoing process. It is a good opportunity for us to test our mentality as well as (physically)."

Hong also expects a difficult game from the American side and coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who scored against Korea while a young Hong was helping steer the Reds' back line.

"From my perspective, the American team is very good at physicality," Hong said through a translator at a news conference Friday. "They have coach Klinsmann, he's developed the team very well, so I believe that tomorrow is going to be a very tough match. However, like I expect from our players, they're going to do their best.

"I keep continually saying this, but how they overcome and how they adapt to this environment is going to be very important from my perspective."

Though the Koreans may be weary, U.S. defender Matt Besler still expects a test since it's an international match.

"Everything happens faster, you have to think quicker, you have to react quicker, move quicker," the Sporting Kansas City man said. "I would assume that the World Cup is going to be even a higher level than that, so that's what I'm expecting."

Klinsmann will hope the Korea team in Southern California provides a decent simulation of the level the U.S. will face at the World Cup. If not, the team still has several weeks of preparation in Brazil to count as progress with additional matches to come, though the manager bemoaned the fact that the matches left won't provide enough opportunities to see which players are worthy or roster slots. If so, it will be another in a long line of savvy matches scheduled by Klinsmann to make sure his team isn't taken by surprise in Brazil.

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