090813_usmex_practice_olson_us_mex_jo_9-8-2013_0342_dxo Jeremy Olson for American Soccer Now
training report

Jurgen Klinsmann on U.S. Squad: 'We're Fully Loaded'

The United States head coach called in four players after losing a number of starters but he feels confident that the new arrivals can help beat Mexico in Columbus.
BY Noah Davis Posted
September 08, 2013
10:08 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio–It's a new day in the middle of the country, and the United States national team hopes to move on from the painful loss in Costa Rica on Friday night.

"No rain. No snow,"Jurgen Klinsmann joked as he stood on the edges of the pristine Columbus Crew Stadium before the Stars and Stripes training on Sunday evening.

Behind him, some fresh faces joined in a juggling competition with the 18 holdovers from the defeat to the Ticos. The loss of Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Jozy Altidore, John Brooks, and Michael Bradley–who will stay with the squad but won't play due to a sprained ankle–forced the head coach to call in Brad Davis, Clarence Goodson, Joe Corona, and Jose Torres.

"We're fully loaded," Klismann said of the reinforcements. "Our players are already part of that inner circle. They know exactly what we expect, how we want to play."

In San Jose, the Americans conceded two goals in the first nine minutes and tightening up the space between the lines will be a priority against a Mexican team that is beaten and battered but far from out. When asked if he thought El Tri was vulnerable, Tim Howard had a simple response: "Quite the opposite."

"Without being fearful, we're fearful of the fact that Tuesday night, they are going to be a heck of a team to play against," he continued. "They are not going to be this wounded animal. They are a heck of a team. They are going to cause us a hell of a lot of problems."

Klinsmann agreed with his netminder. "Their backs are up against the wall. They will come out and bite and fight," he said.

Unlike Tuesday's game, when 35,000 Costa Ricans rooted hard against the U.S., the Americans will have a decided home-field advantage in Columbus. The American Outlaws have 9,000 members headed to the stadium—more than a third of its capacity.

Goodson looked forward to playing in front of the supporters.

"Anytime we're in America, we're happy," he said.

The San Jose Earthquakes center back will likely pair with Omar Gonzalez in the middle. The duo combined to shut out the Ticos in the infamous SnoClasico game and will need to stay focused for 90 minutes.

The entire squad can learn from the mistakes in Costa Rica, but only so much, according to Howard.

"Sometimes you get your butt kicked. That's part of it. Sometimes you have to shake it off and move on. I think this group has the resiliency to do that," he said.

The prevailing theme of the match may very well be which squad shows more strength in the face of adversity. Can the Americans bounce back from the loss in Costa Rica better than Mexico does from its home defeat to Honduras and the axing of its coach?

Regardless of the outcome, there is a grudging respect between CONCACAF's two top teams. Each knows the difficulty of being the team lesser squads gun for over and over again.

Klinsmann, relatively new to the Hexagonal but coming to understand the process, had kind words for his fired counterpart as well as his replacement Fernando Tena.

"You wish Fernando best of luck, but certainly not on Tuesday night," he said.

Noah Davis is deputy editor at American Soccer Now. Follow him on Twitter.

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