Jurgen Klinsmann Speaks to ussoccer.com about Roster Selection for MNT Games vs. Honduras and Ecuador
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named a 22-player roster for the upcoming friendlies against Honduras and Ecuador. Of those, 20 players have already gotten a nod from Klinsmann in the first three matches. ussoccer.com spoke to Klinsmann about his thoughts on the roster, what he hopes to see in the upcoming friendlies, and specific notes on players.
Sep. 29, 2011
© Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
ussoccer.com: In looking through the list, there are 20 players on the roster who you have already seen in camp for the last three matches. How are you approaching roster selections at this point?Jurgen Klinsmann: “We would like to continue seeing our players develop through these initial couple of months. One important thing is to see continuity in the build-up of our national team and also in the way we work as coaches. We'd like to see new faces as well, but we also don't want to shake up the core structure of the team too much. We aim to build a consistency in our work approach with the established group of the team.”
ussoccer.com: What did you take away from the matches against Costa Rica and Belgium?
JK: “The two results with Costa Rica and Belgium didn't work in our favor but we saw clearly that the team started to understand what we demand from them in terms of pace, playing style and how to play. We are definitely on the right path, and what we now need to focus on in this get together is the eagerness to finish things off up front.”
ussoccer.com: What are the specific things you'll be looking for from this upcoming camp and the next two games?
JK: “I think from an overall shape we're looking good and people are starting to understand their roles. We need to step it up in terms of finishing things off and scoring. That will be our main focus, and we have to make it clear we have to put the ball in the net and build an inner drive to score. That comes with confidence and also with the higher pace of the game. We started really well, especially against Costa Rica. If we scored in the first 30 minutes the game would have been completely different but we didn't. We need to make sure we do score in these two upcoming games. Both teams will be a good benchmark for us. Honduras has nothing to lose and they'll probably approach us defensively. It will be difficult to break through that defensive wall they're going to set up. Ecuador is on a roll right now. They're an up and coming nation in South America with a very strong team and very good players. I think we will get a lot out of these two games.”
ussoccer.com: You have included Danny Williams on the roster, another player who was born in Germany and playing in the Bundesliga. What do you know of him?
JK: “Danny Williams is in a similar situation to Fabian Johnson during the last camp. We really want to see him with this group. He has tremendous potential. The coach at Hoffenheim is full of compliments and admiration for Danny, and I really want him to come in and get a first feeling for this group of players on the U.S. team. He's a player with a huge upside in the next couple of years. If it's possible to integrate those elements into a camp then we will continue to do that. Talking to his coach at Hoffenheim confirms he's ready for this step.”
ussoccer.com: Michael Bradley is also back in camp after a good start at Chievo Verona.
JK: “Michael Bradley comes back in after he's broken into the Verona team. I got very good feedback from people who watched him over the weekend. I sent a scout to that game and [Michael] was involved in both goals.”
ussoccer.com: You are getting your first look at Oguchi Onyewu with the U.S. team. Why is now the right time?
JK: "We are very pleased that he has fought his way back into the starting team at Sporting. He's playing 90 minutes every game and also participating in European competition. Now we have a chance to see him on the U.S. roster as well."
ussoccer.com: What is the status of Fabian Johnson?
JK: “Fabian is still recovering from the injury he suffered in training a couple weeks ago. The good news is he has received approval from FIFA for a change of association. He is now a U.S. player, and we look forward to having him back with us as soon as possible."
ussoccer.com: Jermaine Jones hasn't been able to break into the team at Schalke. How does that impact your plans for him?
JK: “It's a difficult situation right now for Jermaine Jones, but maybe he can get a chance to break back into the team at Schalke with a new coach. He knows that, and I've communicated with him that I want him to break into the starting 11 again to open the door for the national team.”
ussoccer.com: The U.S. team got bad injury news recently on two players. Unfortunate for Jose Torres, who had played a big role for you in the first three games.
JK: “Obviously Jose is out with his injury and we hope his recovery is as fast as possible. He did really well in our first three games and we will look forward to having him back.”
ussoccer.com: The news about Stuart Holden was quite unexpected, especially since he had begun playing again....
JK: “We're shocked about Stuart Holden's situation. I spoke to Stuart yesterday and he's really down right now because the injury turned out to be far worse than predicted. I went to Bolton and saw him in the reserve team and this is a big bummer for us because he was a big part of our plans moving forward. He will remain part of our plans and of course we wish him all the best as he goes through this difficult process again.”