Fresh off a win in the Centennial Celebration Match against No. 2 ranked Germany – only the third time ever that the U.S. has beaten a team ranked by FIFA as a top two team in the world – the U.S. quickly turns its sights on the games that really matter.
Playing its third road match in the first four games of the Hexagonal, the MNT looks to keep the momentum going with a crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on the road against Jamaica on the horizon. To improve the possibility of leaving Jamaica with three points, the U.S. has traveled to Kingston three full days ahead of the match, a rare early arrival for an away game.
The extra time in Jamaica provides some big advantages. As a starting point, the team will have more time to get acclimated to the field and weather conditions, something Klinsmann felt was a major factor in the loss in Honduras in February.
“We really felt it was important to get the guys here early, get settled, and get used to environment,” said Klinsmann. “We learned back in February that when you only come in two days before to place where it is 90 degrees and really high humidity, it is simply not possible to adjust. So we will get in a few training sessions and experience what the field will be like, and we will be well prepared for Friday.
Thanks to an adjustment in the schedule based on Mexico’s participation in the Confederations Cup, Jamaica hosts El Tri for a qualifier tonight in Kingston, giving the coaching staff a first-hand look at the fitness and form of Friday’s opponent.
“This is a great opportunity for us to scout Jamaica just three days before our game,” Klinsmann added. “All of the players will be able to watch, so they can build on their knowledge as well.”
Coming off the win against Germany, the players are looking to ride a wave of confidence heading into a place where they have never won a World Cup qualifier, managing four draws and one defeat in its five games in Kingston.
“It gives you confidence. Any time you have confidence from a win it puts more wind in your sails,” U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said after scoring two goals against Germany. “You feel by getting a result against a team like this that you can go down and get the job done in these games in CONCACAF.
“They’re going to be tough games but we prepared by playing two top teams. We’re going to make sure we get as many points in these next three games as possible and put ourselves in a good position in the table.”