ussoccer.com: What will be your approach to these October friendlies?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “These two games are very important for us because it’s the last time we can see certain players before making the decision on the 23 going in to represent us for the Mexico and Costa Rica clashes. There’s a lot at stake for the players to make their case, to show where they are right now. We have the opportunity to bring some players back that haven’t been with us for a little bit, and we want to see if they can put a stamp on this camp and have a chance for being in the roster next month. The bigger picture behind this is definitely Mexico and Costa Rica, and these two games will show us a lot about individual players.”
ussoccer.com: Does this roster help with the competition for spots on the field?
JK: “Obviously we have our core of players that took us through a very successful Copa America and the recent games, but at the same time you constantly evaluate and observe what the players are doing that are knocking on the door. Some of the players really deserve a look. Lynden Gooch is a very talented, young player coming through at Sunderland. Danny Williams has had an outstanding season so far for Reading. So you have some players that you would just love to have a closer eye on for those 10 days, and this is the opportunity now to do that. We’re very curious to see how they perform.”
ussoccer.com: What is the thought process behind giving some of the MNT’s younger goalkeepers an opportunity in this camp?
JK: “I think the goalkeeper position is unique. Obviously we have the two experienced guys with Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Both are in different situations right now – Tim is obviously very busy with the Colorado Rapids and Brad is not getting the opportunity to play at Middlesbrough. I think it’s a perfect time to give an open window to three younger goalkeepers with William Yarbrough, Ethan Horvath and David Bingham. That’s why we decided to leave the two older guys out and give these three youngsters a chance to prove their point. That kind of opportunity is very rare.”
ussoccer.com: Should players that are trying to fight their way into the roster and even the starting XI look to what Sacha Kljestan accomplished last camp as an example for what they can do to make their case for November’s World Cup Qualifying matches?
JK: “These types of games are there to have players compete for their spots on the National Team. I think Sacha Kljestan is a very good example. He took that chance. He really jumped on it, and that’s what we expect from players when they come in. We expect those that aren’t in the starting XI to push to be difference makers. Players who get a chance to come can’t just accept going with the flow. We need to see whether or not they are able to make a difference. That’s how you make your case.”
“For Danny Williams, we recognize his good performances over the last two months with Reading. Now the task is to come in here and show us you’re a difference maker when you get on the field. Timmy Chandler is playing a good role at Frankfurt right now, and he has a similar possibility. Now coming into the National Team, they know what that have to do. The National Team always has an open-door policy. Young, old, it doesn’t matter. But if you come in and get the opportunity, then you have to grab it. You have to put a stamp on it. That’s what Sacha did, that’s what Pulisic is doing. He’s making a difference when he comes on the field, it doesn’t matter if it’s from the bench or from the beginning. Bobby understands that now after two years of building that belief in him. Now when the players come in they know it’s a competition, and at every position we have very good competition. So if they want a spot, I expect them to get their message across. I’m sure everyone wants to be in the starting XI in Columbus on November 11.”