BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, August 11, 2011
When the US reconvenes next month for friendlies against Costa Rica in Los Angeles followed by Belgium in Brussels, Jurgen Klinsmann has made it clear that he expects his top European players to be there for both games.
The fact that the games are so far apart in distance has caused speculation that the rosters could be different for each of the games with the European based players playing only in the Belgium game.
Klinsmann was emphatic in his press conference following the Mexico game that the top players must regularly play with the US team at every game.
"Certainly our goal is to have them always with us. No exceptions," Klinsmann sternly stated. "Because if they are not flying to the US [but] if there are other European players flying to South America and play for those countries, there is no difference."
"I made that clear to the players that we expect them in camp every time because they have to defend or fight for their spot."
Klinsmann also stressed that roster competitions at every positions would be continuous and that his players would always have to earn their spot.
"We would like to at least double the positions and have always a challenger behind the established player - whoever occupies that position. It's really important because it's not that we have that much time with the players - especially with the European based players. We will use every day we can get."
Klinsmann was satisfied with his team's performance on Wednesday night against Mexico. In the second half he was happy that the Americans came from behind to control the game and equalize.
Still he said there is a lot of room for improvement and the first major steps must be in the team's backline.
"We definitely have to work on a lot of things," Klinsmann pointed out. "We, step by step, have to get more comfortable with the back four lineup but that comes game by game."
"I think that the most challenging part of building a team is the back four. That is the backbone of the team. Step by step we would like our back four to move further up - be more comfortable with it and connect better with the midfielders."