Klinsmann: US roster has started to buy in on new tactics

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Gold Cup: Streaking USMNT not about to let form go to their heads against Honduras
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Gold Cup: Streaking USMNT not about to let form go to their heads against Honduras

TORRANCE, Calif. – Jurgen Klinsmann and his staff had specific objectives for the closed-door scrimmage on Tuesday against Mexican champions Club Tijuana, and the US national team head coach said he was pleased with what transpired.

The Yanks pulled out a 3-0 victory Tuesday afternoon over the Xolos' largely reserve side, with Will Bruin scoring twice and Jeff Parke adding the third. But it was how they played rather than the scoreline that satisfied Klinsmann.

“Basically, we tell them, listen ... you need to understand our [tactical] principles within the national team and try to implement them,” Klinsmann told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday at the team hotel. “So every time you come back here, you know that we would like to play out of the back. We want the 'keepers to play out to the fullbacks. We want to keep it on the ground. We don't want to panic and throw long balls in.

"If it's the case, OK, but we would like to avoid it. We would like to have the midfielders ask for the ball, be the connectors to forwards. We would like to build partnerships over the wings: overlapping, keeping it wide when we attack, making it narrow when we defend.

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“So we have, like, seven, eight, nine bullet points that we talk about the whole camp that they understand. When is a moment for high pressure and how does high pressure really work? How do you I force opponents to the area where I would like to win the ball back? We worked on that for the last two-and-a-half weeks, and they started to really buy into it, and that's what we wanted to see in the scrimmage last night, and we saw that. This was nice to see for us.”

Klinsmann would not divulge which lineups he used in the first and second halves nor single out the most impressive performers, saying “they all did a good job.” He was looking “that they stretched their legs 45 minutes nonstop. We were looking for high tempo and we expected them to hit the wall a few times, which they did, but it didn't take long to be right back in the game.”

Bruin, in his first US camp, scored the first two goals, the first from combination play with Juan Agudelo, who “kind of slid me in, and I just had a one-touch finish by the goalie,” and the second off a ball from right back Alfredo Morales toward the top of the box, “and I turned in between both center backs and finished it, from the PK spot or around there.”

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He said the goals were “definitely a good confidence-booster. It's good to make a good first impression, it's always important. I'm just trying to control what I can control, and scoring is what I'm supposed to do.”

Said Klinsmann: “For strikers, goals is always the best argument you can give.”

What most impressed Klinsmann?

“It was good in the way there was a flow in the game,” he said. “The ball was moving around from one side to the other, but with one, two touches. We didn't waste too much time to kind of unbalance Tijuana, and therefore it was good to see those partnerships coming out. There was really no part to complain about.”

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