No one yet knows if the United States is going to be any good under Juergen Klinsmann, but the new coach's first squad announcement on Thursday immediately confirmed one fact.
They won't be boring.
Part of Klinsmann's soccer philosophy involves creating an identity for the teams he leads such as the attacking, youthful mindset he instilled in the Germany side he took to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup.
There were some questions regarding which approach he would take with USA, given the different level of technical ability at his disposal, but the 22 players selected for next Wednesday's friendly against Mexico in Philadelphia spoke volumes.
Klinsmann – and the team he took over after Bob Bradley's firing last week – is going to go on the offensive.
The group that will head to Philly is not a full-strength selection. Clint Dempsey and Stuart Holden have been given permission to remain in preseason training with their English club teams, and many of Klinsmann's picks really were about seeing what depth he has at his disposal.
A new coach means a new chance for a long list of players, especially those with a strong attacking element to their game – players like D.C. United's young goalkeeper Bill Hamid; Mexican leaguers Jose Torres, Michael Orozco, Edgar Castillo and DaMarcus Beasley; and Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman. Some may never be seen in national team colors again, but all will get the chance to stake a claim for a regular place that had slipped away under Bradley.
Castillo likely will be deployed at left back, where he can use his lightning speed to bomb up the flank. Torres was ditched after the World Cup due to his weak defensive skills in midfield, but he has the ability and inspiration to create chances moving forwards.
They may crash and burn. Or, they may find that Klinsmann breathes fresh life into two international careers that were stagnating.
Other youngsters like Brek Shea and Timmy Chandler also were selected, and both surely have bright times ahead with the national team. Shea is blossoming with FC Dallas, while Chandler, who grew up in Germany, looks very much like the long-term answer at right back.
And then there is Freddy Adu. Bradley's final throw of the dice was to bring Adu in from the cold and start him in the Gold Cup final, a move that worked wonders for 30 minutes before Mexico responded strongly to take the title.
Could it be that, under Klinsmann, Adu will not be a last resort or emergency measure but a central part of the tactical manifesto? If so, it will be the ultimate indicator that the German is committed to outplaying teams with offensive purpose, rather than trying to grind them down.
A large part of the criticism regarding Bradley was that his team became too defensive – essentially a counter-attacking unit. Such an approach actually worked with decent effect against elite teams, like vs. Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup and England in the World Cup opener last summer.
But when there was a need to break down an opponent with creative ingenuity, the spark was lacking. The solid formation marshaled by Bradley's son Michael at the heart of midfield often could not step up the tempo when needed.
Klinsmann's decisions may have been affected by several factors. One is that the U.S. simply does not have the kind of rock-solid defenders to make a cautious approach viable. The team always is going to give up some goals, so it might as well go out and try to get a few at the other end.
Another theory is that this is just Klinsmann's way. As a forward himself, it would be out of sync with his personal soccer beliefs to take a stance that was overtly defensive.
Then there is the reality that Klinsmann is a smart man who knows that politics and perception play a huge role in modern soccer. By adopting a tactical blueprint that is about as opposite to that employed by his predecessor, he is distancing himself from a regime that, perhaps unfairly, was considered unsuccessful enough to demand a change.
Klinsmann's USA is a blank canvas and how he fares is anyone's guess. One thing is for sure, though.
If he goes down, he will go down fighting.