Jurgen Klinsmann says it's 'very clear' U.S. must defeat Guatemala
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes that Tuesday's World Cup qualifying rematch against Guatemala (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) is a must-win for the national team.
Los Chapines beat the Americans 2-0 on Friday in Guatemala City, their first victory against the U.S. in 21 tries.
"Obviously we came back not with the result we wanted in Guatemala," Klinsmann told reporters on Monday during his prematch news conference. "It makes the situation very clear: We need to win this game."
Klinsmann said he had re-watched Friday's game. He credited the Guatemalans for making things tough on the U.S., but said that both goals came because his team had made mistakes.
Still, he thought the U.S. had its opportunities to get back into the match and change the outcome.
"We had plenty of chances to turn the game around, to at least equalize the game," he said. "There's a sense of urgency around tomorrow night because we need to get three points now."
Klinsmann also defended his lineup choices from last week's defeat despite playing DeAndre Yedlin as a winger rather than his more usual position as a full-back and Geoff Cameron at right-back instead of center-back.
"I appreciate the discussion when you say, 'Maybe Yedlin should play right-back,' or, 'Geoff Cameron should play center-back,' but it would be also helpful if you look back a second to where they play with their clubs and also their history with the U.S. national team," the manager said.
"I know Geoff Cameron can play right-back and center-back; I know Yedlin can play right winger and right-back. This is a good thing for us to have, because we try to put the pieces together the best possible that they fit.
"So having that option with certain players -- Fabian Johnson as a full-back or a midfielder, where he does the same thing, transitioning in either position with his club team -- is good for us. So I'm not playing anyone out of position."
The Americans will again be short-handed. Defenders Matt Besler (concussion), John Brooks (knee) and Fabian Johnson (groin) didn't play last week because of injuries and won't on Tuesday; the three were released to their clubs team on Sunday.
On Monday, Klinsmann said that midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who took a knock to the ankle during Friday's contest, might not be able go either.
"We don't know -- Ale gives it a try [at training] this morning but we don't know if he can make it or not," Klinsmann said.
Klinsmann suggested he would not play Bedoya if the Nantes player was limited in any way.
"In a game like that [Tuesday] night, you have to be 100 percent," he said. "If there's any doubt about a player, then we're not starting him."
The U.S. currently sits third in Group C in the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying. Only the top two teams advance to the six-team Hexagonal, which will determine the region's three automatic berths at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
But the U.S. has also never lost to Guatemala at home, and the Americans are undefeated in all 10 of its previous games at Mapfre Stadium.
"We analyze the mistakes that we did in Guatemala City, and hopefully correct them and play a really good game tomorrow night," Klinsmann said.
"We need to win this game."