Jurgen Klinsmann: United States won't abandon plan to play 'proactive' style
HARRISON, N.J. -- Jurgen Klinsmann will not abandon his ambitious plan to for the U.S. national team to play "proactive" soccer, the coach said on Monday.
Klinsmann's side meet Costa Rica in a friendly in Harrison, New Jersey on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), three days after they were beaten 3-2 by Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup in Pasadena, California.
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El Tri enjoyed the majority of the possession in that match, and afterward Klinsmann conceded that his team -- which was pinned into its own end of the field for much of the second half -- had absorbed more pressure than intended.
"It's our goal, and I think we should still have this goal, to shift and to move one step at a time into a more proactive style, to more possession if we can, and start to dictate certain games," Klinsmann said. "How realistic it is depends a lot on the top teams in the world and how they let you play that style."
Historically, the U.S. has enjoyed some of its best results by defending first and then punishing teams on the counterattack. This approach helped the Bob Bradley-coached side advance to the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup and, under Bruce Arena, the quarters at the 2002 World Cup -- the country's best finish in the tournament since 1930.
On the day he was hired four years ago, Klinsmann declared his intention to instead stand toe-to-toe with the global elite.
The U.S. has often reverted to its default setting against more talented foes, however, including in its Round of 16 loss to Belgium at last year's World Cup in Brazil. That led to questions about the limited American player pool's ability to execute the German's grand plan.
Even after the Mexico loss, Klinsmann remains undeterred.
"In general it should be our goal to be more on the creative side and on the possession side than reacting to the game," Klinsmann said. "Now, there are games you have to react to certain things that happen, and we reacted too much in the second half against Mexico, to their game.
"I think we got ourselves back together and on a better path in the extra time period," Klinsmann continued.
"We were closer to the third goal than they were, but they scored it at the end of the day. So it's a process -- an ongoing process.
"I cannot predict how long it takes. But you have to have a goal. If you don't have a goal, then you just stick to the status quo. I think that would be the wrong way."