Leading the Hex

Now USA sits alone atop the Hexagonal halfway through the final round of qualifying w/ a well deserved 10 points. It’s becoming clear what Klinsmann wants from our squad: to be fit enough to push the game and play w/ relentless effort for the full 90 minutes. Here’s Klinsmann’s comments about what he wants from the team following the 2-0 victory last night over Panama:

“As coaches, we always want to improve things. No matter what stage you take over a team you just want to help the team to get better and you want to give them as much knowledge as possible and as much guidance as possible in order for them to improve, to grow, and to start fine-tuning things and that’s what we said over the last couple of days. We want to fine-tune things. We want to improve the understanding on the field. We want to build partnerships. If it’s on the flanks, if it’s the two centerbacks, if it’s Jozy [Altidore] and Clint [Dempsey] up front, if it’s Michael [Bradley] and usually Jermaine Jones – today it was, in a very, very strong way, Geoff Cameron, we want to just improve that one game at a time. I think that they are growing in that process. When you bring young players along you want to give them that opportunity, too. I think the players, no matter if it’s a more experienced one that comes in like Brad Davis or it’s a young player like a Joe Corona, they understand their roles. They know now that’s what we demand from them. Obviously overall as a team we want to just get better and improve and be able then to compete one day with the best out there.”

Finally, it seems that Josmer Altidore is getting comfortable and playing with confidence. Many were worried about not having Jermaine Jones for this match, but as long as Michael Bradley is on the field, I don’t think it matters that much who is beside him. Bradley makes everyone on the team click.

Klinsmann on moving forward in the Hexagonal vs Honduras next week:

“We just need to get points after points. Next week is huge. We want to finish these couple weeks now with another win. Again, I said it today and I will say it again before that game, it’s a must-win. You’re at home, you’ve got to win your home games, then it makes it a lot easier going where we need to go. It’s going to be our job next week. If that happens then that would be just a very good position to have going into the fall period with four more games to go. But I think the team realizes now that you have to give everything you have, and you have to also learn to manage a game when you’re a goal up and go for the second one, and not just thinking you’ve got to hold that result. I think that’s what they did today. They were really eager and hungry to add another goal. And we could have added another one or two, but we are fine with that. It’s important that they keep playing, their rhythm, their pace, with their confidence going forward constantly. That’s really what pleased us a lot today.”

Eddie Johnson on scoring:

“It’s a dream come true. To play in the U.S. jersey, first of all, is an honor, but to play in front of my fans that I play in front of week in and week out—I couldn’t have asked for a better feeling after the goal tonight.”

HEXAGONAL

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
USA 5 3 1 1 6 3 +3 10
CRC 5 2 1 2 5 3 +2 8
MEX 6 1 0 5 3 2 +1 8
HON 5 2 2 1 6 6 0 7
PAN 5 1 1 3 5 5 0 6
JAM 6 0 4 2 2 8 -6 2
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