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Direct from Utah

The Right Stuff: The Yanks Have It, Want to Keep It

The United States men's soccer team is riding a wave of momentum as it prepares for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras. Jurgen Klinsmann is determined to take advantage of this good run of form.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
June 17, 2013
9:11 PM
SANDY, Utah – Vibes. Mojo. Juice.

However you want to describe it, the United States men's soccer team has it. They are on a roll, and there are a lot of smiling faces around the United States team these days.

But those smiles would quickly melt away if the U.S. loses to Honduras here Tuesday (9 p.m. Eastern; ESPN, UniMas). Worse, those scowls would likely last all through the summer, since the Americans don't play another World Cup qualifier until September.

“I reminded the team yesterday morning real quick on the field that I don’t want to have that feeling in my stomach any more like going out to Guatemala into the summer break like last summer with a 1-1,” Jurgen Klinsmann said during a news conference Monday. “A game that, Clint scored a goal, we pretty much had it in our pocket, and then we gave away a cheap, cheap free kick, which was perfectly executed. But you just don’t want that. You want to continue now to make this group grow and become more and more consistent in all the work on and off the field.”

Klinsmann is a man who knows mojo and positive thinking, but the less expressive Clint Dempsey also wants to keep the good times rolling. Dempsey and the other European-based players will have a bit of time to rest and relax after Tuesday’s qualifier, but Dempsey said his vacation would be clouded should it start off with defeat.

“You won’t have a good vacation if you don’t get the points tomorrow night, and that’s what we want to make sure that we do,” said the captain. “Put ourselves in the driver’s seat and make sure we qualify for World Cup.”

The team opened the Hex with a loss in Honduras in February, and the mood surrounding the team back then was decidedly less positive. Ahead of the next qualifier, The Sporting News published Brian Strauss’ landmark article about discontent brewing with Klinsmann at the helm of the national team.

Winning turned out to be a magic elixir for that bout of discontent, and things have been rosy since then, at least on the outside.

A second loss to Honduras, however, would make qualifying for the World Cup a less certain proposition. With three months to stew in whatever result is earned Tuesday, a win would go a long way toward keeping the positive vibes around.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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