101212_antiguatraining_isi_usmnt1011123493 John Todd/isiphotos.com
One Question, Six Answers

What Will It Take for the U.S. to Control this Match?

The U.S. men's soccer team has been unable to dominate opponents for 90 minutes during World Cup qualifying. So we asked Jurgen Klinsmann and several key players what it would take to do so on Friday.
BY John Godfrey Posted
October 12, 2012
3:26 AM
ANTIGUA—What do the coach and players have to say about the key issues related to Friday's World Cup qualifier against Antigua & Barbuda? We thought we would ask the questions, listen to their answers, and get out of the way. Here's the first of several pieces built around discussions we had Thursday night at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.


Jurgen Klinsmann: It takes, absolutely, the right focus and attitude from the first second on. You’ve got to be really sharp and able to adjust to whatever happens during the game. If it’s a bouncy field in the middle, if it’s a narrow field, if it’s long throw-ins from Antigua, you need to take it the way it is and adjust to it and go forward. We have to be very alert. We have to force things too: keep pushing, keep pushing. And then we have to be there when mistakes happen to finish things off. We have to bring that attitude from the first moment on. You can talk and talk it, but [the players] will be on the field and hopefully they listen and do it.

Michael Bradley: It's a lot of things. You can talk beforehand about your game plan. You can talk beforehand about what you want to do. But there’s also a part to playing in these kinds of games, in these kinds of qualifiers, where you have to be good at reading the game and recognizing as the game is going on what is working and what is not. When we talk before the game about the things we want to make sure that we’re about, we want to make sure that we’re committed from the first whistle, committed in our reactions to go forward, committed in our reactions to close down and chase and make the game hard for them. Being good and sharp and clean with the ball and letting them get frustrated with us having possession. It’s a lot of things.

Geoff Cameron: I think we’ve got to come out with a high tempo—kind of like we did in the Jamaica game [in Columbus]. But we can’t take our foot off the gas. Once we scored in that game I think we took our foot off the pedal a little bit and settled in, and we got a little bit too comfortable. Anywhere you travel to, the crowd and the referees are against you. So if we keep that in mind we can do a good job and take care of business.

Sacha Kljestan: It’s going to take ball possession and hopefully an early goal. It’s going to be hot. It’s been hot in Miami during training and it’s going to be hot here, so we’re trying to get used to it quickly. Hopefully we’ll have the ball a lot during the game and we won’t be doing a lot of useless running. Hopefully we’ll score an early goal and open them up a little bit and really take control of the game.

Carlos Bocanegra: We need to get up in their faces and not let them play. But the biggest thing is we can’t open ourselves up and be vulnerable. We need to stay organized and very disciplined. We can’t try to get three goals in the first 10 minutes. If it happens, great. But it never happens like that. We need the win. We’d like to get as many goals as we can and put the game away early. But we've got to stay concentrated.

Graham Zusi: I think we need to come out and impose our will on these guys. Obviously this is a huge game for them and us. We’re looking for nothing less than maximum points in this game so I think you’ll see us come out and put quite a bit of pressure on them offensively and defensively. We want to get goals and we want to come out with a win.

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