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Klinsmann: USA has catch-up to do
by Paul Kennedy, May 14th, 2014 10:47PM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP 2014] The USA began its World Cup preparations on Wednesday with 21 of 30 players on hand and all expected by the end of the weekend. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has until June 2 to cut his roster down to 23 players, and he says he may need until then to get it done. "We have 50-50 battles all over the place," he said.

While the USA's three Group G opponents don't begin training until next week as they await the release of all their players following the end of the European club season -- Portugal will have to wait another week to get Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid after the UEFA Champions League final -- Klinsmann's troops were greeted by unseasonable heat on the opening day of camp. For the 4 p.m. session at Stanford Stadium, temperatures hit 98 degrees.

Klinsmann says his players have catch-up to do in comparison to its three opponents. "Their foundation is different than ours," said Klinsmann of his squad that includes 15 MLS players who are only in their third month of play.

Some would argue that it's better to have fresh legs than have players exhausted after a 10-month season. Klinsmann sees it differently. "A lot of our guys do not have the same foundation as our opponents have," he said, emphasizing the point he has been making to MLS coaches.

"We have to catch up," added. "That’s the work we have to do now over the next three weeks before we start our tournament. Hopefully, we catch up and even add a little bit more on top of it. That’s what starts today.”

Absent were players for various reasons. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi had an MLS game with Sporting Kansas City, while Michael Bradley had an Amway Canadian Championship match with Toronto FC. Mix Diskerud was flying in from Norway. Jermaine Jones (Besiktas) and Aron Johannsson (AZ) have club matches this weekend that have important implications for European berths. Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Geoff Cameron -- all the players based in the English Premier League -- were given off until Sunday. (Maurice Edu, who was ruled out of Philadelphia's MLS game with a concussion, joined the U.S. national team in training at Stanford University, though Klinsmann said he was limited to non-contact training.)

Klinsmann's intentions are not to run his players into the ground during the two-week camp that ends with a match against Azerbaijan May 27 in San Francisco.

“We combine it all in an exciting way,” he said. “With the ball, with small-sided games with a lot of action there, so we’re not going to be running through the forest here even if it’s beautiful.”

  1. Dustin Johnson
    commented on: May 15, 2014 at 7:35 a.m.
    And let us declared theses 1st annual Hunger Games open!!!
  1. Dan Phillips
    commented on: May 15, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.
    Should have included Brek Shea! Big mistake not to include him. Great coming in relief. Big, fast, good scorer.
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: May 15, 2014 at 1:52 p.m.
    Sorry Dan, Shea is in such crappy form, it would have been an outrage had he knocked the likes of Julian Green, Mix Diskerud, or Alejandro Bedoya out of the team... Brad Davis is much more of a weapon on the left.
  1. Dan Phillips
    commented on: May 15, 2014 at 6:55 p.m.
    Shea is a great "relief pitcher". the other guys are not!
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 16, 2014 at 1:27 p.m.
    Dan, you're support and perception of Shea is understandable; the guy has a marginal soccer IQ, inconsistent, and what you see in him is so-called 'fresh-legs' which means nothing without instinctive soccerqualities. And please stop using the 'great' superlative, you've been watching too many MLS contests where superlatives are thrown about by commentators as confetti during Mardi Gras; what nonsense.

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