Klinsmann: 'This isn't the time to experiment'

The USA has not lost a World Cup qualifier at home since a 3-2 loss to Honduras on the eve of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, but Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't want to consider the improbable outcome that would knock the USA out of the 2018 World Cup.

He says his players can't underestimate the task at hand in Tuesday's Group C finale in the semifinal round of 2018 World Cup qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville.

The USA would have to lose to T&T and have Guatemala beat St. Vincent & The Grenadines in Guatemala City by a margin of 12 or more goals in order for the USA not to advance to the Hexagonal.

“We are looking at the strongest lineup in order to beat Trinidad and Tobago,” he told reporters in Jacksonville. “This is it. This is World Cup qualifying. This is not the time to experiment. We can talk about that if everything is done about next month’s friendlies, but not in World Cup qualifying. We take this very seriously.”

WCQ: T&T clinches berth in Hex, USA close

Klinsmann added that the goal was to win the group, which would set up a date at home against Mexico in the opening game of the Hexagonal on Nov. 11. If the USA finishes second, it will also open at home, likely against Costa Rica.

The USA will make at least three changes from the team that beat St. Vincent & The Grenadines, 6-0, on Friday.

Klinsmann said before Friday's game that Tim Howard would start in place of Brad Guzan in goal on Tuesday, while DeAndre Yedlin is suspended and Matt Besler, who scored his first goal for the USA on Friday, was released after his wife gave birth to their first child the morning of the game.

Howard's next appearance will be his 32nd World Cup qualifying cap, setting a U.S. record he shares with former goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

Klinsmann has made it clear that Howard and Guzan will remain his 1-2 choices in goal, saying no one else is in contention to push them.

“We are obviously blessed with Brad Guzan and Tim Howard,” Klinsmann said during a Facebook live chat on Sunday. “As long as the younger ones are not stepping it up even more and pushing them -- kind of pushing them out, basically -- these two will defend their spots. And in order to have both always available and in good spirit, here and there we can rotate."

Other changes: Captain Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco are back after being suspended for the SVG match. Bradley will surely start in midfield while Orozco is an option to start at right back or center back.

T&T coach Stephen Hart says he'll make some changes from the team that had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Guatemala at home on Friday. One forced change will be at center back, where Sheldon Bateau is suspended for collecting his second yellow card against Guatemala.

Klinsmann downplayed the chance of starting 17-year-old Christian Pulisic even after he had two goals and an assist off the bench against SVG.

Mike Woitalla: Christian Pulisic must start on Tuesday

“Christian came in against St. Vincent and did a fantastic job. He kind of really made it look all easy,” Klinsmann said during the Facebook chat. “Obviously, we know he has tremendous talent and that’s why he’s with Borussia Dortmund. We’re going to build him one step at a time. A lot of people are anxious that we start him from the beginning. That day will come there is no doubt about it.  But for us it’s important that we build him with patience, with not too much hype and expectation either."

USA Roster.
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG), Ethan Horvath (Molde/NOR), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids).
DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Michael Orozco (Tijuana/MEX).
MIDFIELDERS: Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Sacha Kljestan (NY Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz/LIE), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC).
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht/NED), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER).

Trinidad & Tobago Roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Marvin Phillip, Morvant (Caledonia AIA), Greg Ranjitsingh (Louisville City), Adrian Foncette (Police FC).
DEFENDERS: Aubrey David (Dallas FC), Radanfah Abu Bakr (JK Silame Kalev/EST), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land FC/KOR), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos/MEX), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders).
MIDFIELDERS: Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge/ENG), Hughtun Hector (W Connection FC), John Bostock (Lens/FRA), Levi Garcia (AZ/NED), Kevin Molino (Orlando City), Khaleem Hyland (Westerlo/BEL), Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos/MEX), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada).
FORWARDS: Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos/MEX) Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes), Kenwyne Jones (Central FC), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues).
6 comments about "Klinsmann: 'This isn't the time to experiment'".
  1. Bob Ashpole, September 6, 2016 at 8:54 a.m.

    Even though T&T is already through I expect they will play hard for three points. JK will have the team prepared accordingly. CONCACAF teams may not be as strong as in some other conferences, but the competitions are intense.

  2. Wooden Ships, September 6, 2016 at 9:13 a.m.

    Good luck tonight. Winning the possession doesn't guarantee a win, but I'm sure looking to see our field players complete a high percent of passes. Touch on the ball and movement.

  3. Fire Paul Gardner Now, September 6, 2016 at 10:33 a.m.

    Qualifying is assured so I think this is the time to experiment. We have this game and the two friendlies in October to get ready for the Hex.

  4. Dan Phillips, September 6, 2016 at 12:57 p.m.

    Klinsmann is a complete idiot. Maybe he should start Wondo, since he does not want to experiment. If you cannot beat minnows like T&T or St. Vincent with younger players, you shouldn't even go to WC. What will he do when he gets to Russia in 2 years? Start the same aging players, since the youngsters have had no real competitive game experience. What a horrible selection for a coach it has been!

  5. Andrew Kear, September 6, 2016 at 2:24 p.m.

    In the Bradley and Arena era the US would be assured a win. With
    Klinsmann you never know.

  6. Ric Fonseca, September 6, 2016 at 4:21 p.m.

    Oh jeez!!! Bradley starts tonight? Ho boy!

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