MIAMI – The first weekend of the so-called “dry season” in South Florida began Friday with torrential rains. The storm is forecast to continue through Saturday’s friendly between the United States and Honduras at Sun Life Stadium (6 pm ET, Fox Soccer/Univisión).
The wet weather may dampen the conditions and the crowd turnout, but it won’t affect new coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s ambitious project to instill his own soccer ethos into an American side previously rooted in Bob Bradley’s buttoned-down approach.
Thus far, that ethos of a more adventuresome and expressive style has resulted in one goal and a 0-2-1 record. Klinsmann said that despite recent losses to Costa Rica and Belgium, he’s “satisfied” with the team’s approach, if not the results.
“We’re always results-oriented,” Klinsmann said before a Friday workout that was doused twice by heavy rains. “We’re competitors. We want to win. It’s important for us for our confidence, and for the fans as well. In the long term, it’s a different picture where we want to get this team. We’re developing a style physically and mentally. That will be very important starting in June with [World Cup] qualifying games.”
Following Saturday's game here, the US play Ecuador on Oct. 11 at Red Bull Arena and Klinsmann is hoping to get two more games in before the year’s end, likely in Europe in mid-November. With the primacy of results still nearly a year off, the new US manager is currently sorting through the prospects for Cup qualifying.
Nineteen of the 22 players he called for this week’s games have trained or played under him previously. Sporting CP center back Oguchi Onyewu, Hoffenheim midfielder Danny Williams and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando are first-time call-ups by the German.
Onyewu, 29, is of particularly interest given the Americans’ lack of an enforcer in front of starting keeper Tim Howard. Now at his seventh European team, the two-time World Cup veteran appears to have regained the form that made him a stalwart in the US back line until he injured his knee two years ago during a World Cup qualifier.
"Gooch" has started six consecutive games at Sporting, all wins, and has one goal to his credit. He’s played just 135 minutes for the US this year, against Argentina and Spain, but didn’t get off the bench during six Gold Cup matches.
“That he’s broken into the team [at Sporting] is a very good sign,” Klinsmann said. “It shows he’s determined to come back and be at the highest level.”
Williams, 22, was born in Germany and his father was an American serviceman. He received his US passport on Sept. 30 and could see time in an attack that is missing the injured Landon Donovan.
“I watched him closely the past couple of months,” Klinsmann said. “He is one of the best-kept secrets in Germany.”
The US are 0-4-1 at Sun Life, which opened as Joe Robbie Stadium and has gone through several name changes since. The Yanks are 4-1-0 against Honduras since 2009, with the lone loss coming in January 2010 in Carson, Calif.
Honduras coach Luis Suárez called three MLS-based players for the match: Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City), Marvin Chávez (FC Dallas) and Carlo Costly (Houston).