Jurgen Klinsmann dropped an intriguing tweet into the Twitter timelines of US soccer fans on Tuesday morning, announcing that he had made the 6,000-plus-mile journey from Southern California to São Paulo, Brazil.
The US national team boss flew south to catch Tuesday's pivotal Copa Libertadores match between Palmeiras and reigning Mexican champions Club Tijuana (9 pm ET, Fox Deportes), where US internationals Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo are likely to feature for Los Xolos as they seek to advance to the quarterfinals of South America's most prestigious club tournament.
With Tijuana facing an uphill battle far from home thanks to last month's 0-0 first-leg stalemate in Mexico, the big match at Estádio Pacaembú should provide Klinsmann with a useful perspective on the gringo duo's form and mentality as he prepares his roster for the USA's upcoming slate of friendlies and World Cup qualifiers.
Yet that's surely not the only reason the German-American coach has made the draining voyage across five time zones and many, many miles.
The USMNT's place in World Cup 2014 is far from assured and their destinations will not be known until next year's draw. But Klinsmann is a meticulous planner and he is probably taking this opportunity to scout the lay of the land where his team will – should their ship stay on course in the next few months – spend a month or more next summer.
São Paulo is one of 12 host cities for next summer's tournament, with both group-round and knockout matches scheduled to take place at the new Arena Corinthians, the future home of Palmeiras' cross-town rivals Corinthians, which is scheduled for completion later this year.
With the sprawling metropolis located in relative proximity to fellow host cities Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, it would offer a decent home base for the Yanks should they receive a southern Brazilian posting from FIFA. However, Brazil's somewhat controversial decision to make World Cup venues out of several distant northern and interior destinations means that it's likely too early to start reserving hotels and training grounds just yet.
São Paulo sits just far enough from the Atlantic Ocean for Klinsmann to miss out on the nation's famous beach culture on this trip. The chopper pilot-in-training might have been tempted to take his flight log with him, though – because epic density and congestion has made it one of the most helicopter-friendly cities on earth, with many well-to-do Paulistas avoiding horrendous traffic jams by commuting via rotary-wing aircraft.