CARSON, Calif. – Given the danger that South Korea posed on a number of occasions Saturday afternoon at StubHub Center, US national team Jurgen Klinsmann believed his squad passed its first test of 2014.
Whether they completely aced that test was up for debate, but the US capped their three-and-a-half-week camp in successful fashion, and Klinsmann did not have any complaints following the 2-0 victory in front of a sell-out crowd.
“I thought the guys showed a lot of quality, they showed a lot of effort,” Klinsmann told reporters. “We got rewarded with a win and, obviously, you’re pleased with all the work and also implemented in a game. Overall, South Korea was always dangerous, especially on set pieces – corner kicks and free kicks. There was always a feeling that something was up in the air, but we handled it well.”
Backline production was a major focus throughout camp and Klinsmann said he wanted to see them respond under pressure Saturday. South Korea held a 16-9 advantage in shots and, at times, gave the group of Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Michael Parkhurst some problems.
Awareness was not an issue, though, and that helped the US keep a clean sheet – a perceived goal heading into the match given what Mexico had done to South Korea in a 4-0 rout in San Antonio earlier in the week.
“You can always work on group stuff,” Gonzalez told reporters. “With Jurgen, there is one style he wants us to play and we all know what he wants.”
The US checked off another objective from their to-do list, breaking into offensive mode through the wing – another of Klinsmann’s concentrations in camp. The US put the plan to use for both of Chris Wondolowski’s goals, the first in the fourth minute and later in the 60th.
“What we tried to implement this camp was attacking quickly, playing that first ball in, penetrating the ball either to the forwards or to the winger, and then attacking from the flanks,” midfielder Graham Zusi told reporters. “And our two goals came from flank play.
"A big part of this camp was about not going side to side, but it was about penetrating the ball. If it happens like that it can lead to a quick attack."
Klinsmann also hoped to see World Cup hopefuls state their cases for the 23-man roster. After a productive camp, no one made a more resonating statement Saturday than Wondolowski.
“Seeing Wondo start the year 2014 with two goals was awesome,” Klinsmann said. “It’s awesome for him.”