JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The US men’s national team may be less than two weeks away from its first World Cup match in Brazil 2014, but the group is seemingly no closer to locking in a starting lineup for their group opener June 16 against Ghana.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann confirmed in a Friday press conference at EverBank Field that the lineup he’ll roll out for the team’s final send-off game against Nigeria on Saturday (6 pm ET, ESPN and Univision) will serve as more of a trial for a number of his players than a dress rehearsal for Brazil.
“We’ll still use this game as seeing things and giving players the opportunity to be out on the field and fight for their spot,” Klinsmann said. “Do we have a lineup in mind? Absolutely, every coach has that at this point. But still, this is why you have these send-off games, to give minutes to the players who are right there and to see them perform.”
Klinsmann went as far as to say that the starting lineup will continue to be evaluated through the team’s final scrimmage against Belgium in Brazil before the real competition picks up. That means it’s likely that a number of players are still battling for starting positions as well as substitution roles.
“We’re still in the building phase. We still have 10 days to go, so we’re not done now with all the work we’re going to put into their legs and into their minds,” Klinsmann said. “We’ve still got to work, work, work to be ready.
"We time it, hopefully, the right way to get them all sharp, all right, all fresh for Ghana. But still we’re in a working process right now.”