KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Hexagonal qualification is done and dusted, although not without a few nervy moments, but Jurgen Klinsmann has no time to bask in his first real accomplishment as the US national team’s head coach.
Just half an hour after the US broke Guatemalan hearts with a 3-1 win at Livestrong Sporting Park, Klinsmann was already thinking about the next step in the World Cup qualification process, one that will likely start in March with the beginning of Hexagonal play between the US, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama.
But the US also have to worry about next July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, one that holds no golden ticket to FIFA’s Confederations Cup, and could stretch the resources at the staff’s disposal. According to Klinsmann, that could mean some serious lineup shuffling and roster building between now and then.
“Thankfully, this is done now, [but 2013] will be extremely busy for us,” he said. “We’re going to play friendlies, World Cup Qualifiers and the Gold Cup. We have to build two rosters for that because we can’t have players do both. That’s good to see that we have players now coming also through MLS that are knocking at the door. They are getting stronger.”
So did the German suggest that two teams would be culled to help the US divide and conquer in their two primary competitions? That sort of division seems highly unlikely.
More likely it means reinforcements will be brought into the fold and fringe players reacquainted with the program, as Klinsmann alluded to when asked if the plan called for not sending the US’ “A" squad to the Gold Cup.
“We don’t know yet how we’re going to manage that whole thing,” Klinsmann said. “It’s more down to how does actually their own schedule look like. What league do they play in? How does the league work? You’ve got to put that puzzle together, and it’s not going to be an easy one.”
Has the US found the right midfield mix?
Danny Williams has played on both the flank and in themiddle during Klinsmann’s time at the helm of the US, but it seems the Hoffenheim midfielder may have found his permanent role within the squad.
Playing as the primary defensive midfielder against Guatemala, Williams cleaned up most of the visitor’s forays into the space in front of the center backs and served as a conduit between the backline and the rest of the team, deftly switching play, turning out of pressure and displaying a keen positional sense.
“Danny Williams is a player that we’ve followed closely over the past one-and-a-half years that is a real No. 6,” Klinsmann said “… Especially when you play teams like Guatemala that hit long balls and live off the second balls and whatever drops down there in the backline, you need to have a No. 6 cleaning it up.”
Against Antigua & Barbuda, Williams and Michael Bradley often occupied the same space in the center of the park, a theme that was absent against Guatemala as the Roma man pushed forward into the space ahead of his partner.
“The partnership with Michael is developing,” Klinsmann said. “We told Michael to play in front of him, not only next to each other more defensively. When we go forward, then Michael plays the attacking role and [Williams] sits in, and that worked well.”