NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a lot of ways, it's been a spring of youth for the US men's national team. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann admitted as much Thursday.
"It's a transition year. It was a chance to see fresh players, younger players," he said. "We took a lot of good stuff from the last year and some lessons, too."
Getting national team caps for a new generation of American players will pay dividends in the future, but those dividends were earned in a series of friendlies.
The Gold Cup, though, isn't about building for the future.
"Today is about getting results," Klinsmann said. "We have to go into the Gold Cup to win it. It's a simple message. It's nice coming off the two wins [at the Netherlands and Germany], but it all starts 0-0 next match."
The last bit of preparation for CONCACAF's tournament – the winner of which gets a playoff bid for a spot at the pre-World Cup Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia – comes Friday against Guatemala at Nissan Stadium (6:30 pm ET; FOX Sports 1, UniMás, Univision Deportes).
The last time the teams met was the Yanks’ final tune-up before the 2013 Gold Cup, a 6-0 win in San Diego. The situation is a little different this time, though. In 2013, Guatemala failed to qualify for the continental championship; this year la Azul y Blanco is in the competition.
"This is a team [Guatemala] that wants to do well in the Gold Cup," Klinsmann said. "We expect difficulties, we expect a tight game. Central American teams are all very technically gifted. They'll have eight, nine players behind the ball with no room."
The Gold Cup is a different animal than the World Cup. The game-to-game turnaround is much shorter, making fitness an imperative. Klinsmann says his veteran-heavy roster is up to the challenge.
"In this specific tournament where you play every three, four, five days, there's a lot of individual work behind the scenes. … It's a bit tricky. … We have less than a week before the first game Tuesday in Dallas,” Klinsmann said. “I think we have a very strong roster. It's a very experienced group, but when you have more experience you raise expectations. They take things in their own hands, and they are committed to guide this group through these games and make sure we get the results from the first moment on and set the tone.”