WASHINGTON – Many US national team fans weren’t exactly happy to see their side flame out of the Gold Cup this summer. After the USMNT’s shock fourth-place finish, reactions ranged from “this is just a bump in the road” to “get the pitchforks.”
On Tuesday, US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad took the pitch at American University in Washington, D.C. in preparation for their first match since that tournament, a Friday night clash at RFK Stadium against Peru (7 pm ET, FOX Sports 1/UniMás/UDN).
And during remarks to the media about Friday’s encounter and next week’s matchup against Brazil, Klinsmann took a minor detour, reflecting on the effect of those Gold Cup shortcomings and how they’ve influenced his squad going forward.
“Obviously it happened what happened in the Gold Cup,” reflected Klinsmann. “We don’t want to get deeper into that topic; there’s still a little bit of anger in me.”
This year’s edition of the tournament was among the most captivating in the competition’s history, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Subpar officiating plagued various group and knockout round matches, and players and coaches from a wide range of teams in the tournament expressed their frustration with those errors.
“I think it left something in our stomach, the way it happened there, the decisions of referees, a lot of controversial stuff that happened in that Gold Cup left something bitter, something sour with us,” Klinsmann continued. "So we have to go kind of the extra mile – we’ll go the extra mile – but [the Gold Cup experience] can only help us. It will be a tremendous experience for all the players to go and step on the field in front of 90,000 fans and in a one-off [match].”
That one-off – a massively important playoff with Mexico at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 10 – will determine which team represents CONCACAF at the Confederations Cup in 2017. USMNT midfielder Joe Corona plies his trade south of the border with Veracruz and faces many of those Mexican national teamers on a weekly basis. He, too, is eager to wash that Gold Cup taste out of his mouth.
"That feeling is definitely still there – that little bite of not having won it,” Corona told MLSsoccer.com in a Spanish-language interview. "I had the chance to win the previous one and obviously the primary objective was always to win another. But obviously this is a great test for us.
"It’s just time for us to turn our focus first towards Peru and Brazil and use those experiences against Mexico and qualify for the Confederations Cup."