CHICAGO – Whether US national team forward Bobby Wood is wide, up top or wherever else on the field, his basic approach doesn’t change.
Wood’s goal is to get to the goal.
From an outside position on the left wing, Wood didn’t do that as well as he would have liked to in the USMNT’s 2-0 loss to Colombia in the Copa America Centenario opener on Friday. He hopes to change that when the US faces Costa Rica at Soldier Field on Tuesday (8 pm ET, FS1, UniMás, UDN).
“Just making different runs, it’s a little different positioning,” Wood said Monday of the difference between playing outside rather than up top. “But as an attacking player, you just have to find a way to get to goal out of whatever position you play.
“There’s no excuses. We got to find a way no matter where we play. We just got to find a way.”
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann entered Friday’s game with Wood on the left wing, Gyasi Zardes on the right wing and Clint Dempsey up top. Klinsmann didn’t get the finish he desired from the trio, but he overall liked their play. He remains confident they can eventually break through with goals.
“They're all trying very, very hard,” Klinsmann said before a training session on Monday. "A little bit of a different role. I think they're just building chemistry right now. They're building feeling for each other. This develops over time a little bit. We are satisfied with all three of them playing their different roles. Clint is definitely the one who comes closest to the goals right now, in the opening game for us. Dempsey is working his backside off for us. He is hungry for goals. Fine tune elements and get them working off each other.”
Wood was also optimistic he, Zardes and Dempsey could click together.
“As a team we have a pretty good mixture of young and older players,” Wood said. “We just have to find a way to be a little more deadly in the opponent’s half and see what we can do.
“I think as a team the strikers have to make a little bit more deadlier runs, be a little more aggressive and push the outside backs or the center backs a little further back to create more space for the midfield. I think as a team just little things that we have to do all together. It’s a team sport. If we do better, I think the midfield will do as well as the full back line.”
Klinsmann didn’t exactly go into detail how he thought the US could score more. He just emphasized that his team had to do that.
“Definitely, you know, also create more chances in the final third and finish things off,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously we need to score. I think it was a very, very good defensive performance against a very good Colombian side, besides this one corner kick and a given penalty. We generated six, seven chances, we could have scored there as well, but we didn't finish it off. So next step is, avoid the mistakes, the few ones, and score, find ways to score goals.”
Klinsmann does understand that won’t be an easy task about Costa Rica.
“The Costa Rica team is very compact, very organized, very disciplined team that makes it especially in that defensive shape very difficult to break through because they pretty much play a 5-4-1,” Klinsmann said. “That’s not easy, so we've got to find ways and spaces to get through and create chances hopefully.”