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USA Today Sports

Paul Arriola: USMNT has "a lot of confidence" ahead of tough Chile clash

If a premium has been put on preparation under new US national team head coach Gregg Berhalter, that theme continues after the team's latest win.

Coming off a 1-0 win over a stout defensive side in Ecuador, players insisted that despite hailing from the same region, their next opponent, Chile, in Houston on Tuesday (7:55 pm ET | ESPN2) represents a very different proposition.

"I think Chile is a completely different opponent than Ecuador," midfielder Paul Arriola told reporters on Saturday during training in Houston. "They're very aggressive – obviously a lot of us watched [their] game from last night, I think we'll watch a little more today, tomorrow leading into the game, but we're all very excited about facing a team like Chile and what we can do to hurt them and win the game."

Midfielder Sebastian Lletget said one challenge for the USMNT, which is calling in European-based players for the first time under Berhalter, is switching gears to get ready for the next opponent in a hurry.

"Ecuador was not easy. It's very complicated, we do not have much time to prepare [for Chile], and it's more than playing style," he explained in Spanish.

Arriola agreed on the short turnaround.

"The ideas are there, obviously there's a little bit of a difference from January camp to this camp because there's not as much time," he said. "Some of the European players are coming and they don't have the time that we did in January camp to understand all the concepts and that's normal, and I think we're all adjusting to that."

But one factor the players say will help is the confidence boost they got from gritting out the victory over Ecuador.

"What is more important for us is how we play and what is our plan," Arriola said. "...For us, I think that finishing the game against Ecuador, we have a lot of confidence for a difficult game against Chile."


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