Less than two weeks after replacing Bob Bradley as the team's head coach, Klinsmann led the United States to a promising draw against a strong Mexico squad.
Then the United States transformed into an attacking team.
Playing under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the first time, the U.S. bounced back from a poor offensive display and a one-goal deficit in the first half to play to a 1-1 draw against Mexico in the Gold Cup final rematch Wednesday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Klinsmann, who replaced Bob Bradley as the team's boss less than two weeks ago, promised a new counterattacking style of play and delivered in the second half after his team failed to get a shot off until the 56th minute of the friendly.
"I think we saw a very interesting game," Klinsmann said. "In the second half, I thought we saw a very exciting game. It was an amazing learning process that the players went through."
Klinsmann made several substitutions shortly after halftime to jumpstart the young U.S. squad. Among the subs were Major League Soccer stars Juan Agudelo, Brek Shea and Robbie Rogers, who scored the equalizer with his first touch of the game in the 73rd minute.
Mexico's goal was scored by Oribe Peralta just 18 minutes into the match.
The U.S. looked lost offensively early on and didn't get its first shot off until well after halftime when Carlos Bocanegra's header off a corner kick bounced off Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. It was all U.S. from then on.
Agudelo and Shea, who both came in the 59th minute, put the pressure on Mexico moments after entering the game, racing up the field and getting a quick shot on net. As the momentum shifted the USA's way, it appeared it was only a matter of time before the tying goal.
"We knew that once we bring in fresh energy, we also were going to get the Mexicans tired," Klinsmann said. "We kept the pace up and we expected them to struggle towards the end."
Agudelo and Shea worked together to set up Rogers' goal. Agudelo controlled a throw in at the endline before touching the ball to Shea, who sent a beautiful cross to Rogers. The Columbus Crew winger easily tapped it in for his second international goal.
"It's great to see some young players stepping into this team and being guided by the experienced ones," Klinsmann said.
Peralta's goal came off a cross from Andres Guardado. The Mexican striker made something out of nothing as he got his foot around U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, who initially appeared to be out of position on the set piece.
"It was a pass from Andres, the only thing I did was stick my leg out in front of the defender and I was able to put it in," Peralta said.
Klinsmann's starting lineup consisted of six players who were on the Gold Cup roster and five who haven't been regulars on the national team. Edgar Castillo, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jose Torres, Kyle Beckerman and Edson Buddle were the surprise additions to the starting XI.
As for Mexico, Antonio Naelson was the only major surprise as he started over Giovani dos Santos, who came off the bench in the second half. El Tri’s superstar forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez wasn’t called up due to injury and Aldo De Negris also was not on the roster.