Jurgen Klinsmann will get two more chances to find his first win as the manager of the U.S. national team as his side faces off with Honduras on Oct. 8 in Miami and against Ecuador on Oct. 11 in New York.
The German coach turned mostly to familiar faces with his latest roster, maybe as a sign of his want to claim a victory, but made it clear that the USA will have to do a better job of finding the net if that win was to come.
"We need to step it up in terms of finishing things off and scoring," Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. "That will be our main focus, and we have to make it clear we have to put the ball in the net and build an inner drive to score. That comes with confidence and also with the higher pace of the game. We started really well, especially against Costa Rica. If we scored in the first 30 minutes the game would have been completely different but we didn't. We need to make sure we do score in these two upcoming games."
Follow ALLEN RAMSEY on
One thing that will help Klinsmann is having Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey in the fold together for the first time. Both players have the ability to drive play forward, and with both on the pitch the team has less of a singular focal point, allowing for a more varied attack.
Equally important to the USA's goalscoring hopes is the current form of striker Jozy Altidore, who has been netting for fun with his club team. The bulky striker looks set to resume his place at the top of the USA's attack, and if he can't get the job done the options are limited behind him.
Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury, who haven't exactly been setting the world on fire in Major League Soccer, are the only other out-and-out strikers on the roster, and as if to emphasize the issues at hand, DaMarcus Beasley was listed among the forwards in the roster release.
Luckily for Klinsmann, the USA is accustomed to having its goals come out of the midfield. Despite receiving some disheartening news on the injury front - Jose Torres is out of action for the season and Stuart Holden will basically begin his rehab anew - the USA still has more than enough talent to field strong midfield.
Aside from Dempsey and Donovan the USA has two experienced midfielders who are in good form in Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu, with both having shown in recent matches at the club level that they still possess the drive to get forward and help create or score goals.
Brek Shea seems to have been slowed by a heavy workload and some nagging injuries, but with Beasley and intriguing new-comer Danny Williams in the fold, Klinsmann will still have options should the FC Dallas star not be at his best on the wing.
The defense will also be boosted by the return of a veteran with Oguchi Onyewu back in the team. Onyewu has played well with his new club, Sporting, and could very well be ready to take back his spot as a regular starter in the USA's back line.
"We are very pleased that he has fought his way back into the starting team at Sporting," Klinsmann told the site. "He's playing 90 minutes every game and also participating in European competition. Now we have a chance to see him on the U.S. roster as well."
With Carlos Bocanegra playing well for Rangers and Clarence Goodson also doing a solid job for Brondby, there is certainly competition for spots in the center of the USA defense, but Onyewu at his best is still as dominant a defender as the USA has. That he adds an imposing attacking presence on set pieces could also be a factor in Onyewu's favor, though Bocanegra and Goodson aren't exactly slouches in that department either.
The biggest question, as always with the USA, is who the manager will do on the left side of the defense. Timmy Chandler put in a solid shift on the left for the USA once before and Williams, though listed as a midfielder on the roster, has proven in the Bundesliga that he can play as a fullback. But those two, along with Steve Cherundolo, all predominantly play on the right at the club level, and the addition of Jonathan Spector to the roster doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the problem will be solved.
Fabian Johnson, the latest in a line of name to be bantered about as the possible full-time solution, is still recovering from and injury and won't be involved in this set of fixtures. However, Johnson has been cleared by FIFA to make the change to the USA.
As has been the case since Klinsmann took over, the focus will be on the development of the team as a whole, and Klinsmann said that while he's like to see new faces, keeping a core group is important.
"One important thing is to see continuity in the build-up of our national team and also in the way we work as coaches," he said in the same interview. "We'd like to see new faces as well, but we also don't want to shake up the core structure of the team too much. We aim to build a consistency in our work approach with the established group of the team."