The U.S. hasn't won on Mexico soil in 24 tries, but the team's coach is ready to snap that streak on Wednesday night.
The U.S. has never won at the Colossus of Santa Ursula, but despite calling a squad missing several big names, Klinsmann says there’s no time like the present to change that.
When asked by Mexican media if he was aware of the U.S. troubles at El Azteca, Klinsmann responded with a sarcastic ‘no.’ He also said he has no plans to take any lessons away from a loss – his only approach being to win the match.
“I never think like that, what if we lose,” the coach said. “But whatever happens, happens. This is a unique opportunity for us, because we never know when we’ll get the opportunity again to play in El Azteca.
“We want to measure ourselves with Mexico. And we respect what they’ve done but we’re coming here to win. We’re not coming here to defend, we’re coming here to win.”
Despite the confidence, the general feeling would be that El Tri comes in with far more swagger, having not lost to the U.S. in three years, and coming off an Olympic title to add to its U-17 and Gold Cup crowns.
To add to the challenge, Klinsmann will be without several regulars, as Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, among others, all chose to stay behind in Europe rather than make the long trip to Mexico City for just one match. Those were group decisions, Klinsmann explained, taken in the best interest of players and team.
Still, the decision to omit so many regulars has put the German in a tight spot headed to El Azteca. He has only two training days to put together a team, which will include a makeshift back line at the very least.
“We’re confident but that’s always the test going into a big game,” Klinsmann said. “We try to get a lot of things done in training which I think is important, because there’s not always time to get it done on the field.”