The U.S. national team will face Korea for the first time since the 2002 World Cup as both countries look toward Brazil.The United States national team will face the Korea Republic on Feb. 1 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., in its first match of 2014, U.S. Soccer announced Monday.
Like the United States, South Korea has qualified for the 2014 World Cup, and Jurgen Klinsmann hopes his team will learn from facing an Asian side with a playing style that might not be familiar to his team.
"As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us," Klinsmann said in a news release. "They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win."
Klinsmann's team was able to win often in 2013, running up 16 triumphs, the most in the team's history. Those victories came largely in a winning run to the Gold Cup and a World Cup qualification campaign that saw the Americans finish atop the CONCACAF region.
Those victories won't mean much if the USA crashes out of the World Cup early, which is part of the reason Klinsmann has said his January camp will take on an added importance this year. Typically, the winter sessions are used to identify young players on teams in MLS and Scandinavia who could contribute to the full national team, but this year the manager intends to bring regulars like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi if the MLS stars don't secure loan deals with European clubs.
In another wrinkle, ProSoccerTalk reports the camp itself will take place at the Americans' World Cup base in Sao Paulo, bookended by weeks in Southern California.
The Korea match, which is the first time the two countries will meet since a 1-1 draw in the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by Korea, will be the culmination of the camp.