Offensive-Minded Coach, Goal Scorers Boost US Soccer Team
With an offensive-minded head coach and goal producers in the line-up, the United States soccer team can become a scoring machine in international events.
New United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann scored 47 goals in 108 international matches for Germany while Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore or Herculez Gomez went on a scoring tear in different international leagues this year.
Dempsey scored 23 goals for Fulham during the 2011-12 campaign, the most ever for an American playing abroad while Altidore scored 18 for AZ Alkmaar, tripling his output during his first three years in Europe.
Gomez tallied seven goals for Mexico's Estudiantes Tecos and then another 11 this spring with Santos Laguna, with whom he won the Primera División title last weekend.
Aside from the three, Klinsmann also has offensive threats in Chris Wondolowski, who has 11 in 12 games for the San Jose Earthquakes and Terrence Boyd, a 21-year-old prospect who had 20 goals for German champion Borussia Dortmund's reserve team
"I can't remember a time when it's been like this," American soccer superstar and national player Landon Donovan said. "To have the guys doing what they're doing at the level they're doing it is kind of unprecedented."
"For me, it's encouraging. You know if you do the right things, they're going to score goals," he added.
The United States has won four consecutive games but the last three came were just 1-0 affairs. The U.S. has scored only eight times in Klinsmann's 10 games at the helm.
But Klinsmann is not alarmed by the offensive drought, saying his players have to make a transition before the immense wealth of talent in his hands could deliver goals, and eventually, wins for the United States.
"I know what it takes for them to get their goals. So that's what I tell them when they come into camp for the short period of time we have them," Klinsmann said.
"It's your inner hunger, your inner drive, your desire to step it up and get to the next level, and that comes with an enormous amount of being able to suffer, being able to sacrifice and being persistent in what you do."
Dempsey said Klinsmann has been an inspiration because of his talent and vast knowledge of the game.
"It's great to have a manager who's played at the highest level and can demonstrate what he wants from his players, what he wants you to do," Dempsey said. "The knowledge he has about the game, what he can pass on to you, that's priceless.
"Everybody listens as much as possible. We're not in camp for a long period of time. You don't only work on attacking play; you work on the total package. When you go do shooting drills or things like that, he might have little tips or advice and everybody has both ears open ready to take in everything they can."
The U.S. plays host to Scotland in an exhibition on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Fla., before heading north to play Brazil in Landover, Maryland (May 30) and then Canada in Toronto (June 3).
The games will count five days later when the Americans meet Antigua and Barbuda in their opening World Cup first qualifier in Tampa. The U.S. will finish out this five game stretch June 12 at Guatemala.
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