Play better. That’s the directive from Jurgen Klinsmann when the US national team faces Guatemala on Tuesday night (10 pm ET, pay per view, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com). “We know we have to step it up a lot going into Guatemala, which we will do,” the US manager said.
And how will the US actually step it up amid the typical chaos of a Central American adventure? Playing faster, Klinsmann says. “I think keeping the tempo high throughout 90 minutes will show you who has the better players on the field.”
One of those better players will most likely Terence Boyd, who started in last week’s win over Antigua and Barbuda. Now that he’s tied to the US, he says he has no doubts about his decision. His new club, Rapid Vienna, also seems to have no doubts about his potential.
If Boyd gets the starting nod Tuesday, it will be in place of Jozy Altidore, who has struggled with fitness for weeks now. Klinsmann even has video of it.
In Guatemala, the Americans face a side that is coming off a hard-fought loss in Jamaica. “We know that now, playing at home, they’re a different team,” Landon Donovan said. And they are led by a Chicago Fire star the Yanks know well.
Speaking of MLS, according to his op-ed, Klinsmann’s impact on MLS still a long-term proposition.
Up in Canada, they are preparing for a Group C World Cup qualifier against Honduras at BMO Field, a match some observers are calling “the biggest game of the last four years, and maybe longer.”
Honduras are coming off a shock loss at home to Panama, which has Canada manager Stephen Hart calling them “a wounded animal. … They’re going to come in here thinking it’s only Canada, and they can get a result here.”
The Honduras manager Luis Suárez agrees with his counterpart, saying, “If we play with rage, it would be terrible.”
For Honduras, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza should return to the lineup after sitting out the Panama match due to a suspension. He will bring what many believe Suárez needs most: leadership in the midfield. (SPANISH)
Canada, meanwhile, look set to go with Chivas USA’s “gray-haired” Ante Jazic again at left back versus Honduras. Find out who the 36-year-old credits for taking care of him.
The other big match in CONCACAF qualifying on Tuesday night is El Salvador-Mexico. The Salvadorans are feeling confident coming off a comeback 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, and Javier "Chicharito" Hernández and El Tri, who squeaked by Guyana on Friday, are expecting “a difficult match.”
It isn’t all international action on the docket these days. After all, MLS play starts up again later this week. And when it does, Paul Mariner will be in charge of Toronto FC for the first time. The Reds went through their first paces under the new boss on Monday.
In Montreal, the Impact are getting ready to open the renovated Stade Saputo on Saturday. But coach Jesse Marsch is more concerned with the injury his goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts picked up playing for Jamaica last Friday.
Philadelphia manager Peter Nowak put down any conerns Union fans had that he could be on his way to Scottish side Hearts, calling a recently reported link “absolutely false.”
Staying in Europe, one of the Euro 2012 group-stage’s most highly anticipated matches, France-England, finished 1-1. Here’s what happened at a bar in New York City when the goals happened.
In the other match on Monday, Andriy Shevchenko wound back the years to score two goals and lead Ukraine past Sweden. Which means the obligatory “Sheva-to-MLS” rumors should start any minute … Oh!
Today, Greece take on the Czech Republic, and Poland face rivals Russia. While off the field, KickTV’s Jimmy Conrad hangs out with one of the super-est superfans anywhere.
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.