A positive and upbeat Jurgen Klinsmann addressed media at the StubHub Center this morning ahead of tomorrow's USMNT match against South Korea, alluding to a possible start for Michael Parkhurst at left back tomorrow, an acknowledgement that performance in club matches will weigh into the coaching staff's player evaluation, and assessed the recent Sao Paulo trip as helpful for the team to get its bearings.
Most of the player-related questions at the press conference dealt with defense. Klinsmann praised the partnership that Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler have developed in central defense, and said, in response to a specific question about Parkhurst, "You might see him in left back tomorrow," adding that Parkhurst was left out of the recent trip to Sao Paolo in order to see how other outside backs might fare in training. In a separate interview after the press conference, Gonzalez praised the work that the team did during its Brazil trip, and had positive things to say about the defenders, singling out Seattle Sounder and new USMNT recruit DeAndre Yedlin.
Klinsmann also stated (and probably not just for the benefit of the Korean media contingent in the room) that the South Korean team would provide a much-needed test for the Americans. He asserted that one FIFA international date in the first half of 2014 -- which will be used to send USMNT to Ukraine on March 5 -- isn't enough to test the team. While U.S. Soccer still hasn't confirmed the Mexico date in April (rumored to be April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.), Klinsmann expressed hopefulness about the rematch against El Tri making it to the calendar.
Even though the U.S. could face two Top 20ish teams after the match against a World Cup-qualified squad that Klinsmann felt deserved far better against Mexico and Costa Rica on its recent tour through CONCACAF country, he indicated that the coaching staff will assess club play as well as international friendly play to winnow the squad down to its final 23. He said, to use Jermaine Jones as an example, that his situation with Schalke during the January transfer window concerned him, but he's glad that Jones found his way onto Turkish team Besitkas.
Tomorrow's match kicks off at 2 pm PT.