For most, Christian Pulisic has earned the chance to start every match. Sacha Kljestan has shown an attacking promise that has seemingly been missing until his arrival. For the rest of the young guys, it’s much too early to tell what their role could be moving forward. And in a opening “Hex” match against Mexico, you can’t take any chances.
But, starting Pulisic and Kljestan would truly echo Klinsmann’s expressed sentiments from Thursday’s press conference: pushing out the old and replacing with the new.
“Between two World Cups, we want to find new talent, we want to find new players and start to kick out the older players if their not strong enough to do their role.” Klinsmann said after training on Thursday. “Who would’ve thought half a year ago, with the development of Christian Pulisic, who would’ve thought another 18-year-old comes through? Now we have Cameron Carter-Vickers. Bobby Wood is now at a clearly different level than he was a year or two years ago.”
Who would’ve thought Kljestan would get called back in to the national team and preform the way he has so far?
For Klinsmann, this is not only USA versus Mexico, but solidification of his plan for the national team. Success within the young/new players, specifically Pulisic and Kljestan, tonight could guarantee future starts for those “We have to wait and see how they progress” players Klinsmann is hesitant to make automatic fixtures. And, success tonight, paired with the strong youth called in before this Hexagonal round, could all be coming at the perfect time.
“This is the job of coaches between the two World Cups: to build a new cycles, to build a new group that’s full of energy,” Klinsmann said.
“And I think we’re on the right path, but now starts the Hex...”