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Jurgen Klinsmann says last year has been about experimenting, but focus is Gold Cup

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Do you think that the United States' play since the World Cup has been underwhelming? And that Jurgen Klinsmann keeps trying things that make sense?

Good news. So does Klinsmann.

In an interview with USSoccer.com, Klinsmann said that he has been using the year between the World Cup and the Gold Cup to try things. Be it players, style or approach, he wanted to experiment and to push players. Sometimes it worked, more often it didn't, but the point of the year was to try things regardless of the outcome.

"I'm happy with the direction we're going," Klinsmann said. "We always said the year after the World Cup is a transition year, especially for us in CONCACAF because there is no competition until the Gold Cup in July, so it would be foolish not to use this one year of time to try out a lot of things, to integrate new players, to try out different systems, to move out of your comfort zone going to Europe, going to other places and risk some results.

"If we wouldn't do that, there'd be no growth. If we would just be comfortable and play all of our games in the U.S. against teams that we'd most likely beat, there is no growth."

Klinsmann went on to explain that he wanted to give new players a chance, especially younger players. That would explain the absences of players like Kyle Beckerman, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi. He knows what those players can bring and there's little reason to give them run in experimental friendlies. The only veterans who have been regulars over the last year are leaders like Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, and players who are changing positions so they need all the reps they can get, like Jermaine Jones and Brek Shea.

Some of the new players who have been brought in aren't realistically senior team players yet, which Klinsmann admitted. He wanted a closer look at them and to see if any were ready to break through. But he knew that it was more about evaluation, and that ends this summer. With the Gold Cup, U-20 World Cup and U-17 World Cup in the summer and Olympic qualifying in the fall, Klinsmann said he expects players to split up and establish which teams they're a part of in the coming months.

If you were worried that the experimenting might continue until World Cup qualifying in the fall, don't. Klinsmann's plan has always been to be firing at the Gold Cup.

"Overall, I think we go in the right direction and we’re going to be ready for the Gold Cup no matter what," said Klinsmann. "Until then, you can still try things out."