United States national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called on his side to “prove a point” when they face Peru in Washington DC on Thursday.
The US host Peru in their first international match since a disappointing CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign, in which they were dumped out by Jamaica in the semi-finals before losing to Panama in the third-place play-off.
And Klinsmann, who has recalled goalkeeper Tim Howard to his squad after a 14-month sabbatical from international football, is aiming for an immediate return to form ahead of the CONCACAF Confederations Cup play-off against Mexico in October.
“This is really now time for the guys to make a really strong impression that they understand the situation we’re in because of what happened in the Gold Cup,” he said.
“These games are not about developing things for the future. This is about proving a point towards the Mexico game.
“The ones that were not a part of the Gold Cup need to prove they are capable of performing and this is really now about truly competing.
“We will just want to make it very, very intense and competitive from the first day on in training, so the veterans need to set the tone and they need to understand that there’s a high energy there.”
One of those “veterans” is Brad Guzan, who has taken the number one spot during Howard’s post-World Cup break, and the Aston Villa keeper is determined to retain his starting berth, insisting the competition for places can only be positive.
“Tim and I get on really well, in terms of on the field and off the field,” Guzan said.
“You always have someone pushing you or you’re pushing someone else.
“And being in Europe, where it’s obviously a little bit more cut-throat than here in the U.S., you develop a thick skin.”
Peru, meanwhile, will be looking to build on a successful Copa America display, where they were edged out in a thrilling semi-final by hosts and eventual winners Chile.
Ricardo Gareca has left former Chelsea and Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro out of the squad, however, while forward Paolo Guerrero will be missing through injury.