Jurgen Klinsmann says consistency not a reality for United States team
United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann has said he would love to have all his players at his disposal at all times, but added, "unfortunately, it's not the reality."
Responding in part to questions about his propensity for tinkering -- the U.S. has started 80 different lineups in 82 games under Klinsmann -- the manager said injuries, form and availability makes consistency unrealistic.
The U.S. coach spoke following his team's crucial 4-0 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying win vs. Guatemala in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Klinsmann brought 2014 World Cup veterans Graham Zusi and Kyle Beckerman back into the starting XI for the win, while playing Geoff Cameron in the center-back position alongside Steve Birnbaum. Brad Guzan started in goal over Tim Howard, a move that was planned in advance.
The moves worked to perfection for the most part, as the U.S. defense kept a clean sheet and the team earned a necessary three points following a disappointing 2-0 loss last Friday in Guatemala City.
"Every coach's wish is always to be consistent with his players being available, everybody at your disposal," Klinsmann said. "Unfortunately it's not reality. Reality is we lost Matt Besler and John Brooks and Fabian Johnson in the days prior to the game in Guatemala.
"Reality is [on Tuesday] Ale [Bedoya] couldn't make it. So the reality is with the group of players that we have, we're going to work things out. Here and there, things don't work out the way you wanted."
The U.S. was on the front foot from the outset in Columbus, with Clint Dempsey putting the Americans ahead just 12 minutes into the match and Geoff Cameron doubling the lead from a set piece at the 35-minute mark.
That was all part of the plan, according to Klinsmann.
"Obviously, the clear message was we have to attack," he said. "We have to go forward. We have to score goals and get the three points.
"It's important that we really found partnerships in that 4-3-3 formation. We knew they were going to clog the box in front of their goal, that's what happened. So you need to find ways to come over the wings. We trained that way."
Klinsmann has been under fire in recent weeks and months for the performances of the U.S. team, especially the loss in Guatemala, a team the U.S. hadn't lost to in World Cup qualifying since 1988.
The criticisms, said the coach, are part of the job, but he did admit sometimes it can go a little too far.
"I let people say whatever they would like to say. That's all right with me," Klinsmann said. "Here and there you wish maybe some comments would be a little bit more respectful. But it is what it is.
"It's an emotional game. As a coach you have to live with that. But I think this result tonight makes it clear. Now we can really plan for hopefully a very, very exciting Copa America."
The U.S. starts its Copa America Centenario campaign on June 3, against Colombia at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The team's next World Cup qualifying match is Sept. 2, away to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
ESPN FC writer Doug McIntyre contributed to this story.