Jurgen Klinsmann hoping U.S. fringe players can deliver 'surprises'
United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he is hoping to find a few "surprises" among his fringe players in Tuesday night's friendly against New Zealand.
Following last week's win in Cuba, the U.S. returns home for the friendly at RFK Stadium (8 p.m., ESPN) in its final test before beginning the final World Cup qualifying round against Mexico next month.
The squad to face New Zealand features many new faces as nine players departed following the 2-0 win in Havana, and Klinsmann said he's using the opportunity to evaluate as many players as he can, even if they won't be able to force their way into the lineup in November.
"A month away from the clash with Mexico, we have a clear picture already of how we want to approach this very, very big game," he said in quotes released by U.S. Soccer.
"But at the same time we want to see some players who we haven't really had the opportunity in the last few World Cup qualifers to have a closer look at. And obviously when you do that, when you bring in players that weren't with us for a little bit, you might get surprised.
"And we had one surprise definitely with Julian Green. Julian Green is training tremendously well. He had a good game in Cuba, even if you couldn't judge that game because of the field, but we see a lot of elements that we were hoping for in his game.
"Then we have other young [players] like Lynden Gooch, training really well. Guys back in the group like Perry Kitchen or Danny Williams, we have a young goalkeeper coming through with Ethan Horvath in his debut for the national team program.
"So it's very helpful for us to gather that information. But do we have a pretty clear picture of how to approach Mexico? Yes we do."
One player who could get a chance to shine against New Zealand is striker Juan Agudelo, who was called up for the first time in over a year.
Agudelo made his senior international debut six years ago at age 17, but after the absence the New England Revolution forward said he's learned to appreciate playing for his country.
"I am more excited now to get a call-up, maybe because I haven't been called in a year," Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com. "But it's definitely more of a privilege -- and it should've always been a privilege, but now it's like, I understand. It's more about maturing, I guess."
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