US team awaits tune­ups against Cuba, New Zealand

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS -

For U.S. coach Jur­gen Klins­mann, it’s all about one thing: Mex­ico.

His team is train­ing at Barry Univer­sity, with two tuneup games com­ing up. The first is against Cuba in Ha­vana on Fri­day, the first game for the U.S. on the is­land since 1947. The next is against New Zealand on Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton.

That game — in Colum­bus, Ohio — is the first match for both teams of the fi­nal round of CON­CA­CAF qual­i­fy­ing for the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia. The U.S. plays Costa Rica fol­lows four days later.

A num­ber of young play­ers will get their chance in the two tuneup games.

“We want to see them tak­ing the ini­tia­tive,” Klins­mann said. “We want them to come in here and make a very strong im­pres­sion. I think a good ex­am­ple is Sacha Kl­jes­tan. In the last two World Cup qual­i­fy­ing games we told Sasha, ‘Lis­ten this is your op­por­tu­nity, but you’ve got to take it.’ You’ve got to come in and make an im­pres­sion and he did that in both games. A sim­i­lar mes­sage to Danny Williams and other play­ers. The door is al­ways open.”

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