Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

SOCCER ; Klinsmann Hopes US Mentality Changes in Copa Knockout Stage

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

SOCCER ; Klinsmann Hopes US Mentality Changes in Copa Knockout Stage

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - Jurgen Klinsmann wants a transformed mentality when the United States opens the knockout phase of the Copa America on Thursday. "The whole old story is the underdog story, and I cannot hear that story anymore, the U.S. coach said. "I want to see them risk things. Let's go for it. Because if you're not going for it, sooner or later they're going to break you down.

After beating Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday night despite playing nearly the entire second half a man down, the U.S. won Group A on goal difference over Colombia and advanced to a quarterfinal in Seattle against Ecuador, Peru or Brazil.

The Americans still can be timid at times against soccer powers. Although they have won exhibitions at Italy, Germany and the Netherlands in recent years, they struggled to maintain possession. And when the U.S. played Belgium in the second round of the 2014 World Cup, the Americans extended the game to extra time only because of goalkeeper Tim Howard's outstanding play.

Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup with West Germany and the 1996 European Championship with Germany, spending 15 years with high- level clubs.

"Knockout stage is very mental driven, he said. "It's when you step on the field and you see certain jerseys, it's kind of sniffing at each other and saying: I'm ready for you.'

Aside from the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Americans' only knockout stage wins in competitive events have been over Mexico in the second round of the 2002 World Cup, against Spain in the semifinals of the 2009 Confederations Cup and over Mexico on penalty kicks in the 1995 Copa America quarterfinals.

They've lost World Cup knockout games against Brazil (1994), Germany (2002), Ghana (2010) and Belgium (2014), plus Confederations Cup semifinals versus Saudi Arabia (1992) and Mexico (1999) and a Copa America semifinal against Brazil (1995).

In the 2009 Confederations Cup final, they wasted a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss to Brazil. …

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