May 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; The US men's national team poses for the team picture prior to the first half of a men's international friendly match against Brazil at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE
The United States Men's National Soccer Team take on their CONCACAF rivals, Canada, in an international friendly tonight at BMO Field in Toronto. The match kicks off just after 7 p.m. and can be seen on NBC Sports Network in English and Univision Deportes in Spanish.
It's the 3rd game of manager Jurgen Klinsmann's 5 games in 18 days mini tournament, designed to simulate the training atmosphere of a real tournament like the World Cup. For Canada, the match will be a part of the celebrations commemorating 100 years of their national soccer program.
The USMNT has had two very different results so far in their first two games of the summer. They kicked it off with a 5-1 drubbing of Scotland, but in game 2 they were on the wrong end of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of 5-time world champions Brazil.
The US brings a strong record into their match with Canadians, going 13-8-9 all time. They've been even better in recent years riding a 14 game unbeaten streak with their last lost coming in 1985. This will be the first time the two sides meet in Toronto in 43 years.
Tonight's match will mark the final tuneup for the USMNT before World Cup 2014 qualifying begins on June 8th, which means players have a final chance to impress head man Jurgen Klinsmann. The outspoken German says that the players will always know what he thinks of them, whether they like it or not.
"You're not there to make friends. You are there to build something very strong and hopefully people will like to see them two years down the road," Klinsmann explained. "Now I think that's important for the players to see, that you're not there to please them. I am there to make them better. That's a very, very different thing. So that means that sometimes maybe I have to be uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to be more strict.
Landon Donovan, who is now the all time USMNT leader in both caps and goals, says the team is finally starting to grasp the style of soccer Klinsmann wants them to play.
"Every coach has a different style. Every coach has a different way of doing things, of approaching the game. And I think we're finally learning and understanding what he wants us to do," said Donovan. "I think Jurgen wants us to be daring and aggressive and do the things we're good at. We've always been a team that is very good defensively. We always worked hard. Our energy and our spirit is good, and we're trying to get better at the things we haven't been good at."