By DAN KARELL
With time ahead of the 2014 World Cup running short, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has scheduled another fellow World Cup participant for his team to face following their January camp.
U.S. Soccer announced today that the USMNT will host South Korea on Sunday, Feb. 1 at the StubHub Center. It’s the first time that the two nations will face each other since playing to a 1-1 draw at the 2002 World Cup.
“As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win.”
South Korea head coach Hong Myung-Bo, who captained his side in the 2002 World Cup, will also be returning to Los Angeles after playing with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2003 and 2004 before retiring. Myung-Bo took over the National Team last June when Choi Kang-Hee resigned.
Though they qualified for the World Cup next summer in Brazil, they only earned an automatic qualification place on goal-differential after tying Uzbekistan on points in their qualifying group.
The match is the first for the USMNT in 2014 but will be the second for South Korea, as they’re scheduled to face Mexico in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 29.
After falling to Austria, 1-0, and playing to a scoreless draw with Scotland in two friendly matches in November, the U.S. Men’s National Team fell to No. 14 in the November FIFA rankings.
South Korea no longer have the services of former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, but they do count on Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-Min and Sunderland’s Ki Sung-Yueng as current playmakers. Bolton’s Lee Chung-Yong captained the squad in their most recent friendly matches against Switzerland and Russia last month.
As the match takes place outside of the respected FIFA dates, both teams will likely only feature players from the nation’s respective domestic leagues or other leagues on an extended winter break.
What do you think of this news? Excited to see the U.S. play South Korea? Who do you see being called up by Klinsmann for the match? Think that South Korea will be a good test for the USMNT?
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