The USA trains at Lockhart Stadium in Pompano Beach, Florida, ahead of its October 14, 2014, international friendly against Honduras.
MIAMI -- With a new World Cup cycle beginning, reaching Russia 2018 might be the ultimate goal for most national teams, but not necessarily the most immediate priority.
For the United States, it also will be about preparing for three major tournaments on CONCACAF soil: the 2015 and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cups and the 2016 Centennial Cup America.
"Obviously it is a little unique four years for us given that now there is Copa America, something that we are all very excited about, something that we're going to take very, very seriously," midfielder Michael Bradley, who did not play in the Americans’ 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Friday . "So this fall is kind of the only time now to use to get everybody ready for an important few years that will start next summer with the Gold Cup."
With midfielder Landon Donovan retiring and goalkeeper Tim Howard taking a sabbatical, several positions will be up for grabs. Nothing will be handed to players, including established veterans.
"You've got to go year-by-year or summer-by-summer," Bradley continued. "You think about it day-by-day and game-by-game. There's a World Cup in four years, there's a Copa America in two years, but if you're not concentrating what you're doing every day on improving as a player, helping whatever team you're on, you're never going to get to that stuff."
As part of that process, the Jurgen Klinsmann’s side will play its second CONCACAF opponent this year, hosting Honduras on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Florida. In April, the U.S. and Mexico battled to a 2-2 draw.
"They're a good team, a team whose in the past year has really grown and developed into a very strong team in CONCACAF," midfielder Graham Zusi said of the Honduras. "I expect it to be a good game. They have a mix of some young fresh players coming up and along with some veteran guys. They're probably a little bit disappointed about with the way things went in Brazil, but it’s a fresh start for both teams and both are looking to get off on the right foot."
In their last meeting on July 24, 2013 – a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal -- the USA posted a 3-1 victory over the Catrachos with Donovan scoring a goal in each half.