USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured) meets with the media at a CONCACAF Gold Cup press conference on July 21, 2015, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Photo: Mexsport)
ATLANTA -- The United States can do itself a big favor by winning its next two games.
If the Americans can defend their CONCACAF Gold Cup title, they will book an automatic place in the next FIFA Confederations Cup, avoiding a potentially tricky playoff against either Jamaica, Mexico or Panama.
A CONCACAF rule states that the Confederation’s representative to Russia 2017 will be determined by a playoff in the event that the 2013 and 2015 editions of the Gold Cup produced two different champions.
The U.S. won the competition two years ago and is in contention to do so again.
Needless to say, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann would prefer the direct route. In order to accomplish that objective, his team will have to defeat the Jamaicans in the semifinals at the Georgia Dome on Wednesday and then prevail over the winner of Mexico-Panama in the final slated for Sunday in Philadelphia.
"The semifinal and hopefully the final, you have these two games that you want to stand out and you want create something special," Klinsmann said. "The special part is that we want to get to is the Con Fed Cup 2017 in Russia as quickly as possible."
Though the U.S. owns a 13W-8D-1L record against the Reggae Boyz, Klinsmann sees a formidable foe and has no intention of taking them lightly.
"It’s a very difficult opponent, a very tough [team] to play," he commented. "Jamaica totally deserves to be in the semifinals. They are probably the best prepared the team in this competition because of the way they structure things with Copa America."
The Jamaicans went 0W-0D-3L last month in the Copa America, losing all three of their outings in Chile (against Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina) by the same 1-0 scoreline. The current Caribbean champion has bounced back nicely in the Gold Cup, winning Group B and recording a 3W-1D-0L mark.
"They've been together for two months," finished Klinsmann. "They're fine-tuned, working for each other, a difficult team to beat. That's our job tomorrow night."