Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured) has guided the USA to a place in Copa America Centenario quarterfinals. (Photo: Mexsport)
SEATTLE, Washington -- United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann feels the time has come for his team to shed its underdog image in major competitions.
According to the 51-year-old, the Americans should be more aggressive instead of allowing their foes to dictate the game.
"We would love to see that they become more confident and courageous to take the game to the teams and not playing just counter-break football," said Klinsmann.
The U.S. and Ecuador will meet in the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington on Thursday.
"The old story is the underdog story," Klinsmann continued. "I can't hear that story. 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 because they have class players."
It was part of the learning curve for the five-time CONCACAF Gold Cup champion, who clinched the Group A title with a 1-0 win over Paraguay in Philadelphia on Saturday.
"Take the game to them," stressed Klinsmann. "The knockout stage is very mental driven. It's when you step onto the field and see certain jerseys, its saying, 'I'm ready for you.' This is all about the moment. This is what they need to believe in. Whoever is on the other side, I'm ready for them. This is what you would love to see."
The USA defeated Ecuador, 1-0, in a May 25 friendly on Darlington Nagbe's 90th-minute goal in Frisco, Texas.
Thursday's confrontation means so much more -- a spot in the June 21 semifinals in Houston.
"It's just a wonderful opportunity for our team to play these type of games," Klinsmann commented. "We have nothing to lose."
He felt playing against high-profile sides has prepared his team for these matches. The Americans have secured wins in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina in recent years.
"Every team has weaknesses. That's why the last couple of years we went abroad," Klinsmann concluded. "We went to get certain experiences to get this growth in our mindset that we can compete. Yes, they are friendly games. Still, we've got to go there and give them everything [we] have."