September 5, 2012
By Michael Lewis
Klinsmann: It's tricky, but tricky for both teams
KINGSTON, Jamaica — For the first time in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the 12 semifinal teams will play home-and-home series.
For example, the U.S. plays Jamaica here on Friday before hosting the Reggae Boyz in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday.
Canada will welcome Panama at BMO Field in Toronto on Friday before the Maple Leafs travel to Panama City, Panama four days later.
The other eight teams in the three groups will follow suit.
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann said the back-to-back showdown was “tricky, but it’s tricky for both sides.”
He has refused to look past Friday’s encounter at The Office.
“You want to have a positive result because you carry that through to the next game,” Klinsmann said on a media conference call on Sunday. “Nobody should even think for a second about the home game. Everybody has to focus only on the game in Kingston and once that game is over we can focus on the home game. It’s tricky but it’s tricky for both sides. If we win there, which we’ll try to do, then you fly back and you’re confident enough at home to try to repeat it.”
Canada coach Stephen Hart said playing any team in consecutive games did not change his planning for his team’s two games against Panama.
“It’s home and away,” he said in a recent conference call. “Nothing really changes. It’s probably a little bit different from anything we’ve had in the past. We always knew that we would have to play them away. We have the first game at home . . . You sort of take it game by game. I know that sounds cliche-ish. But you have to do that. The first priority is the game at home.”