But Klinsmann must do more than inspire in the matches ahead. Lineup choices, especially on defense, will be critical, influenced by the often opposed objectives of preparing for the World Cup in 2014 and what is required to get immediate qualifying results.
While Klinsmann was angry about the Brazil penalty kick called on Olney native Oguchi Onyewu, the veteran 30-year-old struggled on more than one play. He also nearly scored in the second half. But his performance, age and history of knee problems hasten the need to bring along Clarence Goodson and Geoff Cameron, who are in camp, as well as Tim Ream or even Omar Gonzalez, who is injured.
Carlos Bocanegra, Onyewu's partner in the back, is even older at age 34, the same as right back Steve Cherundolo. But both have been far more consistent, with Cherundolo a particular spark for the offense with his runs down the wing.
"Find someone better," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "You want to find someone better, OK, but right now, they're the best at those positions, and they're there for a reason. It's just a simple fact. There's a better right back, a better center back, then get him, find them and put them in, but they're doing something right."
After two games in the United States' current stretch of five in 18 days, a long-standing left back problem appears to have been solved with the emergence of Fabian Johnson. The German-raised 24-year-old set up the lone U.S. goal against Brazil and mesmerized FedEx Field with a fake to freeze Danilo and nearly create another.
"He's a player now that gives us high quality, international-level quality because he knows what he's doing with the ball," Klinsmann said. "You can time the runs. You can play killer balls into the space. You can see that he can play with those guys."
But for Klinsmann, projecting who those guys will be in two years won't be easy.
- Craig Stouffer