- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — Jurgen Klinsmann sent a message in his U.S. coaching debut without saying a word. He stripped the names off the back of the jerseys and assigned Nos. 1-11 for the starters and 12-18 for the reserves.

He wanted the Americans to know that all that mattered was representing their country.

Klinsmann’s debut is out of the way, and now the real work begins.

Klinsmann’s first game coaching U.S. soccer was bolstered by Robbie Rogers‘ tying goal late in the second half to help the Americans salvage a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Wednesday night.

“It was a special moment,” Klinsmann said. “It was a special moment before the game, listening to the anthem and feeling the energy from the stadium and the players.”

Oribe Peralta scored for Mexico in a rematch of the Gold Cup final.

Klinsmann kicked off a new era in American soccer less than two weeks after he was hired.

He needs more time to make his mark. Klinsmann only held three practices since he took over a program that needed a clear jolt from the top after years of lagging behind soccer’s perennial powers.

The Americans, with a revamped midfield, have to develop a feel for each other and an understanding of what to expect out of Klinsmann.

Klinsmann surprised them with the new-look uniforms.

“It’s a little bit of a signal that there’s a fight going on for those numbers,” he said.

Klinsmann, one of the greatest players Germany ever produced, was put in charge of making the U.S. competitive again. After reaching the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup, the Americans took a step backward this year. They were routed by Spain in early June, upset by Panama in Gold Cup group play and then blew a two-goal lead against Mexico in the Gold Cup final, costing Bob Bradley his job.

Klinsmann’s debut in the international friendly will be remembered for Rogers‘ goal and Brek Shea bursting onto Lincoln Financial Field with a bundle of energy.

“We wanted to see a performance with energy and excitement and with the goal that the fans were really going to enjoy their team,” Klinsmann said.

Rogers tied it in the 73rd minute when he tapped in a nice crossing pass from the 21-year-old Shea. Rogers had just subbed in for Michael Bradley, playing for the U.S. team for the first time since his father was fired.

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