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The U.S. has prepared for the daunting task by beating No. 85 Azerbaijan 2-0 in San Francisco and then topping No. 39 Turkey 2-1 in New Jersey. Now, the 18th-ranked Americans face No. 44 Nigeria.

And the U.S. defense surely will be the focus once again.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Klinsmann said. “When you give chances away, then you address that and you talk about it. But it’s not a defensive topic; it’s a whole team topic because the defense starts with the forwards up front. It starts with compactness of the whole unit. You watch it again, like we coaches do obviously, and analyze it.

“That’s why we need these games against very good opponents because they show you those examples and you learn from it as quickly as you can. The whole thing is a work in progress, and I think we’re doing fine.”