As US prepares for opening World Cup qualifier, Klinsmann says he accepts criticism

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MIAMI SHORES, Florida — The U.S. starts World Cup qualifying while on its first three-game home losing streak since 1997, which has restarted complaints about coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"I totally accept it. Criticism when there are bad results is part of life," he said Monday as the Americans gathered for training.

"You take those critics positively. You notice them. You discuss with your staff how can we do better so we can get the positive results we were used to for three years," he said.

The Americans open the 16-game path to the 2018 tournament in Russia on Friday in St. Louis against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then play four days later at Trinidad and Tobago. Klinsmann brought the team to Barry University, wanting two days of training in heat and humidity ahead of next week's game in Port-of-Spain.

Klinsmann, who coached the Americans to the second round of last year's tournament in Brazil, bypassed former captain Clint Dempsey for his 23-man roster and selected a pair of players who could make their national team debuts — New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga and Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who became an American citizen in September

"Our younger players have to come out of their shell," Klinsmann said when asked about leaving off the 32-year-old Dempsey, the first American male to score in three World Cups. "We know Clint inside and out. He's always there. But we have to have a big picture toward Russia 2018. We need our young guys to make an impression."

Defender Fabian Johnson is on the roster despite being sent home to Germany after the 3-2 overtime loss in the Confederations Cup playoff. Klinsmann was angry that Johnson asked to be substituted in the 111th minute.

Klinsmann didn't apologize Monday for his public criticism of Johnson.

"It's just a normal statement to make when there are mistakes," Klinsmann said. "A lot of people didn't realize what actually happened, and that's why I explained it. I'm honest enough to say, 'This is what happened.' He didn't think that way in that moment. It was a mistake in that moment. We have to learn our mistakes so we avoid for the next time. I think it won't happen anymore. Sometimes you have to say things publicly to get everyone on board. But the door is always open. ... We move on. He is one of our most talented players."

Johnson did not speak with reporters Monday.

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