NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes his team will beat Mexico when the archrivals face off in next weekend's high-stakes CONCACAF Cup at a sold-out Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
"I'm very confident about it," Klinsmann told ESPN FC in a wide-ranging interview ahead of the Oct. 10 match that will determine which team represents the region at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
"With all the respect to the Mexican team -- there's no doubt that they have a lot of quality -- I'm confident that if our group sticks together and works with a tremendous amount of energy and chemistry, we're going to beat them. The key is they need to be together."
The U.S. and Mexico each submitted their 23-man rosters to CONCACAF on Thursday. Mexico immediately announced its squad; the Americans will reveal theirs Saturday evening.
Klinsmann said he already knows which players he wants in his lineup, but he was coy about who would man the heart of his defensive line.
There's little doubt about who will get the nod elsewhere. Klinsmann said last month that Brad Guzan would start over Tim Howard in goal, with four-time World Cup veteran DaMarcus Beasley at left full-back and Fabian Johnson -- the lone American competing in the UEFA Champions League this season -- on the right.
Captain Michael Bradley, top scorer Clint Dempsey and target forward Jozy Altidore are also considered locks, with fellow vets Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya strong possibilities to feature, too.
The big questions are at center-back. Gold Cup starters Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks seemed like safe bets a month ago. But Alvarado lost his place in Club America's lineup, sitting out the Mexican powerhouse's last four games.
Brooks, who had been sidelined by the hamstring injury he picked up in the U.S.'s friendly win against Peru last month, appears unlikely to travel to after hurting his ankle in training with German club Hertha Berlin this week.
"It has a huge impact," said Klinsmann on how Alvarado's and Brooks' respective situations would influence his decision making. "It's an ongoing process that you have to reevaluate week by week. Now Ventura's not playing. John, since the Peru game, hasn't played. Did we foresee that four or six weeks ago? No."
Brooks' expected absence could open the door for the return of Matt Besler, a 2014 World Cup starter who was overlooked by Klinsmann for last summer's unsuccessful Gold Cup.
"He struggled after the World Cup, but he got his act together and I see the old Matt Besler coming though, which was a big relief for us," the coach said.
But Alvarado's recent lack of action in Liga MX doesn't necessarily mean the 23-year-old won't start against El Tri, Klinsmann said.
"Ventura has specific elements in his game others don't have," Klinsmann said.
Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream and Jonathan Spector were the other central defenders named to the Americans' 35-man preliminary roster. Klinsmann said Brad Evans is an option there, too.
"All of our center-backs are very close in quality, but they're all unique," the coach said. "That doesn't mean that if we take Ventura over Omar that Omar isn't good. All the guys on the preliminary roster are good. They're there for a reason. You chose one over the other because he brings specific qualities that help you win the game."
For veterans like Beasley, Jones and Beckerman, all of whom are 33, the game against Mexico could represent their international swansong.
"I will definitely tell the players once they come into camp. 'Whoever is over 30 here, this might be your last final representing your country,'" Klinsmann said.
"I'm not saying they're not good enough anymore -- this will obviously be our best team -- just that they're not getting any younger, and younger players are pushing through. So I want them to understand and grab this unique opportunity.
"They have to look at it like if they don't win this game, there might not be another."