Jurgen Klinsmann: U.S. treating Paraguay clash like a knockout game

PHILADELPHIA -- United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann said he is treating Saturday's Copa America Centenario match against Paraguay like a knockout game.

The U.S. enters the last round of group stage matches needing only a draw to advance to the quarterfinals, but Klinsmann said his team won't be thinking about that when it takes on La Albirroja.

"We are not playing for one point, we cannot do that, it's not our character to for one point. We go for the win. Otherwise we might punish ourselves," he said before Thursday's practice session on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

"It's a one-off, and then this is our goal to go through that on Saturday and then play the next one-off, and learn how to win these one-off games, to mature in our own way towards a World Cup where we want to go further, where our big dream is to get into a final four of a World Cup, rather sooner than later.

Klinsmann added that he remains wary of Paraguay, who can still qualify for the quarterfinals at the Americans' expense if they prevail.

Paraguay has only earned one point from its first two matches, but gave Colombia all it could handle during a 2-1 loss, the last nine of minutes of which it played with 10 men following Oscar Romero's dismissal for two yellow cards.

"This is a very unpredictable team," said Klinsmann about Paraguay. "They have players that can hurt you in a split second, like Colombia experienced. They thought the job was almost done and then, boom, [Paraguay] score that one goal.

"If [Paraguay doesn't] go down to 10 men, they were right on the verge to equalize that game. They're fearless, that's in their nature; last Copa America final four, the Copa America before that, second. That tells you what Paraguay is."

But Klinsmann believes his team is very well prepared, and is more than capable of emerging victorious.

"The spirit is very upbeat, it's positive. Two games now played, three points. It's as difficult as we expected," he said. "The whole thing, we knew we were in the toughest group but now everyone is really hungry and eager to make things happen on Saturday night."