SEATTLE — Jürgen Klinsmann could barely contain his glee late Thursday night. During a tense, scrappy quarterfinal encounter with Ecuador in the Copa América, Klinsmann had stormed along the sideline in front of his team’s bench, waving his arms and exhorting his players.
They responded with an impressive 2-1 victory, and after the game Klinsmann’s joy and pride was about more than the team fulfilling his pretournament goal.
The win put the U.S. in the final four of the Copa and Klinsmann had set that as the team’s mission. But the coach wanted everyone to grasp exactly what that means and why he was so happy.
“With this tournament being not that popular yet because it’s difficult for us here to understand what a Copa América is all about, that learning curve is coming through and people understand it more,” Klinsmann said, before adding with emphasis, “Shoot, this is big time.”
The United States last…