The United States face Canada on Tuesday in a friendly match that will serve as a warm-up for their World Cup campaign.
The Americans will open a six-team, round-robin North American qualifying tournament in Honduras on February 6.
Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica are also chasing seek one of three berths on offer with the fourth-place team facing the Oceania winner for another spot in Brazil next year.
The US squad will be lacking veteran Los Angeles Galaxy striker Landon Donovan, who has not yet announced if he will continue his career even though Galaxy coach Bruce Arena says he expects Donovan back in Major League Soccer.
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann expects a motivated squad of mostly MLS talent to take the field against Canada.
"Traditionally, it's always been very difficult to shoot these guys up from 0-100 within a couple weeks in January," he said. "Players should understand that if they look after themselves and are really focused on and off the field, then they can achieve a lot in a short period of time.
"Having a chance to become part of this big year and part of our vision toward Brazil in 2014 should really give them a lot of motivation and inner drive to go through difficult sessions and grow in a short amount of time in a way that they are ready for World Cup qualifying."
Klinsmann has not forgotten a goal-less draw against Canada in a friendly last year in Toronto.
"I was really frustrated after that game, so I'd like to correct that if possible," he said. "It's a nice opportunity for us to (gain) confidence at the end of the day that we are prepared for a World Cup qualifier."