"I think they are really optimistic. If they can keep it down to three, I think they will be delighted."
Martin Paterson makes sure his American colleagues on the Fort Lauderdale CF coaching team are within ear shot as he jokingly tries to predict the Northern Ireland v USA friendly.
The Americans are, however, finally getting serious about football.
And much as former Northern Ireland striker Paterson was speaking in jest, there is no way they would accept leaving Windsor Park this evening on the back of a three-goal defeat.
While Northern Ireland are just getting into their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, the Americans have already turned their thoughts to 2026 and developing a squad capable of winning the tournament when they will host it for a second time.
Chelsea ace Christian Pulisic will be the most familiar name to Northern Ireland fans. He is just one of nine US players who played for their clubs in the Champions League this season and with only one member of their squad over the age of 28 and only eight of the 24 who went up against Jamaica on Thursday night being in double figures in caps, it is clear to see the path they are going down.
"They are trying to give their youngsters an opportunity. There is going to be a younger American team moulded for the World Cup push," said Paterson.
"They have some really exciting young talents at massive clubs at the moment and they see that as an opportunity to strike while the iron's hot."
Barcelona's Sergino Dest, who scored in the 4-1 win over Jamaica, and Borussia Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna, whose father, former Rangers and Manchester City midfielder Claudio, played in three World Cups, are two of the players the current team is being built around, with what Paterson sees as an attractive style.
"I don't think there are any secrets in international football anymore. There are some great players in that squad," said Paterson.
"They play a really, really possession-based game where they try to use their wingers narrow to break your last line and they get the full-backs really wide in a 4-3-3.
"It's a very attacking game and they rely heavily on the wingers to make runs in behind and they do a great job of using their defensive midfield player within that."
The Americans caused controversy when they whipped teenage Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah away from England, who he had played for from Under-15 to Under-18 level. Although born in New York, his Ghanaian parents were only in the USA on holiday and he grew up in Italy before joining the Arsenal set-up aged just nine.
It is a route, according to Paterson, that the Americans are pursuing more and more as they try to strengthen their squad.
"Musah is highly rated. For the American national team, there have been a few cases of players - not just from England, I think there is a Dutch boy who has done something similar and a few who are German-born or who have lived in Germany," he said. "They have managed to prise away some real talent from other countries. They have got some really interesting young talents who have now decided to play for America.
"They want the best talents and if they can go and get someone who has a dual passport or qualifies for the States then, just like other countries, they will do it."
The US will come to Belfast with virtually a full-strength squad after Nicholas Gioacchini, Chris Richards, Josh Sargent and Reyna were given the go-ahead to travel after quarantine protocols were updated in the areas they will return to after the game.
With a World Cup qualifier at home to Bulgaria on Wednesday, Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough will shuffle his pack and Paterson says those who are selected should relish the test against a talented side.
"It will be a great experience for the young players because the United States are a good team," he said. "It depends how they are looking at it. If it's a young USA squad against a young Northern Ireland squad it will be great to see. Anyone who is in the USA squad they are good players and can play, that's for sure."
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland coach Austin MacPhee has warned Northern Ireland supporters that the team face a huge challenge against USA tonight in the friendly at Windsor Park.
MacPhee has vast knowledge of the American soccer scene having played at the University of North Carolina for four years and coached there at different times during the last 15 years.
He is fascinated by the new model in place for the United States national side in which their many young players at big clubs dotted around Europe play in a Pep Guardiola style and are building towards the 2026 World Cup Finals.
Quizzed on what Ian Baraclough's side will be facing ahead of Wednesday's crunch World Cup qualifier at home to Bulgaria, MacPhee, these days coaching in Denmark with high-flying FC Midtjylland, said: "This will be a very difficult match. You just have to look at the two squads the players belong to to see that. They have players who have played in the last-16 of the Champions League and players in the Bundesliga.
"People will know Christian Pulisic at Chelsea but they have many quality players. Also they have never had as many players collectively at such a high level.
"Another factor is that the USA are used to winning due to the games they play and unlike us they don't have another match after this so they can leave their best players on the pitch for as long as possible.
"We will want a big performance against them but you ask anyone in Northern Ireland and the Bulgaria game is more important, yet for the USA this is a very big game against European opposition. It will be a challenge and I think it is a good game for us and a better one than playing a smaller European nation because it will be a more interesting one for our players."