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U.S. U-20 Josh Perez makes Serie A debut for Fiorentina

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At just 18-years-old, Josh Perez made his Serie A debut on Monday at one of the sport’s most famous stadiums.

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team forward made his first senior appearance on Monday as Fiorentina took on Inter Milan at the San Siro. After being named to the bench last week, Perez entered in the 75th minute of Monday’s match in place of Spanish winger Christian Tello, making his first senior appearance.

Perez, who was on the U.S. U-17 World Cup team alongside the likes of Christian Pulisic, couldn’t help 10-man Fiorentina erase a one-goal deficit before Mauro Icardi fired a clinching goal in a 4-2 win.

The 18-year-old, who is the nephew of U.S. Men’s National Team veteran Hugo Perez, joined Fiorentina in February. Fiorentina returns to action on Sunday for a Serie A clash with Palermo.

49 comments
  • Lost in Space

    It looks like we are beginning to see a nice stable of young attacking talent emerge. If these guys keep developing the 2022 Cycle should be very fun to watch….

    Pulisic, Gooch, Perez, Morris, Wright, Rubin, Akale,

    Liked by 1 person

      • Dennis

        Also, John Nelson who played left back for the U-17s, U-19s and U-20s. He was probably the best player for the US in the recent U-20 tournament. He is only 18 y.o. and will graduate from High school this spring. He looks like a baby, when he matures he could be something really special, despite his small stature.

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Dennis: Until he decides to make soccer his career he isn’t worth bringing up with names listed above. All the guys listed except Wright are playing in full professional leagues, most in top leagues. The ACC is a fine league, but its not the Erdevise or EPL. If he wants a serious shot at being a player in Qatar in 2022 he needs to go to Europe. Maybe UNC is a fall back and he will test the waters after he graduates high school.

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      • Dennis

        Johnyrazor The US has lots of players who enter college and then turn professional. Jordan Morris is the latest who did so rather spectacularly and successfully. You can argue forever about the path any individual may take as being the “best” or “worst”, but Nelson was still had the best performance on that U-19 (not U-20 as I said earlier) squad. And he is still in high school. In the list of defenders listed by Chris W., only Miazga has the same sort of vision and defensive instincts as Nelson, and Nelson is the one most likely have a positive impact in the attack as well. Barring injury, he will be outstanding.

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      • johnnyrazor

        Dennis, I’m not saying he can’t someday make it, what I’m saying is that it won’t be anytime soon if he takes the NCAA route. I hope he is just keeping his options open signing with UNC like Olosunde did with Duke. Morris (who went to Stanford because he was very unrefined, didn’t even make the US U20 team) made a successful transition because at striker athleticism is key, but if you look at the strides he’s made technically in just a few months you can’t argue he wouldn’t be better for having skipped college (he would have had to use his left foot two years ago instead of in May). Desavio Payne is only 2 years older than Nelson and already has first team starts in the 10th best league in Europe, the experience he has gained won’t be matched by Johnny at UNC.

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      • Lost in Space

        There are a number of promising players coming up through the ranks right now….
        Central Midfielders: Hyndman, Zelalem, De La Torre, Gooch, Canouse
        Central Defenders: Brooks, CCV, Miazga, Glad

        Where we still seem to be running into problems is at Outside Back and Wing Midfielders. Down the spine of the field we look good….I just wish we had more clear cut wide players really excelling. It’s why I think the future of the USMNT will be either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation.

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    • Turkmenbashy

      mmmh, I’m gonna give him some credit. He brought a sort of legitimacy to young american kids to some foreign coaches. Even if he didn’t singlehandedly raise these kids from birth himself, he and his staff put them on to good situations, spoke positively to foreign coaches about the level of talent, and in some cases got people opportunities.

      But obviously, the kids are also performing… so they get tons of credit too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Super Nintendo Chalmers

        For all his weaknesses, identifying talent was not one of them. Take Jordan Morris. JK noticed him when Stanford was scrimmaging the MNT during the pre-WC camp at Stanford.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Turkmenbashy

        That’s the thing. People are all pissy because we lost a game against MX (or two) or CR, or – apparently – that we got crushed by Argentina and lost 2 close ones to Colombia… but the reality is that our youngsters now are better than they have ever been… and sure maybe he relied on some old dudes a bit too much, but he spotted young talent and got them into positions to really grow. and you look at our team now: Yedlin, Brooks, (CCV/Miazga), Pulisic, Zardes, Morris, Wood, and then the younger ones (Gooch, Zelalem, Green, Hyndman)… that is all JK and his staff. You’ll note our weakness is where he is ending up reliant on old dudes… Bradley, JJ, CM/DM… I worry that Arena is just going to be terrible for these guys’ development. “Sure landycakes, come on back to LA… I’ll still be your coach, and I’ll play you forever, no matter how you do. You don’t need to challenge yourself… look at me, I never did, and I am RIIICH”

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      • don Lamb

        Turk – I think the dissatisfaction with JK goes MUCH deeper than just losing the games that you mention. The organization of the team was always a mess, and say what you want about his player identification prowess, but his player selection and management was woeful. You cannot keep a coach in a role that important just because he can spot talent (the extent to which being debateable in the first place).

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      • Turkmenbashy

        meh, I think that dissatisfaction comes from a lot of folks not understanding his role and what he was trying to do right after the world cup. A) there is a bunch of stuff that you don’t know, but that affects his selections, not least of which is his relationships with the Euro coaches and his desire to help guys get established. the 2015 gold cup goes a lot different with some other guys, but he left them at home so they could establish themselves. B) availability due to injury. We have gotten more savvy, but a bunch of guys don’t understand really how tough it is to have good form and how at the peak level one guy who hasn’t been playing great, might play better in a practice scrimmage, or look sharper and you go with him… instead of the “better” player because everyone is so close at the Nats level. C) injuries. Like, you look at the copa america roster vs. these two: Cameron, gone… that’s a huge blow. Bedoya gone… that’s a huge blow. Morris gone… now you look at your roster and you say, ok, so what do I have to change… you can’t just sub Pulisic for Bedoya, because Morris is out and there isn’t another quality FW. so you still need a MF… ok, so push FJ up… well, now I can’t use Besler in the Middle because I need him on the left… etc. its a chess puzzle and it is way more complicated than anyone thinks and we have holes as a Team. Like, let me ask you… do you start Julian Green so that you can push FJ back to LB and put Besler in the middle? If Julian Green is awful, then what? OK, Jermaine Jones is not 100%… so who do you play in his spot? do you go Bradley/Klejstan? Ok, sweet… Klejstan played against Cuba pretty well, but can he play against Mexico in a prime important role? he didn’t do so well in the past there… and if he is disappeared, then you are looking at a huge hole in the MF… so, ok, so you start JJ, but he doesn’t have the legs to cover ground in a 3 man MF… so now you need 4… well, why not help him more and, at the same time, help Besler and Gonzales (your defensive weak links) by giving them less offensive duties and going 3 in the back. Now, FJ helps Besler, Chandler helps Gonzo and you can push 5 into the MF so Jones can save his legs a bit… ok, shit, that didn’t work… backfire… but the logic is there. Plus, I can’t blame JK for that lineup in MX because I have been asking for a back 3 for a long time. Also, its a joke that our players are “confused” by a formation shift… for fucks sake. they are professionals. Now, the Orozco sub… shit, that was a horrible move. Not sure what the deal was there. But remember we also lost Tim Howard and burned a sub… so his hands were a bit tied. So all of that to say I think people gave JK a lot of shit for player selection when they really shouldn’t have… and it all stems from JK leaving Donovan at home. and that is absolute crap because his player selection at the world cup in 14 was fucking spectacular.

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      • don Lamb

        Also, one of the guys that you give credit to JK and his staff for (Zardes) is much much much more a product of Arena than Klinsmann, so doubting Arena’s ability to bring along players (he did it with Omar Gonzalez and has been doing it with Sebastian Lleget and others too) seems dubious.

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      • Turkmenbashy

        Zardes was a sop to the MLS folks. he is the weakest of all our young kids and has that American Affliction called leadfoot. Has Arena developed him from a physical specimen into a world class footballer? has his touch gotten better? Omar… after the past two games, you are holding OMAR GONZALES up as an example of how great Arena is at developing players? OMG SMFH. Lleget… oh my god, now we are picking names at random. Anking… jeez, he isn’t being developed by Klinsmann… so yeah, must be a stain on JK.

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      • Nate Dollars

        “he spotted young talent and got them into positions to really grow. and you look at our team now: Yedlin, Brooks, (CCV/Miazga), Pulisic, Zardes, Morris, Wood, and then the younger ones (Gooch, Zelalem, Green, Hyndman)… that is all JK and his staff.”

        source? i mean, i’ll give you morris, and maybe wood and yedlin, but we should probably see some evidence before we start giving klinsmann the credit for those other guys. otherwise, it’s a bit early to start looking at his tenure with sepia-tinted nostalgia.

        also, as don lamb pointed out: klinsmann wasn’t fired for being a terrible technical director/recruiter, but for being a terrible manager.

        Like

      • Turkmenbashy

        I understand why he was fired. He lost two big games and people (myself included) didn’t understand his substitutions… he may or may not be a bad manager… we did pretty amazing in 2 major international tournaments, without, what would you call it… a ton of talent… look, the evidence is there… pre-JK how many American 18 yr. olds were getting top flight minutes? How many kids were even being given chances in the academies? Like I said at first. its not all him, the kids have performed awesomely. But he has done more than anyone else in US soccer to get rid of the American stigma, and that is huge. Fuck man, I’m Italian and have contacts over there… Perez doesn’t get a sniff without JK and Herzog and Ramos helping and pushing. Bradley doesn’t get Roma without JK making a call. and I’m not looking at it with nostalgia… all along I was not in favor of firing him, and this has been my consistent reasoning… though I get why he did get fired… and I’m depressed because I think we wasted an opportunity to develop another 2 years of great talent…

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Seems silly to credit Arena with Sebastian Lletget when he was a far better player in the first weeks after coming over from West Ham than he has ever been since. Some of that seems related to his dedication to having killer abs and having cool posts on instagram, but Arena shouldn’t really be credited for his development, anymore than his stagnation over the last year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Panda

        Sorry, Turk, but that’s utter nonsense. To say that JK is the reason for younger Americans getting a chance in Europe is to completely overlook how that was already happening well before JK was hired. John O’brien developed at Ajax as a teenager and became a mainstay in the senior team’s lineup. Kirovski, Thorrington, and Spector all went through Man Utd’s academy. This was already happening in the 90s.

        Like

      • Turkmenbashy

        wait… 4 names? and I’ll add 4 more too (Rossi, Friedel, Keller, and Waldorff) in what 30 years? sweet. I’m sure that was all the US team needed right? Look, if you are an Italian coach… let’s say, Bologna. 10 years ago… much less 30 years ago… if you brought in an American or played the American in a meaningful game… you were gambling with your job. Shit, 2011 when Bradley transferred from Chievo. The coach at Roma was lambasted for bringing in the American… “siamo la barzelletta d’italia , ma si puo’far giocare titolare bradley e trattare a pesci in faccia pizarro,…..dirigenza solo spocchiosa e arrogante tutti via” … everyone out, this from an email, sent to the owners about why they should fire themselves and the coach and entire staff… I have redacted anything that would ID the people involved. But the point is, that was 2011, and Bradley was actually good. But nope… gotta go get a Croat, a proper soccer player… for you to ignore that… for you to act like, oh, John O’Brien did it, so JK hasn’t changed the mentality at all… its a joke. Weder Bremen ONLY looked at Morris because of Herzog… In Germany, some say JK was fired in part because he paid so much for Donovan… and then had the balls to play him. So yeah. JK has done a lot.

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      • Turkmenbashy

        on the other hand… if JK was really saying what ESPN said he was ” In private, his excuses were even more bold; he told Gulati that he was convinced that the Gold Cup was fixed so Mexico would win, setting up the big-money playoff match against the U.S., a viewpoint that exasperated his boss.” then he should have been tossed a long time ago. That is just delusional idiocy.

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      • Nate Dollars

        “Perez doesn’t get a sniff without JK and Herzog and Ramos helping and pushing. Bradley doesn’t get Roma without JK making a call.”

        source? again, i’d love to see some evidence for this. otherwise, it’s just as fair to say that our player pool has been steadily improving for the last 20 years, and it’s getting to the point where our guys are good enough to play for bigger clubs.

        Like

      • don Lamb

        Turk – Back to my original point… JK was not fired because of 2 games. He was fired for 5 years of ineptitude on the sideline, where his number one responsibility lies. “Success” in 2014 WC and 2016 CA aside, his teams were all over the place, lacking organization and, seemingly, heart/effort. Not acceptable — I don’t care what the roster limitations are.

        Calling for a 3-man back line is a bit foolish given the complexity of that type of system. A club squad would require an entire preseason and then the first couple of games at least to get used to the quirks that it presents. Yet, Klinsmann decides to go with it with only a few days to prepare before the toughest opponent he is going to face? Gonzalez might have looked bad in the last two games, but he was a centerpiece of an underdog champion in Mexico. He went from a college guy to that caliber under Arena.

        Giving credit for Badley’s move to Roma? That was clearly based on his performance at Chievo. He gets credit for Perez because of a phone call? Fiorentina, or any other club, isn’t going to sign any player just based on a coach’s recommendation. Dortmund saw Pulisic with their own eyes. They didn’t need JK to tell them anything. If Tottenham took Yedlin just because Klinsmann told them to, they are fools. Much more likely that our overall player development is better with this generation than it is JK’s contacts and influence that is developing these guys.

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      • Turkmenbashy

        “A club squad would require an entire preseason”… and yet Chelsea pull it off in a week… http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/10/24/chelseas-man-utd-win-inspired-by-formation-desire-to-put-one-ove/ … and the US pulled it off in a week in 2002… as for the player stuff, JK can’t make someone play well. However, if an american is playing well, JK can… shit JK has… assuaged fears that European coaches have had about playing American kids. Obviously the film performance has to be there/practice performance… but the shot, the opportunity, and in many ways the elimination of the old predjudice… JK gets credit for that. I don’t know how else to express it for you. Imagine getting a stock tip from Jurgen Klinsmann… then getting a stock tip from Jaime Dimon. Who do you listen to? That is the difference between JK and Arena. Tottenham, Roma, they didn’t take him just on JK’s word… but they were open to taking a flier because he was there lending credence to it. as for Gonzales… Whatever, I don’t think the MX league is good, so it doesn’t make a difference to me that he is on a good team in Mexico. Hell, I don’t think Chandler is playing well and I probably wouldn’t start him either despite his form at a much better club. as for the past 5 years of no heart… please elaborate. I was not aware that the team didn’t have heart, or grit for the past five years. Are there examples of such things? Perhaps coming back against Mexico twice in the confed cup final? People might point to a loss in Guatemala… but as I recall they beat us because of 2 Gonzales mistakes, and I think one was a bradley eff-up too. perhaps you mean 4-0 to Argentina in Copa America? I was there… that had nothing to do with heart. I saw no quit in that game or it would have been 15-0. so please elaborate.

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      • don Lamb

        …with a coach who ONLY plays that way. Klinsmann/Conte are a LITTLE bit different in terms of their knowledge and experience with 352.

        Listen, I hate calling out players for lack of “heart” as much as anyone, but if you think that this team was playing to its psychological peak, then you are nuts. There have been many absolutely telling moments and trends.

        lol — clubs don’t take “fliers” on players. They don’t sign players on a whim because Jurgen Klinsmann calls them. There is some influence there in some situations, yes, but Klinsmann is not in that position to be a player’s agent. And advising a player to go to a certain club is not “development” anyway.

        Don’t get me wrong — Klinsmann was not a complete dud. He probably raised the global profile of US Soccer (even if for all the wrong reasons). He deserves credit for bringing up some young players and his team got some very good results over his tenure. However, he had completely lost the confidence of EVERYONE (much less the “locker room”) associated with US Soccer. This was not something that just happened in two games, like you suggest. On the contrary, he was given every chance to continue with the team until there simply was no alternative. He survived a few pivotal moments, but might have gone backwards when you consider how lofty his goals were in terms of the sort of transformation this team was supposed to make in becoming a “proactive” and skillful side.

        Like

      • Turkmenbashy

        Yeah, until someone shows me evidence of him losing the locker room… I have no basis for that. As for Gulati, he obviously lost confidence in him, because he got fired. and after going 0-2 to start the Hex, fine, every major soccer country would look to bring out the axe. Again, I’m not complaining… just depressed. But to say that he went backwards… Copa America was the first time I have ever seen the US team look like a soccer team when playing against top opposition, instead of 10 guys and a goalie playing kickball. Even in their losses to Colombia, they looked like a team playing to win. Look, Iceland made it to the quarters in the Euros… but is that our goal? In 2002, we made it to the quarters… basically doing the same thing. shit in 1994 we made it out of the group playing that type of game. I have never seen the US team play as open and aggressive and well as I did this past summer, and I put that on JK. If you want to go try to win the world cup by playing that way with Arena, then fine, it is a strategy. But JK’s plan was working… it just doesn’t happen over-night and the process is definitely 2 steps forward, one step back. I look at our results and I think JK did a good job outside of these two games, there has been some experimenting, there have been poor performances in friendlies and the Gold Cup… but losing in extra time to Mexico isn’t doing a bad job… he put the best team he had out there, and I think we could have won… that was an amazing final shot. Against Mexico… we could have won that game. anyway, like I said, I think the fact that he didn’t bring Donovan to the World Cup made lots of people forever anti-Klinsmann… and every single failure they sharpened their knives… these last two games, they finally got to stab. You are free to disagree, but go back and re-watch those Copa America games… then tell me if he wasn’t changing the style.

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      • don Lamb

        Copa America was very mixed for me — I agree with you to a certain extent, but not fully. We played an possession based 4-3-3 against Colombia, and looked good even while losing. But then Klinsmann abandoned it at the beginning of the Costa Rica game even after we went up 2-0 for us to never see it again for the rest of the tournament. The wins against Paraguay and Ecuador were far from pretty, but we got the job done — seemed like old school sort of mentality to me. And then the Argentina game was mostly a disaster.

        I was rooting for Klinsmann very hard, and I waited a long time to come to the conclusion that I did. In the end, he is just not very good (putting it nicely) with his tactics or player management. Those are the two most important aspects of the job, and the players were clearly not impressed. Bradley’s interview after the Mexico game was one bit of evidence for you to see how down the players were about their coach. But it was going on in the media for years between the players and Jurgen. And it definitely showed on the field in a few games (friendly and competitive). I would still maintain that the program went backwards given the lack of progress regarding “style” and the disappointments with results (some positive ones notwithstanding).

        I don’t think he put us in any sort of hole that we can’t bounce back from quickly, but we clearly need a coach who is steady and knows what he wants and expects from every player in every situation rather than an experimenter who wants to make his players uncomfortable — that always sounded like such a horrible idea to me. No wonder his teams looked confused, disorganized, disjointed, and lacking in spirit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Turkmenbashy

        I don’t recall us abandoning it… we had the same line-up throughout… Argentina… it was really terrible, but I recall much of that being due to suspensions (Wood, Jones, Bedoya). I mean, shit, we were either exhausted or beat before we set foot on the field because I swear… we couldn’t even foul them… that’s how behind the play we were… I can’t put that on JK though… Argentina was/is a class above even Colombia (current form notwithstanding). Anyway, thanks for the debate.

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        “Yeah, until someone shows me evidence of him losing the locker room… I have no basis for that.”

        funny how you dismiss that due to “no evidence”, yet you credit klinsmann for our kids making it to big clubs, without evidence.

        and you keep bringing up the confed cup playoff as one of the two big reasons for klinsmann’s firing. it wasn’t. gulati stated first that the 2015 gold cup (perhaps our worst performance ever) was the “big disappointment”, and that the playoff with mexico was simply a (failed) chance to get back some dignity.

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      • Turkmenbashy

        obviously, some stuff is inside baseball and not discussed… but there are two sets of proof.

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        also, i also thought we did well overall in the copa america centenario, but it wasn’t a “major international tournament”. the regular copa americas are major tournaments; this was solely a cash grab, and we should’ve treated it as such, by blooding more young players, and what the hell, maybe running out a back 3 three at some point.

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      • Turkmenbashy

        Are you still on this it wasn’t a major tournament thing? you must be trolling… Messi was so distraught he bloody announced his retirement from the Argentinian National Team. I didn’t see a single team acting like it was a glorified friendly…

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        read my comments: i granted that klinsmann was instrumental in moving morris, yedlin, and wood, but thanks for the links anyway. however, here’s your list: “Yedlin, Brooks, (CCV/Miazga), Pulisic, Zardes, Morris, Wood, and then the younger ones (Gooch, Zelalem, Green, Hyndman)… that is all JK and his staff.”

        then you doubled down and added perez and bradley to that list. just absurd (without any evidence, of course).

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      • Turkmenbashy

        fair enough… like I said there aren’t articles on all backroom calls and deals… that being said, Zardes never moved, so in this quote, I was talking about giving credit for development… But anyway, I’ll keep posting articles as I can find them… but where people are smart enough to keep their mouths shut… there won’t be any… so feel free to call it absurd if you want. just like I’ll call it absurd that he lost the locker-room in the absence of evidence…

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      • Nate Dollars

        yes, i wouldn’t call the centenario a major tournament (mid-major? *shrug*); i put it about on par with the confed cup, although i’d concede argentina and chile took it seriously.

        and if you think messi retired simply because of that tournament, you haven’t been paying attention.

        Like

      • don Lamb

        Turk – two facts:

        1) Klinsmann abandoned the 433 that he began the tournament with. I was very disappointed. Much like he abandoned the 352 that he started with during the friendly in Chile — oddly enough the same 352 that he would come back to in one of the biggest games of his tenure with little time to prepare and with players who had little to no experience playing it.

        2) There is a lot of evidence of Klinsmann “losing the locjer room.” I generally hate using these terms and judging things like “effort,” but many performances and interviews show clearly that the team was not responding positively to Klinsmann.

        ps – I would defeinitely call Copa Centenarrio a major tournament even if the atmosphere lacked some of the authenticity of a normal Copa America.

        pss – yes, thanks for the debate. very much respect your opinion and outlook on the game. cheers

        Liked by 1 person

      • Turkmenbashy

        as to 2) please show me… I would love to feel better about this move.

        Like

      • don Lamb

        Interviews:
        – Bradley after the most recent Mexico game basically said that the team had no clue what they were doing or how they were going to attack Mexico. It was fairly diplomatic, but also very obvious that he was indirectly blaming Klinsmann. It’s hard to tell whether Bradley has ever really respected Klinsmann after he was shut out of the team for no real reason during the first few months of his tenure. Maybe it had to do with hurt feelings the Bradley had with his dad being fired — I don’t know, but that relationship has always seemed rocky.
        – Bedoya after the Brazil game where he was played centrally as a defender said that he had no clue what he was doing there
        – Altidore had public spats with Klinsmann early in his tenure. Klinsmann patched this at some point, but his handling of Altidore at the beginning was odd.
        – Besler had public spats with Klinsmann after a January camp
        – Bocanegra or someone called out Klinsmann during last cycle’s hex
        – Do I need to mention Donovan’s exclusion from Brazil? A major statement by Klinsmann and perhaps justified depending on what his vision was for the team. But hard to justify when guys like Davis, Green, and Wondo are taken instead. The didn’t suffer in the short term, but you wonder how much Donovan’s leadership would have helped with the massive transition that needed to happen after Brazil.

        These are just quickly going off the top of my head, and I generally hate reading into these locker room type issues.

        Performances:
        – Most recently against Costa Rica
        – Most of the 2015 Gold Cup
        – vs. Brazil after that Gold Cup
        – @ Ireland (1-4)

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      • Turkmenbashy

        So taking these in Order, the relationship with Bradley night have soured recently, but JK made MB the focal point of the team going into the world cup, and then for an entire year afterwards until his performance was so bad that he had to drop the idea… so I find it hard to believe that they had a rocky relationship. As for his comments after Mexico, fine, but after CR he said something like “nobody takes his firing harder than me… we played like shit” which may just be diplomacy, but I think we fans often take post-game interviews when emotions are high and read too much into them.

        Ok, Bedoya… well yeah, it was a friendly, a test/experiment, and it failed. BTW, he was played as a CDM not a CB. So I mean, there is a logic to it… Bedoya can pass, and if you were thinking about maybe pairing someone other than Jones with Bradley in the middle, then you might want to know if Bedoya can do it. I mean, here is the thing… These guys are professional players… so when someone makes an excuse about “not knowing what their role is…” or “not understanding how to position themselves in a formation” then I feel like either they are covering for a shit performance, or they are just middling quality to begin with… because its not that hard… and that goes for the Mexico game too.

        Besler had a spat because he showed up fat, or JK thought he did, and who knows how that played in the locker-room. But I’ll assume that Besler and JK have not been on the best of terms recently. I just don’t know how that went over with the rest of the team, who presumably were told to show up in shape… maybe they appreciated that he was giving one of the “stars” some shit for feeling entitled. I don’t know.

        Last cycle’s call out… yeah. I think he shook up the old order of things and some folks didn’t like it and he got rid of them. But I feel like he didn’t lose the locker-room there given their performance over the 2 succeeding years. And also, lots of times the new boss pisses off some of the guys who have been around for a while.

        Donovan… The only difference here is 1) Wondo missing. If Wondo puts that ball in JK is the greatest genius in the history of the world. No one could know ex-ante that wondo chokes. 2) green should have come before Donovan… and he scored in extra time… so you can’t judge that against him. I would have made both of those decisions too. 3) I can make a legitimate argument that Donovan should have gone to the cup ahead of Davis. But you have to believe 2 things for that to be true 1) Landon would have been a good benchwarmer (because he is going in as the 6th MF player), and by that I mean a subdued squad guy and 2) that his performances in practice justified it… because maybe Landon wouldn’t have had the legs to play against Germany for 70 minutes… who knows. Anyway… I think that is what began to sour the relationship between JK and the Federation/fans. and I think from then on, while they couldn’t say anything immediately after the WC because we played well… but at the first opportunity… during the period when you need to experiment… everyone was jumping on JK for experimenting… and then, a poor gold cup where, again, JK left a bunch of guys off so they could get settled/uninjured/rested in Europe (i.e. Wood, Cameron, etc.) which seems to have paid off… just like leaving Morris at home seems to have paid off this year… at that point people started smelling the opportunity and the knives started coming out. and it just got worse and worse from there.

        anyway, I understand all your points, and I respect the viewpoint, and I agree it is likely that litany that was in Gulati’s mind when he made the call… I just don’t know if I believe it was the right call, when you look at who we hired instead. Now, if you had brought in, I don’t know, Del Bosque, Ancelotti, maybe a van gaal, or any of the argentinian contingent (there are a bunch)… then I would be way more behind this. But Arena… I just don’t trust him (I think he is the Landon Donovan of coaches) and I think JK still had advantages for our program as a whole…

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  • I scored three goals in one game

    These kids were just 13 or 14 when JK took over and changed the USA youth development program so hate haters, it takes time

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pirithous

      Well, except that JK didn’t really do much to change the youth development program in any significant way.

      Like

  • brent

    Ohhh, I saw his debut and couldn’t believe my eye when they said an 18 year old American is coming on. Then I remembered his name from some previous articles and thought “USA USA USA”. He did not look out of place and almost earned a penalty from outside the box but the ref did not buy the flop. He is bowlegged and looks about 5 foot 6 inches or so. Otherwise he did great for an 18 year old in the serie A. Congrats and hope to see more over the next few years!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Nate Dollars

    yes, i wouldn’t call the centenario a major tournament (mid-major? *shrug*); i put it about on par with the confed cup, although i’d concede argentina and chile took it seriously.

    and if you think messi retired simply because of that tournament, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Like

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