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Sporting News article raises serious questions about Klinsmann’s tenure as USMNT head coach

Juergen Klinsmann


There have been rumblings for some time of issues within Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. Men’s National Team, but a Sporting News article released on Wednesday provided some damning detail to the rumors of strife and unhappiness with Klinsmann’s squad.

The article, written by Brian Straus, contains comments from several unnamed U.S. Men’s National Team players, and people in the U.S. Soccer community, who have taken issue with Klinsmann’s approach to handling the team, and whether he is leading the team down a good path, or down a path to failure.

Questions about Klinsmann’s ability to coach the team, and perceived lack of tactical acumen sounded familiar to similar questions raised by Bayern Munich players after Klinsmann’s failed stint as head coach of the German powerhouse. The story also alluded to divisions within the team, and doubts about Klinsmann’s non-traditional methods.

“We do all this stuff. OK, it’s good for us and it’s scientifically proven. But in the end it’s a round ball. The Pelés and the Maradonas in the world weren’t doing all these things,” a U.S. player told the Sporting News. “I think we spend more time worrying about gyms and nutrition, and we don’t do enough of what we need to do on the field.”

That is just a sample of the behind-the-scenes accounts laid out in the Sporting News story.

What to make of the story? It is clear there are some players  aren’t sold on Klinsmann, and while there may be a case of sour grapes from players who have seen their roles with the team either diminished or not established under Klinsmann, there is clearly something going on behind the scenes that isn’t in line with the happy facade Klinsmann has tried to put on his tenure with the national team.

Give the Sporting News story a read and let us know what you think. Does the story have you even more concerned about the national team’s chances of qualifying? Think it’s just a case of some sour grapes? Will you wait to see how the team does in the upcoming qualifiers before putting too much stock into these revelations?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. It all starts with a plan. And we have no plan. Put together a plan and in 10 years the seeds will grow. We throw the academy league, Claudio, and alot of BS and think it will make us competitive with the world.
    If you don’t understand this then you won’t realize that the problem starts at the top…the very top

  2. Klinzy must be chuckling hard sitting in his hotel in denver !

    Klinzy is asking who are these guys ? some scrubs from america ?

  3. i find it annoying this is released before two major qualifiers. i have no problem with it, but as USMNT fans, it seems like awful timing.

  4. Troubling. Was anyone surprised by some of the comments? The team really hasn’t developed much of an identity and no one here has really attempted to make a case that JK absolutely knows how to prepare his team for match play and is a skilled tactician. That he has a vision is certain. But does he understand that reality sometimes requires adjusting what might be unrealistic expectations to suit the strengths of those chosen to play? Perhaps he’s the one who needs an IQ test. He’s certainly well aware of his past laurels as a player and he reminds his own team how they’ve failed to achieve much individually as professionals or as a team. He said Clint had basically done shite as a player despite being our top scorer abroad and Fulham’s best player for several years. That’s actually a great accomplishment. How many Americans can claim that (McBride for a little while)? JK seems to have some bizarre motivational tendencies that might work well with professional wrestling fans but perhaps are less successful with experienced players who have worked with managers that have a much better coaching pedigree. We don’t have incredible individual talent but we have as much if not more than every other concacaf team not named Mexico. But for some reason, Concacaf teams play as a team and with quite a few MLS guys showing up and impressing. JK has a couple of huge wins (Italy and Mexico) but I’m not sure exactly how that happened beyond a bit of luck and near total emphasis on defense. He did seem to have the defense settled after only a few months on the job but our guys looked lost in Honduras. The Slovenia win was perhaps the best team effort. We definitely got lucky in Russia. Are we regressing?

    I’m not sure what to expect on Friday and it clearly doesn’t help that injuries have limited Klinsmann’s options. Perhaps those comments in SN and mine here are an overreaction and the dissension will disappear if we’re successful this weekend. Regarding the Germericans, Jones and Johnson are worthy team members but Williams doesn’t strike me as much better than Edu and we’ll have to wait to see whether Chandler’s individual skills will necessarily make him a good team player. As an National Team fan I’m used to feeling a bit unsettled for away games but not so much for home qualifiers.

  5. I think a negative influence (not knowing who will start until game day) is counter productive. I think it is better served at a youth academy level, but not the USMNT.

  6. The other guy on the hot seat here is Gulati. If the U.S. goes 0-2 or 0-1-1 in this next two qualifiers, the road to the World Cup will be quite difficult. The USMNT cannot afford to miss a World Cup. Already we have suffered from Caleb Porter’s mismanagement in that regard. Nonetheless, more than Klinsman, it is Gulati who should be ousted if the U.S. stumbles. He showed Bradley the door and was always pushing for Klinsman. Gulati’s oversight of USMNT has been fairly mediocre.

  7. Glad to see Bocanegra taking the high road as an MLS article has shown. Many other countries would have guys that decide to “retire” instead of try and get back on the national team. Even though JK isn’t the greatest with tactics, it’s still up to the players to get the job done. Just qualify, no matter how ugly it has to be.

  8. I am displeased with the team under Klinsi. I am equally displeased with lack of leadership amongst the squad. Someone needs to step up and be a leader and the players need to think for themselves on the pitch when dictated tactics are not working.

  9. After reading the article and all comments, things that jump out:
    1. The biggest failure in the JK era is the midfield not the defense. This article makes me wonder if that has to do with everyone resenting JJ. Considering he is constantly partnered with son of Bob, I can see how there would be major issues. Also, pure speculation, but I have to assume that JJ is a total prick.

    2. JK talks about changing the culture and style toward attacking. Yet on more than 1 occassion he has gone with 7 defensive minded players forced into an attacking situation. He has often started 3 or even 4 players simultaneously who can be described as CDMs. I just don’t see how the lineups he has gone with and the consistent misplacement of players can be interprated as anything other than clueless.

    Most Importantly:
    If we want to change the culture of the USMNT why the hell did we hire him? Everyone talks about how they had rather have various MLS coaches. I really don’t get how people can have such low expectations. I want to hear Sunil Gulati say, “We are going after Fabio Capello, Arsene Wenger, Guus Hiddink, etc” Yes I’m serious. If we want real improvement, we should be hiring the proven best.

  10. Where to start?
    1) Klinsmann was brought in to revamp and reshape the US program. It was obvious to anyone who watched, the program had run its course and was going nowhere. We wear at a point where we were going to become the equivalent of Switzerland from a competitive standpiont.
    2) This focus on Bocanegra not playing is somehow being portrayed as the wrong decision. Has anyone actually watched Bocanegra play over the past few years? I will always like him and he was an integral part of our team for a while (but our team was slightly better than mediocre during that time) Boca was NEVER an elite, worldclass defender and anyone who says otherwise is deluded, nuts or just not honest. He is no longer our best option at center back end of story. He is old and slow.
    3) Klinsman was brought in to turn over the roster and give new players with different styles an honest chance as opposed to relying on thesame old players with the same established, well known skills. This is in large part why there have been 24 lineups in 24 games or whatever the number is.
    4) The idea that A)a backline needs time to gel and B) “experimenting” with a new combination in a Qualifier was reckless and a bad idea…I agree with A but when exactly was this backline supposed to gel if not in an actual game? The US is better than every other team in our region save Mexico, we should win so I have no problem with him playing a new combination. We should get through the HEX and if Klinnsman’s plan works as I am sure he planned (and we entrusted him with) we will be all the better by the time the World Cup comes around. It is a marathon not a sprint!
    5) Klinnsmann because he has been extremely open to giving everyone a chance – something Arena was notoriously known for NOT doing has a bigger challenge than just about any other National team coach in the world!Unlike most countries, US players are not known for a distinctive style of play and skills. Klinnsmann has got so many different styles of play to deal with he has 1) the MLS guys who play a certain way, 2) the Prem guys who play a different stye 3) the Germans, 4) another style in the Mexicans and then “everyone else” each of these leagues are known for distinctly different styles of play so why anyone would be surprised that the team seems a little disjointed?
    He needs the full cycle to be given a chance to sink or swim. If we don’t qualify then yes fire him but lets wait a few games before hitting the panic button.
    PS. if I’m not mistaken, Mexico dropped 2 points at home in thier opener tying Jamaica if I’m not mistaken. Prior to qualifying if most people were asked how where we would have expected to be after one game most would have said, Mexico win at home, we tie on the road, we would be trailing Mexico by 2 points and be in a fine position. (we are 1 point behind them)

  11. Bocanegra posted a message of support for Klinsman:

    “During the last 18 months Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program. Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front
    with players about where they stand and where he sees them going. Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has
    always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup.”

  12. I’d like to know how soon after Honduras these quotes were collected. It’s very possible this was in reaction to how JK handled the Bocanegra situation–and honestly if that bomb were dropped in such a fashion, I think any professional is going to have a tough time swallowing that. We can all argue about sacred cows and players being past their prime, but I think we can all agree that if you do think it’s time to retire someone referred to as Captain America that here is a right way and a very wrong way to do it. Sounds like JK did one better.

    I’m not ready to fire the guy, but that was clearly a huge miscalculation on his part and may very well have been the difference in having a team focuses for a tough away match to seeming lost and not really with their heads in the game…. Which is pretty much what everyone recalls from that match.

    If this is JKs way of building toughness — throwing wrenches in the works to give the players more to overcome, then he’s a genius. But the easier answer is that he screwed this up in a major way.

    But 6 points forgives all, 4 points forgives most, 3 points buys him time, 1 point buys him less time, 0 points spells trouble.

  13. This is the exact reason that I read Ives and Carlisle, that are rational, knowledgeable, non-mud-slinging journalist. This guys is an overzealous nutcase.

  14. I’ve said all along the halb-Deutsch players are a problem. They all have potential, but there is no WAY they can actually feel the pride needed to give it their all for the USA. If asked, and if they were really good enough, every one of them would play for Germany. As is, they play for the national team that will take them and do so knowing their fathers abandoned their mothers. Here’s an article that details the dynamic for one of these guys:'s-painful-decision-to-play-for-the-u.s.?cc=5901

    I don’t blame them, mind you. But there’s just no way they can know what it really means to be an American and want to win for the USA.

  15. Why is anyone surprised? He has been fired or at least “quit fired” from every coaching job he has had. The fact that we hired someone with no track record is absurd, no matter who it is.

    The real failure is with US Soccer as a whole. They never even considered anyone else. If the USA wants to show it’s serious about soccer we should have and still should go after the very very best coaches in the world. Even if it means overpaying. The USA should have one of the top 10 coaches in the world. JK has zero track record and it’s showing. The team doesn’t look a bit better than the day he started.

  16. Everybody calm down. Trust in Klinsmann. He just needs time to let his system take root. He is the right guy to take us into the next level. We can get potentially 4-6 points out of the next two games. If that should happen, everybody will be back worshiping at the Klinsi alter. Don’t forget three teams make it to the World Cup, with the possibility of a 4th team going as well. We will be in the top 3 teams. We started out this round of qualifiers basically on the road and playing the best 3 teams CONCACAF has to offer. We are going to get the win against Costa Rica. And then any kind or result in Mexico will be gravy. Mark it. 4-6 points out of the next two games.

    • Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
      Willard: I don’t see any method at all, sir…..
      -Apocalypse Now

      Basic problem is that outside of certain events, eg, Gold Cup, Copa America, Confed Cup, World Cup prep, you rarely have more than 5-7 days together at any one time. If you actually work your players hard trying to prep then they show up tired for the games that count. I mean, like playing the game in Colorado before Mexico. Sign he’s off his rocker. You can’t train up in-season players for altitude in less than a week, and if you try they will show up tired for the main event.

      I mean, at what age groups do we actually have residencies where we can implement a system? By the time they are U20, U23, senior, we see them for a few weeks then bye-bye, Maybe you could implement a style when USSF paid the players a salary and basically trained for months together, but this is two-three days of practice then play. If they don’t already get it, it ain’t taking.

  17. I can understand Klinsmann’s omission of Bocanegra because he simply wasn’t getting playing time for his club and he’s not getting any younger. He may have been more a liability to play, but we may never know what truly happened between the captain and the coach before the game. If the reports on team disunity is true, then there has to be another leader among the players to stand up unify them on and off the field. If the German-Americans didn’t want anything to do with the US team, then why bother accepting the call up when they could be focusing on their club careers? (If they deliberately play bad against Germany in the upcoming friendly, then yes I’m open to questioning their loyalty). As for tactics, it sounds like Vasquez more than Klinsmann needs to go.

    • It occurred to me that leaving Boca completely out may have helped trigger this public meltdown, which is why we’re hearing now rather than after the Honduras game. Maybe Klinsi is running afoul of some unwritten team rules he didn’t realize existed when he was making a merits decision, a la Harkes in 1998. He thinks he has a good sporting reason and I would even agree but some important players apparently think that leaving him off entirely is not done.

      I mean, I thought Harkes was broken down in 98, one good leg, and Sampson apparently had adultery reasons for ditching him, and yet it still tore that team down for good.

  18. Maybe if these guys played like Maradonna or Pele, they might earn the right to talk about how those players were treated and its effect on their game?

    I think the guys were gassed in the Honduran heat. Take away that result and you have the Canada game, which featured our B team. Granted, teams need to step up when they wear the shirt, but it is fair to take Klinsi’s favorable international results against Mexico, Italy, etc. and weigh them against the recent performances.

    As for the quote, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was LD. He’s getting old and taking a hallucinogenic sabbatical. No telling what his zen yoga guru chanting has done to his sporting mind.

  19. It’s true that this is a big transition cycle, and that any change is going to be difficult.

    But the scariest stuff came from Klinnsman’s own mouth.

    1) He doesn’t believe in adjusting to his players, but thinks they should somehow adjust to him.

    2) He thinks that it is not his concern what animosity exists in the squad.

    Man management and understanding the players at your disposal are the two most important aspects to coaching, and neither one of them holds any interest to JK. Forget all the hearsay. That’s your reason for firing him.

  20. Well that is not a good sign ahead of the next qualifier. I’m with a lot of people on here; I did want Bradley gone, but I didn’t want Klinsi to replace him. Our fitness levels were not our major problem; our tactics and playing nous were. And to the anonymous player saying Pele and Maradona didn’t do this, well buddy, whoever you are, I can assure you that you aren’t either of them.

  21. Do any of you remember in the 90th minute against Honduras when we were down 1-2 and had a corner kick, a golden opportunity to tie the score, and Michael Bradley kicked the ball into the stratosphere and behind the goal and out of bounds for a Honduras goal kick. I had suspicions at the time. But now I fully understand 😉

  22. I made a post on other thread that I’m not sure continues to exist on this subject.

    Short version would be that on substance Boca should be out, and it’s sour grapes for him to be complaining it happened. But in terms of the big picture that is a transition that needs to be handled well, France 98 Wynalda/Harkes, sounds like it was not.

    More compelling to me, players not bought into the coach or system, feeling overtrained and undercoached, feeling like plans are changng right on the eve of the games. A 30% figure was tossed out for how often things change at the last minute. Short of injury, shouldn’t happen.

    I do wish the players went on the record because I believe in considering the source, knowing how many people share certain opinions and who they are. I also think this should have been sat on for a week and is unprofessionally timed because they have to play a game in less than a week. You release this after the last game or after the next set. This is mutiny and perhaps excuse making before the fact and I don’t encourage France 2010s on our watch.

    • One thing I will say in Klinsi’s defense is that in light of Boca’s situation, he probably had to try him out to shut him back down. Boca has not been playing and thus would not have tape. He was coming off an injury that who knows how well he recovered from. Klinsi has to conduct a short camp and make the decision.

      Perhaps he should have just left him off like here? But I think he wanted to see what he was dealing with, and in doing so didn’t help himself because he didn’t plan or sell the transition right. Boca plays in back for some practices, looks bad, gets replaced. Klinsi perspective, not up to task. Player perspective, some of the old guard might not like that quick a switch.

      Arguably more about aesthetics than soccer, that one, IMO.

    • It’s pretty plain to see that Boca is on his last leg. However, do you tell your captain, “Hey, come in to practice,” and then cut his legs out from under him by benching him?

      I think the answer is pretty clearly no. You sit him down, man to man, outside of any preparations for a game and you discuss the future: transitioning to a new captain, candidates for the position, etc. You don’t stick a thumb up his bum, tell him to motivate the troops and summarily bench him.

      Really poor decision by Klinsmann.

  23. The US team under Arena and Bradley were always known for their superior fitness levels. If nothing else, our team could always outrun and outwork the opposition.

    Now, we have this alleged fitness guru, with all his emphasis on fitness, yet the team is so obviously dragging in the last 15-20 minutes of almost every non-friendly (friendlies allow six subs) under Klinsmann.

    How did we go from being so fit to lacking fitness under the leadership of a fitness proponent??

    • I think the fitness issue in the past was a confabulation of the media to say something good about the USMNT when they played better opponents like Brazil. For example, the media might point out that Brazil is very good technically and have great ball skills, but the USMNT are well conditioned and can run fast all day so it might be a good game.

      Fast forward to today’s USMNT, Klinsi coaches the team to recover the ball more quickly when possession is lost than previous coaches. He has even stated that he coaches the team to recover the ball in certain spots on the field (in the other teams half of the field, I believe). Recovering the ball quickly on defense and generating an attack once the ball is recovered leads to more running than under previous coaches. Hence the current USMNT is occasionally looking fatigued the last 15-20 minutes of the game.

      Alternatively, Klinsi has been accused of over-conditioning the team in the past, which could lead the team into looking fatigued in a game.

  24. Hmmm. Same complaints about Bradley before he was fired.

    Of course, the same complaints about Klinsmann in Germany.

    So … yeah. I’m inclined to believe Klinsmann sucks AND that no coach however brilliant could navigate their way out of what was always going to be a bad WC cycle for the USMNT. Old are getting older, the young ones not ready for prime time.

  25. We need start from youth level bring someone like Beisa or Peckerman bring more attacking style mentality. We need start right way for the next cycle, focus less on overpaid females and mexican national team getting preper in our soil.

    Ramos shown ability of improvement with under 20s.

  26. I am sure that the anonymous sources are vet players that probably want B Bradley back. Shut up and play. In the game v. Hond – US got out played and out hustle – not a coaching fault. For the comment about Pele and Maradona – let’s face it – we do not have players of that level – we never did. I would like to see Tab Ramos in the bench as an assistant coach. I don’t think that the back line is going to be the problem. CR will seat back and counter – the key is what are we going to do when we get the ball. Would like to see Gatt and Shea on the attack.

    SN article and its responses shows that we are growing as a soccer nation. I don’t remember such articles about Arena or B Bradley or Bora.

  27. My feeling is that today is the beginning of the end for the Klinsmann era, that Klinsmann will not be able to win back the locker room. I think Klinsmann is toast and it is not a question of if he will go but of when.

    FC Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes is looking for a job effective June 1 and I bet he would love to take over the USMNT from JK.

  28. I am unhappy with Gulati, first. Second, Gulati’s choice continuing with Bradley, where Bradley poor tactics cause USNT not being top eight. After World Cup 2010, you could see USNT playing like crap and losing the Gold Cup without being a dominant force (I know mexico was doped with PED). Third, Klinsmann brought back USNT more defensive midfield style without flair.

  29. Do you remember in the 90th minute against Honduras when we were down 1-2 and had a corner kick, a golden opportunity to tie the score, and Michael Bradley kicked the ball into the stratosphere and behind the goal and out of bounds for a Honduras goal kick. I had suspicions at the time. But now I fully understand 😉

  30. Effective immediately, JK should be promoted to USMNT “Dreamweaver and PR Guru”, while a new “Tactical Director” be appointed (such as Bob Bradley, or Reyna or Arena).

    • REYNA wtf are you talking about? This guy is a huge part of our developmental problem.
      Bradley and Arena clearly have the best vision for US Soccer but both were fired by……GULATI….there, my friends, he is the biggest problem

  31. Didn’t Klinsi over the last year coach the USMNT to a couple of impressive friendly victory’s: Italy in Italy and Mexico in Mexico?!!! That said, WCQ has been less than impressive though. The main criticism I have with this article focus on the weight the article placed on finding fault with Klinsi in the Honduras game. Frankly, put the starting XI and subs played awful. I’m not sure motivation and a more focused practice plan can be blamed in totality for the poor performance by the players. Some, if not most blame, has to be attributed to the players. Most criticism I’ve read about Klinsi is that he has been unable to get his squads to play the attacking style of soccer he envisioned. I’m a big fan of the USMNT, but I’m not sure if the USMNT has enough talent to play Klinsi’s style of soccer. The USMNT is no Spain, Germany, Italy, etc. That said, Klinsi has done some good things with the team tactically over the past year like dramatically improve the teams defensive form. The benefit of this improved defensive tactics is that the USMNT has not been going down a goal or two early like under B. Bradley. This shows that the USMNT is learning under Klinsi’s system. Maybe a more consistently beautiful game for the USMNT is still to come. For me, I just want them to win regardless of the quality of play!

    BTW, I’m blown away at some of the inane logic in the article. For example, a player was quoted as questioning the lack of consistency in the USMNT play between the Slovenia game and the recent Canada game and cited that the squad that played Canada had three weeks to learn to play well together. My first thought to this was that there were two completely different rosters for these two games and my second was that the Canada game roster was a squad of MLS players from camp cupcake. It is no surprise to me that an MLS based USMNT roster could only muster a tie against Canada, while an “A” squad USMNT had what it takes to beat Slovenia.

      • Good point! However, the 3-week camp statement leads me to believe that the player quoted was talking about the more recent Canada game. Otherwise the lack of consistency should have been made between the Canada game tie last year and the Scotland game win a week earlier! The earlier Canada game led up to two WCQ games against Antigua & Barbuda (3-1 win) and Guatemala (1-1 tie).

      • The earlier, A-team dull Canada tie was also part of an extended camp that included the Scotland, Brazil, and Canada friendlies and also the A&B and Guatemala qualifiers.

      • “One asked why the 4-4-2 formation that was so effective against Slovenia in the fall of 2011 hasn’t been used more often. A second player wondered how 14 months later the U.S. could look so disjointed in January’s scoreless draw against Canada after spending nearly three weeks together.”

        Clearly it was the more recent January Camp Cupcake with MLS players and subsequent game!

      • Oops, hit post accidentally. Meant to add: But, you are right that picking the Canada game out of the middle of that stretch and comparing it to Slovenia would be odd. No odder, however, than comparing a camp cupcake game to a full A-team friendly. So, the whole comparison is somewhat mysterious.

        But nevertheless, the tactical confusion of that camp cupcake squad against Canada is pretty heavily on Klinsmann — 3 weeks in camp and yet no one seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing, even against a poor Canada squad.

      • Maybe it is just that Canada like the rest of CONCACAF has gotten better. The USMNT “A” squad (Tie), USMNT Camp Cupcake (Tie), and US U23’s (Loss) could not beat Canada. I’d have to watch the January game again, because it is not fresh in my mind, but I do remember expecting more from that squad.

  32. Don’t understand why some of you want to criticize the guys on the team who spoke to the reporter. I am certain it was not easy for them to do so and that they would not have done it unless they felt the ship was in danger of sinking unless the captain is thrown overboard. There are situations where there is no alternative. I think the decision by the players to speak out shows their love of the team. Would you rather they keep quiet and let Klinsmann lead us to the summer of 2014 with no US team in Brazil? And make no mistake, that is where Klinsmann is leading us.

    • You don’t speak to the media about the coach.

      Period. End of story. That’s the game. Coaches get to. Players don’t.

      • Next time your boss holds a public meeting and tells everyone your shortcomings, let me know how you react.

      • Apples and oranges.

        JK is hardly the first coach to publicly criticize players. They are pros, they can handle it.

  33. The article may raise some fair points, but is ill-timed. As someone else has already said, why not raise the issue right after the Honduras game? Now, whatever strife exists is amplified before the crucial qualifying game…

    Also, we should not be too quick to put too much stock in the “anonymous” comments by the players. A lot of this looks like a textbook example of why certain issues are better worked out in the locker room.

  34. “I think we spend more time worrying about gyms and nutrition, and we don’t do enough of what we need to do on the field.”
    I’ve noticed that about Klinsmann, he is very interested in the fitness side of the game. If it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it. Our fitness and set pieces were the two things we could consistently rely on. Since Klinsmann has been coach the team looks tired and even struggles to be threatening on set pieces. If we don’t get at least 2 points from these two games we should seriously consider cutting Klinsmann loose.

    • Our fitness was something we could rely on because we never ran!

      What kind of fitness we you need to bunker? You know what fitness is? Spain. That’s fitness. They literally never stop moving.

      Germany. That’s fitness. Also–that’s Klinsmann’s fitness regiment and youth system he created.

      This nonsense that the US has great fitness is one of the biggest myths in modern soccer. Our fitness looked okay because we spent 75% of the game in a bunker and happened to have a fitness freak (Donovan) that could handle the constant counters, which generally was just him and the forwards that were already up there.

      • Blatantly untrue. The USMNT program has been one of the gold standards for fitness for many years now. Our fitness training methods have been imitated by many other countries in the world.

      • Which countries, according to who? Just curious, cause you make it seem like we invented running.

        ESPN always used the “fiteness” angle, cause there isn’t much else to say when you’re about to play clearly better teams.

      • ChiTown, you must not have had the opportunity to watch any USMNT practices under Bradley or Arena.

        Furthermore, it requires more fitness to defend than it does to attack for 90 minutes, the success of the US in making come from behind wins was pretty solid under when the other team tired (and against Spain in the Confed cup holding on to a lead despite defending for the majority of the game, the loss to Brazil there was just a fair result against a better team, not fitness).

        Actually Donavon is not a good example since he did not waste much energy defending and was not sucking air when he got the ball, great endurance is not an issue, but he does have great speed with the ball so he could push counters quickly.

      • Donovan was the best defender among wing players for us, maybe ever. Even when his offense seemed lacking, he was constantly tracking back to defend. Make no mistake, we miss his defense on the wing nearly as much as his offensive runs.

      • You just proved my point about the team’s fitness. Even you admit we were more fit before Klinsmann. You say its because we played bunker ball well what kind of ball are we playing now? Still defensive, its just bad partly because the players are tired. They look like they don’t put any effort in because the have no energy. Even if we played bunker ball we still outclassed and dominated teams we were supposed to instead of barely making it out alive. You still haven’t addressed our tried and true set piece that has also gone by the wayside since Klinsmann came on. We can’t even threatened on set pieces anymore.

    • I have no problem with implementing a new fitness regimen but it sure is worrying when you see the team lethargic and gassed during a game. I don’t want to believe it’s so badly managed that players are run to the ground right before a game but it seems that way!

  35. I personally am declaring Brian Straus a national hero for having the guts as a journalist to write a hard-hitting controversial story that should have been told months ago. It was clear to me something big was brewing behind the scenes and yet the soccer press was not touching it. If this were going on in England or Spain or Germany you can bet reporters would have been asking questions and writing about it.

    Actually, I am going to nominate Straus for the Pulitzer Prize. I regularly read him and think he is an excellent writer and reporter, and this piece masterful. Kudos.

  36. I still question Klinsmann’s view that he could impact how the players play by using the press to criticize them. Also, JK seemed to have the idea that no one else ever thought that it would be nice if the US played like Spain or Brazil, he also did not seem to appreciate that wishing did not make it so, that such an eventuality would come at the end of a long process of implementing small changes, not through some grand wake-up call for players to get better.

    I’m sure JK knows that, but he seldom sounds like he does.

    Bradley approached the task as being a process that he knew would take a long time. BB could be faulted for not sharing much publicly about the team’s performance, but not for making public criticisms of players or making outrageous claims about how the style of play would quickly be transformed. I do know BB was not averse to telling players what he thought their shortcomings were, but he never shared those criticisms with the public.

  37. As Ives mentioned, this is pretty similar to where the German National Team was with Klinsi during qualifying. We can only hope that we can pull it together in similar fashion. It’s pretty clear that Klinsi is not a particularly good man manager. We’ve seen too many problems in that regard in each of his stops. He tends to blame his players for failures and rarely if ever takes responsibility for his own blunders which is the inverse of the ideal American leadership style. I’m not sure if that is a cultural difference or an individual one but I’m not surprised players are not happy with him as his communication style seems poor. Still, he was able to right the ship in Germany and he does have a lot of the ideal qualities you want in a USMNT manager if he is able to learn from his mistakes (which I’m not sure yet). We’re in the Klinsmann boat and we might as well ride it out and see where it goes.

      • Sorry, thanks. Not qualifying, obviously, but the matches leading up to the WC were very poor for Germany and I remember a lot of discontent brewing and low expectations for Germany in the WC.

      • And, in fact, Germany 08 had the worst performance of a host team compared to the previous WC of any since Uruguay. Every other host team has exceeded their previous finish. Germany came in second in ’02 and third in ’06. Yes, they did better in Asia than in Germany. Every other host has equaled or beaten their previous finish. Look it up.

      • Yes, but they did play very well. Much better than expected, and they did it with a very young, rebuilding team.

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