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Klinsmann adamant USMNT won’t play for draw vs. Germany

Jurgen Klinsmann

Photo by John Todd/


MANAUS, Brazil — Jurgen Klinsmann and Jogi Low are friends. They are also competitors.

It did not take long after the U.S. Men’s National Team and Portugal played to an exhilirating 2-2 draw on Sunday night that questions about a potential gentleman’s handshake between the U.S. and Germany began to pour in. A draw is all that is needed for both teams to advance from Group G into the knockout phase of the World Cup, and they play one another in their group finale on Thursday.

Klinsmann killed the notion rather quickly and emphatically, stating repeatedly that he intends to deploy a gameplan that will give the Americans the best chance of picking up three points to add their current four and that there will be no arranged discussions with Low of a playing to a stalement.

“There is no such call,” said Klinsmann at Arena Amazonia. “Jogi is doing his job, we’re good friends, and I do my job. My job is to get everything done to make us go into the Round of 16. That’s what I’m going to do. There’s no time right now to have friendship calls. It’s about business now.”

If the U.S. and Germany were to play to a draw in Recife on Thursday, the Germans would finish first in the group due to goal differential and the Americans would come in second regardless of what happens in the Portugal-Ghana game that will be played simultaneously.

There is the chance, of course, that the outcome of the U.S.-Germany match is a tie. But that would not be because the Americans tried to play for a point or struck a deal with Germany to end on even terms.

No, Klinsmann is fixed on getting the victory that would see the Americans finish atop of what many considered to be the Group of Death and even if it comes at the expense of Germany, who could be knocked out if certain circumstances fall into place.

“I don’t think that we are made for draws really, except if it happens like tonight, goals last second,” said Klinsmann. “I think both teams go into this game and they want to win the group. We want to go into this game and recover fast and we go at Germany and get three points and then seven points on our side and then in the driver’s seat for the Round of 16. That is our goal.”

Klinsmann and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati drove that point home by talking about the Americans’ character and never-say-die attitude. They both brought up last year’s road win in World Cup qualifying over Panama, when an already-qualified U.S. side rallied late to eliminate the Panamanians and give Mexico newfound life.

The two U.S. honchos also brought up a 2009 World Cup qualifying draw against Costa Rica, when a U.S. side that already secured passage to the 2010 tournament scored a last-gasp goal to give Honduras a World Cup berth at the expense of the Ticos.

“No we’re not going to have a call between Jogi and Jurgen, (German Football Association president) Wolfgang Niersbache and me or any combination of those people,” said Gulati when asked of the idea of agreeing to play to a draw. “It comes up all the time, but if you were at the game in Washington (D.C.) four years ago … or (in 2013) when we played until the 93rd minute, had nothing to play for other than American mentality, and changed who qualifies for the World Cup because of it.

“We put Mexico through, eventually, and Honduras through, so it’s not the way the U.S. team plays. We’re not going to do that.”

Try as they might, U.S. Soccer officials are still likely to hear more questions regarding a potential deal with Germany to play to a draw in the coming days. Their responses, however, probably won’t change much.

“We have that fighting spirit, we have that energy and determination to do well in every single game,” said Klinsmann. “We’re going to go to Recife very ambitious, with a lot of confidence to beat Germany. This is our goal, and then we’ll see what happens on the field.”


  1. The definition of football is knowin what to do with a goal lead with less than a minute to play. Pass the freakin ball (where’s Donovan) , kick it blindly to the other end,and go into a 0 0 0 10 formation. But .. uh … do NOT allow even the mere wisp of a 2 on 3 counterattack.

    This was a case of the supreme stupids. Never live it down. The fat lady had sung. It wasn’t even suppose to be theoretically possible.

    Take the draw you dumbkins.

  2. In all the collusion talk, not many are taking ego into consideration. I think it’s possible that both Loew and Klinsmann want to win this one. Loew is probably itching to get out of Klinsmann’s shadow once and for all.

  3. How weird is it that Germany is playing Lahm as the holding mid while they are struggling with their left back while Schweinsteiger sits on the bench? Lahm really doesn’t seem THAT good at midfield that you’d make your back line suffer. I don’t get it. But I think we can exploit it…Howedes looked vulnerable all game against Ghana. Study up FJ.

  4. I have come to the conclusion that the FIFA tie-breaker has it wrong. Here’s why:
    1. It is obviously logical that the team that won the head to head game is the superior side, but I will for the sake of this thread concede that the group stage is a culmination of results not a series of head to heads.

    2.That said, head to head is the vastly superior tie breaker because teams play different styles as the tournament plays out and that is a heavy influence on GD as well as GS. For instance Portugal, when they played Germany and the US just wanted a one goal win and played with defensive responsibility, now needing to erase a -5GD and win they HAVE to throw defense aside a little. Advantage Ghana.

    3.Head to head also takes away any advantage a team gets from playing against a red card in the GD and GS.Germany is in prime shape due to their tremendous GD gained against 10 man Portugal.(not sure they would not have dropped 4+ on them anyway- but you could see how this helps them in any tie breaker with Ghana)

    Now the potential Germany-Ghana tie would have been subject to all these tie breakers anyway since their game resulted in a draw, but the potential US-Ghana tie will have been settled largely by the GermanyPortugal game and schedule makers. Portugal has played themselves out of their tie-breakers thus they have earned the disadvantage. Ghana played themselves out of the US tie breaker. The US will have (in a lose Thursday scenario) played themselves out of a Germany tie-breaker which cant happen, but played overall well enough to earn the Portugal tie-breaker (since their result was a draw) and earned a Ghana tie-breaker with direct result.

  5. I’m a little worried about Portugal too, actually. Even if they have a minuscule chance of getting out, will they go all out or will they lay down? The one thing I don’t want to see is a Ghana victory or a huge Portugal victory if we’re losing.

    • Rolando pretty much just threw his team under the bus today. I think they might actually show better if they bench him. However there’s a good chance they just lay down and it’s 3-0 before half. Which is really just as unsporting as Germany and the US playing for a draw, but no one is questioning that.

  6. There is no way either team will fail to try to score if the opportunity arises. If the ball is in the attacking third, the players will go for it. (Klose and Müller each have individual achievements to build on, so I sincerely doubt either would pass up a shot.)

    I am pretty sure both teams will try to maintain as much possession in midfield as possible in order to limit the others’ chances, which likely means a low scoring game, W, L, or D. That does help the loser of the US-Germany game since goal difference is the first tie-breaker.

    • You are correct. If the opportunity arises one will try to score. But as far as the individual achievements are concerned that is not the priority for Germany I think. The priority is to not get players hurt, suspended and maybe rest some. In the 75-80 minute if tied, it will be untraconservate.and after that … hacky sack time.

  7. Ghana is a dangerous team. We need a draw or a win. Our only hope is a 1 or 2 goal win by Portugal or Ghana and Portugal draw. If Ghana wins by 1 goal and we lose by 1 goal we may still be all right but it will depend on total goals scored in group play for tie breaker after that.

  8. Everyone is worried about the US and Germany doing the “sporting thing” but the real question is what is Portugal going to do? Ronaldo has pretty much slammed his whole team now, with very little hope. They very much look like they might just lay over for Ghana.

  9. There will be a lot of whistles in the stadium when Germany and US play a lot of back and side passes. US will have to concentrate on not being influenced and play the way they want to.

    • And, for all of you, and that means most of you, who talk on and on how
      We get out of group with a lose, think about this: Costa Rica and Mexico did the opposite, they played to win. Something I am sorry to say, the U.S mad not attempted yet

  10. Wish this was a message board so I could bump this horrifying future when it happens:

    Ghana up 3-1, 89th minute. US-Germany remains at 0-0, things are looking good!

    Germany set piece. Header goes in. Germany 1 – 0 US, we’re out.

  11. what’s the point of asking questions they couldn’t even answer truthfully if they wanted to? what are they gonna say? “Yup, we are going to fix this match!”

    both teams will be tired and will know a draw does enough (and for Germany, it gives them #1). that does not mean they play for a draw, but you’re not going to see the same type of game as we saw between mexico and croatia. unless one of us is down 1-0 and we hear Ghana is running up the score on Portugal.

    i think we will see a competitive but pragmatic approach from each team.

  12. Not sure why people are even talking about this. If there’s even a hint of the teams colluding (whether they planned it beforehand or not), then fans, the media, and opposing teams will hound both of them (on and off the field) for the rest of the tournament. It might even affect how referees treat them in future matches and, worst case scenario, FIFA would probably open up some kind of investigation. It’s just not worth it, particularly for Germany. Think of it from their perspective: Why would they go out of their way to help out an opponent when (a) they stand a pretty good chance of beating us outright, (b) the worst case scenario of playing it straight is that they try to beat us, lose the the game, then advance anyway on goal difference, and (c) the potential cost of helping us is that they get accused of match-fixing and have that story follow them around for as long as they’re still alive in the tournament?

    I think the whole idea of a draw getting both teams through only comes into play if it’s the 85th minute or later and both teams have played the match fairly aggressively up to that point in time. Teams hold for draws in the waning minutes of matches all the time, and it’s plausible that both teams would shut it down at that point — although given that the U.S. has given up late goals in each of the last 2 matches, they’ll probably want to get the ball into Germany’s half as much as possible, which would then trigger Germany to go after us and at least consider counterattacking. So, we’d essentially be left with a 10-minute extremely uneven truce. Nothing like a gentleman’s agreement and only marginally more helpful than playing whistle-to-whistle.

    • wait a second though. If your team is winning or has a result you need with 2 minutes left in the game. Wasting time is totally acceptable. What is the difference between 2 minutes to go or 10 minutes, 10 minutes or 30?

      When do the soccer gods say, oh, now it is okay to waste time and settle for a results. Clearly there is a cutoff, because 90 is unacceptable.

      It’s a hypocritical system. If you tell these teams they can’t settle for a draw, then every time a winning team runs into the corner, they should be penalized as well.

      • Well, to be clear, I’m not making a moral judgment here. I’m not saying that slowing down the game at the 60-minute mark (or some other point in the game) would be any more wrong than doing it in the 85th. In fact, if the teams both came out and passed the ball around without attacking from the get-go, I wouldn’t really see anything wrong with that. The U.S. and Germany both worked hard to earn their 4 points and they don’t owe it to anyone to cough up their places in the standings.

        My point is that each team likely recognizes that, as a practical matter, if they don’t make a effort to win the game and play it straight until relatively late in the match, they’ll be in for a lot of scrutiny and that could be a massive distraction as they advance through the tournament. Given the cost of playing for a draw and the relatively small benefit it yields for Germany (who is likely to advance even if they go for it and lose), I just don’t think the teams will do it until the game reaches a point where both teams can say “well, we tried and we’re still deadlocked.” That point likely won’t occur until pretty late in the game.

        I’m not arguing what the teams *should* do, I’m arguing what they’re *likely* to do.

    • You don’t need any kind of an agreement for there to be an “agreement.” A similar situation happened in 2010 in the Spain-Chile game, when it became obvious that both were going through based on what was happening in the other game, it was very clear that neither Spain or Chile were going to anything that might put their advancement at risk. I’m sure there was no discussion before the game, you just read how the other team is playing it.

      • Right, and I think there’s a chance that that happens, but, as I said above, it probably won’t happen until late in the game if the teams are tied at that point. For most of the game, both teams are going to take their chances, which makes much of the discussion around not going for a win irrelevant.

      • Portugal-S.Korea in 2002 tells a different story. You can be punished if your opponent decides not to play along.

    • The other thing to consider is that, while Klinsmann took a lot of heat for the whole “we can’t win the World Cup,” thing, it’s pretty likely that he’s considering what life would be like beyond the group stage should we advance. If the goal is, not just win the group, but to go as far as we can (“anything can happen…”), then there’s a big difference between playing Belgium in the round of 16 and playing Algeria. Further, if we do draw Belgium and we’re to have any chance of beating them, we have to be in the habit of playing aggressively yet intelligently against top-ranked teams (as we did against Portugal), which means there’s a danger in coming out too conservatively against Germany. To put it another way (as insane as this sounds), the Germany game isn’t just a game to determine who advances, it’s a warm-up for a potential Belgium game if we do advance. So, while we’ll probably trot out a semi-defensive formation against Germany, just as we did against Ghana and Portugal, I see Klinsmann instructing us to play for the win and 7 points for as long as he feels we can get away with it. Is it a little reckless? Definitely. But suspect it’s the approach that Klinsmann will take.

  13. I dont see why the USA would not just play for the draw. A win would be nice, but at this point going at the Germans would border on suicidal. If Germany plays, we better be ready to play, they have little reason to consider our cause- but their cause would benefit from conservatism as well. The USA should not however open the attack. Play for the point. Go after more if pushed. Play whomever FIFA puts in front of you next.

    Belgium is supremely talented, but have not found full footing yet in this tournament, have little to play for Thursday which may knock them further off stride in the knock out round as well.

    • What would you take: a good quality of play and out after a loss or parking two buses and 0:0? And also, I fully agree with LD saying that both team playing for tie is not cheating, it is strategy. Too bad for Ghana and Portugal, they had chances to beat the US.
      So I’ll a deal with Germany any second. You don’t score, we don’t go for hard fouls.

      • It really isn’t cheating. If it is cheating wasting time to ensure a result at the end of the game is exactly the same thing.

  14. I think both teams will be very conservative with their tactics with Germany being more proactive and making some team changes as they can do so with their group position. Hopefully, the USA can keep Germany off the scoreboard early and then get a late goal to get a positive result…

  15. Why would Germany make a deal with us? I don’t think they’re particularly worried about us eliminating them, and don’t want the embarrassment of 2 draws in a row. Also, it would be wrong and cheating. No.

  16. Yea, JK also said that they would be attacking their opponents and taking the game to them and I don’t remember seeing as much bunkering in as that Ghana game. JK is smart and he will play for a draw, and rightly so. Having the game go deep at 0-0 or 1-1 is good for both teams. A 1-goal loss for either team puts them through unless Ghana is ahead by multiple goals (or a 2-1 Ghana win with a 1-0 USA loss). They will know what is going on in the other game and adjust accordingly.

    • We didn’t bunker because we were behind, something that I recognized even at the time as a blessing in disguise (so long as we don’t go down more). The USMNT plays much better when they take initiative, instead of playing not to lose.

  17. Germany is in such a good position from goal differential that they can probably afford to rest some of their players to prepare for the round of 16. I think the US has to play their best players because of the tie breaker rules. To me, JJ has been the US best player by a long shot so far, but he is on a card so if you think you can advance without him (which I don’t), sitting him would be smart. I don’t think it is so cut and dry that you play your best players every game because if you’re going to win the tournament, your going to have to rest some of your best players at some point. It’s a tough call to me, but if I’m Germany, I would rest some players, if I’m the US, I wouldn’t. If you are playing to win the tournament, you probably rest some players; if you are playing to get out of the group, you probably don’t. Guess it kind of goes back to what Klinsmann thinks is the goal; play to win the tournament or get out of the group. Looking ahead is always dangerous (except maybe if you’re Germany or Brazil).

      • I was under the impression they don’t wipe them out until after the quarterfinals from an article I read about Neymar getting a yellow card in the first game, but I hope you’re right.

      • “Players also receive a one match ban if they pick up a single yellow card in two different games from the beginning of the group stage until the end of the quarterfinal matches, at which point single yellow cards will be deleted.”

        from Wikipedia, so it must be true!

      • Correct. I still remember being surprised when Cherundolo’s suspension in 2010 cup was shown on the screen. One yellow in the group stage and one against Ghana. As it ended up, that didn’t really matter.

    • If the goal is to win the tournament, then you need to get out of the group first. That’s why you play conservatively to try and get the draw. A draw guarantees advancement and I think Belgium, despite a wealth of good players, is beatable.

      • From what I’ve seen, every team is beatable this year.

        Well, France looks tough. But so did Spain when we ended their record win streak in that Confederations Cup five years ago. Any given day…

        But to echo Klinsmann’s ‘misquote’ for a moment, we probably aren’t good enough to have ‘any given day’ happen for us four knockout games in a row.

  18. I called my lawyer and he said this would be against the Laws of the Game, the Treaty of Versailles, and the U.S. Constitution. True?

  19. he should start all German-Americans that we have and we have plenty. This will be their time to play their heart out and get angry that they aren’t considered good enough to play for Germany 1st team

    • i could definitely see Brooks starting over Cameron, but I don’t see Chandler starting over Beasley at this point. I agree though, all the German-Americans will want to prove themselves out there and it’s going to be great for the US.

  20. If he goes out there trying to win – he’s a fool. There’s no reason to press and go all out trying to win.
    If the USMNT comes out of this difficult group, even in second, that would be a success by our standards. JK can easily shoot himself in the foot trying to press for a win (if that’s what he means by trying to win).
    Obviously, play your best side, put the squad out there, as we have done, and there will be a good emphasis on defense with the capability of attack. If Germany comes out flying against us, we’ll be prepared to defend, play out of the back or counter if need be.

    • Saying he wants to go for the win isn’t equivalent to saying he’s going to throw caution to the wind, rush everyone forward and play all out attacking soccer. In all likelihood, it means doing what they mostly have since the Nigeria game… staying compact, disciplined, picking select opportunities to go forward on turnovers, trying to keep the game in reach, outlast them and/or pick up a go ahead goal on a set piece or counter. Unfortunately, we have more travel, a shorter recovery period and less depth to overcome. Tough assignment.

      • Exactly. It’s not like we’re going to all of the sudden remove Beckerman in favor of AJ or Wondoww out of desperation for the win.

      • The Germans haven’t played in Manuas, but they’ve had 2 games so far based in the heat-soaked north as well. They haven’t had to travel as much since they are based in Bahia, but they are less-accustomed to travel than we are. Point being they should be worn as well but having on eye on pacing themselves for the entire tournament.

  21. There doesn’t need to be any deal. Everyone knows a draw means they both go through. But I also think Germany isn’t too worried about losing to us, so I don’t think they’ll approach this game any differently than any other game. However, if it’s level with 10 or 15 minutes left, I can see both teams taking their foot off the gas a bit.

    • But this will be their third game in the heat as well, and Germany has eyes on winning the whole tournament – not just getting out of a tough group like us.
      There will be some mind of pacing themselves for the entire tournament.
      However, you are correct – they’ll be no need for “deals”, play conservative – and a draw should happen.

  22. I support Klinsmann’s approach. However, a loss could eliminate this team from the Round of 16. The smart choice would be for both teams to hold the ball for 90 minutes and ensure passage to the next round with a draw. Plus it would afford both nations the opportunity to rest their key players.

    • Isn’t that kinda childish though? How about they play like men, play their best, and go of a win. Have some self-respect and pride.

      • Is childish the word?
        I would say simply pragmatic – when the possibility exists that you can be knocked out of the competition all together, it makes sense to just play practical. Conservative gameplans and not expose yourself pushing numbers forward.

      • It’d be pretty stupid actually to go for a win. If Jones goes all out and gets another card or he or Besler gets injured, we are screwed the next round if we get there. Playing a safe draw is best.

      • Cards are deleted through the quarters. IE, if a player who is currently carrying a yellow gets another in this match, R16, or the quarters, he would miss the next match if his team advanced.

      • I just don’t see anyway we can play for a draw. It’s not realistic to think we can absorb pressure for 90 minutes against Germany without conceding (without some sort of gentleman’s agreement before the game). Not that we should go out guns blazing, but we have to control the ball, and in all reality get at least one goal to be in this game. If it’s tied in the last 15 minutes, then sure, go for the draw, but we won’t survive if we try to park the bus.

      • Felix and espada,

        Germany think the US is inferior so they want to win this.

        Playing for a draw is not in the cards.

        The USMNT is not built to play for draws and it is probably harder for them to play for a tie than to play for a draw. You know how they say going into a tackle trying to avoid injury tends to result in getting hurt?

        It’s the same with playing for a tie , especially because the US does not have too many good defensive players and they
        are not particularly good at putting ten men behind the ball.

        That is a recipe for losing the game.

        Do you think they can keep possession under wave after wave of German attacks? Based on what we have all seen with these guys, that is a recipe for defeat. The US is better off doing what they do best, attack

      • If it is late in the game and it is tied. Both teams are probably happy, so maybe you see everyone let off the gas a little bit.

      • This is likely true. Conservative play will find its way in naturally. Nobody is going to throw 4 strikers on in a match that is tied here.

      • Good point. People seem to think you can just “play for a draw.” As soon as you lose the mentality that you’re playing to win the game, you lose your edge and you’ll end up losing the game. For sure, you may play slightly more conservatively in some areas tactically, but not individually. You still need to go all out and play 100% the entire game.

      • Doubt Germany would actually think of the US that lightly. Even Hummels said that we aren’t easy opponents in one interview. Though, I didn’t say anything about parking the bus. Noooo. We’ll lose that way and that’s how we gave up that goal against Portugal once we went there. I say clog the midfield with players to best keep possession and break up play or something. But in all honesty, they’re gonna go for the win, aren’t they?

      • Maybe we should read between the lines a little. JK was trying to shut down any conspiracy talk.

        We will play for the win. So will Germany. That doesn’t, however, mean either side will take risks and attack with numbers. Opening yourself for opposing counters would be stupid. But if Dempsey or Klose or whoever gets the ball with space and a good look at goal, we’ll see a shot.

      • Exactly right! Of course, both teams playing for a win, but cautiously in order to avoid giving up a goal, might look a lot like both teams playing for a draw.

      • I would like to think that real men know when to put ego and d*ck swinging aside in order to fight another day. Real life isn’t a cowboy flick. That said, I think the USA is going to have to fight like h3ll to get a result, back room deal or no.

      • So, extrapolating that logic, one should not stand over the ball in the corner at the end of a match to kill off a lead, one should try to score again… like men? Where do you draw the line between protecting an advantage and satisfying the crowd?

    • That’s not soccer. That’s not the American style. And that’s not what Klinsi wants from that match.

      Will both teams go 105%? Nope. But both teams will be open for the win. Without full out cheating and agreeing to throw the match, it’s too dangerous for either team to hope the other won’t score. Ghana is biting at both heels.

      Saying that, I think second place in the group gives us an easier bracket than first. So I’m fine with a tie.

      • I don’t know about you, but I think I’d rather play Algeria/Russia than Belgium. And France (possible Quarterfinal matchup if we win the group) may be playing well at the moment – against overrated Switzerland and Honduras- but I don’t see them as that much scarier than Argentina (Quarterfinal matchup favorite if the US comes in second in group G).

        If I had to chose between Algeria and France or Belgium and Argentina, i think I’m taking the first option. So let’s win the group.

      • this. if you think Belgium is an easier draw that Russia or Algeria you haven’t been paying much attention.

      • You left an important option out of your equation–losing and going home and not going to the knockout stage. All this talk about going for the win is cutting off your nose to spite your face. None of the people talking that way should be in charge of anything if you put reject compromise even if it means a very desirable end. That’s basically what we are talking about here. Better to go out in flames, die on your sword, than live to fight another day is what you are saying. That’s just foolish. If Portugal goes 2 or 3 goals up in the first half, then you go for it. Any other scenario, it’s idiocy.

      • Right. Concentrate on getting out of group play, for the second World Cup in a row, and this time from the group of death. That in itself is an accomplishment. We’ll worry about the knockout game(s) when we get there.

        Quite honestly we aren’t good enough to try to game paths at this point. We are good enough to give Germany a decent game maybe three times out of five. If we get a few lucky bounces, we could put the ball in their net more than the other way around, and of course we’d all take that. But it’s not it’s in our power to decide.

        Do what we can to avoid defensive lapses for 90 minutes, take our shots when the opportunities come, and live with whatever happens.

        A couple decades from now, maybe we’ll be in Germany’s position.

      • Though I would add if Portugal goes up 3, we have to be careful again. We’d only have to lose by 2 at that point and Portugal probably has it on goals scored.

        Portugal up by 1-2, and we can try some stuff. If it’s tied, we have to worry about Ghana and their closer goal differential finding a late winner.

      • Who cares? If that is how our team conducts itself, I’d rather never watch them again.

        Can you really imagine JK (or any coach who calls himself a winner) walking into a room full of our guys and actually instructing them not to try to score? (unless you feel like puttng Rimando at CF, you would have to bring them in on this, unfortunately. A coach cannot enforce a “deal” using tactics alone without the players sniffing it out)

        To tell them that they are going to p*ss all over the competitive spirit of this event they’ve worked their whole lives to be a part of? To risk being banned for considerable time, if not life, so that they can earn the right to play one more game (likely along a much trickier path)?

        Sadly, I’m sure such coaches exist. In the Nigerian 4th division, where they belong.

        Getting out of bed is a risk guys. Grow a pair.

    • Aim for the stars so if you fall you’ll land on the clouds = Aim for a win so if you fall you’ll end with a tie….. if that makes any sense.

      • Best idea yet. Even in WWI, during the first Christmas on the Western front the soldiers stopped fighting for a day and shared rations and smokes.

    • You Amerikans want a final against the best countries in the World? Here it is! Grab it with both hands, enjoy the moment. And suck it Landycakes!

      • I love Landy cakes for what he did with the USMNT, but since he decided to be a baby and join the hater Alexi Lalas in his quest to smugly laugh at every USMNT misfortune, he can suck it.

      • Leaving Donovan off the team was and still is a horrible move. We could have used Donovan in both games, especially at the end of yesterday’s game. The fact that Yedlin (a defender) was our sub on the wings, and the fact that Davis and Green are rotting on the bench, proves it was personal against Donovan.

        And before everyone starts telling me about how Yedlin set-up the Dempsey goal, don’t get carried away. Yes it was a good run by Yedlin, give him credit, but it was a cross that wasn’t on target. It was a sequence off fortunate bounces. Yedlin’s cross is off target but isn’t fully cleared by Portugal, then Bradley kicks it right at a defender, and another fortunate bounce to Zusi, before he squares it to Demps. Great goal nonetheless! I was ecstatic!

      • “the fact that Davis and Green are rotting on the bench, proves it was personal against Donovan”

        Proof? Seriously? Let it go…

      • Yes in my eyes it is proof. To me it shows Klinsmann doesnt trust them (Green and Davis) enough to use them in these big games. They might as well buy tickets and watch from the stands. And yet they were “a few steps ahead of Donovan”. Yea right! Feel free to disagree with me.

      • I see what you’re saying, but up until recently, the team was using a 4-3-2-1 system. Even though we used a variation of 4-3-2-1 the team is better with Jones tucked in (to help Beckerman).

        Personally, I thought Brad Davis would be able to do a job there. But he couldn’t cut it when he was tried out.

        Donovan was $crewed, I agree. But I feel worse about Eddie Johnson and Maurice Edu, because they would be good cover for Altidore and Jones /Bradley/ Beckerman.

        The biggest concern in my mind is Julian Green. Maybe he can come on as a forward and draw a foul, but personally I don’t trust him to get the job done.

      • If Donovan did make the team, he would be “rotting on the bench” next to either Green or Davis. How exactly would he have helped in either games.

        Game 1:

        Sub 1 AJ for an injured Altidore. In hindsight maybe AJ wasn’t the right choice but Donovan like Green, Davis and Mix weren’t going to replace him. In retrospect Wondo would have been the best choice.
        Sub 2 Brooks came on for an injured Belser.
        Sub 3 Zusi came on for Bedoya and sent the corner that Brooks headed in. Do you really want Donovan in instead of Zusi?

        Game 2:
        Sub 1 Yedlin for Bedoya. His speed and FJ’s speed on the right caused all sorts of problems for Portugal and resulted in the go ahead goal.
        Sub 2 Wondo for a limping Dempsey offered some decent hold up and time killing ball possession play.
        Sub 3 Gonzo for Zusi in extra time to kill time and as an extra defender.

        Honestly I can’t really see how having Donovan on the bench and coming in for any of the situations above could have changed the games for the better and could have actually made things worse.

      • That’s because you are following the script of the games as they already happened… and then just plugging in Donovan.

        The most obvious example I could give you of how things could have been different is that we could have started a team of

        That could have been a major improvement. Hate Donovan all you want, but he is way better than Bradley in that advanced midfielder/forward role. Then you could have had a fresh Beckerman to sub in for either Bradley or Jones as needed, instead of having to burn all three of your holding/defensive midfielders from the start.

      • We got 4 points from our first 2 games in the Group of Death! Anyone who thought, going into the World Cup, we’d have 4 points in our first 2 games would have been ecstatic. Why on earth would anyone want to change the script? Love how you’ve made the team around Donovan! Too bad that hasn’t been the case for over 2 years, coinciding with his sabbatical. The USMNT found out they could play and win without LD.

      • Luke, you asked me a very specific question, and then I gave you a very specific good answer, and then you just changed the topic. Nice.

        Yes 4 pts is great! That still doesn’t change the fact that leaving Donovan off was a horrible decision. We still could have had those same 4 pts with Donovan, and maybe 6 pts.

      • OK, the USMNT can play and win without LD. But that is not the issue. UclaBruinGreat’s point, which is obviously true, is that the team, which is a demonstrably good team, would be significantly better with Donovan as a member. I don’t understand what his sabbatical has to do with anything.

        Also, for what it’s worth, I am among those who thought we might well have four points after two games. (I thought it would be easier to beat Ghana and tougher to tie Portugal, however.) But that’s another reason to regret Donovan’s omission from the team. With four points, we may have to rely on goal difference to go through. And Donovan’s ability to create goal-scoring opportunities — unmatched by anyone on the roster — might have helped us score another goal or two during the group stage. If we go out on goal difference, which is still a real possibility, all those who think as you do can ponder that for the next four years.

      • I think Klinsmann moved Bradley into that attacking position only after he realized how much attacking creativity he gave up by striking Donovan from the roster.

      • I of course agree and have been adamant that Donovan should have been there. The way we have played all of our central midfielders the full 90 in each game, it goes to show a backup CM would have been a good decision as well. Davis is yet to provide any value.

      • So making up an alternate reality where Donovan is on the team and Donovan is a starter and the team is centered around him is somehow a good answer to the point I bring up above about how he would have helped us in THIS World Cup and not the world cup in the Twighlight Zone? Come on people, get over the fact that Donovan isn’t apart of this team, will not be a part apart of this team and may never play again for the USMNT.

      • Whatever else may occur, Donovan will remain one of the all-time greatest players ever to wear the USA shirt. Klinsmann, on the other hand, will primarily be remembered in the USA for having cut Donovan from the team, particularly if we exit this tournament on goal difference after our premier goal-creator was left home. I also expect Dempsey, Bradley, Howard, etc., to be harshly critical of Klinsmann’s decision when they are free to say exactly what they think without risking their USMNT careers.

      • No one can possibly know what Donovan would or would not have done had he played. But a rational Klinsmann would not only have brought Donovan, he would have started him. And even if Donovan had started on the bench, he would have been the obvious first choice sub after Altidore went down (throwing our target-forward game plan out the window). After all, during the last 18 months Donovan created goal-scoring opportunities at twice the rate of any other US attacking player. So, who in his right mind would leave him in LA or on the bench? You bet I want Donovan instead of Zusi — or Bedoya, for that matter. Neither have the two-footed quickness and creativity that Donovan adds to the team. An attack featuring Dempsey, Donovan and Bradley (with support from Bedoya and/or Zusi and Johnson and Beasley) would have been a joy to behold.

      • I agree but I’m trying to move on. Some of JK’s controversial choices have delivered. Brooks and Yedlin both provided some quality in sub appearances.

      • Whether Donovan played or not, there is no way the US is better off without him being available. He is a better midfielder/winger than Davis and a more dangerous attacker than Wondolowski and has been in 3 previous World Cups and holds the US record for most career World Cup goals. Both Davis and Wondolowski have less than 10 caps, I believe, and this is their first World Cup. The closest thing I saw to a Klinsmann explanation was a statement that Donovan, by playing in MLS, was only 760 to 80% as good a player as he could be. I guess that doesn’t apply to the other MLS players on the roster. He also was unhappy with a Donovan statement that went, When I practice 12 days in a row, at my age, I can’t be good every day. BTW, Donovan is about the same age as Wondolowski and Davis and faster of foot. Anybody with half a brain can see that his exclusion makes no rational sense. It has to be for other than football playing reasons.

      • Not readily apparent why anyone considers it important whether a player is as good as he might be (or as good as he used to be). Isn’t it obvious that the only relevant question is whether, in his present state (old or young, good, bad or indifferent), he is or is not better than available alternatives.

      • Mr. Page
        What you say is theoretically possible but unlikely.
        Along with the offensive responsibilities Mikey’s role has many defensive responsibilities. Swapping Mikey out for Landon means those defensive responsibilities go to someone else, unless you think Landon can just pick those up. LD is a good defender but Mikey is better.
        Bradley is not doing great but he is not as bad as the great unwashed howling mob would indicate. If you saw Landon in 2006 then you know that the second time around in the World Cup is not always so easy.
        What current evidence makes you think in 2014 that LD would have been a better Reyna than Mikey? Remember that Reyna, whose role Mikey now has, was an excellent defender.
        Now if you wanted to carve out some sort of Pirlo role for LD I could see that but this team doesn’t really have that position.
        I get your emotional attachment to LD but the Landon you are talking about hasn’t shown up for the US in a very long time. Someone had this conspiracy theory that Mikey is pouting and playing poorly because his buddy LD who was allegedly a big BB supporter was not there. The funny thing about that theory is that Dempsey was the only one who said he was sad when BB was fired while Landon basically could not wait to wash his hands of BB when he got fired.
        In any event this team is now built around Jozy, Dempsey, Mikey, Jones, Fabian, Cameron. Besler, and Timmy. I don’t see LD displacing any of them. So do you really belive LD would be a good soldier, happy to sit on the bench coming in late like Zusi does? Do youthink there is any evidence that he would be good at that?
        Overall, I’m sure a USMNT of some sort could have been built around Landon but it would have been a very different proposition from what you saw out there these last two games.
        Would it have been better? You are certain it would, that it would have gotten the 2010 LD and not the 2006 LD. I am not so sure and objectively, it seems problematic to build a team around a star who is entitled, undependable and so near to retirement.

      • “[T]his team is now built around Jozy, Dempsey, Mikey, Jones, Fabian, Cameron. Besler, and Timmy. I don’t see LD displacing any of them.” Nor does anyone else. But that accounts for 8 positions. Beasley is 9. Then there’s the other two positions. Perhaps you didn’t mention them because for the last dozen years those are positions that Donovan has frequently (maybe mostly) played for club and country, numerous times alongside Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley, Bedoya and Zusi. Do you really think you can make a serious case that he wouldn’t fit right in with guys he’s known and played with, some for many years?

        “[T]he Landon you are talking about hasn’t shown up for the US in a very long time.” At least not since 2013, when he tied Altidore for the most USMNT goals with eight and also had eight assists, twice as many as anyone else on the team.

        Nor is anyone (but you) speaking about building a team around Donovan. The point is much simpler — that Donovan had much to contribute that no other player on the roster can match. Altidore, Dempsey and Wondolowski all score goals; assists, however, not so much. For obvious reasons, Zusi and Bedoya are better on assists. But the two of them together don’t produce the number that Donovan produces alone.

      • Advocate,

        I have a different take on it from you. I have been following Donovan since he came up and believe that he is the most talented player this country has yet produced. But I also think he heart wasn’t really into doing what it took to get on this edition of the USMNT and that is why he is not in Brazil today.

        So while, I wouldn’t have minded if JK took him, I have no real problem with him being left out either.

        In 2013 LD’s 8 US goals were vs. Guatemala ( friendly) 2, Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras 2, all of them in the Gold Cup, and Mexico ( WC qualifier). LD had none in 2014.

        If Wondo did this and he did something close to it, you would dismiss it as bulking up against mostly weak opposition, except for the obvious Mexico exception.

        More importantly I’ve watched very LD appearance with JK’s team and he does not look to me like he fits in. The Gold Cup team was a completely different thing and if that team was representing the US in Brazil then maybe you’d have a case.

        And then there was the Mexico friendly, the last one where LD embarrassed himself and looked fat, slow and out of shape.

        It is said he showed up at the camp in much better condition than that but it put everything about LD’s USMNT eforts during the JK era in a nutshell. To sum it up:

        ” Forget what I’ve said and done in the last two years. Trust me, I will show up in camp in top shape and it will be 2010 all over again, except I will decide how hard I train”.

        Obviously you would trust him.

        JK chose not to.

        I might depending on how everyone else looked. Which brings me to Wondo, the guy who I think knocked LD off the team.

        In 2013 and 2014 Wondo scored 9 US goals , Guatemala 2 ( same game as LD) , Belize 2, Cuba 2, South Korea 2, and Mexico (friendly),

        Now does that recent record sound familiar?

        During the camp Donovan himself said how Wondo was outdoing everyone.

        And Wondo has spent the last two years doing everyting imaginable to make this team in stark contrast to LD’s waffling.

        I think it really is that simple.

      • My guess is that if we had drawn a more favorable schedule in regards to opponents, temperatures, travel time and recovery time that LD would have been on the team. But we play a very tough schedule in the hottest places, with the most travel, and the least recovery time. I think our Coach wanted guys who were able, as LD famously said he wasn’t, to go twelve days straight. If we get out of the group (after playing Germany on three days rest) we play a round of 16 game on three days rest, and if we win that, a quarterfinal on three days rest. (Brazil, in comparison, gets 4 days before their round of 16 game and 5 more days if they win that)

      • “Suck it LandyCakes?”

        How old are you? I imagine you are a teenager or child for that sort of comment.

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