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USMNT to use Nigeria friendly as dry-run for World Cup opener vs. Ghana

Jurgen Klinsmann

photo by John Dorton/

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the U.S. Men’s National Team discussed their final send-off series friendly vs. Nigeria on Friday, one familiar name continuously kept popping up.

That familiar name, and familiar foe, was Ghana.

The U.S. is set to finish off its stateside World Cup preparations on Saturday evening at EverBank Field, but the friendly against Nigeria is as much of a dry-run for the Americans’ Group G opener against Ghana as it as a way for U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to further fine-tune things before departing for Brazil.

No, Nigeria will not offer an exact picture of what the Americans will see when they battle Ghana for a third straight World Cup on June 16 in Natal. But the match will offer as close to a preview as possible, and one that will show the U.S. where improvements still need to be made.

“Similarities in terms of their style of play, in terms of their individual talent,” said Klinsmann of how Nigeria compares to Ghana. “They have very dangerous attacking players, which do a lot of work and make different decisions. They switch sides, they counter-break you very fast in transition offensively, they’re very fit, they’re very physical, which is good for us because it will give us a wake-up call.

“This is what at this point now we really need, but it’s also a team, and every team has also its weaknesses that we try to kind of utilize and benefit from if possible.

“That gives us a little bit of an indication how to approach Ghana, how to beat Ghana, which is so crucial for us to start the World Cup with,” Klinsmann added. “We see a lot of similar things ahead of us and I think if you watched (Ghana’s) game with Greece, they have so much individual talent, technically, very, very gifted, and always calm on the ball. But sometimes also a little bit overconfident with their technique that we hopefully can utilize on our end.”

Just as intriguing as how the Americans handle the Nigerians in the hot and humid temperatures that are expected on Saturday – and which will replicate what awaits the U.S. in Brazil – is the formation Klinsmann trots out. Klinsmann has gone with a 4-4-2 diamond midfield setup in the U.S.’s last three games, and the results have been undeniably mixed.

The last friendly vs. Turkey may have ended in a 2-1 triumph for the Americans, but it showed some defensive vulnerability on counterattacks that might lead Klinsmann to go with a different look against a quick Nigeria team also poses a threat on the break.

“I think there are pros and cons, like with every system, but it doesn’t really matter what shape we have, what system we have,” said Klinsmann. “It matters how we connect with one another on the field. It’s the same with just 10 men, we defend as a whole unit and you move forward, you keep it compact. No matter what shape it has in that instance I think we can easily adjust to a 4-4-2 diamond, we can go from a diamond into a flat midfield four, we can go into a 4-2-3-1, which becomes a 4-3-3.

“I think all these discussions about different systems are actually not up to speed anymore, because systems are not the key anymore like it was maybe 10-15 years ago. … I think the trend is definitely to go away from the system discussion. It doesn’t lead you anywhere. … It sounds always pretty cool when you talk about 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-4-2 diamond, but it’s absolutely useless at the end of the day.”

Useless or not, the Americans will need to show drastic improvements in several areas. The chemistry and understanding between players all over the field need to be better than they were against Turkey, the team as a whole needs to deliver an improved defensive performance, and the attack needs to continue to work on creating chances from the run of play.

There is plenty of room to grow, and the U.S. is more than aware of that.

“We’ve been able to get wins and still everybody in the locker room knows we need to improve,” said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. “I think that’s a good sign of a team. We’re going to the videos, we’re watching what we did good and we’re trying to continue that, and the things we did bad, we’re looking at those and then we’re going to try and improve them.”

While the game might not mean much in terms of the final result, it will likely hold special significance for goalkeeper Tim Howard. Howard is expected to earn his 100th cap in the match, making him the 15th U.S. player to reach that milestone and adding another memorable moment in an international career full of them.

“It’s special,” said Howard. “That’s probably an understatement, (but) it’s not really about the single game so much as you look back on the other 99. It’s a proud moment for myself and my family. I’m excited that it’s happening now during this process because it’s just a great time for the team, everyone’s excited for the World Cup and wants to come, and I could think of no better place to do it.”

Howard is all but guaranteed to be in between the pipes on Saturday against Nigeria in front of what is expected to be a crowd of close to 50,000 – a record for a U.S. match in the southeast – and it appears that Klinsmann will go with as close to a strong lineup as is available.

One player, however, that could miss out entirely is Brad Davis. The wide midfielder suffered a minor knock at the beginning of Friday’s public training session and it limited him to individual work with a trainer for much of the practice.

Regardless of who starts and the fact that the match is being used to gauge where the Americans currently stand, Klinsmann is not planning on fielding the lineup that he has in mind for the first World Cup bout in Brazil. After all, this is one of his final chances to experiment and see which players stand where before that highly-anticipated date with the Ghanians.

“We’ll still use this game as seeing things and giving players an opportunity to be out on the field and fight for that spot,” said Klinsmann. “Do we have a lineup in mind (for Ghana)? Absolutely. Every coach has that at this point. But still, this is why you have the send-off games, friendly games, to give minutes to players that are right there and you want to see them also perform.”


  1. The USMT will do as well As they will whether JK or Twellman is coaching this team. On a certain level , the USMT is self-managed right now and they are too polite to say much. Soccer can be a little like Poker, you can bluff for a while but soon enough the well prepared will recognize who the sucker is at the table and that is not fair to the players involved.Green vs. Nigeria? please give me a break.

  2. These games need to start now. Too many interviews too many comments too much time wasted. Let’s go USA! JK keep your mouth shut until post WC.

  3. To a few lemmings here, and I hope you are not a majority, Klnsmann is not a God. He has messed it all up for many fans people for this WC with his disrespectful behavior. So, STOP bowing to him. Here’s his legacy thus far:

    1. He picks Green and Yedlin with ZERO WC qualifying minutes over many other players, not just Donovan.
    2. He leaves the best US Soccer player of all times at a point he definitely can contribute to the offense of this team. Or who is doing that right now, Antigoal?
    3. He destroys the confidence of this team by publicly stating that this team is shiat and will not win the WC during his tenure.
    4. He LIES and LIES and LIES and LIES about Donovan and everything else.
    5. His son is a repugnant SOB that should never be picked by any manager for any US team. Maybe he can bound his a$$ to Germany.

    See, 0-3 three and out, should be tattooed in Klnsmann’s forehead, after WC is over.

    • See, here I thought you were going to talk about how, since taking over, Klinsmann has dominated CONCACAF (1st in the hex + Gold Cup win with a B-team) and had the USMNT going toe-to-toe with big European powers (and beating some of them) in friendlies. The bigger the game has been under Klinsmann, the better we have played.

      I do not care about Landon Donovan’s feelings or what Landon Donovan has done in the past. I don’t even care if Klinsmann left Donovan off the squad because he does not like his personality. I care about results. If the USMNT plays poorly and suffers from poor wing play, by all means, criticize Klinsmann for not including Donovan. But, considering the fact that the USMNT has accomplished everything it possibly could have in meaningful competition up to this point under Klinsmann, what is there to complain about on substance? If you don’t like Klinsmann’s style, why don’t you wait and see what happens?

    • the only lemmings here are the ones obsessed with discounting JK and personally attacking him and Green. he hasn’t messed ANYTHING up. this is a completely naive comment that shows a complete lack of understanding or analysis of anything past the last few weeks. or outside of the “mob mentality/pitch-fork welding” fans who overreact about everything.

      1. Arena did the same with LD and Beasley in 2002. should we go through all the others from other various national teams? do some research. including Green and Yedlin is not a big deal.

      2. Get. Over. It. LD is a great player and it does stink he is not on the team but the hyperbole around what LD would bring to the team is over the top. your comment “Antigoal” says everything I need to know about your $h!t opinion. tired for 6th as the ALL TIME leading US goal scorer and the age of…24. look at how many he scored in 2013 for crying out loud! he has a bad season with Sunderland and “fans” like you start attacking him and his ability. put down the pitch forks and start supporting him.

      3. this type of comment is the terrible. Arena said the same thing in 2002! Italy’s coach basically just the same thing about Italy. we can pull out COUNTLESS clips of coaches saying these types of things. locate your balls and stop being dramatic about something said 7 months ago that IS true. he also said it would take 7 perfect games, so you could read into that as him saying it is possible.

      4. how old are you? stop crying. because you don’t accept it does not mean it’s a lie. you may disagree with his logic, which is fine, but simply saying he is lying because you don’t like his decision is amateur at best. LD lost out to Brad Davis and Wondo because those two shows more determination and never said they were incapable of training for 12 days straight. if you cannot wrap your head around that, that is YOUR problem. i agree that an out of form LD is still better off the bench than Davis, but it is what it is. he’s the coach and it’s time to MOVE ON.

      5. why, because he made some disrespectful tweet!??! GET OVER IT. his teenage son made a crappy statement as most teenagers do at some point. is he a punk because of ONE statement? no. he’s learning his lesson and unless you tapped JK’s phone to hear his conversation with his son, you have NO idea how JK handled the situation.

      when i posted above that so many US fans have gone soft and whine about EVERYTHING, this is exactly the type i was referring to. again, the WSJ guy should have based his article on this type of fan instead. then maybe it would have been an article worth consideration.

      to say that JK leaving LD out or him saying the USA won’t win the World Cup means we will go 0-3 shows your lack of critical thinking. the odds for the US going 0-3, with or without LD and JK’s comments, do NOT change. grow up and support your team.

      • Just want to respond on one point right now, regarding Klinnsman lying. He is so full of it on so many subjects it’s hard to keep track of. Nonstop spin, hypocrisy, and utter BS.

        Exhibit A:

        Julian Green to his mom: “But mom, it’s the WORLD CUP!”

        Klinnsman: No, he wasn’t offered a spot, and he’s there because he’s one of our best 23.


      • Just want to respond on one point right now, regarding Klinnsman lying. He is so full of it on so many subjects it’s hard to keep track of. Nonstop spin, hypocrisy, and utter BS.

        Exhibit A:

        Julian Green to his mom: “But mom, it’s the WORLD CUP!”

        Klinnsman: No, he wasn’t offered a spot, and he’s there because he’s one of our best 23.


      • oh yeah? that confirms it? what if she asked, “why make the decision now?” and he responded that he could make the World Cup team. she says, “So? just wait.” and he responds saying “but it’s the World Cup!”

        look, i personally think Green had a golden ticket. i’ve said that from the beginning. i couldn’t care less what JK says or what Green says about it. OF COURSE they won’t confirm that. it does not bother me nor does it make JK a flat out liar. and that short clip on ESPN that provides absolutely no context is not a smoking gun.

      • Believe me, Klinsmann would never do it. And there are reasons why. 1) These guys are talking with each other and Klinsmann would never risk that Green could tell them about such a decision and risk the harmony among themselves. 2) Klinsmann wants the players to be fully focused and fully motivated. If Green already knew that he was on the 23 there would be a risk that the boy wouldn’t give it his all in training and the pre-games.

        Excerpt from a German interview with Berti Vogts on :
        […] “Of course, Germany, Ghana and Portugal are superior to Americans in footballing terms. That is why the U.S. team must be hard-running. Their advantage is that Americans know the heat. That’s why I advised Jürgen to introduce a high running intensity during training in preparation. You need to play to this advantage.” […]

  4. So, if Der Kommandant says that we will not win the WC on his tenure, WE WLL NOT.

    GO USA…..PHUK Klinsmann.

  5. Do you guys not like the message, or the messenger?

    An old mentor of mine told me once long ago….
    “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”

  6. Rather than read what JK says in a way that confirms your biases, try to deconstruct his wisdom. All he is saying is ” I have no idea what my lineup is, We have no real system that players can fall back on in times of difficulty, you guys are just not good enough so if you lose, it is not my fault.” Get ready for a bumpy Cup.Thank god USMT are individually tough and courageous and will probably show well enough inspite of the coaching.

      • My bias is in the results. What is the implication of JK saying that the USMT needs a “wakeup call” re Ghana. Yeah, those guys are so stupid and so unprepared that They need a “wakeup call”! Thanks coach for the vote of confidence. I was sleeping thru the whole training session. and I really need a wakeup call before I sleep thru the opening game.

  7. As someone who has followed the past 3 qualifying cycles pretty closely, it’s interesting how many similar comments are made about what coaches are doing, only the names change.

    Looking forward to the day when we as fans move beyond the tired “coach x is a fool, if you don’t agree you clearly don’t know the sport. Our team is going to go down in flames and then everyone will see how smart I am.”

  8. I think the USMNT should’ve hired an American as a coach, not a foreigner. Even though, with all his credentials for the job, Klinsi has no strong feelings about the team and he’s all about extrinsic motivation. First of all, the exclusion of Donovan… mean to say he can’t even make your bench? Wow! Go ahead and choose emotions over the country. Again, why would he say USMNT can’t win the cup? There’s a reason why we play the game cos anything can happen. Even if you know it, you don’t say it to the world…..what a motivation to the team!

  9. Love the world cup. All the best FIFA players on the block gather to compare notes before meeting up with the TMZ tin-foilers. Together, they discern the presence of a pernicious conspiracy to dismantle our otherwise certain world cup title. Brilliant. Sheer genius, really.

    So… any thoughts on the Nigeria game?

  10. I’m glad he said that bit about tactics. I’ve been saying this forever. People get too rigid in their thinking and that’s now how football is played. It’s meant to be a flowing game, one where you adapt to the opponent.

    • Tactics matter a lot Maybe this is why Lamm criticized Klinsmann for offering nothing other than advise about fitness.

      • Why trust Lahm? The guy criticized every coach he has ever had in his book — including Van Gaal. The person who helped Lahm write his book was a tabloid journalist, from my understanding. Right there, anything he says is taken with a grain of salt. Also, Germans are pissed at Löw now for his “lack of tactics” and failing to improve on what Klinsmann built.

        I don’t think Klinsmann is perfect, but he definitely brings more than fitness. We won the Gold Cup, had an impressive unbeaten run, qualified first, improved our depth, working with academies and youth coaches to change the way the game is played, and a myriad of other things. I’ll happily stick by him until he shows he is incapable of coaching. Leaving Donovan off and failing to get out of the group is not showing he is incapable. I think not keeping the games close is a failure though.

      • Lahm?

        The guy was trying to sell a book.

        How do you do that? Blasting everyone in sight is one good way.

        Ask Rashard McCants.

      • So wait, McCants was lying, Spain did not take us seriously, we should be embarrassed by losing to Bazil and SA turned off the AC

        Dude you are in a free fall.

        Go get your Klinsmann Bobblhead doll and talk to him about your statements

      • Lahm does know what he wants and how to accomplish a purpose. He openly bullied Ballack, who wasn’t informed before, out of his function as captain of the German NT in the press conference in WC 2010 1 day before the semifinal against Spain.

      • Didn’t know that Lahm has already made his coaching licence. But afaik his book was sold well. 😀
        Lahm also had an issue about Klinsmann’s training methods and his favoring of fitness training. Perhaps that was the reason several Bayern players and no BVB player had cramps in the pokal final just ahead of extra time. Klopp seems to have the same faible for fitness so that his players can hold up the pace for 90 minutes and longer. One of his fitness trainers is called ‘der Schinder’ (the slave-driver).
        And BVB’s captain Kehl flew to USA after a groin surgery for a structured training from Klinsmann’s buddy Mark Versteegen.

        Interesting that Bayern went on with the same modern training methods Klinsmann implemented there during his coaching era. All other Bundesliga clubs borrowed these methods.

  11. We can’t win the World Cup so why have a “dry-run”? Seems like we should wear our white kit, have a white flag, and replace the Star Spangled Banner with Surrender by Cheap Trick.

  12. The German man who is being paid to be Herr Klinsmann’s special advisor has been quoted in Germany saying he will be cheering for Germany to win the World Cup and will not be happy if the USMNT scores a goal against Germany. How much is Vogts being paid to “help” the USMNT while he cheers for Germany? Will Klinsmann give him a high-paying job after the World Cup?

    Get out your online translator to read this. Berit Vogts: “Ich werde in Brasilien auf der Tribüne sitzen und hoffen, dass Deutschland Weltmeister wird. Und ich werde ganz sicher nicht jubeln, wenn die USA ein Tor gegen uns schießen.”

    Anyone know why Klinsmann would choose a German advisor who is not 100% behind the US players? Does that make you wonder about Klinsmann’s motives for leaving several key players off the roster at the last minute who should be going to Brazil and instead choosing several players who should not be going and who weaken the team and potentially are bad chemistry? Wasn’t it Klinsmann who said two years ago he would to have the team carved in stone well before the WC and working will together with no last minute tinkering.

    • I see! So this is the reason why Germany didn’t win the WC 2006 and Euro 2012, because they hired U.S. fitness coach Mark Verstegen… 😀

      Vogts is the coach of Azerbaijan and as he stated in advance he will go on coaching them after the WC. Why you deny him to have his own project and future goals for his team although you don’t know hardly anything about him?´
      What about a new conspiracy theory: Löw and DFB hired Berti Vogts to get into the U.S. team and boycott their training and preparation, so that the dangerous rival and ‘Angstgegner’ of Germany wouldn’t rob them the World Cup. Surely this must be the revenge because U.S. fitness coaches boycotted Die Mannschaft in the past.

  13. I’m afraid Klinsmann is going to run the team into the ground like he did in May-June of 2012. Exhausting camp, followed by 3 games (in which the US seems to be using mostly the same lineup), followed by another friendly against Belgium. Other teams seem to be letting their top players rest.

  14. Yep, systems are secondary to a team that has players who can connect with one another, see plays develop 2-3 passes before they occur, and fill more than one role on the field during the course of a game. On this, I agree with Klinsi.

  15. WC Qualifying should have already prepped the team for Ghana with regards to roster, formations, etc…..this WC will expose the USMNT strength and weaknesses. I predict Gulati will have enough and fire or buy out his contract.

  16. Low talks about modern football and does not need a dedicated striker. He likes his hybrid AM that can step up and play striker. The 4-5-1 is modern? No. It’s a fad that will pass in time like Total Football, etc….etc…..the German mentality and there discipline and setting things in stone with there statements about MODERN. No wonder why Klinnsman has been the way he has. He is not progressive.

    • Spain just won Euro 2012 with Cesc Fabregas playing the nominal “striker” position.

      Loew only has one nominal striker Klose but he also has a number of hybrids ( I call them Deuce impersonators) like Mueller ,, Podolski ,and Schurrle who can quite capably fill the striker role.

      The 4-5-1 , total football fads? No they are not. They are formations or playing styles that get revived in one form or another depending on what personnel are available to you. They simply evolve but they don’t disappear..

  17. Several comments:

    1) Will one or more Germans melt again in the heat? Will that surprise JK? Brazil can be hot too.
    2) Davis being out is a good thing
    3) Don’t listen to anything JK says. He is an empty barrel making a lot of noise
    4) Having a system would indicate a level of organization. We don’t need no stinkin formation. All we have to do is “express ourselves” end of story

    How the Hell did we ever get in this position? This has to be fixed in say.. late July, when we are knee deep in excuses

  18. In Qualifying many of us were critical and positive of the qualifying campaign with the USMNT. I was mostly critical of not seeing Klinnsman learn from mistakes with regards to player positioning and formation. Most of the success I give to the players first. Now, a good portion of those players who carried the load in qualifying were sacrificed for questionable players selected in the final 23 who played smaller parts in qualifying. Klinnsman is a dictator who tries to repeat the past. The World Cup is about the best 23 players playing in a formation that will maximize player talent. Donovan did take a vacation during qualifying. Donovan paid his debt in the Gold Cup. Klinnsman never let it go. Klinnsman had to prove he is the bigger ego. This reminds me of when Michael Ballack was not selected for the World Cup. Stubborn ego trying to repeat the past.

    • Michael Ballack had his leg broken by a certain Kevin Prince Boeteng. He was basically not quite healthy for 2010 and so they didn’t take a 80% Ballack…

      Friggen Revision history on the Ballack thing

    • You are a real whiner. No wonder you are an LD fanboy. After going AWOL like that neither you nor LD gets to decide if he is to be excused for abandoning his team and country during the qualifiers. He thought he was bigger than the team. He was wrong. Have fun playing at 70-80% in MLS.

  19. This is why it is annoying to hear people talk about how great Portugal are, or how we are going 3 and out, with or without Donovan. I watch Portugal, and they are a solid team. Hard as nails defensively, good passers, but people need to watch that team without Ronaldo. Ronaldo IS the offense of that team. That’s what sucks for him, many Portuguese blame him when he doesn’t produce and claim he doesn’t care as much as when he plays for Real Madrid, but he has way less around him with the PT national team.

    Should have brought Donovan. It wouldn’t have been impossible to win 2 games or go 1-1-1 in our group.

    • Portugal looked solid defensively and borderline dirty as always with them.
      Even without Cristiano they will be a hard nut to crack. With him, well it depends on his fitness.

      If he’s not healthy I think Bento will rest him vs Germany and save him for us and Ghana.

      • Not a good prospect. Our crack hold up expert cant crack lightweight teams (so far) in a tuneup… how will we hope to do so against a strong team. What is plan B? Ans – there is no plan B

      • I don’t know what Portugal’s plan B is. Ask Bento.

        I suspect you saw their Plan B tonight vs Mexico.

      • I was referring to JK’s plan B. Im not sure he has a plan A

        Portugal was not the better team IMO and were lucky to get the win

      • JK’s plan A and B is to spout a bunch of platitudes about suffering and use a lot of other meaningless buzzwords. Tactics are not his strong suit.. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Ask Phillip Lamm.

      • For example did you know that the San Antonio Spurs were going to blow up their airc conditioners?

        Neither did Miami. And it worked didn’t it?

    • 15 minutes to go, 1 sub left, tie game with Germany, and a chance to advance out of the group. Is there a player on the team who would rather see Wondo getting the call over Donovan? Hell No!

  20. I was reading an article the other day about the new Tottenham coach and it said that he doesn’t concern himself with things like the formation as much as he is concerned about shape. The way players shift positions in the game, too, seems to me to make all the concern about what is the right formation a bit irrelevant. Interesting to see Klinsmann holds the same opinion. Ultimately it is about how well the players work together. Also, the Tottenham coach didn’t worry much about the other team’s approach so much as he focused on his own team and getting them to play the right way. This is the same approach used by Coach John Wooden in basketball.

    • And that’s why Tottenham won the Premier League this year and will go on to win Champions League next year.

      • You should watch more soccer. They have a new coach. Not sure what not winning the league has to do with anything when he wasn’t the coach.

      • Great post Jake. You know that wasn’t Jason Sudeikis for real right? Because even if it was, they’ve moved on… a couple of times actually.

    • Thoughtful post, Gary Page. It will be interesting to think about this when watching tm and during the WC. Seeing the team against Turkey certainly showed that JK seems be giving his most trusted players license to leave their tradionally structured spaces (FJ’s goal is not something we’d have seen previously out of a US “right back”, even if he had the technical skill)

      • Ali,

        It’s like they said in Pirates of the Caribbean about the Rules of Piracy,

        “We like to think of them as more like guidelines than rules” or something along those lines.

        That’s why you’ll find so many midfielders in most modern squads. They should be useful anywhere on the field. That;s why JK’s continued use of midfielders as fullbacks is no surprise. Germany has a long tradition of using midfielders all over the field.

        It’s a tribute to Rinus Michels’ total football system..

      • +1. You know your footsoccer GW. No doubt. Here’s what’s been gnawing at me abut this… When I hear JK say these things (which are consistent with how he has been using players), I can’t believe he isn’t salivating to deploy Cameron somehwer besides CB, where you have a minimum of freedom to roam. I’ve been very curious to see Cameron deployed as a third CM (in an Edu-type role as some have pointed out) at the expense of one of the thus-far anonymous wingers

        I could understand if the reason is that he just hasn’t found a more trustworthy guy to captain the back 4 (Besler has been disappointing for me here… I was really hoping to see him step up). Also, it is starting to seem that we won’t be seeing a whole lot of Omar.

      • Brooks and Cameron will probably be the centerbacks. They are the two best passers of the ball and Besler will likely be found out versus Nigeria or Ghana when they start pressing him.

      • He’s too important in the back. However, Cameron is not shy about getting forward.

        As for putting him on the wing, I think he is better starting out centrally. He did well as a right back but I think he is stifled out on the wing. Being in the middle allows him to move around more something he seems to enjoy doing. Ultimately I think he wants to replace Jones/Beckerman but I think he is better off focusing on being a center back.

        And he’s a big guy.

        Then again the big guy is getting more common in soccer. Have you seen Paul Pogba? Or Balotelli.
        If you saw Ivory Coast vs El Sal the other day, it was almost comical. El Salvador looked like a bunch of 12 year olds next to an NFL team.

        Everyone on the Ivory Coast looks like a power forward, a tight end, a linebacker or at worst a wide receiver. I would not want to play them.

      • +1. It is absolutely confounding how consistently terrible Ivory Coast have been– blaming their WC draws is polite but it doesn’t really cover up the hot steamer of a track record this group has turned in over time. Really, I’ve probably now watched them play about 25 times over almost a decade (this isn’t easy to do, partcularly AFCON games) and it is just strange the mediocrity they can conjour out of an imposing side with individually top class players.

        They lost 4-0 to one of he all-time sorriest Mexico sides in a friendly! Drogba was there! (he didn’t start, but he didn’t make a difference either)

        So many of these guys really are top players… I’d like to see them do something besides produce a “the dog ate my homework” performance in Brazil. It may a while before the have another window of opportunity like the one they keep barfing on.

      • AFCON games are so terrible. The nations cup just devolves into guys running right at defenders. It’s not good soccer at all.

        The weird thing is… these guys can play… they just choose not to.

      • Diego,

        The IC situation reminds me of England’s “golden generation”, Beckham, Owen, Scholes, Neville, Gerrard, Lampard , Cole, Terry, etc., etc.,

        The sum of the parts never really added up to the whole.

        The best observation I ever read about them was in particular reference to the well known trouble that Lampard and Gerrard had being on the field at the same time.

        I think it was a former player I forget who, who said, that the trouble was England had no one field general type, a guy like Roy Keane that everyone would listen to. Someone who would tell Gerrard to go up and Lampard to stay back and who those guys would listen to.

        That’s what happens when you have a team made up of alphas who are all equal. You need a big dog alpha and England never had one. I guess Beckham isn’t like that.

        How accurate this all is who knows but it is clear that to me that teams like Ivory Coast and the Golden Generation England team make a good argument for Marcello Lippi’s famous statement , something along the lines of :

        “ It’s not the 11 best players, it’s the 11 who play the best together.”

      • Increase,

        I think you’ll find that many of these AFCON teams don’t really have well organized, highly professional FA’s.

        Which means they find it hard to get good managers.

        And you are right a lot of these teams have awesomely talented players. But national teams only get together for a few games a year compared to a club team.

        So combine so-so manager with a weak, corrupt FA “backing” him up, with an all star game atmosphere, diva star players, and you get what you saw.

        Which should tell you that most SBI fans were badly wrong about Bob Bradley.

      • Yes let’s call up a midfielder who can also play forward. Sort of a “total footballer” if you will.

      • I think it has been true for over 15 years that the press and fans have argued about formations, while the coaches more or less quietly insisted their defense stayed compact and organized, marking any attacking player in a dangerous position. The coaches also worry endlessly about their teams ability to transition quickly from attack to defense and vice versa. Where the coaches seem to differ most is in how much freedom they want their players to take to get forward and attack in numbers.

        The formations are pretty much just starting points that bear little resemblance to where the players are when they are defending an attack from more than a couple players or when they are attacking quickly in numbers, or on set pieces. The starting spots do imply a roles for the players, but how those roles play out into positioning during the game is anything but simple and often not even all that well-defined.

      • +1 Agree with this. Well stated. It’s interesting watching our nats play because we have historically played much more conservatively in this regard, in my observation. I’d actually think it would be cool to see some heat maps of our competitive internationals over the last 15-20 years to see is this is actually true

      • Some random thoughts.

        A formation in the modern game is not a jigsaw puzzle made up of pieces that mesh on the edges. Coaches no longer check the shoes of their wingers after the game to make sure they are covered in chalk. Formations provide a coach with a vocabulary for talking about strategy and tactics to the players. Here is where we will find our space, here is where we expect the opponent to attack, here is how we will transition through the thirds and across the width of the pitch, here are the players we want to find in thus and so circumstances. A formation is never a license for any player to think “not my job” when something needs to be done regardless of where the X’s are on the diagram.

        Looked at through that lens, a “diamond” is really a proxy for controlling the center in attack. Something JK emphasizes tremendously more than his predecessors; he does not want to cede that space to any team of any caliber. He has consistently spoken of building this team around his “spine” down the center of the pitch and if you look at the wide players both in midfield and the back line, their roles seem to be to support the center not run around it then cross the ball from a deep position. This is not the traditional US wing-and-cross attack any more emphasizing width, it is a we’re-coming-straight-down-your-throat-so-try-and-stop-it attack. Exhibit A: Fabian’s goal the other day cutting way inside.

        Another observation: The idea of attacking in one formation and defending in another would have been laughable in the counterattacking style that used to be characteristic of the USMNT. Not enough time in transition, just grab the ball and go with whoever is streaking forward. However, JK strongly emphasizes possession and working calmly from the back. This provides time in transition to offense, which gives more flexibility to change shape in attack.

      • fun conversation of formations and shape.

        the formations are great for defensive purposes to create shape and responsibility for the players so if one gets high and out of position, all others know where the holes are on D to cover in transition; it’s key in organizing and to recover defensively, to get organized behind the ball. formations also are important to hold when playing a game of second balls, and old Bradleyism.


  22. I’m headed to Jacksonville tomorrow! Gonna be awesome! I’m hoping to see the defense turn in a solid effort after last match was so shaky. The offense just needs to keep doing it’s thing.

    Win, Lose or Draw though, I want to meet some of those gorgeous international soccer fans! A little preview to remind you of just how awesome they are…

  23. anything that jurgen says or does now is meaningless. i am so disgusted by his comments of ” we can’t win the cup” that i could puke! what kind of coach says that whether its realism or not??!!

    • I find it annoying how Klinsmann has this long view of building a future only when it’s convenient for him. I’ve seen a number of people have run with this narrative Klinsmann is building for 2018. If Klinsmann wanted to build something then why didn’t he use the Gold Cup. No, instead he had Donovan, EJ, Rimando, Goodson, Torres,Wondo and Beasley win him that. While a player like Agudelo struggles to make his way to Europe because he doesn’t have recent international caps.

      Klinsmann loves to talk up what the team has done ,while moving the bar down on what the team will do. Any success is because of him and any failure is because the players just aren’t good enough.

      • I forgot Beckerman, Parkhurst, and really Besler didn’t need to play in it. The Gold Cup could have and should have been used to on younger players but it wasn’t.

      • Jack,

        Before the Gold Cup JK announced that winning it was a priority. That is why the older players. Plus, because the USMNT had failed to win the 2011 Gold cup and therefore failed to qualify for the 2013 Confederations Cup, the Gold Cup was the only WC warm up tourney available for this edition of the USMNT.

        “With the win, the United States qualified for a playoff match against the champion of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, to decide which team will represent CONCACAF in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia”
        You may recall that the USMNT’s success in the 2009 Confederations Cup served as a big confidence boost for the Us leading up to the 2010 WC.

        There is no better dress rehearsal tournament for the 2018 WC.

      • Fine but if you’re not going to use the Gold Cup filled with mostly Concacaf B teams, then there’s no way you should be using the World Cup. This World Cup is about 2014 and nothing else.

      • I’ve just seen a number of people point to the inclusion of Green, Yedlin, Brooks as a building towards 2018.

      • Jack,

        A number of people ? Like who? And that’s your murder conviction level of proof?

        In the 1998 World Cup Germany, captained by one Jay Goppingen, lost in the quarterfinals to Croatia 3-0 one of the most humiliating losses in their history. Besides the fact that they went a man down in the 40th minute they also were run over by Croatia who scored two late goals. They were down a man but they were also a squad that averaged 28.5 years in age and had many players who were 30+ including JK who was 33. I saw that game and got the distinct impression Germany got worn down.

        Leading up to the World Cup the USMNT was slow. So JK has freshened it up. It’s a young man’s game. And it is also a fast man’s game. What you get with Brooks, Green and Yedlin is speed, speed and even more speed. And they can also play. And they are too naïve to know that they can’t do what they are doing. And maybe they won’t cramp up like the older guys if the air conditioning should malfunction in Brazil. Or was that in Quatar? Brooks and Yedlin looked serviceable against Turkey and Green is coming along.

        It’s a gamble but one I think is worth the risk.

      • @GW – I’ve just seen it suggested Klinsmann is really looking to 2018, however it appears we both disagree.

      • I think he just knows he hasn’t prepared his team so he’s bringing in X Factors to hope lightening strikes and he looks smart. It’s every desperate coach’s go-to move. But while he’s fiddled our back-line has burned. He has no faith in MLS so 4th their German players are serious considerations.

      • US100,

        ”But while he’s fiddled our back-line has burned.”

        Is JK responsible for Gonzo stagnating and moving backwards from his MLS defender of the year form? Why don’t you have a talk with Arena, the guy who coaches Gonzo for about 85% of the time.

        Is JK responsible for Cameron not playing CB for Stoke? Go talk to Hughes.

        DId JK get Chandler hurt and cause him to miss a lot of his season?

        Is JK responsible for Evans getting hurt and badly losing form as the World Cup approached?

        Is JK responsible for Clay Goodson’s form going into the toilet since he moved to MLS?

        Is JK responsible for Parkhurst playing Cb for Columbus when he was need at fullback for the US? Talk to Berhalter.

        A National team manager can’t coach his players for most of the year . It’s not his fault if they get out of form. You need to talk to their clubs. They show up and he has to pick the ones that are playing the best

        “He has no faith in MLS so 4th their German players are serious considerations”

        Yeah? Then why are there 9 MLS players on the 23? I’m certain this is the most ever.

      • So the Gold Cup was a must win, but at the WC we look toward the future…? Peculiar logic that.

      • The only thing I see as peculiar is thinking it’s peculiar. The logic actually makes complete sense, given the markedly different nature of these competitions.

        The Gold Cup was something we should have won, going in, and (as noted above) something that would help us move forward with the ultimate goal of more success at more important international competitions, including of course the World Cup.

        The World Cup by contrast was not ever something we were going to win and anybody thinking otherwise is just fooling themselves. Better footballing nations than ours don’t seriously believe they’re going to win it, and set more realistic stepping stone type goals in terms of their finish in it, with the ultimate goal of doing as well or better the next time around.

        It’s silly to say that the 2014 WC is about the 2014 WC and nothing else. Of course it’s not. This is reality.

      • “It’s silly to say that the 2014 WC is about the 2014 WC and nothing else. Of course it’s not. This is reality”

        strongly disagree . Building is fine but 4 years away who knows what will be. Now is now. This is reality, not silly at all

      • Very silly. The equivalent of focusing on winning the whole thing in 2014 in Brazil instead of long-term progress.

      • @RB can’t believe Clint or Timmy or some of the others who are in possibly their last World Cup believe your take is acceptable. what do you think about that? not trying to be snarky, just disagreeing

      • If one were to remove himself emotionally from events of the last few weeks…
        And ask yourself this question:
        What would do more to advance US Soccer:
        1. Having a successful showing in 2014
        2. Using spots 21-23 on players XY and Z to get them experience for the future

        I would submit that #1 is the best answer.
        If one were to ask and answer that question to himself without the emotion of the last few weeks and 1 lineup decision was different, would this obsession with the 2018 narrative be so prevalent?
        If one were to exclude the (valid) argument that LD should be on the roster, and examine the other 6 guys who got cut by solely by the position battles would the 2018 narrative be so prevalent?
        Corona-out. Boyd vs the forwards that made it, including a 30+ Wondo. Evans & Parkie vs the 4 fullbacks who made it-all 4 who can run..real fast… Edu vs Beckerman. And Brooks vs Goodson-(the 4th CB spot, 2 tall defenders, one faster and more athletic, one slower w experience)
        If one were to consider that this team is older than 2010, with only 1 less guy w WC experience vs 2010, has 3 30+ MLS players going to a WC for the first time, would one be as inclined to advance the 2018 narrative?

        I’d submit that if one were to objectivity consider these things, (and ignore certain pundits) one would also choose answer #1.

        Questioning whether LD is one of the best 8 attacking options is valid(not this best 23 argument as he doesn’t play GK, DEF, or CM)
        Questioning whether this roster is built for 2018 is an emotional short sighted argument in my opinion.

      • hello Bac 🙂

        my rational take: Jurgen took his best 23 in his view right now to train, play and win now, whatever the reasons for the choices, for his team, his responsibility to do

        I think he wants to win and shock the world now…I think he knows that’s the best way to build for the future

      • “@RB can’t believe Clint or Timmy or some of the others who are in possibly their last World Cup believe your take is acceptable. what do you think about that?”

        I doubt they think that. However if they do, then I’d say it’s not surprising, because they’re looking at it from the perspective of the players they are, and particularly (as you say) players who might be in their last WC, rather than that of a coach, and especially someone who is more than a coach and who is already under contract through the next WC cycle.

      • Mr. Steak,

        Is that Argentinean pepper steak?

        The Gold Cup is was a must win because of the importance of the confederations Cup as a World Cup dress rehearsal.

        How much better off do you think the USMNT would be going into this World Cup if they had been in the 2013 Confederations Cup ? Or maybe you think the Gold Cup was better preparation?

        And why do you think more veterans give you a better chance to do well in the World Cup? Doesn’t it matter how well that those veterans are playing? Or do you just give them a pass?

        Ever hear the expression “past performance is no guarantee of future results”?

        How about the idea of “balancing the needs for the future with the needs of the present”. Just about every coach in every sport has to face that to some degree.

        The USMNT is on a four year cycle. Four years is an eternity in soccer terms and it means for the most part you have to re- build the team every cycle.
        For the US with a comparatively thin talent pool that is especially vexing.

        You are an extremist. You want a totally veteran squad that you think will give you a better chance to scramble some points but in a few years when all those vets retire then you will be screaming about why didn’t JK develop more players for the future?

        The old expression “ eat your cake and have it too” also comes to mind here.
        Not to mention “dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t”.

        Is playing these new young guys a risk?

        Sure, but I would submit that you and I did not go to the camp and see how these guys stacked up, we did not (at least I didn’t maybe you did) spend time with these players and get to know them a bit, nor did you and I follow them closely and talk to their coaches and teammates and their dog to learn as much as possible about them, the last year or two.

        In other words the USMNT staff knows the odds on that gamble a lot better than you or I. And they will pay the price if they are wrong, not you and not me.

      • You appear to forget, that Klinsmann couldn’t call in the players playing in Europe because their clubs were still on-season… and to bear in mind Dempsey was out of form.

      • Sorry, I was wrong. The Gold Cup was in July. So the players of European Clubs were on holdidays after a long season and later on on pre-season. Afaik, the European clubs don’t have to release the players for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

    • Why does he have to lie to placate your fantasies? Can Florida A&M win the NCAA tournament or the Astros win the World Series? No.

      With that said there are plenty of other possible successful outcomes for the tournament. And while everyone loves MLS, we will not be able to win the World Cup until we have multiple stars playing in the G-14 and other big Champions League clubs.

      • i dont believe he needs to plicate anything, but a coach at this level’s job is to motivate a team to do its best, whatever the best is. announcing to the media that his team cant win is demoralizing and is contrary to coaching philosophies at this level, no?

      • Klinsmann often makes sure to set the bar so low he can’t really fail. If the US doesn’t get out of the group most US fans will just say, it’s because the players aren’t any good. Klinsmann has the job for life at the this rate.

      • How did he set the bar low? When did the bar go from getting out of the group to winning the World Cup?

      • I’m not really bothered by the comments about not winning the World Cup. I just think as the coach he shouldn’t be the one setting the bar of what is success.

      • Jack,

        This is America. JK is entitled to set whatever bar he wants just like you are. It’s his team.

        In terms of real world things JK’s bar is set by the 15 voting members of executive committee of the USSF.

        They are his bosses and are the people who ultimately will decide if JK has met their bar.

      • Looking at the history of the tournament. There are 8 winners in the tournament history. There are no miracles. We have made it to the quarters once since 1930. We have to win 3 more games in the tournament than we ever have.

        How many teams do you think can win the tournament? For me, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Germany are the only teams that can hope to win it this year.

      • Sure we can’t win the World Cup but what is the bar for Klinsmann? Getting out of the group? 2 points? Can we get 0 points and Klinsmann keeps his job?

      • Yes. That IS what will happen. Stop setting imaginary triggers. The “bar” that US Soccer has set for Klinsmann is to leave the team in a transformed and better place after 2018 (they both agree on this, even if we don’t– remember USSF is still in the Project 40 mentality) There is a less-than-one percent chance of him getting fired, and we’d have to lose 10-nil and have multiple players arrested for raping trannies.

        You’re waiting for a day that isn’t coming. They will crash out at some point, and a bunch of people will say “I told you so” to an empty room. JK will keep his job and sleep just fine. You’d be better off getting excited for what THIS team MIGHT do in Brazil.

      • Great comment. No one even knows if he plans on managing the team next cycle regardless of results. He is also the Technical Director and personally that seems like the role he always wanted because he gets to build the entire system from the ground up.

        He could easily be grooming Ramos for the coaching job after the World Cup in case he steps down.

      • But Sunil has to go up for reelection in a couple years… So a three and out World Cup with a negative seven goal differential with these roster choices could have serious consequences for someone.

      • US100Ebook,

        Sunil is a figure head . He has one vote out of 15.

        He alone did not hire JK and he alone won’t fire JK. Those 15 people would not extended JK were they not happy with things to date.

        0-3 would be bad but it would probably depend on how they lose. The US could play the three greatest USMNT games ever and still go 0-3. We’re not playing Florissant Valley CC here.

      • I do not think that JK deserves to be the USMNT coach should he not get out of the group stage. Perhaps he thinks that the nice extension he just inked with the USSF to keep him til 2018 make him unlikely to be fired. Lots of luck with that mindset..

        I expect we will see starting against Nigeria, the same starting 11 for Ghana. I also expect the same results for either team. If we cannot beat Nigeria, we will probably lose against Ghana. Ghana is the must win and gives us hope should we get maximum points. But to get out of the Group we need to get a better goal differential too. Just 4 pts is not enough. We may catch a break if Ronaldo is not 100% and the injury bug keeps biting Germany. If JK cannot capitalize on other teams misfortunes, then his new generation of Germericans are for naught and we do not deserve to get out of Group G.

      • So what coach would you keep if he “somehow” managed to to not get out of a group with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana? I think we’ll have a tough time finding a replacement with that standard.

        What you are saying is… we would fire anybody here, because we really should be expected to get past these “weaker” teams.

        Well, that’s exactly how Bob Bradley got fired from Egypt, in spite of a remarkable campaign and a solitary ugly loss against the best team on the continent away from home.

      • “Perhaps he thinks that the nice extension he just inked with the USSF to keep him til 2018 make him unlikely to be fired. Lots of luck with that mindset..Perhaps he thinks that the nice extension he just inked with the USSF to keep him til 2018 make him unlikely to be fired. Lots of luck with that mindset.”

        You must have missed JK being quoted that if they go 0-3 his job is on the line..

      • No I wouldn’t go that far. I think there are some very low probability outcomes that could create an immediate problem for him.

        Here is another way of looking at it that I haven’t heard presented — suppose Donovan was a key part of this team and started against Ghana (which most everybody agrees is an “elimination game” if it produces a losing team). What would the post-mortem look like then?

        Seems like it would be easy for a critic to argue that all we had our hands was three wasted cycles of over-dependence on Donovan, all of which ended at the hands of a the same good-but-beatable mid-level power.

        Through that lens, you can see why a guy whose mandate is to advance the program would not be too eager to buy the ticket.

      • @Ali Dia- Well I don’t really understand that argument. It’s a team sport where there really is no dependence on any one player.

      • @Jack- It’s possible I overstated the position for the sake of argument, but if you really believe what you just said, then you can be the one who talks us all down from the ledge if Bradley goes down 🙂

      • @Ali Dia, Well with the diamond Mix can maybe, well….. if Beckerman plays or…. yeah we’re screwed haha

      • GW

        You are a fool if you think Gulati is a figurehead. The guy has more power and inflence than those other 15 put together.
        Are you related to Klinsmann?

      • Ricardo says:

        “Are you related to Klinsmann?”

        And if I was so what? Lots of people hate their relatives and sometimes kill them. You must not get out much.

        After firing Arena Sunil wanted JK to replace him. They couldn’t come to an agreement.

        Was that because JK didn’ t really want it or were his demands unacceptable to Sunil, or because the board would not let Sunil give JK what he wanted?

        Maybe you remember all the back and forth about BB that resulted him staying on until the 2011 Gold Cup instead of firing him right after the World Cup.

        We’ll never know until the book comes out. Of course a President in his situation has a lot of influence but he can’ t just wake up one day and decide “ Damm that SBI site is going solidly anti JK I guess I better fire JK and bring LD back “.

        That’s not how it works. He has to have the votes. Obviously that shifts depending on how things are going but the extension should have told you that the board overwhelming support JK and it would take a lot change that. Maybe you’ve never had to work with a board like that.

        And it’s a business. The LD melodrama has brought unprecedented amounts of media attention to the USMNT. You might recall Herc Gomez laughing about the Strauss article and noting that it was great that the media were paying attention to the USMNT. Well this little soap opera sure blows that out of the water.

        There is no such thing as bad publicity.

        Getting JK out at this point would require an epic disaster. But I’m sure many of you want that just to get rid of JK. Or better yet a broken leg from someone so that LD can come back and prove JK wrong by winning the World Cup for the US.

      • Jack, why do you and all the other LD fanboys think that just because kinsman left him off the roster the sky is falling? One man doesn’t make the whole team…. LD has done well in the past but would only be a distraction his cycle. Except that he is not on the team and move on. We will advance from group play. The chicken littles are not looking at whole picture. We beat Ghana while Germany and Portugal beat each other up then we play a beat up Portugal in the amazon! We take a point from them and then play Germany after they have already clinched the group! They won’t play anyone with a card or risk injury. Although the group is tough we could not have asked for a better schedule in the group. We advance with 4 points.

      • I think the pool of teams that can win this one is bigger than that – and I honestly think Germany may not be on it. Uruguay, Chile, Ghana, Italy, Portugal, and, yes, the USA are all teams I think have the potential to work some magic in this tournament. The conditions are going to be much, much tougher on the temperate European nations than most acknowledge. I’m not sure we have the baseline talent level to pull it off, but I think this tournament is going to be wilder and more open than any tournament since maybe 2002, where there were also a lot of chaotic games.

      • I think the opposite is true- players at this level know best what’s realistically w/in reach. certainly in our group, we’re underdogs. Beckerman and others say this is extra motivation, which is great, but let’s not live in a denial bubble.

      • “announcing to the media that his team cant win is demoralizing and is contrary to coaching philosophies at this level, no?”

        Correct: no.

      • Jesus. He did not say this in front of the locker room yesterday. He said this in December, back when pretty much every coach is in the business of managing expectations. The guy is regarded by pretty much everybody as a master motivator– he knows what he is doing… not to mention none of us really has any idea what he says when the journalists aren’t there. All he has to do to solve the little “problem” you have presented is tell the team before the game “Back a few months ago… I was convinced we could not do this… BUT [etc…]” Yes, that stuff works.

        And don’t forget he qualified it with “We would have to have the game of our lives seven times”. That was not unintentional. The guy knows what he is doing when he is talking to the media. He is not out there to get fired.

        He isn’t talking to you, folks. The only audience that matters to him (or should matter… to any US coach) is the players. We can find out what he “really” was thinking when he writes a book in a few years.

      • Wait…. so he actually said we could win the World Cup if we play the game of our lives seven times. This is awesome!

      • +1 with the exception of your last sentence. When you’ve followed Klinsmann since he started to play as a pro, his coaching career, his difficult relation with a famous influential German tabloid and the continual conflict between both, you maybe know a bit more what makes Klinsmann tick. 😉

      • There’s quite a long history of underdogs who no one gave a chance to, going all the way and winning. In fact, in basically every sport in all of history. Regardless, I think most people’s problems with Klinnsman’s comments is that he would say that, even though “realistically” obviously it’s likely true.

        But most Americans like the idea that any time you step on the field of play, you are playing to win. And you believe in yourself. Otherwise why show up.

    • Really? Pelligrini and mourinho just spent the past six months insisting the other was the favorite to win the league. It’s called gamesmanship.

    • get over yourself. why have so many of our US fans become such pansies?! we are NOT going to win the World Cup and JK saying that 7 months ago is MEANINGLESS. Arena said it in 2002 and look what happened. Italy’s manager laughed when he heard Mourinho projected Italy to be in the final this year. everyone needs to stop being so damn sensitive. it’s just ridiculous. JK could say ANYTHING at this point and some US circles will complain about it.

      that WSJ article was crap, but if the author had any intelligence, THIS would have been the subject of his “hatred”.

    • Grow up, Peter Pan. He is right. Good for him for being honest. But we are going to make some noise, that is for sure. Low expectations is what this team needs.

    • If you want to be disgusted, you should be disgusted with yourself for holding that idea. JK is trying to challenge the complacency of the entire program bc it has been holding progress down.

      • the progress that had the USMNT actually win their group last World Cup for the first time in 60+ years? and to do so by winning their final group stage game for the first time…ever? I’d like to see us build on that accomplishment from the last World Cup. No complacency at all in last cycles’ team. Remember, that team also ended Spain’s unbelievable run, then mad it to the USMNT’s first ever international final

        that is not complacency, that was true and measurable progress

      • beachbum,

        You are living in the past.

        “Remember, that team also ended Spain’s unbelievable run, then mad it to the USMNT’s first ever international final”

        A final the US should have won

        “that was true and measurable progress”

        Yes but you can’t stand still. Do that and you are sliding backwards. Howard, Mikey, Deuce, Jozy are all that is left from that team and Mikey did not play in the final.
        It’s possible none of them will be around for 2018. The US is on a four year cycle which means they essentially have to re build for every World Cup. Unless you do well in one World Cup with a really young core.

        You can’t be smug about beating a Spanish team that did not take you seriously until the game ended.

        And you can’t be happy about taking a 2-0 lead into half time in a final and then letting it all slip away.

        And don’t tell me that “ But it was Brazil! BS ” because that is exactly the kind of attitude the USMNT needs to leave in the past.

        At the awards ceremony, Deuce was crying even though he was holding his Silver Ball award , a great accomplishment , because HE LOST.

        He gets it. Maybe you don’t..

      • GW, I’m not close to living in the past.

        I responded to a false claim of complacency in the program with facts from the past. That’s all.

        who is being smug GW?

        of course that hurt vs. Brazil. Once they scored to open the 2d half it was clear the US was overwhelmed and showed an inexperience to win that game. Never been there before and it showed, but they did those thins. Discount what you want from the accomplishments and call me smug to suit your argument, I’m using facts.

        and I am al for not standing still and was vocal against rehiring Bradley, for example. In the present GW

      • “GW, I’m not close to living in the past.
        I responded to a false claim of complacency in the program with facts from the past. That’s all.”

        It’s not a false claim. Much of this moral indignation and outrage over LD’s exclusion stems from the idea on the part of the aggrieved that cutting LD is a bridge too far, that removing that comforting security blanket, however illusory, that his presence would provide is too much.

        Maybe you’re right, maybe it is not complacency but rather fear.that the USMNT will be humiliated three games in a row and we will have to face all those foreign critics again who say that the US is no good and never will be.

        Well that humiliation was always on the cards once that group was drawn regardless of who was manager and regardless of who he called up. This team could play three of the greatest games ever by a US team and still not advance. That is the cruelty inherent in soccer. Playing well does not guarantee winning. It only increases the likelihood of winning. The only thing that guarantees winning is scoring one more goal than the other guys.

        Not that I think it will happen but as far as I’m concerned the USMNT in particular and the game in this country in general is at the point where it is strong enough to survive a World Cup humiliation.

        Just about every major soccer country has. It does not get any worse than what France went through in 2010 yet here they are back again. And not too many people are laughing at them.

        And as soon as that Group was drawn I knew that the US was going to have to take some risks just to avoid being humiliated let alone get out of the group. I’m a little tired of the defeatist attitude that most advocate here.

        I’m more interested in the USMNT earning respect from the greater soccer world and in having a team I can be proud of.

        They can do that by getting out of the Group or they can do that by making the other three teams pay big time for everything they get.

        Because unlike most of SBI, I believe the greater soccer world out there realizes just how big an ask just making a respectable showing would be for any team in this Group not just the US.

        My USMNT favorites have always been Clint Mathis and Frankie Hedjuk because they had no inferiority complex about being American players and they just played their hearts out . Clint in particular had that “f++k them, wait until they get a load of me” attitude.

        For this team to move forward they are going to have to take some big risks and so far, I’m okay with what I see.

      • GW, I appreciate your thoughtful reply and tone, sincerely.

        I’m not in the past, no way. where we disagree is clear, no rehash required but on one here; I disagree on you “bridge too far” take of it. there are other positions, mine for example, which you know

        I totally agree about the negative thoughts on potential outcomes, it’s just un-American to me. Of course it’s a big challenge! Let’s go. good on you for expressing that

        I don’t like built in excuses, no way. accept the challenge, accept the impossible mission, and if you do Mr. Phelps, let’s get in on! Love Frankie

        anyway, the Group is tough of course, and as you note the whole world knows this.

        seriously, it’s the perfect opportunity. Jurgen knows this. I’m sure he’s telling his team this, among other things. the media talk is so much BS; where media really matters is in relations both internally and externally, not in actual info divulgence, know what I mean? part of the LD fallout was due to decisions made in this dep’t. imo

        anyway, Julian Green…hope he plays well if he gets the chance and can leave a positive impression so folks don’t dump on him. you can see he’s skilled and why folks like him just from the bits we’ve seen, also seen other things. we’ll see how he responds.

    • Don’t you think that the real audience for JK’s remarks were the USMT’s opponents? Lull them into thinking that all they have to do is show up to win?

    • As long as one specific forward gets injured enough to miss the World Cup and force Klinsmann to make that awkward phone call.

      • +1

        I’m guessing many here have played and suffered injury and none would wish that on another player. having torn ligaments like Reus or broken my ankle double digit times, broken toes (they suck), plantar facia, knee ligaments blown, ruptured Achilles, torn hamstring (took forever to heal), ribs, and the two most painful of all, hip pointers and deep thigh bruises, and all the little things like groin pulls and calf pulls and Achilles tears (not ruptures) of course, most of my life has been spent playing, getting injured, recovering, going to play again and getting injured, recovering, etc. I don’t wish that on anyone and don’t believe American fans do

      • I don’t want Klinsy to have any excuses for when he is shown to be the fool he is. I want it plain as day that Sunil has brought this mess upon the USMNT so Federation voters will toss his rear out too.

      • Reality is that US team is deeper than it has ever been and IS paying and WILL CONTINUE to pay big benefits for the program.

      • I don’t get the Klinsmann hate or distrust. He wins the Gold Cup, has wins in Italy and Mexico and has the best calendar year of any USMNT. If it isn’t clear to people this team is playing a more attractive soccer and moving in the right direction they are blind.

      • +1. As a German and BVB member, fan of the Bundesliga, German NT and USMNT, I absolutely agree with you.

        The USMNT is meanwhile playing such an attractive style of attacking football. In my mind, they’ll do well at Brazil and in case they won’t get out of their group will surely impress and deliver exciting games for their fans.
        I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the team.

      • Please keep posting this.
        This lack of vision is all on Gulati

        Under his watch US men’s teams (u17,u20, u23 and full) have done the worst.
        The best results we had were under Dr. Bob who claimed he knew nothing about soccer

        Please keep posting

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