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USMNT players back Klinsmann, label World Cup success as advancing from group

Jozy Altidore

Photo by John Todd/


SAO PAULO — Much has been made of Jurgen Klinsmann’s recent comments regarding how unrealistic it is to expect the U.S. Men’s National Team to win the World Cup this summer, and many people have come out and publicly disagreed with the head coach’s stance.

The U.S. players are not among those people.

Following their open training session at Sao Paulo FC’s practice facility on Wednesday, several veteran players echoed the controversial sentiments of Klinsmann by saying that the primary focus this summer should be on getting out of the group stage. The players believe that only then can they turn their attention towards accomplishing something bigger in Brazil.

“The most important thing is we have to get out of the group stage,” said midfielder Alejandro Bedoya. “After that, it’s anybody’s game really. You play any team after the group stage, you’re obviously already confident and you’ve got some motivation from advancing out of the group stage. It’s football, anything can happen.”

The team’s measured approach ahead of the World Cup might be a surprise to casual fans or those who tune in once every four years — after all, it doesn’t fit into the usual American psyche of trying to win it all. But those who have been paying just the slightest bit of attention in recent years are aware that the U.S. has a tough task ahead of itself due to Group G having no pushovers.

There is Ghana, the African powerhouse that has eliminated the Americans from the last two World Cups; Portugal, who boast reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and a bevy of other talented players who play for some of the top clubs in the world; and a Germany team that is stacked from top to bottom and considered one of the favorites to hoist the World Cup trophy in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

While most pundits outside of the U.S. are not giving the Americans much of a chance to advance from what is considered by many to be the “Group of Death” in this summer’s competition, Klinsmann’s side is solely focusing on what they can control.

“It’s not important what the people outside say,” said midfielder Jermaine Jones. “It’s important what is inside of the group. We know that we have a good group and the focus has to be game to game.”

The focus is just that right now, and part of the reason why Klinsmann was not too keen on answering a question about Portugal — the Americans’ second group-stage opponent — during his press conference on Wednesday.

He and the rest of the U.S. team is strictly focusing on their group opener vs. Ghana right now, as that match in Natal on June 16 will likely play a determining role on if the Americans can meet their stated goal and possibly surpass it.

“Look, we haven’t won a World Cup before so you can’t go into the World Cup saying, ‘Oh, we have to do what we’ve done in the past,'” said forward Jozy Altidore. “You come here obviously with that dream in the back of your mind, let’s not be silly. At the same time, you have to be honest and say, ‘There are some teams that maybe are a bit more favored than obviously we are to win the tournament.’

“Saying all that, you try to take it one game at a time and see how far you can go. Then, as it gets closer — hopefully, if we get closer to the end — then you start to (think of a winning it all).”


  1. The games are all determined to an extent by the refs.
    Obvious in 2002 in Germany vs USA–and yesterday in Brazil vs Croatia.
    Ref gifts Brazil a penalty without good basis, and Croatia loses.
    Croatia looked fit throughout, created chances but didn’t finish.
    They defended well but not well enough.
    They were missing their playmaker because of his 13-match suspension after a racial slur (boy would I like to know more about that) in the Croatia-Iceland match.
    Doesn’t that sound to you like the USMNT? Fit, chances–poor finish, defended OK.

  2. I am still a younger fan at 25, but over the two world cups that I have watched and all of the qualifying, friendlies, and Gold Cups, I have definitely seen a good progression over the years.

    The judgement to leave Donovan at home while taking Green is an odd choice to me, but I wasn’t at the training sessions to see the difference in the two. Klinnsman may have taken it personal over Donovan’s sabbatical. But who wouldn’t? Donovan was his most experienced player with records to prove that, but just said “I need a break.” How would we all feel if we relied on our best friend for something and they just said no? That is not to say that it wasn’t the best decision for Donovan at the time. I have a lot of respect for the man to have the peace of mind to say he needed to fall in love with the game all over again. It just sucks that the time for him to do that came at a very bad time. I understand Klinnsman being skeptical. I don’t think that factored into Donovan being left off of the team.

    Klinnsman has a lot of experience at the international level, both as a player and a coach. Soccer is still at very young age in the USA, and he was brought on to help mature the game here. He has worked with the team for 3 years now and his record shows that he knows how to win. The question is if that will be enough when it comes to bigger opponents (Germany and Portugal). I will be disappointed if we don’t progress to the knockout stages, but the teams performance will be the ultimate decider if the progress the USMNT has made over the years is failure or success. The result is not what will decide that. If they go into these three games and play a strong game, but are unfortunate to advance, then it’s not the end of the world. To advance means to hang tough with two of the world’s top 5 teams. If we can give them a run for their money, that in itself is a success.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to the 11 men on the field at the given time and the three subs the may or may not come in. Klinnsman is just the coach. The impact he has on the game can only be made prior to the games and at half time. I think that there is too much focus on the coach than there is on the players. Any interview with a player has said that they are focused, strong, and ready to play. That’s all I need to hear. I have faith in the players, for they are who are doing the dirty work.

  3. I talked with someone who claims she talked to Expat, or knows him, or something. Said Expat is sticking to his guns even though Green did not start any of the 3 friendlies and only played in one, he claims Green will make a significant contribution in Brazil, maybe even start. She said he is somewhat confused though. He may come back after the group.

    I kind of miss him and his theories on how Green got to the USMNT and what it means for U.S. soccer. ‘You know what’, I hope expat is proven right. If Green does see considerable playing time that could only mean that he was making a big difference. Yeah, I know it’s wild.

  4. It’s amazing the level of stupidity of the anti Klinsman comments on this site. In his short tenure as the coach and essentially general manager of the US men’s national team he has raised the level of technical play as well as adding depth especially in the recruitment of internationals. If anybody thinks that Erin Johansson, Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, Julian Green or even Mix would be playing for the United States today without Klinsmann as the coach is a fool.

    He and his staff have rightly emphasized conditioning which would be very helpful in the heat of Brazil. Although we are an underdog Ghana is beatable if we play well and Ireland and Israel managed to Portugal 2-2 while playing on the road. I think it’s conceivable that we can play as well as Ireland and Israel.

    So let’s do what Klinsmann advocated. Take one game at a time advance out of our group and worry about winning the cup after that.

    Klinsi-ball rules!!!!!!

    • His results aren’t any better than past cycles and other than Fabian and Jones, none of the guys you mentioned are any better than the American players they replaced. I think the 2010 roster was better and deeper than this one too. Plus his recruitment of dual nationals is based upon his belief that American players aren’t good enough:

      I don’t see why that’s a positive.

      • On the world stage have Americans proved they are good enough to win? Quarters, group exit, and round of 16 doesn’t say a lot for a country as big as ours. Subtract the Germans and we have 2 field players in a top 4 league at club level. That doesn’t seem good enough.

      • disagree. a country as large as ours that is just now finally beginning to find its passion and soul for the sport this past decade? come on man
        Frings handball! Arrggghhhh!!!!!

      • You don’t see the positive in that?

        Players improve by playing with better players. It’s that simple.

    • Lot of it comes from the talking heads like Lalas. Yesterday he said basically if we are just going to just defend and counter what is the point of paying Klinsmann, which is too simplistic.

      Chelsea and Crystal Palace or (KC and San Jose) both defend and counter but one can pass out of the back and possess the ball a bit while the other just hoofs the ball forward. I don’t think anyone would mind being Chelsea-ish, but most would hate being Palace.

      Under Bob we were strictly like Palace (defend, hit and hope). Now we are much more fluid. We still rely on counters primarily but we can put together multiple pass sequences. Playing bunker ball we were limited in how far we could go. Atleast now there is a chance to get to the top in the future once we develop or recruit more talented players.

    • i don’t know i think the pro-klinsmann comments are about as bad.

      for instance: fabian, chandler, and mix were recruited by bob bradley, not klinsmann (just from your list above).

      also, thank god someone’s finally emphasizing conditioning. i mean, if there was one thing the usmnt was lacking in past world cups, it was fitness.

      • the 2010 team was known as being amazingly fit, I’ve posted links referencing this before. anyway, it’s always been a big team USA advantage, the fitness battle, especially considering al the defending and chasing required from past generations of the USMNT

      • Sarcastic or not you are confusing physical fitness with game sharpness.

        The USMNT has always been super fit.

        When JK spoke recently about his guys being several levels of fitness behind the other squads, he was referring to the fact that most of our competition had more cohesion and the benefit of a full season of highly competitive play.

        He has 9 MLS guys who hadn’t really hit their stride yet.

        There is a trade off in that a lot of the Euros, for example, might be burnt out and injury prone, but then again they are used to that and have more depth.

    • Maybe today it will DAWN on you that this is a Web site for soccer with an American perspective. So IT’S (as in IT IS) not surprising that if you post comments insulting the USMNT, you’ll get some negative commentary back. I noticed your ad hominem response to my substantive suggestions to improve your writing.

  5. What the USA team have to understand is ,soccer is different from basketball ,soccer is played with both feet and not hands ,is different from nba ,and soccer is what GHANAINS play ,basketball is what USA plays .you can’t play soccer with your hands for your info team USA

  6. at least the players are realistic. and that is not them saying it’s impossible and doubting themselves. maybe we can move along now.

    • Jurgen has done good spin control on his NYTimes remarks imo, amended them some. Good on him imo, these things matter in the press.

      why can’t we recognize that he changed his stance somewhat here instead (for whatever reasons) and give him props for that?

  7. A lot of people are talking as if beating Ghana is a panacea for winning the cup. Please, get serious ,reality will be donning on you after the game since you have refused to acknowledge you cannot qualify. For Christ sake this is not basketball, it’s’ soccer (football) which you are not well endowed. Ghana 5:1 USMNT

  8. We need talking points other than what the coach meant, might have meant, could have said better, etc. What time is kickoff? I’m rooting for CROATIA just to keep the group interesting.

  9. So, let’s say the US team makes it out of the group… When exactly will Klinsmann tell the players that it’s “unrealistic” to expect to advance further? Before the round of 16 game? Before the quarterfinal? Before, god forbid, the semifinal?

    Speaking of unrealistic expectations… Do we not remember WC-02, and how close the supposedly much less talented and deep US team made it to advancing all the way to the semifinal? The US were a better team than Germany that night, and the Germans have Hugh Dallas to thank for winning that game. And had the US won, they would’ve played S. Korea in the semifinal, a team that the US could definitely beat.

    And was it realistic to expect the US beat Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup and lead Brazil 2-0 at the half in the final?

    • for your first point, he already said it. winning the WC is the unrealistic part. that’s been answered. so not sure why you are asking for clarification on something that has been repeated a million times recently.

      in 2002 we didn’t have unrealistic expectations. Arena specifically said we were not good enough to win the WC and that no one should be upset by that fact. we exceeded expectations which was awesome, but i’m almost positive the only expectation for the US was to get out of the group.

      in 2009 we didn’t set any unrealistic expectations. in fact, we almost failed to meet our expectations to get out of the group because if it wasn’t for Brazil, we wouldn’t have made it out of the group (even with the 3-0 win against Egypt). once again, we exceeded the low expectations we had.

      in other words, in 2002 and in 2009, we didn’t have unrealistic expectations to win either or do as well as we did. JK saying it’s unrealistic to say we can win the WC is not saying it’s impossible. like the players said, it’s better to focus on the immediate goal of getting out of the group.

    • Like the 2002 example, the confederations cup was the usmnt playing at it’s peak and ALMOST winning two knockout games. So we just need to finally win that second game and we’re home free so long as we also win two additional knockout games.

    • JK said in the same comments that if they advance out of the group, “the sky’s the limit.” Why do journos keep distorting this “story”? That should be a rhetorical question, of course, because we all know it’s to get more click-throughs.

  10. Getting out of the Group Stage is the stated goal because its really hard to do, especially in this Group. You have to win one game, almost certainly have to find at least one more point somewhere, likley against much better opponents, and still might fail to advance based on goal differential. You think the US would be disappointed if it didn’t get past the Group Stage? Imagine how Portugal would fee? Navigate that, and perhaps the US can go on a 2009-like run where it knocks off an undefeatable Spain and goes 2-0 up on a stacked Brazil team in a major final. Or maybe Belgium blows right threw them.

  11. FUE HORRIBLE! FUE HORRIBLE! Still waiting on Klinsi to tell FIFA that he can’t attend the WC due to injury.

  12. So ludicrous. There ain’t a soul who would risk a cent on the US winning this thing, but we’re all going to throw s&%t for a week over this??? Trumped up drama. In the end, why the F does it matter what they say in the press conference? Guarantee you it is miles from what is said in the locker room. But we live in an age of 24 hr news that needs to be filled and where many in the press see themselves as celebrities and love to insert themselves into/make themselves the story… where the things coaches/players say and do off the field of play gets the same or more attention than the game itself…. one in which folks are accustomed to the routine, nonsense trash talk that most players don’t even believe themselves. Winning the Cup is an enormous task- particularly for a team like the US. First- aim to qualify. Next- put all of your focus into getting out of group. Then, give everything you’ve got one game at a time. Boring, no drama, but a sound approach.

    Hard to argue with the results up until now. Likely the best cycle to this point for a US team. But… I’m dissatisfied with how unsettled this team was as late as it was with roster and system, so I’m pretty luke-warm on JK. I wouldn’t have worded this the way Klinsman did, but… am I or US Soccer to judge him based on sound bites, or what the team does in Brazil? Substance over style, function over form……….. results….. Ws. in 10 days, none of this smoke will matter one iota.

  13. How about instead of arguing about the “ifs” we just suppose the team?

    The team played well in it’s last games and it looks like the players we need to come up big are doing thus far.

    I am not a fan of the coach by any means but I believe the team is strong enough to surprise any team out there.

    LET’S GO USA!!!!!!!

  14. Do any actual MLS or world cup players actually view this site? Anybody know? Even infrequently? I know at least one does at a competitor site but I am just curious. Would be great to hear their take.

    • mike,

      If you were a USMNT player would you really want to follow SBI and comment here?

      I can’t think of one single good reason for them to do so.

    • HAHA! Breaking News, if you critique certain ppl in US Soccer and you’ll find yourself out of a job!

      Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
      #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

  15. One nice thing (among thousands) about going down to Brazil for the group stage games is I’ll have 2 weeks when I won’t have to listen to Alexi Lalas’ idiotic bloviating. At the NY sendoff he said the US wouldn’t get out of the group (because he has to say things that people don’t like). Now, he’s all over JK for saying something that’s accepted by anyone but the most delusional homer.

  16. Will the U.S. get out of group? Maybe. But imo it all comes down to if Julian Green starts against Ghana then we have a decent chance.

  17. The comments on this site used to be good. I would read them for intelligent discussion. What’s happened? Ives, I thought you moderated these boards. No one wants to see 75% trolling on an article.

  18. I dont care how the baseball fans measure the success of the USMNT. There will always be people who bash soccer and my favorite is the one dude who plays “padded and helmeted football” who thinks its a mark of weakness that soccer is played “in silk shorts”. A waste of time to debate them. I will enjoy the tournament regardless of what the baseball and helmeted guys think.

  19. I look to the real experts on this, who have us with a 8-25% chance of coming out of the group. The London bookies have no axe to grind, and a lot of money to be accurate. The squirrelly data is that we are less likely than Ghana to come out but better to advance if we get out.

    Germany is 1:2, Portugal about 5:4 and the US between 3:1 and 8:1.

  20. I am also not a backer of Klinsmann anymore, but I do back the USMNT and with it, the coach.

    I do believe we have a very small chance of getting out of group, very small, but doable. We need to beat Ghana, preferably by more than one goal. This is absolutely necessary as there are no feasible routes out of group should we lose, or even tie. Next, tie Portugal. This is a tall order if Ronaldo is fit and playing. The good news is that we beat Portugal before, the bad news; they did not have Ronaldo. The good news, Ronaldo is NOT at 100%, the bad news, Portugal scored 5 goals in a route of Ireland, and Ronaldo did not score any of them. A tall order to get a tie, but doable. And lastly, play Germany tight and defensively and look for a draw and settle for a loss with no bigger than a goal difference

    If Ghana beat Portugal, we are in. But if Portugal beats Ghana by more than a goal or two, we will be out with four points, but lose second on goals scored or goal differential, a truly disturbing thought as there are some that will look upon that as success, to get 4 pts out of the group of death.

    A more likely scenario is the US will go three and out, with maybe two goals scored. The only upside to this is that Jurgen Klinsmann will have nowhere to hide;. His team, his WC, his fault.

    • I believe that we can win and I want to thank the refs in advance for their efforts

      Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
      #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

    • Just want to rebut a few points on your second paragraph.

      The 2002 Portugal team did not have Ronaldo. The 2002 Portugal team did have Luis Figo. Also, what is the better team, Ronaldo/Moutinho/Pepe/Postiga, or Figo/Rui Costa/Beto/Pauleta? The 2002 team was much better from top to bottom. Granted, they didn’t take us seriously….but still.

      Oh, and the 5-1 against Ireland? It was Ireland.

      Absolute dream scenario? We beat Ghana and Germany beats Portugal. Germany beats Ghana, and Portugal comes into the US game knowing that a loss would mean they are out. Not bad for some pressure.

    • “…there are no feasible routes out of group should we lose or even tie [to ghana].”

      I hope you didn’t stop backing JK because of his comments, because what you just said is even more cynical.

      If we lose to ghana we’d be in knockout mode immediately. If we can’t win two elimination games against portugal and germany, how do you expect us to win the four knockout games required to win the trophy?

    • “A more likely scenario is the US will go three and out, with maybe two goals scored. The only upside to this is that Jurgen Klinsmann will have nowhere to hide;. His team, his WC, his fault.”

      Four million dollars a year says that USSF will just blame a difficult draw. Face it “Fire Klinsi” Crowd: Unless he quits, he’s the coach today. He’ll be the coach next month. He’ll be the coach in a year and two and four. USSF isn’t going to pay him that much to sit on the sand in Newport and eat tacos.

  21. I thought Klinsi should have been fired when the Straus piece came out, so I’m not surprised when he opens his mouth. You know, Klinsi, dreams can come true. I’m certainly hoping my #dumpklinsi dream does.

  22. Its just a foreign versus USA mentality. American athletes are trained to say they could win anything anytime regardless of how unrealistic it is. In Europe, athletes tend to be more honest. Realistically, there’s less than 10 coutries out of 200 national teams that believe they can win the World Cup.

  23. I have no problems with what JK has said. I think it is best to put as much energy and thought as possible into beating Ghana and then going all out against Portugal and Germany. If we get out of the group, we could make things very interesting against knock-out stage opponents.

    The thing that bothers me most is people like Alexi Lalas. In the episode of “Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil” set in NY, Lalas says that he doesn’t believe the US gets out of the group stage. Then last night on the epilogue, Lalas blasted JK for making his comments. I know that Lalas is a journalist and its a bit different, but JK never said we couldn’t make it out of group stage.

    I will reserve my judgment for JK until after the World Cup. To this point, the man has led us to consistent and winning football. His decisions have worked time and again. We should have a little faith.

    • For those that didn’t watch last night’s espn broadcast, a few things to add:
      -Not only did Lalas continue his obsession with JKs hopeful failure, he ended one segment by saying:”Once again, Jurgen has made this all about Jurgen, all about himself” etc…
      Here’s why that statement is completely wrong-
      JK makes a statement 7 months ago, it is reborn with the NYT article as if it’s brand new..The press treats it as if it’s brand new… so when bombarded with questions about what he said a long time ago… He answers the question…period..
      How exactly does that show “Once again Jurgen has made it all about himself”…
      Answer? It DOESN’T…
      If JK would have answered differently, Lalas would have said something like ” Once again, Jurgen says one thing then changes his tune..keeping himself in the spotlight and proving it’s all about himself”
      Whatever answer HE gave woulda been wrong… but Lalas has created this narrative that it’s all about him….

      The only one keeping Jurgen squarely in the center of everything is LALAS…. If you saw the various broadcast segments last night, he obsessed with keeping this narrative front and center… it’s Lalas who is keeping JK in the middle of every discussion…

      He harped on his salary again.. he’s created several narratives with the goal of bad mouthing him to bask in the glory of his failure….He even said at one point.. “Why do we even need Jurgen as the coach” as well as a few more things…

      For the first time ever, I’ll give props to Twellman who finally basically called Lalas out on all this stuff… eventually saying “I love u like a brother, but I disagree with everything you’re saying 100%”…

      We got 23 guys there to represent us.. u don’t think they’re the right 23…fine.
      But this JK obsession by him is beyond annoying…
      Ok we get it, u hate him, u want him to fail…get over it…
      We only have 1 channel covering this shindig..and with a lot of storylines to look forward to, all we get his his loud mouth…
      Thank You TT for calling him out…

      • JK has it totally right. We can’t win the WC until we make it out of the group stage. He has been very consistant about keeping the focus on Ghana and not getting ahead of ourselves. First things first. The problem I have with Lalas is he looked the team in the eye in New York and told them they had no chance of making it out of the group stage.

      • Lalas is a walking contradiction. this is the same guy who wouldn’t even say they would make it out of the group in front of the team. so him being outraged by JK saying it’s unrealistic to win the WC is absolutely ridiculous. same with Twellman.

      • + a billion.
        I’m fast losing all respect for Lalas. I once admired his stance for calling it as he saw it, but now it seems as if he’s on some sort of vendetta.

      • I lost it some time ago..and for good reason.
        I have an office in my house, and most times I’ve got 2 computers and 2 TV’s going 24/7…
        With the Cup approaching, I’ve watched everything possible (while pretending to be productive)

        The narrative he’s created is very deep, very negative, full of jealousy and hatred.
        If someone only gets to hear bits and pieces, mixed opinions follow. I’ve heard and seen it all the last 6 weeks.
        The day the 30 was announced..and then the 23, he already had his narrative formed.
        He’s just spread it out on espn piece by if he’s introducing a new thought that fits that day’s discussion.
        But his narrative as a whole has been consistent.. and consistently horrible.
        Unfortunately, espn is the network covering the Cup, and he’s the face that’s front and center..
        He’s been accusing JK of “making everything about himself” but the reality is Lalas is the one who’s kept this narrative front and center and alive with extreme prejudice.

        His tweet following the espn/US Soccer pep rally when he said, “I’m here doing a soccer show, not a pep rally” when everyone else was there specifically for that reason, shows that it’s Lalas who is making it all about Lalas…
        He’s guilty of the very thing he’s accusing JK of.. and is thriving on what he’s created

      • +1

        I watched that as well and LALAS is a complete idiot, and unprofessional as well – putting Roberto Mertinez on the spot with the same question he’s creating this controversey about.

        I like ESPN’s coverage of the WC and USMNT and have issues with Fox taking over but if it means no more Lalas then it cannot happen soon enough.

  24. If US can get out of this group they have just as good a chance to win the whole thing as anyone else. All this lack of confidence is bull. It doesn’t hurt anyone for the players to aspire towards winning the whole thing and publicly saying it. I hate the way Klinsmann has handled this group. All of them seem unbelievably reserved when speaking about how the team will do with media. You’re the underdogs! Play up that role and make bold predictions. Playing it safe in order to save face if you get embarrassed is a losers quality. The 2010 group had so much more heart.

    • Wouldn’t all the qualities in the 2010 group also be loser qualities, by definition? Because I’ll double check my math, but I’m pretty sure the 2010 usmnt didn’t win the world cup.

  25. The whole, “we can’t win the world cup.” sounds a lot like the, “I can’t practice as hard as I used to.” that JK didn’t like so much.

    • Despite the official SBI comment transcripts referring hundreds of times to JK not liking donovan’s comments so much, JK himself never actually said anything of the sort. We call that “the narrative.”

      • it was in a recent new york times article:

        “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,” Klinsmann told me over lunch in December. “For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.”

  26. I don’t get the furor/misreading over/of Klinsmann’s statements. As noted above, he’s clearly saying we can’t talk about the cup until we get out of the group. After that why not?

    • Or dual nationals who just wanna play for the US because of career opportunities.

      Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
      #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • your right. apathetic ppl who’d rather play pretend keep us from the world from huge collective acts of civil protest that could enable our potential power to change power structures

        we spoke out against war with Syria it didn’t happen. we spoke out against SOPA it didn’t happen, yet still too many ppl are just too lazy or too ignorant to know what they possess in solidarity with one another.

    • + 1 million, Sean. I have no problem with his comments but why did he feel the need to make the statement? It sounds condescending, which reflects Klinsmann’s attitude toward American soccer.

      More importantly, Klinsmann is a charlatan who talks out of both sides of his mouth. He says that “nobody gets handed anything” and that “current form matters” but he *handed* Altidore a starting spot despite not scoring for nine months and he *handed* Chandler a roster spot despite not playing for the national team for 15 months — and being awful when he did.

      Besides, his advice for Toronto FC did nothing to improve that organization. He lost the locker room at Bayern Munich within weeks and was fired after eight months. He was *handed* the German coaching job by that country’s federation in 2004 and he was *handed* the U.S. job.

      Even his criticism of Donovan stinks. Klinsmann himself resigned from his coaching position with the German national team because of “burnout” — the exact same reason Donovan took his break. Klinsmann has never specified why Donovan was cut. He didn’t at the press conference immediately following the cuts and he didn’t when he spoke with the New York Times. Yes, he said Donovan’s form was “not good” in the first couple of months after Donovan returned. But what about the Gold Cup? What about his brutally effective partnership with Robbie Keane on the Galaxy?

      It should be apparent that Donovan was *never* going to make this team if Klinsmann had anything to do with it — regardless of Donovan’s form or fitness.

      Of course, his players are going to support him. What choice do they have? Klinsmann probably cut the players who spoke off-the-record to Brian Strauss for the latter’s article in The Sporting News last year. Besides, the players have no self-confidence or passion. Just read or listen to the remarks coming from them the past few days. Klinsmann has stamped the passion out of them because that passion threatens his authority. They have become clones of him!

      Klinsmann is a charlatan and a hypocrite. For those reasons alone, he should be dismissed regardless of the national team’s performance in Brazil.

  27. I think it’s funny that everyone freaks out about this un-American statement while the NBA Finals are going on between the Spurs and the Heat.

    Everyone assumed those two teams would be playing for the championship many months ago, and no one but 3-5 other teams even had a legitimate shot at it, and that’s how the NBA is every year. No one from the Bucks or Jazz would say they could win the championship next year, but now people lament JK’s statement as some sort of foreign defeatism. We’re not the Bucks of the World Cup, but we’re not the Pacers either. And we sure aren’t the Spurs.

    I still don’t like him saying it.

    • Don’t worry though, we’ll have a US team be a world champion in just a few weeks when one of the Spurs or Heat wins and are crowned World Champions!……(of the united states NBA league).

    • So you acknowledge that only a handful of NBA teams have a chance. I’ll add that if I had you name 5 NFL teams that can win Super Bowl L, you’d probably get the winner in that group.

      Then, you ackowldege that we aren’t the worst, but we’re not in the top four.

      Then you say you don’t like the coach saying the same?

      What’s up with that?

      • first of all, all ‘NBA teams’ have a chance. some just have a much (*much*) smaller chance than others. but still a chance. you imply as much in your next sentence: “you’d *probably* get the winner”.

        the reason people don’t like hearing that “we cannot win” is that we like to imagine that anything can happen if we just do our best. it’s corny, and unrealistic, but it’s fun.

        klinsmann did a good job of backtracking his statement from the nyt article. (i didn’t have a huge problem with it in the first place, because whatever.) what i really don’t understand is the people acting like he didn’t say it at all.

      • When I first read the statement. I had no reaction to it. I still don’t really.

        As they say, Dean Smith who won some 900 whatever games as a college basketball coach, (you may have heard of him he coached North Carolina, a decent team) won all those games while claiming to be the underdog every single time.

        Those of you who are getting testicularly turgid and all hot and lathered over that quote obviously don’t listen to coaches very much .

        Either that or you are just looking for something to cry about.

      • Mason,

        The NFL has spent years tinkering with their product refining it to where most every team has a realistic shot at the playoffs and possibly a Super Bowl.

        In soccer at both the club level and to a lesser extent, the national team level, you do not see this sort of thing happening.

        The USMNT is clearly making a determined long term effort to become “elite”, whatever that means.

        JK’s tenure, for example, represents a much greater expenditure of money and resources than what Bob and Bruce had.

        Unless the USMNT gets massacred in every game and is a complete disaster the USSF won’t get rid of JK. They are clearly looking long term, bigger picture, root and branch, every cliche out there imaginable.

      • I don’t like him saying it–that’s subjective and doesn’t need to be consistent with what I think of our chances.

        I just think it’s ironic that people talk about this being grating to Americans when I can’t imagine the GM of a rebuilding team in an American sport ever saying “yes, we can win it all this year.” Them actually saying “we can’t” may be different, true.

    • yesh but none of those teams would claim “we cant win the NBA finals, its not possible”. their fanbases would throw them out on their ear.

      • Actually, I think the bigger reason is that for most NBA teams, nobody would ever ask the question.

    • PA, “Jozy latches on the to the ball far out left, fakes left and cuts inside with his right, Shoots…and its up and over and nowhere near”

      Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
      #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

    • Jozy scoring 4 goals is like 4 years of production.

      Not getting out of the group stage equals a fail. If that happens then JK needs to go

      • Nope.

        You don’t sign a well-performing employee onto a four and a half year contract (with a raise and a promotion) knowing that they will face an extremely difficult task in six month and then fire them when the task ends up being too diffucult.

      • The only way to judge the performance of the USMNT coach is by the team’s performance at the WC. Not by meaningless friendlies, or by wins in the Gold Cup against third-rate opposition, or by advancing out of CONCACAF, the world’s weakest region (not counting Oceania). So, there has been no body of work yet to label Klinsmann a well-performing employee.

  28. if we topped this group “Group of Death”

    it’d be the greatest success on par with the run to the quarters in 2002

    Beat the team that knocked us out of the past 2 world cups
    beat the team with the best player in the world
    beat Germany (2nd best team in the world)

    then we deserve GLORY

    • What are going to say when we lose all three with a negative five goal differential? Are you going to excuse that it will we say it is a disaster?

      If getting out of the group would be a major success, what would be a major disaster?

      What would it take to make some of you Klinsy lovers want him gone? Or are you willing to go on record as saying no result is bad enough to warrant him losing his job?

      • What the US Team has accomplished under Klinsmann is already better than all the coaches before him. They set the record for most games without a loss. We won the Gold Cup. We led CONCACAF qualifying. For haters like you, success for the US National Team is now to make it out of a “group of death.” They played attractive soccer, changed tactics, and have recruited players who would never have been recruited by coaches in the past. It would take a hell of a lot more for “Klinsy” lovers to want him gone than it has taken for you haters to want him gone. You want him gone because he left Landon Donovan and Clarence Goodson at home? GTFO here.

      • i’m guessing you’re a younger fan? it’s nothing new to win the gold cup or lead in qualifying. klinsmann also hasn’t recruited anybody that has yet to make a tangible impact on the field (hopefully it happens this cup), so it’s hard to call that an accomplishment right now.

        re: ‘changing tactics’, ‘attractive soccer’: if it doesn’t demonstrate success on the field, i wouldn’t really call that an accomplishment either.

        so far, the only concrete accomplishment that klinsmann has is the winning streak. that’s good, but in the end, it doesn’t matter if we fail in the world cup.

  29. I’m so impressed by Klinsmann. I’ve never seen a better coach in all the world. He’s better than Sir Alex Ferguson and The *cough cough* Special One. Anyone who doesn’t think everything Klinsmann says and does is gold is an idiot. I hope US Soccer keeps him for the next 8 years. And, if his son becomes a US National, I can’t wait until he trounces LD’s 3 pathetic World Cups by going to 4 or 5.

    • Is that you Landon? Shouldn’t you be acquiring new individual skills by now? Still rely on pushing the ball to the side and using your speed to get past people? You won’t have that speed anymore since you’re on the wrong side of 30.

      Look at Cobi Jones, who in his younger days was similar to Landon with relying solely on his speed to get past people (watch him at LAG and Coventry). As CJ got into his 30s, he became more technical and improved his individual skills much that he was more dynamic with his fakes and step-overs than just pushing the ball to the side and out running them.

      • Are you really saying that Donovan’s game hasn’t adapted with age? I’ve been watching him for years and it’s clear that he has become better with age. He isn’t relying on his speed any more and, yet, even on the decline he is faster than many, many other players.

        His talent is both offensive and defensive. He can make the breakaway run and pass at crucial times. His vision on the field is better than most players in the National Team pool and MLS.

        I’m really surprised by this comment.

      • wow, never thought i’d see the day when someone would claim Cobi Jones was a better player than Donovan (at any age)

      • Stop puting words into my mouth. Where did I claim Cobi Jones was better than LD at any age?

        I merely stated that LD is pretty much static when it comes to
        his individual skills now and back when he was 16/17. CJ evolved with his invidividual skills, while LD stagnated.

        You need individual skill to make space for yourself, when there is no space. Notice how LD suffers when there is no space? He goes in and out of games (disappears) because he has no individual skill to beat anyone to create space.

        Anyone can be a world beater when they are given space.
        LD used to have speed to simply get past people. Those days are over.

      • Your lack of soccer knowledge and anti Donovan bias is staggering. You’d attribute LD’s FIVE WC goals (more than Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney COMBINED) and his success in the EPL to the mere fact he’s FAST? Not to mention the fact he’s the leading goal scorer in USMNT and MLS history. Staggering.

      • ” never thought i’d see the day ”

        And you still haven’t. Please to sure to have someone competent that you trust read everything you sign before you do so.

  30. I still think there are scenario’s where we don’t get out of the group, but can still consider this cup a success. It all depends on how each game plays out.

    • Here’s one scenario of success without advancing: USA-1-0 GHA, USA 2-3 POR, USA 4-5 GER,. Is that “successful” ? Beating Ghana, scoring 7 goals total, and losing each game only by 1 goal.
      Some people who I care about are among those who watch soccer every 4 years. And I agree that for them, unless we are in the championship game, it’s not really a success. And for some of them if we lose a final game, it would be a failure.

      • I don’t think we should consider your friends opinions as important. They clearly have no context. And when you are in a group that has 2 teams that could get to the semi’s and 2 teams that could get to the quarters without really raising too many eyebrows, you have to understand that 2 teams are going to go out in the group stage. I think, in the right group, the USA is able to get to the quarters, but in our actual group, we are more likely to get bullied out in the group stage.

        That said, if we come out fighting, and lose a hard fought game, or get some bad bounces, or get Coulibaly’d I still think it is possible to say we have progressed as a soccering country. If we can look back at the games and say that we played to the best of our teams ability, and still lost, I would be okay with that. I might not be happy about it, as I REALLY want to see the team play in July, but I don’t think it would be the end of the world.

      • Oh, I agree with you 100%. I was interacting with all the handwringing about “what will the baseball fans think if our goal is not defined USA world champions?”

      • Ha you say that as though defending guarantees victory.

        We are going to lose. Some of us are non-hipsters who would rather lose attacking than lose defending.

        Holland disgraced themselves despite advancing to the final precisely because they tried to win defending.

      • Ok but how is losing 5-4 any better than losing 1-0? I’m a RBNY supporter and I sat through a 5-4 loss to Chicago recently. I certainly would’ve preferred to lose 1-0 than witness the absurd defensive calamities I saw from my team in that game.

        And I’d gladly take the “disgrace” of reaching the final!

      • I mean I’m mostly with you. The final score is maybe less relevant than the degree of competence on display.

        And yes, for the usmnt, every extra game is a massive bonus.

        But I get how people would hate to see us play extremely conservative and lose 3 games anyway.

      • In the World Cup group stage, losing 5-4 actually would be better than losing 1-0 in the event a tie-breaker is needed.

        “The ranking of each team in each group shall be determined as follows:

        a) greatest number of points obtained in all the group matches;

        b) goal difference in the group matches;

        c) greatest number of goals scored in the group matches.”

      • “The final score is maybe less relevant than the degree of competence on display.”

        You sound like a British general in the early part of WW2, any British general.

        That is the sort of thing losers say. It is a rationalization.

        What winning, however you do it buys the USMNT is the chance to play one more game and maybe win more people over to the game.

        The US may not win the Cup but every single game over the mandatory three that they play in this Cup is a big boost for the game in this country.

      • Trying to come up with a scenario of “success without advancement”, and I guess I showed my bias that it would need to include us scoring some goals. Would this be success to you? USA 1-0 GHA, USA 0-1 POR, USA 1-2 GER. I see your point, we dont have to score lots of goals to succeed. Optically and from a neutral standpoint a wide open game is arguably more entertaining.

      • I’d say about the best scenario that could occur where we don’t advance is:

        Multi-goal win vs. Ghana

        Draw with Portugal, at least 1 goal scored.

        1 goal loss to Germany, low amount of goals conceded.

  31. They shouldn’t advance, but they will. In what universe is the USA supposed to advance out of our group, with our backline, having to defend against the likes of Germany and Portugal?

    Viva Ecuador!

    Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
    #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

  32. What people are disagree-ing with is the JK Fact that the US cannot win. Of course the US can win…I am not betting on it, but of course the can. This isn’t a zero possibility.

    The take it one game at a time, is EXACTLY what I want JK to say…NOT, we CAN’T win.

      • Would you have said that to the 2002 team? Frankly they had Germany on the ropes in the quarters and at least should have been in extra time with them…Germany went to the final….

      • So your best counter example is that the usmnt, playing out of it’s mind, almost put itself in a position where it would have needed to beat just 2 more elite teams to hoist the cup.

        Yeah I think you’re actually strengthening JK’s argument.

      • I did not realize South Korea was an elite team compared to us… that is who we would have played in the semis.. pretty sure we already drew with them in the group stage…

        as for Brazil… we have beaten them before 4 years prior…

      • Lol, the FBI is investigating FIFA. You think the US and this HUGE propaganda campaign doesn’t have their hand around their necks?

      • Actually, Bruce Arena did say eactly this in 2002 . It makes no sense as a coach to say anything that adds unnecessary pressure to their squad. All coaches do this – Just look at Roy Hodgson (or Bill Belicheck).

        Paradoxically, saying something that lessens the immediate pressure on your squad can result in them playing looser and increase the chances it actually goes farther and acheives what you were discounting.

      • BB tells the NEP that nobodby believes in them ALL THE TIME! He was telling them that when they were 18-0 and at halftime of the opening game the next season.

      • Arena said that in the context of the USMNT World Cup ’98’s last place showing. today, it’s a different player pool and different time in our team’s evolution.

        But all that said, advancing out of the group is every single team’s goal, even the ones who are the known threats to win it all! try to make it out of your group and then who knows what might happen!

        of course the players support this

      • thats not the point, realistically youre almost certainly right, but americans need that acknowledgement of the chance. There is a chance, however slight. still, getting out of the group as the first goal is noting different than what Bob Bradley or Bruce Area has said in the past.

    • Of the 32 teams, there are about eight teams that could win, eight that might, eight who have little chance, and eight that have no chance. We are in that third group. I have no problem if JK decribes this as we cannot win. BTW, he also said we would have to play seven perfect games, effectively describing the (remote) situtation under which we COULD win.

      You cannot have a 50/50 discussion on whether we can even make it out of the group and be insulted by the idea we can’t win. If it is only for appearances, I an interested to know the promises coming out of the Australian, Iran, etc. coaches.

      • it’d be like inviting a pro basketball team from the mexican league made up 100% of local players to play in the NBA and expecting them to beat the Heat, Pacers, Spurs, Thunder, etc. and win the NBA Finals.

        naaah!!!… not gonna happen…

    • IF JK CAN”T win the World Cup, we should fire him now BEFORE the games start.

      We need a coach who CAN win it. The odds are bad enough with a coach that CAN.

      • Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Let’s fire the coach four days before the first match, even though this team has been selected and prepared to play according to his plan. That’ll work out great.

      • So what you’re looking for is a coach who can give you a guarantee?

        Not having a go because I actually like most of your points but take heed of your own name and stop the whining, watch the games, support your squad and let the players do what they do.

        People getting all bent out of shape for this “coach speak” make me laugh. JK has tried to explain his logic and now the players who are on the inside have had their say. But the Lalases (man, I cannot stand that guy) of thw rold cannot let it go – I guess drumming up a controversial talking point is better than trying to go toe-to-toe in soccer speak with some of the best in the world.

      • You’re right – I’d much rather have a coach like Bruce Arena, who says things before the first match like “our preparation has been perfect” and leads fans to believe the team is a true contender, then gets crushed in the opener and goes 3 and out while scoring only one goal. That’s clearly a much more effective approach.

    • Remember: The fully JK quote was somehthing along the lines of, “We’d have to play 7 matches of our life in a row to win, and that’s probably not going to happen.”

    • I don’t mind the coach saying things to remove pressure from the team, but I really don’t want them inculcating them as what they believe.

    • Yeah. We’re all dreamin’ of glory. But if the coach is gonna ask about the dreams, he should give us a pillow, not a brick. He was uncool. That’s it.

      • “But those who have been paying just the slightest bit of attention in recent years” seems a bit snarky towards people who may not watch soccer all the time but do watch the world cup every 4 years.

      • He’s questioning why the hell he spent 4 yrs watching qualifiers, when our team’s goal is make it out of the group stage. They will though. FIFA has some very good referees

        Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
        #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • 3rd party….stream

        Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
        #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • Still not following your reasoning. Why are we going to not watch the world cup but then watch the world cup illegally through 3rd parties?

      • Cable TV viewers means sponsors, which in turn means money. And money that isn’t going to the impoverished ppl of Brazil, who are being killed, beaten and suppressed fighting for their basic humane rights, but to ppl like Sepp Blatter who run high profile organizations and companies

      • Well, your mentioning me…

        But really, anyone who posts.
        about their adoring love for their white heritage that you can trace back all the way back to your plantation owning great, great grandfather is in absolutely no position to say what anyone else can and cant SlowleftBrainLobe

        Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
        #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • Meh, Brazilian s can vote and have real elections.

        Its their job to choose better. They wanted this and they elected people who ran it baldly. Hurray democracy.

        Now in regards to Fifa sure. Boycott sponsor. Only drink Dr Pepper fromnow on.

      • Hey my great great great great grandfather used to have a peach plantation in Delaware.

        But nooo people had to go lose all their money in the stock market crash. Sigh, old money is no money half the time.

      • @Increase

        Well if everyone started collectively buying Pepsi instead of Coke with a statement of intent on social media what do you think would happen?

        Concerning Brazil, how can the suppressed, make a informative vote without an education. And does it even matter if those votes aren’t accounted for?

        Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
        #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • Wasn’t knocking everyone. Sorry. But concerning the stock market, your family, and all of the 1930’s can thank J.P Morgan for that.

      • That’s interesting Kingsly but try to responding to reality, instead of what you imagine.

      • Lesser of two evils.

        Are you a slave or do you want to live in an America where corporations are interpreted as ppl by law?

        We stopped SOPA, we will stop PIPA.

        Its like my local Hasting’s that closed shop because of they couldn’t stop ppl from taking things. I don’t shed a tear. Now there’s room for a mom and pop store nxt door and I know that money is being circulated back into my community and not into someone’s vault

        Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
        #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • 3rd party streams still show all the same commercials. You think Nike cares whether you see it on ESPN or on some hacked stream? If anything, it means they’ll get a cheaper contract with ESPN next time around because viewership is artificially low.

        If you’re going to boycott something, do more than the absolute bare minimum. Usually it involves a sacrifice larger than a slightly slower stream.

      • one source provided to hundreds. unaccountable. outside their agreements with cable and satellite companies. Do you not think ppl who own shares in Disney might not own shares in Time Warner?

    • this is just click bait for all the Klinnsman haters. SBI, it’s not nice to keep winding people up like that.


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