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In wake of absences, Klinsmann looking for youngsters to step up ahead of Gold Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann USMNT 21

Photo by Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports


Heading into matchups against two European powers, the U.S. Men’s National Team will be hampered by absences to some of its regulars. However, for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, those absences might not be so bad after all.

Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya will all miss out on the upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany, leaving Klinsmann a bit shorthanded when it comes to relying on some of his team’s proven stars.

However, the USMNT head coach says that, with the Gold Cup looming, the absences of some familiar faces will allow some of the team’s youngsters to jump into the fire of a major test ahead of a crucial summer tournament.

“I think every player always thinks day-in and day-out how far can I go in my career at the international level, and sometimes when you have big names in front of you maybe just don’t believe that you can get there,” Klinsmann told “You have Clint Dempsey in front of you, Jozy Altidore in front of you, also Alejandro Bedoya, who really became an important piece in our team, in front of you, and then maybe you don’t expect to get that opportunity. So now you get that opportunity.

“You can play against Holland, you can play against Germany, and now you have to understand that you better use it. You better make the best out of it and prove to the coaches and the fans that you deserve to be a part of the program moving forward. So I think that’s pretty cool. I think that’s very exciting, even though it’s difficult for a coach when some key players are not there because you also want to have positive results and show these big name teams that you are able to play with them.”

In particular, Klinsmann is looking forward to helping further the group’s next generation of strikers with the absences of Dempsey and Altidore.

While Dempsey and Altidore have established themselves as proven international forwards in recent years, those that currently sit behind them on the depth chart have yet to step up to achieve the same heights.

Juan Agudelo, Aron Johannsson, Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes will lead the USMNT’s forward line, while looking to lock down a spot on this summer’s Gold Cup roster.

For Klinsmann, the pair of friendlies present a chance to help the younger crop of strikers gain confidence and swagger in match-ups with two of the world’s top teams.

“The topic of strikers for us is a huge one,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously we have Jozy that we rely on, and Clint who has done this job for so many years, but we need the next generation of strikers to come in and score goals on a consistent basis. The key message to our young talented strikers is you have to score consistently. You can’t ever get satisfied.

“They need to have a ratio where they score at least a goal every third game. That’s what you expect from an international-caliber striker. You have to figure out ways to score goals, ways to create chances for yourself if you aren’t getting them from your teammates. That’s a lot of work.”

One position that isn’t really up for grabs is the role of goalkeeper, as Klinsmann has pegged Brad Guzan as the team’s starter heading into the Gold Cup.

Despite Guzan’s struggles on the club level in recent weeks, Klinsmann insists that he remains fully behind the Aston Villa goalkeeper as the USMNT’s top man in goal.

“We are excited to have Brad Guzan back in our group. He will be the starter in the Gold Cup,” Klinsmann said. “He is our number one, so it’s really important for him to pick up games with us. It’s exciting, even if he had some tough weeks at Aston Villa where suddenly the coach for whatever reason decided to put him behind Shay Given. That surprised us big time, but he fights through that and he will be sharp and hungry for the long summer.

In addition, Klinsmann revealed that, upon his return, Jones will be slotted back into the midfield due to recent emergences in the centerback position.

Youngsters like Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks have stepped up in recent months to join the competition with regulars Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron. As such, Jones now has the freedom to be shifted into a more familiar midfield role going forward.

“Another big fixture for us is Jermaine Jones,” Klinsmann said. “He’s going to be back in midfield because of the fact that we have so many high-quality center backs. With the discovery of Ventura Alvarado, who won the CONCACAF Champions League with Club America, we think we have a very strong and stable backline and we don’t need Jermaine in the center back role.

“We also talked with his club coach and we are both on the same page there. He will be back in his number six or number eight role, wherever he fits best.”

While Guzan and Jones’ places are nailed down, many players in the pool have yet to lock up a spot going forward into the summer.

For Klinsmann, everything from this point forward is about having a strong Gold Cup, and that starts with seeing his players step up and grab the opportunity to be a part of it with performances against two top teams.

“Putting together the pieces now for these two very, very prestigious friendlies, obviously in the back of your mind there’s the Gold Cup,” Klinsmann said. “It’s a huge opportunity to play nations like these two in order to see a lot of things that you want to see from your players. In a certain way, we want to see a couple of guys get thrown in the freezing cold water and see how they can swim and where they stand right now in the ranking of the Men’s National Team.

“That’s why I want to see Ventura Alvarado or John Brooks play in games like this. Up front, because Jozy Altidore is not here and Clint Dempsey is not here, the youngsters that jump on board now have got a point to prove. For all these guys, games like these are opportunities that don’t happen often in a lifetime, so you better jump on those.”


  1. What do we know about Klinsi?
    • He’s crazy or at least very unconventional
    • He got us out of a brutal group in 2014 that the world, and bettors a like, thought was a long shot
    • He resurrected some careers and ended others
    • He found American-German duals and proactively took in ones that he thought would help the team
    • He has been willing to give young players a shot
    • He handled the Donovan situation poorly
    • He has been good at reconnecting with the American-born Mexicans and bringing them back to their country of birth
    • He has lovers and he has haters
    • He has broken some new ground in terms of results (away results)
    • He promised a new, more proactively style, upon which he arguably has not delivered
    • As always, he is a lightening rod
    Are we better or worse off with Klinsmann? I’d argue he is not the disaster many of the haters suggest. I’d also argue he has done little or no better than others would have done. He has just done it differently and that seems to bother people.

    • +1. This is a well-thought and completely legit take. I’d say I agree with 95% of it, and the rest is just opinion.

      Good stuff.

  2. i was about to bash the roster as a bunch of players that have had their opportunities with out impressing much but then I counted 5 players in total over 27 years old (2 gk’s, 2 cb’s and kb – core positions) and 16 under the age of 27, 11 under 25.

    still some u25 players i would like to see considered; McInerney, Kitchen, Shipp, Finlay, Corona, Hamid, Okugo, Gonzalez, Powers but no huge loss here

  3. Just to change the subject from the Klinsmann hate/love for a bit; I am beginning to doubt we will get the 2026 World Cup. Our only chance is if Blatter is more greedy ($$$) than vengeful. He said this below:

    “I am not certain, but it doesn’t smell good. There are unmistakable signs: The Americans were candidates for the 2022 World Cup, and they lost. The English were candidates for the 2018 World Cup. They lost.”

    — FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Swiss radio station RTS, claiming corruption indictments in U.S. Federal court on the eve of his re-election might have been timed to derail his presidential bid.

    • yup. as long as Sepp is there USA and England will not be awarded the WC, would be ideal 2026 and 2030 hosts imo.

      Sepp will be 81 years old by then so i’d say our best bet would be to wait until he leaves office either by nature or force before getting involved in that bs again. let him host it in Kazakstan and Morroco whatever..

    • After hearing him say, “he forgives, but does not forget” on some maFIFA-type sh-t, the only way the US gets the 2026 bid is when Sepp dies in office prior to the vote. Bonus, Sepp leaving this Earth may be a good thing for the sake of lives being lost in Qatar if there’s a possibility someone can correct that quagmire before another several thousand perish.

    • I think the evidence is starting to show what many of us had strongly suspected. FIFA is a totally corrupt organization that will not change unless and until it is completely overhauled from top to bottom. So, if they were to do the “right” thing, it would be for other reasons, not because it is the right thing. In short, they will never change their decision, nor ever admit to wrong doing, nor change the way they do business.

  4. I personally like Klinsmann, at times he is a mad scientist e.g. the guy who created Frankenstein. He understands very well the concept of good education, that it’s good to make mistakes, that it’s good to give second chances, and to approach different players differently. Positive energy, forgiveness, and motivation is key. I remember him saying that when he was a player he saw coaches yelling at players, criticizing too much and damaging them. For example, calling in Shea a lot was because Shea is sensitive emotionally. And he needed encouragement or else he would just spiral downward. He had enormous potential and perhaps one day he will get close to where he was projected to be. Shea offers something that no one else doesn’t…. but when he doesn’t do what we want him to, it can get very, very ugly.

    The Klinsmann hate amplified greatly after LD was left off. In my opinion, I would have liked to see him at the WC. I probably would have chosen him. But if a player won’t do what the coach wants him to do, then JK has every right to leave him off. I’m not sure if it was a mistake or not, because we did well in the WC and got results and a lot of international respect, but I won’t hold that against JK. We’ll never know what it would’ve been like with LD there, so it’s time to move on and admit we did well without him.

    We’ve seen some very good play from the US. Faster, more passing, and when it’s clicking, we are for the most part better than under Arena and Bradley, except the 2002 WC was excellent (I think we had better pieces that fit together player-wise tbh). I also don’t think, except outside of our top players, we have the talent pool to play the style he wants, which is why sometimes he reverts back to our typical counter-attacking style when results are needed.

    He’s trying something that hasn’t been done before, and he’s trying it with the USMNT. We’ll see in a few years whether it pays off, but in order to make progress we have to take risks. He’s trying to make us into a machine that adjusts on the fly, slot players into positions, kind of like Transformers. Make the US be a team that is unpredictable, with a style that changes quickly, with the players being able to adjust themselves rapidly. The Problem is, we just aren’t good enough yet. But practice makes perfect, and the more we continuously try to do this, the more we may be able to. Again, I think he makes some bad decisions. But at the same time, the USMNT really needs to try something new. Sometimes mad scientists can create a stroke of genius, other times they can create something awful. It’s worth a shot IMO, and so far it’s been progressing.

  5. Klinsmann’s rhetoric has always been consistent, which is to communicate the highest performance and training standards.

    Klinsmann has also been very clear about his selection process, which is to use every opportunity to radically expand the player pool. Giving opportunities to players like Morris and Ibarra accomplishes more than just expanding the pool by 2, it proves to every potential player everywhere that Klinsmann means what he says and they could earn a shot, which is absolutely the best strategy for the US program. He also has proven to be a great asset to players in their club careers, with unlimited patience and commitment in working with clubs to maximize his players’ chances of consistent selection, and his own accomplishments as a player and German national coach having earned the trust of European clubs.

    And lastly, to criticize him for tactics is ridiculous. Again, he’s been very consistent in the style of play he wants, which is an aggressive attacking style that fits the character of the country. He’s also hired Berti Vogts. All he needs are the players to be able to do it, and… see above.

    • Wow, of all the things you could have said in support of Klinsmann you went with “consistency”?

      “Klinsmann’s rhetoric has always been consistent” – umm no.

      “Klinsmann has also been very clear about his selection process” – too easy. Nope.

      Lets just say that I would be willing to bet that the majority of people would disagree with the “consistent” part. If there is one thing that even Klinsmann supporters might be able to agree with it is that he can be inconsistent with what he says. There seem to be different rules for different players. He constantly contradicts himself. His roster selections can be erratic. I could say a lot in support of Klinsmann, but consistency wouldn’t be one of them.

      • your rambles make you sound like a person hearing an explanation yet blissfully ignoring it.

      • I don’t ignore explanations, I just don’t agree with what he said in his explanations and that’s why I commented. His post was long. If I responded to each explanation he made in my response my post would be way too long. You can call me lazy if you want.

      • Whether it is selection for a team, or makinfg a decision about a difficult problem, a person usually weighs many different parameters in making a wselection. You usually make that decision on criteria and values that have. However, often you will find that some of these conflict. In the case of player selection, JK says he would like to see a striker score at a rate of 1 in 3. Does that mean all the time, over the last month, over the last year, or what? I suspect he means it over a long time performing for the US team. Does it mean you take somebody who will be too old for the next WC who has that rate over someone who is young and promising who hasn’t yet achieved it, but may achieve it or surpass it in the future? JK says a lot of different things about what he looks for. Not all of them are equal weight. Not all of them apply at any one time. what may be appropriate at one time, might not be at another. Maybe it is because Klinsmnann is so voluble that he gives his critics a lot of ammunition, but I have never seen any other coach in any other sport have people jump on him because they don’t think he is “consistent:” enough, whatever that means. Other fans in other sports just care about how well their team does and don’t care about the coach’s rhetoric.

      • Just thought I would add a good example. Nobody cared what Casey Stengel said while he was managing the Yankees to a lot of World Series victories. They paid attention when he was managing the Mets because the team was so bad, old Case was the main source of entertainment. He didn’t become a bad manager when he went to the Mets, he just had a lot less to work with. People need to realize that JK has goals and criteria, but he has also been constrained by the US player pool. This is why he insisted on having control over the youth teams, too.

    • “Klinsmann’s rhetoric has always been consistent, which is to communicate the highest performance and training standards.” That was your first lie. Landon was better in the fitness tests than half the players Klinsi took to the WC. I stopped reading after that.

      • you got the stat sheets to prove that statement? just curious. from what i’ve read and seen LD’s fitness was decreasing steadily (he even admitted that…).

        for context, i still think he should have gone to the WC, but lets not make up stories about LD’s prowess. the question was should his decrease in prowess warrant him not going; I say no, some would say yes. debate ensues.

      • Davis-Lennon, if I remember correctly there was a direct quote that came from the USMNT training staff during the world cup training staff in Stanford, and it said that Landon Donovan was in the upper-half of the group in the fitness testing. I will have to it up for the link.

      • i recall this interview, our points can coexist, though. just because LD was performing relatively high fitness-wise doesn’t mean he should have gone. again, the question was “should his decrease in prowess warrant him not going; I say no, some would say yes. debate ensues.”

      • Sincere question: do you suffer from memory loss or have you been recently checked?

        LD looked and was playing like sh-t. Stop trying to re-write history as if thousands of us didn’t witness the same thing you saw but refuse to acknowledge. Maybe you should start reading more and watching more film if your memory is that affected.

      • I don’t see anybody here posting and referencing, why should I? I work and have limited time so when I post I mostly go by memory. Now, don’t come here and tell me it was never said that Donovan was doing better than many at the camp in those fitness tests that got us half the team injured in the WC?

      • Old, same as I said above to Davis. There was a direct quote that came from the USMNT training-staff during the world cup training camp in Stanford, and it said that Landon Donovan was in the upper-half of the group in fitness testing. I will have to look it up for the link. So that supports what El Comandante wrote.

        As far as what you wrote, that’s all subjective stuff and anyone can disagree with you on that. I certainly do. He was “playing like Sh-t”? Hah, please. Disagree.

      • Thanks for the support. I apologize to you and the others here who may perceive me as a troll. I come to this website because it keeps me up to date in the soccer world. Also, I am simply adding the missing spice to the mostly complacent posting by many here. Of course I am a USMNT fan and have nothing to do with Mexico; in fact I despise that team, but also respect it. I use Mexico as a yardstick for our progress, or lack thereof. Imo, we are still lagging behind.

      • “He was “playing like Sh-t”? Hah, please. Disagree.”

        actually he wasn’t having a stellar season until the next day after the roster cuts were released; he then went on a tear in MLS. as a quasi-galaxy fan at the time, i do recall the irony in his good form that season.

      • I’m going off what I saw in performances within MLS and the friendlies prior to cuts. He looked like a shell of himself. You’re exclusively referencing fitness, which is questionable at best, and excluding performance, which was below average at best.

        As for disagreeing with his performance, prior to cuts I don’t see how that’s possible unless you’re basing it off reputation. I’ll completely concede he went on a tear after the cuts (as DOLA mentions) but he waited too long to flip the switch. Flat out saying to the media you don’t feel like you have to work as hard in training or you’re not capable of giving 100% during training…and having not-so-subtle undertones of disrespect to the manager isn’t a good combination with a lack of form, perhaps fitness, but most of all actual performances.

        It’s crazy how many people still have selective memory when it comes to this situation with LD. I loved the guy too, but his exclusion was entirely his fault.

  6. Looking at our forward-pool by age, I feel a little better about the future simply based on the relative youth of the players. Now we just have to hope we have a Landon Donovan type talent somewhere here: (Age-Player) (descending order)

    Wondo – 32
    Dempsey – 32
    C. Davies – 28
    Altidore – 28
    Bunbury – 25
    Johannsson – 24
    G. Zardes – 23
    McInerney – 22
    J. Agudelo – 22
    B. Wood – 22
    J. Morris – 20
    R. Rubin – 19
    B. Jamieson – 18

    Am I forgetting anyone of significance? The sooner Klinsmann stops calling in Wondo the better.

    • You are wrong about Wondo. He is unlikely to be a starter at the next WC, but winning the GOLD Cup is an important goal and he is arguably better right now than any choices but Dempsey and Altidore or possibly Johannsson based on the ability to score goals on the same level as the others in your list.

      I personally think that in 2018, the forwards will not be Wondo, Dempsey or Altidore. Instead, AJ, maybe Morris, or Porter (if he recovers) or another 20 year-old. But in 2018, not now.

      • I made a typo on Altidore. He is *25 years old not 28.

        Dennis, As far as Wondo, we only need 4 strikers for the Gold Cup. Looking at this list, do you think Wondo makes the Gold Cup roster?

      • Yes, at least he is as likely as any of the others, the reason is injury. It is likely that least one of Dempsey, Altidore, AJ or Wondo as well as one of more of the youngsters will be injured and unable to play. I just do not know which.

      • lol, i could imagine, never seen them tho. I probably chose a Glassjaw show or ETID show over them.

        btw, as a touring musician, it’s common for a band to not sound good as an opener due to BTS situations (diva main acts, venue restrictions, etc)

    • I don’t share your confidence, regardless of age.

      We’ve seen flashes in a few of your listing, but no one who appears capable of taking the mantle as the Nats “striker” outside of Altidore.

      Whether it’s a lack of killer instinct, preparation or inability to find the “next gear” for their career, this group leaves a lot to be desired. Flashes, but no bang.

    • +1 Good stuff, UCLA. Def liked seeing this breakdown. Yeah Boyd (as had been mentioned) is the only genuinely probable guy I think you might say is “missing” right now from your list.

      Definitely a nice distribution A few more guys would be nice (wouldn’t it always?), but enough to feel a bit more comfortable, as you have said.

  7. Huh. I thought Jones was moved to CB because Klinsmann wanted him involved for as long as possible and thought CB would help extend his career. I didn’t think it was because he thought we didn’t have enough CB options. That makes me question the move a lot more.

    Also, Klinsmann talks about how it’s important for strikers to maintain a one goal in three games ratio… and he again rewards Bobby Wood, who didn’t score a goal for years, and only started playing regularly again in April, and only has one goal in six games since then?

    • Klinsmann also rejected the only players other than Dempsey and Altidore who have scored one goal in 3 games (Wondo) or close to it (Davies) and in Wondo’s case has done so over 5 seasons. AJ may be at the 1 goal in 3 games level.

      Like many other coaches, JK is not consistent in what he says and does.

      I find it hard to believe that results do not matter and Wondo has delivered better results than other MLS strikers over the last 5 years and is doing so this season as well. Of course, he is unlikely to be a starter in the next WC, but he is a proven performer at the MLS and CONCACAF level and should be on the Gold Cup roster.

      • “Like many other coaches, JK is not consistent in what he says and does.”

        that logical always tickled me. if all else held constant, and JK never “said” anything to the press would you feel differently about him? You shouldn’t but you probably would. the broadness of interview quotes and the intricateness of a coach’s decision for a specific instance can be vastly different.

      • I addressed this consistency issue elsewhere, but in an abstract way, I thought I would give some examples. Suppose you have 1 striker slot you have yet to fill and you have 3 contenders. Player A scores a lot, is 31 years old, but not in top fitness and doesn’t believe in playing defense because he sees himself as only a scorer. Player B doesn’t score as much, but is in top shape, at 27 in the prime of his career, plays some defense, but is rather selfish and doesn’t always follow directions, especially when he doesn’t agree with them. Player C is not as much a scorer, but also is an assist man, works hard on defense, is fit and follows directions and is only 24. Whom do you choose? If you choose A, why you are not being consistent with the fitness. If you choose B, then you’re not putting the team first. If you choose C, then you’re not getting someone who scores at the level you say you want. Whatever you do, you’ll be open to criticism. The reason is, it’s not a perfect world and there are not any perfect players. Some people want to reduce things to black and white, but as another poster wrote earlier, it’s a world in shades of gray. As for this choice, if you are just looking for someone to poach a goal at the end of the game, maybe A is the best choice. If you anticipate playing a lone striker where you need someone creative and willing to take chances, maybe you go with B. If you’re looking for an all around player for 90 minutes, maybe you go with C. So, the decision is also situational.

  8. With Altidore out, someone better claim the damn spot up top so we have a viable #2 option at worst, or at best someone who can push for the starting spot.

    There’s talent in the group – we just need to see it on a consistent basis. Something Altidore has done at the national team level for years now – despite criticisms (including from me).

    • “we just need to see it on a consistent basis. Something Altidore has done at the national team level for years now – despite criticisms (including from me).”

      **pig flys by*…

      • DLOA,

        You conveniently forget each and every time this topic comes up that I’ve been a strong Altidore supporter – but I’ve never been inclined to make excuses for him and justify when he’s been poor.

        No pigs flying – I’ve been very consistent on that. Just another example of people just reading what they want when it’s not verbatim to their own opinion.

      • haha wowwww… and you “conveniently forget each and every time this topic comes up that” my one-liners are only meant in surface jest.

        Like you tell your girlfriend: “RELAX…”

        PS- now that the EPL season is over, thoughts on Defoe’s performance, the state of the team’s lacking midfield, etc? ( I really hope you bring up “they got rid of Altidore and were able to avoid relegation…”)

      • To be honest, I had zero reason to watch Sunderland after Altidore left and never stayed up on their troubles or successes.

        Unlike others, I was glad they stayed up because they at least gave Altidore a shot. That’s all you can ask for.

      • so you now agree that Sunderland’s midfield was terrible, their system was too, all with or without altidore? they finally switched to a 2 striker formation and had better luck etc

      • haha. never change, my friend, never change…

  9. In wake of inability to develop tactical plan, Klinnsman looking for high octane enthusiasm ahead of Gold Cup.

    I wish that Klinnsman would decide who are 3-4 best players are and what their positions are, then build tactics and team roster around them. Identify who is playing the best at the moment that can be brought into the system in order to support our best players. Then identify some backups in case key pieces go down.

    • Here are probably the best players, not in any particular order–Altidore, J. Jones, Dempsey, Bradley, F. Johnson, and Bedoya. However, Altidore, Dempsey, and Bedoya are unavailable and J. Jones will probably be too old for the next WC. So, what you say is true in the abstract, but not workable at this time.

    • I agree. I think the US team is deep. Very competitive. There are spots to be won, but you will have to win them, they will not be given up easily.

      • Much deeper than past US squads. As I pointed out earlier, not as deep as the top 10 national teams. Still, JK has a lot more choices and options than previous US coaches and that is especially helpful when you have injuries.

  10. Klinsmann, once again, comes to the rescue of a slow news day. Is St Jurgen really the patron saint of sports writers?
    The references to Jermaine Jones make one smile. For my money, Jones is a competent player, but nothing more than that and his best days are behind him. In an ideal world, his position whatever it is would be one where the coach is looking for a replacement, if not right away, within 12 months or so. And yet Jurgen seems content to pencil him in regardless. And I smile because, after all the fussing, coaches are so much alike. Arena certainly had players that he kept around too long. Bradley probably did, but I can’t recall anyone specific, but in any case, they all do the same thing — get comfortable with some players and hang on to them. And I supposed that is one reason soccer coaches don’t last that long, particularly at the national level.

    • It’s a problem with US soccer writers in general. They’ve always been very kid gloves and pollyannaish when covering the USMNT. You rarely read anything critical unless something disastrous happens and even then it stills feels like a tap on the wrist than an outright scolding.

      • Interesting question. I kinda get what you are saying here…. it is definitely true that our NT doesn’t come in for nearly the savaging that they do in top global soccer countries, or even in next-door in Mexico. “Keeping the message positive” definitely is a much more prominent thing here (at least in major distribution channels, as opposed to blogs etc), or even compared to other domestic sports

        I think part of it is a function of the fact that soccer (and soccer journalism even moreso) are still in a “niche” position in this country. There simply aren’t that many full-time jobs out there, and in many ways, maintaining healthy relationships is too valuable too both sides. US Soccer (as well as its TV sponsors, who employ many of the top journalists at both the print and broadcast levels) are hoping to capture a growing audience, and it doesn’t help either US Soccer or the journalists within the industry to trash the sport or our performance too heavily — it’s a sport that still sits very much on the margin of American attention. The perception of a successful industry (often symbolized by the NT) benefits everybody’s job security.

        Same goes for the sports broadcasters. As investors in the sport (most of them now own at least some rights, the major platforms are more likely to use the 2-3 minutes or so they dedicate of SportCenter etc to soccer to send the message that “soccer is on the rise here, and the US is ever-improving” because it makes the average US viewer more likely to watch their soccer properties.

        In the long-run, if the soccer really does succeed in gaining serious market share in the US sports audience, this may well become less of a consideration. NFL journalists don’t worry about trashing anybody from a star player to the commissioner. They don’t worry about the sport losing interest.

        But if you ever do feeling like seeing somebody really trash the US, there definitely plenty of blogs out there to choose from now….

    • We are talking here about the US national team, not that of Germany, Brazil, or Argentina. It’s not like there are a bunch of stars waiting in the wings. Jermaine Jones played consistently and competently for a team in a top league that was in the CL several times. I can’t think of any other US player in history who can make that claim. As for Bob Bradley, I can think of two right off the bat–Ricardo Clark and Bornstein. He played both of them too much. But he was faced with the same problem as Klinsmann–not enough talent behind them.

    • Maybe Jones’ best days are behind him, but he was still our best player at the World Cup, which was only a year ago. Pretty simple to reason that he keeps “getting penciled in” because we don’t have anyone better. Bradley can’t play two positions at the same time. Do you really think that, as of now, Diskerud or D Williams is better than Jones? Really?

      • And once again soccer fans are so predictable. Say something that sounds the least bit critical and they have a tantrum. Let just assume that Jones is the best at his position. He is, surprise, surprise, getting a little on the old side and his skills and such are on the downward slide. My point is that, if soccer teams were run on rational lines, the coach would be looking for replacements and what better time to give them a look than in totally meaningless games. But that’s not what coaches do. Some players function as teddy bears for them, security objects I think the social workers call them and they get to play almost until they start drawing Social Security. (Why did Big Sam continue to play Kevin Nolan?) In this Klinsmann is no better and no worse than many of his colleagues.

      • You can’t throw out 11 new/young/inexperienced players at the same time against 2 of the best teams in the world. If we get spanked early and run off the field, then you learn very little about any player. There have to be some veteran starters mixed with younger players.

      • I have discussed this in the past in previous posts. Klinsmann is preparing for the 2018 WC. To do that he wants to win the Gold Cup this year to insure that the US goes to the Confederations Cup, which is good training for the WC the next year. So, Klinsmann has to prepare different sets of players for the two objectives. Thus, for the Gold Cup he has to have the best players that give the team a chance to win this summer. That means Jones, Beckerman, Dempsey, etc. After the Gold Cup then he can shift more to the up and coming players, most of whom have already had significant exposure. You seem to look down your nose at “predictable” US soccer fans. Maybe if you were more aware of the actual situation in which US soccer operates, you wouldn’t make such uninformed comments.

      • My bad. I apparently forgot that this is the internet and reading comprehension is very low and nuances are immediately lost.
        My point was that soccer coaches behave in odd ways, even irrational ways. They keep using some players even after it is obvious that their skills have deteriorated or when there are opportunities to give other players a chance to prove themselves. Ok, it’s not a particularly novel or insightful observation, but in light of the man-crush so many commentators have for Jurgen it seemed amusing to make the very obvious point that he is much the same as other soccer coaches, even the much derided Arena or Bradley.
        OK, so you all would like to continue the rather boring and embarrassingly shallow debates about whether Jurgen really represents the salvation of American soccer or, on the other hand, is the personification of all that is evil in soccer. Have at it!

      • Not a hater, I’ll give him his due when deserves it – such as a passable world cup campaign despite starting with an own goal with his roster selection.

        But instead of just dismissing people as JK haters, why don’t you guys explain why it makes sense to keep picking scrubs like Wood and Ibarra? And please provide a real reason, not just a JK knows best and who are we to question him type response.

      • I am not slowleftarm, he is just that smart to have the same opinion*

        *although I am a JK hater when he condescendly tells Americans all about soccer and how it works.

      • This is the difference between someone like you and someone like me. I don’t know why he picks guys like Wood and Ibarra. I also didn’t know why he picked Morris, until he started scoring goals and looking good. I was doubtful about Green and still am reserving judgment. However, Green scored in the World Cup and Guardiola likes him. I am willing to admit that maybe guys like Klinsmann and Guardiola know more about the game and recognize talent when they see it. Before Klinsmann brought them in, I had never seen Wood, Ibarra, Green, or Morris. but, you know what, I saw a lot of Zardes and thought he deserved a look in the national team. Now Klinsmann has made him a semi-regular. This tells me that he recognizes quality in players in a way similar to how I do. I learn from experience and have seen how his selections usually work out for the best. You, apparently, cling to your biases, even when contradicted by evidence.

      • But it’s only the JK fanboys who respond to criticism of their hero but essentially saying “your criticism is illegitimate, JK knows more than you.” Debating who should be picked is part of following the national team. No matter who the manager is.

        I don’t think JK’s results are any better than Bradley’s or Arena’s. That’s my evidence.

        Green looked good for those 15 minutes against Belgium (though his goal was a shank that happened to go in) but he’s looked out of his depth every other time he’s played for the USMNT. And of course Pep says he likes him, what is he going to say about his own player? He doesn’t like him enough to keep him around though and Hamburg sure didn’t like him much.

      • Slow,

        Gary is not saying your criticism is illegitimate. He’s explaining why he doesn’t share your feelings.

        And harping on Green is a bit odd because we don’t know if he will be on the Gold Cup roster yet. As of now, I don’t think he deserves to be there, but I’m not going to criticize the selection before it happens.

        It’s fine to criticize JK. I do it all the time. You just shouldn’t expect others to always share your opinion.

      • Green is with the U23 team in France, not with the first team. He is a quality young prospect that needs time to develop. And, yes, both Pep and others at Bayern like him.

      • slowleftarm,

        You have every right to criticize as you see fit.

        And I have every right to say your criticism is Bullshit which it usually is..

        It’s really that simple.

      • slowleftarm,

        You have every right to criticize as you see fit.

        And I have every right to say your criticism is flaccid which it usually is..

        It’s really that simple.

      • The sentiment voiced here is that because you or whoever doesn’t understand why he makes certain player selections, then they must be wrong. I would point out that he has a lot more information that we don’t have, on which to make his decisions.
        And, for younger players, it may not be apparent what is a good or bad selection for some time. Additionally, what may be a good selection at one time may not turn out to be a good selection in the future. Klinsmann has little else to do other than evaluate players, talk to their coaches, etc. in between camps. I am sure he has seen hours and hours of video of dozens of players we never even consider. We are operating in a relative information vacuum compared to him and his staff. I think it is the height of arrogance for someone to say that he is making bad selection. Maybe he is making selections you don’t like or understand, but that doesn’t mean they are bad selections. But then, I guess you know everything about US soccer. I’m retired and watch a ton of soccer, including US and youth team events when they are on TV. I don’t think that makes me an expert to pass judgment on these selections before we see how well they turn out.

      • Ok, I’ll bite…
        Here’s my first answer- I have no clue why he chooses some people, and neither does anyone else, they can only speculate.
        Here’s my second- There’s a “lather, rinse, repeat” every time a roster or formation is discussed, and more times than not people just openly blast whatever he says or does no matter what the facts are. For example, the guy yesterday who predicted we wouldn’t qualify for Russia as soon as the roster was announced.
        Third, people have selective memory, they have revisionist history and forget things like:
        -Giving Beasley a new life w the team
        -Giving Beckerman his 1st shot (and the same people who berated him for it then blasted him for not playing him vs Belgium)
        -Blasting him for the above mentioned, only to selectively forget that Cam was named to the FIFA best 11 twice in Brazil, and the only player in the entire tourney to be named Best 11 at two different positions)
        -Giving EJ is shot at resurrecting his Intl career
        -Bringing in Boca to coach in January even though he “supposedly” thought so little of him
        – That prior to Brazil, Jones was a hack undisciplined card machine who is now an American cult hero
        I could continue but you see my point.
        And all of this is perpetuated big time by our big soccer voices Lalas and Twellman… and most often fans don’t take the time to actually watch a full interview.. such as last years MLS blow up where he wasn’t negative or demonstrative in any way, he just answered the same questions he’d been asked a dozen times the same way he’d answer them before…. but that doesn’t generate clicks.

        I have no idea why he does certain things. I had no idea why he began his tenure by experimenting with 3 center mids during initial qualifying… but he changed and we improved. US fans want him to talk like Spurrier, “We gotta do a better job of coaching em up” but he’s more like Bellicheck…. So what……

        Why does he call those guys in? Maybe he sees something we don’t. Maybe they were the best options available. Maybe he sees promise in their future like Jordan Morris. Maybe with the 23’s playing he would have chosen differently. Maybe he knows what many are afraid to admit, that we just don’t have a lot of good players, Maybe some guys like Cam and Garza have nagging injuries… Maybe he threw darts against a board…..
        I don’t know….

        But as much as people hate to admit it, he’s gotten more right than he’s gotten wrong…
        I’d put the same question back at all the “haters”… Maybe one will have the guts to say something like, “I don’t like him, and I disagreed with decision ABC, but he got it right with decision XYZ”

        Like I said, lather rinse repeat

      • Some inconvenient truths. None are so blind as those who WILL NOT see. The famous economist John Maynard Keynes was once asked why he had changed his opinion about something. He replied, to paraphrase, “When I see facts that contradict my previous opinion, then I re-evaluate my original position in light of the new information and adjust my conclusion accordingly. What do you do?” Some prefer to ignore evidence and cling to unsupported opinions.

      • +1111

        well put sir, JK haters never cease to amuse me. i loved the bellichek analogy too.

      • JK’s had some good moves and some bad ones. Like any other manager. Why he should be above criticism is a mystery though.

      • You would love it Davis-Lennon, but the Belichick analogy is horrible, does not work at all.

        Klinsmann and Belichick are completely different. JK is a talker. He runs his mouth with the media and sometimes takes shots at players through the media. He loves the media.

        Belichick hates the media and doesn’t say anything at all to them. Since he is forced to talk to them he just says one-liners meant to give no information at all.

      • Nobody is above criticism. And frankly I don’t see the “apologists” backing 100% of what he does.
        Read Gary Page’s post- Perfect example of what I’m talking about. In fact, Gary has been accused of being “an apologist”, but I specifically remember Gary was livid when LD was left out, but he’s smart enough to not let one decision define the man’s entire tenure, but people remember what they want to.
        And to my point, someone can say, “I think he’s made some good calls” but I still challenge anyone who posts here who blatantly thinks he’s the devil to do what you said in reverse… “I don’t like him but good call on _____fill in the blank”

      • Like me, Gary is a Galaxy fan, and I think he is from or lives in Los Angeles (could be wrong there). Not surprised he was furious about Donovan, but that’s about the only criticism/issue I have seen him have with JK.

      • Oh and Bac, as much as there are the supposed “Klinsmann haters”, there is an equal camp of Klinsmann die-hards and supporters that seem to defend anything Klinsmann does and are ready to pounce with vigor and vitriol when someone posts something critical of Klinsmann. If it’s not 100% backing then its about 99% backing. You guys know who you are. Off the top of my head:

        You, Old School, Del Griffin, Gary, Davis-Lennon, etc. I know I am missing a few. Its ok though I don’t mind the debate. I hold on to the faint hope that one day I will be able to make you guys see the error in your ways and look past the glitz and glamour of Klinsmann having won a world cup AS A PLAYER and being German/European and start judging him solely as a coach. 😉

      • UCLA,
        1. If there are an equal number, I don’t see it. Maybe that’s because I include the press in my opinion, but it really doesn’t matter… it’s the same with almost any coach of any sport. Just like the most popular guy on many football teams is the back up Quarterback.
        2. What you say regarding your 99% comment actually confirms my point. What I most often respond to is posts that have a revisionist history to it, or a false narrative that conveniently excludes facts to fit an opinion…
        But only once has anyone ever actually asked what I think of him as a coach, what grade would I give him, what positives and negatives do I see etc. I responded that I’d personally say a B- at this point, and rattled off 5 mistakes/weaknesses immediately, I wouldn’t call that a 99%er…. But people only see what they want to, and assume that because I use facts and examples rather than blurting out stuff like “He’s awesome, or We’re not going to Russia” That I blindly support 100%, or 99%, of what he says or does.

      • Bac, fair enough. We are currently discussing subjective matters so no surprise we see it differently.

        I agree that the majority of the press has now switched to being anti-Klinsmann. You should ask yourself why that is though. Perhaps the majority now see something that the JK supporters are missing?

        I give him a C-

      • Sure.. I have. I think Lalas has led the narrative on TV, and Wahl in print-even more than Strauss. Lalas hates the guy…period. 3 examples jump out-The farewell celebration in Times square when he said “I’m not here for a celebration, I’m here to do a soccer show”, His monologue before the Mexico game along with his comment that “It was made abundantly clear to me that JK and I disagree on many things”, and his Big head Red head shows around the world cup. #2 Twellman has followed in line. Once LD was cut, everyone turned. And I think there’s a lot of jealousy-Real or Perceived- from the American coaches. It doesn’t change my thoughts. Like I said to you a few months ago, very few voices…but they’re loud and influential ones

      • UBG,

        “I will be able to make you guys see the error in your ways and look past the glitz and glamour of Klinsmann having won a world cup AS A PLAYER and being German/European and start judging him solely as a coach”

        You won’t be able to do that because your basic premise about this situation is different from mine.

        First of all, JK’s playing experience is merely an added extra bonus.

        I view JK as a manager who took his national team to third place in the World Cup.

        Yes, he had home field and Germany had many good players but very few managers, anywhere, can say that about themselves, regardless. Do you think the Bruce or BB could have taken that group of players and got them to third place? I don’t.

        And, whether he was the prime mover in the whole thing or just took credit for it, he was in the middle of a movement that eventually resulted, ten years later, in Germany winning a World Cup. There is a value in having someone with that kind of experience involved with your program. With the possible exception of Dettmar Cramer ( USMNT manager 1974), who led Bayern Munich to two European Cups ( now called the Champions League) in the 70’s, the US has never had anyone, the Chyzowich boys, Al Miller, Manny Schellscheidt , Lothar Osiander, Panagoulias, Gansler, Bora, Sampson, Arena or Bradley with that kind of experience and background.

        They were all fine managers, well maybe Al Miller wasn’t ( I hated Hartwick) , but they did not have JK’s pedigree as a manager.

        And whether you agree or disagree, recruiting dual nationals is a fact of life and JK is very good at that aspect of the job.

        Finally, the man got Bradley’s guys to play when money was on the line. The team’s record in competitive games is very good. With a little luck, this team has shown they beat anyone on a given day.

        Bruce and Bob’s teams never looked as good against Ghana as the USMNT did in Brazil. You remember Ghana, the USMNT’s World Cup bogey team? The Ghana team that was in such money grubbing disarray that they were the only ones to take a point off of Germany in Brazil?

        The USMNT had no business being on the same field with Belgium, a team that had destroyed the US in Cleveland in their previous meeting, in the World Cup but, if Wondo does not miss, then they beat Belgium and everything is very different.

        Everyone seems to forget that our best World Cup team, the 2002 team, had more than their share of luck and help from South Korea. So as far as I’m concerned, the difference between the 2002 team and the 2014 team is a bit of luck.

        I’ll be curious to see what JK can do when his own “recruiting class” finally comes in.

      • GW, I am not going to argue much of what you said. As I have said before I was as happy as anyone else when Klinsmann was first hired. Obviously I was probably excited for much of the reasons you wrote above.

        I guess the difference between us is that I ultimately saw I was wrong. Through my eyes, where there was hype there was no substance. I eventually came to see what many in Germany had already written about which is that, Klinsmann isn’t all that great as a manager. He is not horrible or even bad, but he isn’t good. To me, he is just average/mediocre. He is not hurting the USMNT but he isn’t helping it either. That’s how I see it.

      • to UBG…… thanks for mentioning me in such esteemed company lol.

        but don’t judge me as a “99%er”, my opinion generally falls in the middle. has JK revolutionized the sport in the US? nope. has he statistically done as good or better than predecessors? yep. does his being german or a former talented player have any affect on my judgement of his ability to COACH? not at all, besides that it brings attention and grabs headlines when he’s hired; thus perhaps more kids watch the sport, play the sport, choose the sport over bball, football, etc. Has he been perfect? not at all. has he failed at every turn? def not. has his product warranted his firing? by no means so far. the point being, to me i realized this would be a long “marriage” as long as things remained steady or got better. if you were to make a list of his positives and negatives during his tenure i’m more than certain the pos would out way the negs. does that make me a “JK apologist”?? ha!, not in the slightest. I’m not a hater and I’m not an apologist. I’m just a USMNT fan that is enjoying cheering for our team. we have a high profile coach which can only bring good (soley in that aspect) and a team that had a strong (relatively) WC. he’s had a good move here and a bad move here, all coaches do; all humans do too…..

        Life lives in the gray area…

      • UBG,

        Then I would say the difference between you and me is that I figure I’ll wait around until the 2018 World Cup to pass final judgement on the “JK, the USMNT manager years”

        Unlike you I think the team is doing much better and are fun to follow. That could change but it hasn’t yet.

        Now that may or may not have anything to do with JK but I don’t really care. I’m a USMNT fan not a JK fan, just like I was not a BB fan. I don’t give a damn about either man but I do care about what they did/do with the USMNT.

        I have one basic belief about managers, and that is that they will do what is best for the team because the better the team does, the better he does. Neither BB nor JK strike me as suicidal.

        I didn’t care that BB, the manager who invented nepotism, played Mikey every minute. I am 100% positive he did it because he thought it was the best thing for the team. Same with Bornstein. I am 100% positive that BB would have played someone over JB if he thought it was better for the team. By the way, the USMNT has a winning record with JB on the field.

        Do they make mistakes? Sure but it’s the overall that counts and BB did more right than wrong. And to date, the same is true for JK. You look at the bodies of the people who died in the accident and I am more interested in the survivors.

        You lose your mind over that terrible run of 9 crappy friendlies. Me I don’t care, they are friendlies.

        You wonder about wasting time on Ibarra. I was stunned when JK put such faith in Beckerman. You know how that turned out. Or that he even took Yedlin, Brooks and Green to the World Cup. They each contributed when no one thought they would. I did not know what to make of Morris. He is looking pretty good so far. I had never thought of Besler and Zusi as internationals before JK made them regulars. Did you? I would say overall they have done well. Most you wanted to burn Shea at the stake while JK has slowly brought him along all this time and look at him now.

        Maybe, just maybe, JK knows a thing or two about talent and what it takes to play for the national team.

        I’m sorry you’re not a USMNT fan anymore. You are missing a fun team to watch.

      • GW,

        I never said that I am not a USMNT fan anymore. I said I am not a Klinsmann fan anymore. You can be a USMNT fan without being a Klinsmann fan.


        You are not Klinsmann’s #1, you are Rimando’s #1 fans, because like me, Rimando is a Bruin and you love us.

      • UBG– It would have made more comedic sense had I already mentioned Rimando… thus you come off as reaching…

        “You look at the bodies of the people who died in the accident and I am more interested in the survivors.”

        #FakeDeep quote of the year ( i can envision an Omarion dance move followed by a mic drop and backwalk exit…)

        or maybe it just sounds like a Jeezy line…

      • To speak for myself, I doubt anyone criticized JK more about Donovan than I. And it was not because I am necessarily a big fan of Donovan (I thought he should have stayed at Everton and he made a big mistake with his Sabbatical and I doubted his mental toughness), but because I am convinced he gave us the best chance to win. Like GW below, I objected to many of the moves that JK made that turned out well. I said Beasley would never made it at left back, he could get muscled off the ball too easily. I thought Goodson, not Brooks should go. I thought he should have brought someone more experienced than Yedlin, I thought he was wrong to “punish” Altidore by not calling him up for the first round of qualifiers. Almost every time I objected I was proven wrong. How many times have the haters been proven right by developments? I’m not a lover, hater, or an apologist. I am a realist and an analyst. I made a decent living as an analyst in a large organization. I was trained as a social scientist. I have been a following sports for 60 years and have read a fair bit about good coaches and what makes them successful. There are many different paths to success in coaching. Klinsmann may have chosen the correct path; I don’t know yet, but the early signs show progress. I care about facts and base my opinions on facts. And because I have read a lot of history, I judge things in context and over the long term. We often don’t know how good a president is until 50 years later when all the documentation becomes available. We certainly won’t know how good Klinsmann is doing until after the 2018 WC.

      • That was in 2007. Under Bradley Kyle’s highlights came in the 2009 Gold Cup which was very much a B team. Which is how BB, and most of us, saw him.

        I was initially stunned to see JK give him such a regular role.

        You know how that turned out. And that is why I think JK seems to be a good judge of talent.

        I thought the Rasta Man was great but lacked talent. That is why Kreis and JK are managers and I am not.

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