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USMNT acknowledge need for improvement, express optimism ahead of World Cup qualifying

Jermaine Jones USMNT Costa Rica 11



HARRISON, N.J. — Frustration was evident throughout the 90 minutes, and the U.S. Men’s National Team put up another dud of a performance as its 2015 rut continued.

Nonetheless, both head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the players expressed optimism that things will get better before World Cup qualifying begins next month.

The U.S. lost for the third straight game and was blanked at home for the first time in 34 matches on Tuesday night, as Costa Rica used a second-half strike from Joel Campbell to take a 1-0 win. The friendly at Red Bull Arena that came just three days after a narrow CONCACAF Cup loss to arch-rival Mexico not only added to the Americans’ misery, but it sent the U.S. into World Cup qualifying reeling.

The road to Russia 2018 begins in earnest for Klinsmann and his players next month, but they remain confident that they will fight through adversity and improve. Things will get better, they believe, even if it is tough to see right now.

“We’ve got to go through some rain right now and it’s not sunshine, but sooner or later the clouds will pass by and we’ll find some sun again,” said Klinsmann. “This is part of life. It’s definitely not part of my character to give up because, as we’ve said, a couple of bad results with the outcome of the (CONCACAF) Gold Cup and obviously the Mexico clash. That sits in your stomach, but it drives you even more.”

Klinsmann used Tuesday’s friendly, played in front of a sparse crowd that booed the U.S. manager when he was introduced, to test out some newer, younger, and different faces. Only Jermaine Jones, Geoff Cameron, and Jozy Altidore had started three days prior in the extra-time defeat to El Tri, and the lack of continuity showed.

The Americans had some miscommunication and sharpness issues from the onset, with passes going astray often and the team lacking a real dangerous attacking edge. There were even times throughout the 90 minutes where players demonstratively barked at one another, showing just how frustrated they are by this recent poor run of form.

“I think we just need to play more as a team,” said right midfielder DeAndre Yedlin. “I think we’re not playing together as a team right now, and I think it shows.”

Added left back Tim Ream: “We’ve all been in camps, we all know each other, we all know how each other plays, so we have to play to each other’s strengths. Right now we’re not really doing that.”

That needs to change for the U.S. pronto, as its first pair of World Cup qualifiers take place next month at home against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and on the road vs. Trinidad and Tobago. The former should be a cakewalk for the Americans, but beating the Soca Warriors in Port of Spain is far from a guarantee, especially with the U.S.’s inability to consistently create quality chances.

Against Costa Rica, the U.S. did not look to be on the same page for large spells and mustered just five shots while facing 14. Some of that was chalked up by Klinsmann and his players to a hangover of sorts from the disappointing defeat to Mexico over the weekend, and some of it was attributed to the amount of changes that went into the lineup so as to give reserves opportunities.

Regardless, everyone agreed that things need to improve and start clicking again.

“I see that we struggle to keep the ball,” said Klinsmann. “I see that we struggle to have a combination, a rhythm, movement off the ball where you know where the other one runs when you put the ball into space and you know that he’s running them. I see that.

“I also know what they went through this week. I’m not surprised that the game today went this way. It was not a surprise to me because it was obviously a really big moment that happened Saturday night at the Rose Bowl so this is something we have to work on. We have to lighten them up and say, ‘Guys come on’. We have to get that spirit up again and start that process of movement off the ball, combination plays, one, two-touches and all those elements.”

Getting back to those basics and playing as a cohesive unit would be solid first steps in rediscovering the form that allowed the U.S. to look real good in stretches in 2013 and 2014. Nonetheless, the consensus is that there is still a need to bring along younger talents like Yedlin, Bobby Wood, and Danny Williams, and that can also attribute to the choppy play.

“It’s not doom and gloom,” said Tim Howard. “I think we’re a good team, and I think, in this region, we’re going to qualify for the World Cup. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be hard as heck, but we’ll figure it out and get the balance right.”

The pressure is on for the Americans to turn things around as soon as possible. Fans and media alike have been very critical of Klinsmann and his team during this recent poor stretch, and anything short of improved performances and 4-6 points to start World Cup qualifying will further set off alarm bells.

The U.S. remains optimistic, however, that it will find its rhythm again and that panic mode will be averted.

“We’re not the worst team in the world right now,” said Howard. “It’s fine. We’ll get two wins against St. Vincent and Trinidad and everybody will be happy again.”


  1. For all those complaining about Dempsey and Bradley and Altidore – they used to have Donovan to play off of. No one has filled those shoes yet – they will, but it will not just happen overnight.

  2. GK-Howard, Guzan, Rimando, Several Youngsters(this position is the least of our worries

    RB-Big mystery(Group includes but not limited to Yedlin,Evans,Chandler, FJ, probably could list 5 more that could do as good or bad as these names

    CD- 1st string Cameron, Besler 2nd Omar Glz and John Brooks, (Does Tim Ream belong in this group?) 3rd and beyond big list of people in my eyes not pulling there weight, Alvarado and Orozco and then who are the younger players?

    LB- Tim Ream?, FJ,again, big mystery

    CDM-Beckerman and WIlliams. Could Bradley play in the #6 letting more naturally creative players fill the other 5 spots?

    Just wanting to put this out there to create positive discussion on what you would do as a coach?
    Someone else can put the 2deep for the advanced spots

    What are your thoughts?

    • I will be shocked, SHOCKED, if the brain trust in this site can come anywhere close to agreeing on a lineup. It’s just no possible.
      5000 USNT fans will come up with 5000 different lineups.
      It’s a little more complicated than amateur keyboard coaches will ever comprehend.

  3. Enjoying this thread. Who do you all think are the top players in each position for the USMNT? I’d be interested in seeing how many current players are left off this list.

  4. A national team coach’s job is to get results by putting players in positions to succeed. Klinsmann has failed in that.

    His use of Bedoya as a DM might be the most obvious illustration of that. Of course, Cameron, Bradley, Jones, Lee, Shea, Zardes, etc. have variously been played in positions that were sure to expose their weaknesses and thus were not in spots from which they were likely to excel, even though when deployed in situations that emphasize their strengths they have either done very well or at least shown moments of promise.


    Rather lose with a bunch of U20’s & U23’s that play in the Championship & Bundisliga II than a bunch of 30 somethings from the MLS that can’t mark to save their lives. At least with youngsters, you still have hope for improvement.

    Lastley, Lee Nguyen sucks! It’s not that hard to look legit in the MLS; just ask Drogba.

  6. Any ideas or suggestions of non foreign coach who is capable of replacing JK?…. I can’t think of one really…(one that convinces me 100% really)

    • It’s just a game. We probably shouldn’t take it so seriously and think we have to have 100 percent confidence in what really is a crapshoot anyway. No one knows if any given coach is going to be right for any given situation. We could resurrect Rinus Michels and he’d possibly screw up the USMNT as badly as Klinsmann has.

      What I’d like to see is a former USMNT player, preferably a defender or midfielder. The guy I keep coming back to is Boca. Someone who understands the team, can instill in new players the never-say-die ethos of a few years ago, understands CONCACAF qualifiers, understands what it is like to be an American player at a World Cup… and someone who isn’t as likely to outsmart himself.

    • Marsch, I think he is maybe a few years away from being ready, but he has shown that building a team on a system that puts players in positions where their strengths are displayed and weaknesses minimized can yield great results consistently.

      • I would agree with this–I would hold off on this for a few years and let him develop as a coach but he certainly understands how to get the most out of players in specific roles.

      • Yeah Marsch …was the first name that I thought of. I like what you say about using a player where he is performing better and therefore enhancing his strengths. In other words, I dislike when coaches “invent new position or roles for players and using them in places where they never have played before…even the big name coaches do that, like Pep G for ex… they want to look overly clever sometimes. The only thing about Marsch is 1) more experience 2) very little Natl team experience as a player?… but I certainly see it as a possibility in the future, after all Mourinho barely played professionally, and what you describe as Marsch’s strengths certainly appeal to me… alsot what he’s shown at NYRB especially the balls to succeed Petke and handling that ugly situation when he was questioned etc

    • I think you should add, “and will take the job.” I don’t think the position looks all that attractive. In the past the US has had trouble attracting decent foreign coaches and Klinsmann had to get a lot in return for taking the job. All the decent US coaches have pretty good jobs now or are probably too old (Arena, Schmidt).

  7. One other observation – Klinsmann should sometimes just stop talking. The team is in bad shape; we all know that. I think it would play better for the coach to remain silent and do he can – assuming he isn’t replaced before Saint Vincent like he should be – to get us off to a good start in qualifiers. When he throws out his pseudo-zen philosophy bunk about how the sun will shine again, flowers will bloom, blah, blah, blah… at this point it probably just makes the fanbase even more mad.

    • I think it has been one of his biggest problems. You say enough and you are bound to have some inconsistencies and contradictions, especially as circumstances change. Both Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena say very little for public consumption. You very rarely see Arena quoted in the LA Times about the Galaxy and then it’s usually some coach speak that says nothing. When Bradley was coach it seemed like we the fans had no idea of what was going on because he rarely ever said anything publicly.

    • “When he throws out his pseudo-zen philosophy bunk about how the sun will shine again, flowers will bloom, blah, blah, blah… at this point it probably just makes the fanbase even more mad.”

      lol, this is true. i don’t dislike klinsmann, and would even like him to stay on as technical director, but when he starts talking like that, i get that “flames on the side of my face” feeling.

  8. I would like to hear solutions to the following questions:

    1. For those that want JK fired, who replaces him and why?

    2. What tactics should we use? How do we develop these younger players? pay for play clubs, high schools, etc?

    3. What is our ideal best XI where they primarily play for club?

    4. Should we be optimistic that we can develop and become a team that can play attacking football, or should we bunker and counter against everybody for the next 20 years?

    • I’ll take a shot. For the first question, I want to see a former USMNT player with qualifier and world cup experience. The person I have in mind is Boca, though Dolo, Goose, etc., wouldn’t be bad applicants, either. Why I think this is: 1) it’s not the more complicated skill set of a club coach so I’d value team experience and ethos over club accomplishments, 2) bringing on former players who know the national team but don’t have coaching experience is not unprecedented among more established national programs, 3) a former USMNT regular would understand our never-say-die reputation and disciplined approach, and would demand the newer players also come to understand that, 4) he most likely wouldn’t try to prove he was the smartest guy on the field and would just create a simple approach and plug in the players he believes best fit that approach.

      The second question (and fourth) I see as a choice of three approaches rather than two: attacking or defending. There are three main approaches all teams work with – possession, direct attack and defensive. They work like a rock, paper, scissors game, so the approach taken at the start of the game may have to evolve into another based on the opponent. A good team needs to be able to play two well, though may prefer one. Defensive clearly requires the least amount of skill, which maybe should still be our primary approach. As for developing a national youth program, I see a very tenuous connection between that and USMNT. It’s happy politician talk, I believe. The reality is we have a pretty good youth program now with disparate clubs all mostly following the same general Dutch training guidelines, because that’s what they see as working to make their players and teams competitive against the other area clubs. US Soccer has very little influence on it, short of approving the curriculum for coach licensing courses, which is done and in place. We are developing larger numbers of adequate players, and will continue to grow our presence in foreign leagues, etc. The question that has come up lately is whether the wider pool is also deeper, like we’ve tended to assume.

      I don’t understand your #3 question. Are you asking for players names, or the type of club our best choices might play for?

      • I like a 4-2-3-1 with one caveat – we need a CAM.

        For backline I’d go with Besler and Gonzo in the middle, Johnson on the left and Cameron on the right. Cameron seems to be more reliable than Gonzo in the middle, but he’s also steady on the outside, and we don’t have a lot of steady outside backs (not yet sold on Yedlin).

        DMs would be Bradley and Jones. LW Dempsey, he wouldn’t play a pure winger, but he and Johnson seem to work that out alright, and it allows Dempsey to overweight the middle when he sees opportunities. RW Zardes. CAM I know my preference is controversial, but SK. He’s best we have, and his skill set fits the way I would want this roster to play. If not him, we try Diskerud, Nguyen, Pontius (if he can still walk), etc. And if no one can play the position we’d have to scrap the formation and probably go 4-4-2. The CAM is the playmaker who feeds the target or feeds the runner.

        Up top, I’m looking for someone to play primarily with back to goal and basically lay off balls to wings or DMs (both Bradley and Jones would play box-to-box and would have to coordinate that between themselves, like they used to fairly well). Altidore is serviceable at this, so that’s another controversial pick. Someone the defense would mark because if they let him turn he can shoot, but who will mostly be earning assists.

        With the exception of Dempsey and Jones, this roster can be expected to play in Russia, so we would want to focus the friendlies on finding replacements for those two.

      • Your #2 above about hiring a coach without experience, can you give me an example where that has been successful with any major nation? The only example I can think of off hand is Klinsmann at Germany. Who am I missing? Most national team coaches are guys who have a decade or more of club experience, usually in a top league.

      • Thought i would add that one case of someone hired without coaching experience was Maradonna and he turned out to be a total disaster.

    • I just posed the question about a Non foreign coach too…and can’t find an answer, but I am not saying JK must necessarily be fired… not at least until there is a clear option or name. the only question I can sort of answer without being an expert …This country is obviously doing something wrong developing talent, How can a country of this size and demographics still not be able to come up with the players…and a country like Uruguay do what it does?? as a non US resident living here …what I can observe (and I could be wrong) is that this sport is still for a certain segment of the population…and pay for play situations only allows the rich (usually untalented) to be able to afford it… I drive around the country a lot and the only places where I see proper fields are in the best neighborhoods and all I see is a certain type of segment….it all looks pretty and cute, and the dads and the moms…but this image to me says more than a thousand words…. you guys need to restructure and look at other countries and how and where they go to pick the players??? where did Maradona and tevez come from??? hats off to the scouts who came out alive from the ghettos where they went to find them. I live in NJ and I can at least say that NYRB (not a fan) has the right approach by having academies and lower divisions…but more needs to be done by allowing the “real” talent to develop and without $$$ being the barrier

      • Andy Najar couldn’t afford to play club ball, but he played a lot of pickup soccer, and eventually enough club coaches convinced DC United to send someone out to take a look. He immediately was given full scholarship for the academy team, and a year later was on the senior team. Unfortunately for this conversation, he’s Honduran and chose to go that way, so it wasn’t a gain for USMNT.

        It can happen. Money is a problem, but it can happen. The bigger problem facing US soccer development is the lack of pickup games. We have kids who spend more time playing EA Sports soccer than they spend time touching an actual ball. Two formal practices a week and a game on the weekend aren’t going to create too many great players.

      • one more thought to clarify what I just said; The talent that is developed here is one dimensional…Is my english correct?? you only seem to come up with athletic guys which is great because you need that a lot. you seem to favor college educated players too which is also great, I like players that are bright intelligent and can put two sentences together cause you get great tacticians that way, but….. you don’t seem to find the different ones, the hungry ones….the naturally talented ghetto? kids who make the difference, the ones that have the magic, the ones that are not naive and easily pick pocketed…it doesn’t matter if they are small (gary medel for ex) The Us needs to develop offensive difference makers with these qualities and defensive too….I just want to see more of these players coming up, those who don’t know what to say in front of the TV microphones but who do their talking on the field…. I just see to many overeducated players with perfect language skills… sorry but thats just not enough

    • To answer your questions:

      1. I don’t want JK fired…but I assume most people would want a coach from MLS to tak over due to familiarness with the player (Kreis, Vermes, Marsch)
      2.For now we should use what we have always done-organized, sound defensively and tough to break down with a dangerous counterattack. Developing players is a source of much controversy–my opinion is pay for play clubs and high schools are too limiting to the lower income people in America who dont have the money for the sport/travel and do not value education enough to send their kids to school to graduate. This demographic is where most other countries and sports in America get their player.
      3. Best 11 is not even decided–when the game really counts the US has traditionally played a 4-5-1 and it is my preferred formation for the current team…flat back 4 the 5 in the middle have a creative mid at the top, two speedy wingers on the flanks and 2 holding mids who interchange runs going forward.
      4. If things stay the way they are the US will never advance beyond what they have always been…we will change coaches and have promises of new and better things but will always have the same end result–the US really needs someone who is willing to challenge the way we do things–that’s how change will be effective.

      • I think the most straight-forward way to get low income players into the soccer picture is to improve middle school and high school soccer. That would entail a massive education effort aimed at the school coaches and for it to be truly effective would require all the state associations to extend the soccer season beyond 2-3 months to one encompassing most of the school year (and indoor Futsal for the winter).

        Sadly I have no magic wand to make all that happen.

      • Ideally what I’d like to see is more of an academy structure with education as a component-here in the city they developed science and tech academies for middle and high school kids who showed excelled in those fields-they focus mostly on those areas of study but still take other traditional classes…it’s no different in sports–if you have a kid who is talented athletically let him focus on that but as a component of the sports academy you also require they attend regular classes as well.

      • why would a new coach promise new and better things? who cares about that. promises are worthless, see the current status quo for proof. come in and work hard and know that you will be judged and held accountable based on your results…like it is for any coach anywhere else in the world. that’s all

        and things are changing here and were before JK showed up, what are you talking about? it’s such the knee jerk defense to today’s JK USMNT dilemma. Arena took a team to the quarters and beat Mexico along the way back in 2002, and we got screwed in the Germany game back then(germany is the most helped national team I have seen over the decades, my opinion).
        BB took the USMNT to its first ever international final how many years ago?

        these things are doable. all this focus on playing a style is cart before the horse at the senior level, and really reveals the naive understanding of our soccer culture, again my opinion

        more on how things have changed here, MLS is actually a growing league in America, there are academies now evolving, we have soccer specific stadiums now, we have 24/7 tv of the best in the world playing in our living rooms, MLS games are replayed in Germany (I still cannot beleive that!)…in 2002 all of these things were barely relevant if existing at all

  9. Some food for thought
    How can you have an MLS ALLSTAR team (MLS BEST) comprised mainly of MLS players of US decent play against a team like Tottenham, with the likes of Kane, Dembele, Erikson etc and win , yet most of these players are not featuring anywhere for the USMNT (and fanboys are crying that we just don’t have the player pool. Really?)
    Subs: Benny Feilhaber, Ethan Finlay, Chad Marshall
    Sometimes simplicity makes a world of difference. The best players are not always the right players. Minus Kaka and Villa it was an all-out American squad playing Tottemham Hotspurs, and we looked good defensively as wells as in the midfield. How can they play cohesive soccer but in our last 5 games the national team and players looked like they were allergic to the ball?
    Food for thought

    • If you think an All Star friendly match when the opponent is still in preseason mode is even remotely comparable to a US-Mexico match that has something on the line, then you do not understand this sport at all.

      • Yup I sure do think its comparable. Even though all these players are doing well with their respective clubs they are nowhere to be found in the Klinsmann’s current selections (and they have proven that they can get the job done)

        USA 2 – MEXICO 0 CONCACAF Quals – SEP 10 2013
        Starting 11 Line-up: (No Altidore, No Bradley)
        Howard, Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson, Goodson, Beasley, Beckerman, Bedoya, Jones, DONOVAN, Dempsey, Eddie Johnson
        Subs used: Parkhurst, Diskerud, Zusi

        USA 2 – Mexico 2 Friendly (No Altidore) – APR 2 2014
        Starting 11 Line-up: USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 6-Tony Beltran, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 15-Michael Parkhurst; 14-Kyle Beckerman, 19-Graham Zusi , 11-Brad Davis, 4-Michael Bradley; 17-Chris Wondolowski , 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.)
        Subs used: Yedlin, Goodson, Edu, Donovan, Green, Johnson

        USA 2 – Mexico Friendly (No Altidore) – April 15 2015
        Starting 11 Line-up: 1-Nick Rimando; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 19-Ventura Alvarado, 14-Greg Garza; 15-Kyle Beckerman, 10-Mix Diskerud, 7-Joe Corona, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 20-Gyasi Zardes, 8-Jordan Morris
        Subs Used: Evans, Ibarra, Agudelo, Shea, Yarbrough, Kitchen

        Yes I think those players would do well against a Mexican side because they have (With the exception of Dax)

    • not a single one of those players is good enough to change the reality. they are no better than what we already have. our player pool is WIDER, not deeper. the sad thing is people don’t get that. we have A LOT more mediocre talent than ever before but we have hardly any higher-end talent. until those players show up, a wider player pool only does so much.

      • I totally disagree….those players HAVE made a difference (SEE ABOVE), not even counting Feilhaber, Nyugen, Trapp, Finlay, Gil, Wood, Klesjan, McCarthy, Grella, Lletget, Nagbe etc

      • differences for their clubs, but there is nothing to suggest they provide ANYTHING that we don’t already have. just because they were involved in one lineup that got a positive result does not negate all the lineups they were in that got a negative result. overall, most of those guys do not bring enough to the table to say, for a fact, they are better than what we already have.

        Zusi – We know what he brings, I’d rather see a guy like Shipp.

        Dax – No, this is a fantasy, flavor-of-the-week pick. He brings nothing that separates himself. Certainly never convinced anyone in his callups. I’d MUCH rather stick with Williams and bring in guys like Trapp and Kitchen.

        Beltran – it wasn’t that long ago everyone was mad at him being called in. how is he a solution?

        Rimando – he’ll be there until Hamid takes it from him.

        Feilhaber – i think this is an attitude issue, but i’d like to see him.

        Finlay – he should 100% get a call up.

        Marshall – No.

        Nyugen – Finally showed something, worthy of a call up again.

        Trapp – was with U-23s, will integrate into senior team eventually.

        Gil – the guy hardly plays for RSL and looked off for U-23s. and again, he’s been with the U-23s.

        Wood – he’s already involved.

        Klesjan – no! everytime he plays for the US, it does not work. he’s played as a #8 and out of position. i like the guy, but because he is playing well for NYRB is not enough. whenever he is with the US, he does nothing.

        Grella – i wouldn’t object to a January camp.

        Lletget – have to get him into the program.

        Nagbe – have to get him into the program.

      • All of the top teams in the world pick players from the top teams in their league because when a team is winning that means a lot of things: players are in sync, there is cohesiveness on the team, and they are fit and in great shape extra:
        Dax McCarthy is one of the most solid midfielders in MLS and hasn’t lost his spot on the team or given the team a reason to find a DP. He (and Sasha Klesjan) is the reason NYRB are seeing the success are now.
        Sasha Klesjan is fit, playing CAM for NYRB and they are on top of their conference, what does that tell you? If you had DAX and Sasha in the USMNT pool things would be a little different.
        No CAM in MLS that’s USMNT eligible is playing at a higher level or contributing more for their respective teams than Nyugen, Feilhaber and Nagbe. These player are the face of their franchise.
        “Beltran – it wasn’t that long ago everyone was mad at him being called in.”….what does that have to do with anything. He was called in for Mexico game – we won, we were called in for the MLS Allstars – we won. Altidore still gets called in, right?
        We have enough players in our player pool to give any country a run for their money….and

      • i 100% disagree that Dax and Kljestan would improve the USMNT. we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

        “No CAM in MLS that’s USMNT eligible is playing at a higher level or contributing more for their respective teams than Nyugen, Feilhaber and Nagbe.”

        i have no problem with any of them, i thought I agreed with you on those three.

        “what does that have to do with anything. ”

        seriously? it means i am not going to put Beltran, a solid but limited MLS RB, into the USMNT. he had plenty of chances, had a few decent results, but as a WHOLE, did not do nearly enough to show he should be in the squad.

        Jozy may have his own issues, but you can’t possibly be comparing Jozy and Beltran’s situations. plus, Jozy has been a part of and had an immediate impact on the USMNT much more than Beltran ever has. apples and oranges. there are better options than Beltran, IMO.

      • you dont have to put Klesjan, McCarthy or Beltran anywhere. Their accomplishments are clear to see. NYRB are on top of the table and Beltran was given the nod when the BEST MLS players were called upon…..Altidore…well, as USMNT fans we are both going to feel the pain anytime he steps out on the field against top competition.
        But you are right we can agree to disagree

  10. “I see that we struggle to keep the ball,” said Klinsmann. “I see that we struggle to have a combination, a rhythm, movement off the ball where you know where the other one runs when you put the ball into space and you know that he’s running them. I see that.

    we ALL see that. My 11 year old sees that. But the solutions? which of those do you see? that’s your job Coach.

    where is the accountability for failure??? where is the integrity to accept responsibility for failure? how does one lead and hold others accountable for failure when that person is not held accountable himself? ask yourself, at your profession, would you follow someone like that, or more importantly, believe in that person? would the team building work with that person as the leader?

    • It’s tough to really rate the game last night…it was largely a B US team against Costa Rica’s A team and with plenty of new faces there was going to be a lack of chemistry. In a game like that the coach is looking for individual performances and rating whether or not the guy merits inclusion in the full US team….sadly many disappointed last night even though many were in positions more familiar to them–maybe the formation wasn’t the best but the players checking out at different moments along with poor first touches and a lack of skill to create time and space on the ball aren’t a coaches fault.

      • if it was just last night’s game we were discussing that would be one thing but even the most naive of fans knows that is not what is going on here. come on now man

        how do other coaches raise the level of play on teams when they take over? do the players magically become better technicians??? NO!
        If a coach is praised for raising the level of the play through various means (better teamwork, camaraderie, team belief, tactical brilliance, etc.), all of which raise the level of confidence, then the same works in the other direction. Lack of teamwork, lack of camaraderie, lack of team belief, lack of tactical brilliance, etc. lead to a loss of confidence and lack of belief in leadership, and that translates to the field. That’s how it is

        Sir Alex had some quote about a coach’s main job is to make the players believe the impossible is possible. Anyway, after all these years now under JK, do you believe the US players are on that track, or skidding the other way? what makes you think JK can do anything about it since he doesn’t take any responsibility for the failure? How can he affect positive change when he doesn’t even acknowledge his responsibility in this mess, so many years into his time as coach?

      • I give JK credit-he came to US Soccer and has tried different things trying to change the mindset..the problem is the talent we have in the US doesn’t fit well with the creative attacking soccer he wishes to play…a lot of people want to fire the coach and I can understand that…but does it solve the problem that the US can’t develop players to take us to that next level? My hope is that he really tries to get under USSF’s skin and make them question how we develop players….my fear is the JK gets axed and the new guy comes in (likely American) and we continue the same path of doing what we always did, never challenging, never advancing.

      • you mean like now?

        and I disagree completely that we can’t win with today’s pool. No way. Deeper than ever.

        but not playing like this obviously and MANY knew that 4 years ago. he preached one thing then capitulated to another when he couldn’t do what he said he would. You wonder why players lack confidence? How about the effect of a coach that doesn’t believe in them?

    • Firstly, it’s just a game. Secondly, it’s only “failure” if you think we deserve to automatically win all these games, because we are that good, even though we never were before. To me it’s not failure, but the result of a sport with consistently high level opposition and unpredictable outcomes – a single moment can change the result, or a reputation. Every week, plenty of great teams lose, and we aren’t even one of those teams. There are easily 50 nations we would have a difficult time defeating.

      I don’t disagree with what you said but I don’t understand why you, like so many others, are so angry.

      For the love of the sport we all should have been watching the final day of Euro qualifying yesterday, which was exciting and intense. There were a bunch of real tough battles, and results that swung in a particular direction for the smallest of reasons.

      • The USMNT has not lost like this, in the Gold Cup or on home soil. New records of failure being set. More than that, the play itself has devolved. Of course I don’t think we automatically deserve to win these games, but some of them at least!

        why the anger? Because he took over by dissing the current state and demanding all power because he knew more than others, which clearly is a pile of BS. That type of arrogant bravado comes with a cost when you fail to deliver on what you sold your employer. he dumped on all things US soccer to elevate his own standing then has performed like this. That is the anger part from me, after decades of support from me, to the current fake in charge. It hurts to have been so right on this one

        I watched Italy-Norway yesterday, watched the Turkey emotional roller coaster too. If you watch more games than I do, you’re one of the few. And I coach 5 days a week as well. Been following Chile in the CONMEBOL qualis? what do you think of that game with Peru?

      • So, what would you do about Argentina?. Their problems obviously go beyond not having Messi if they lose 2-0 at home to Ecuador (and I would argue that Ecuador is inferior to both Mexico and CR). Even without Messi they still have about 4 or 5 strikers better than anyone the US has. So, what’s the solution there? I watched most of that game, BTW.

      • or how about the Dutch for that matter? the players don’t all of the sudden suck. Argentina made their run last summer with many key players dinged up or out. Look at Iceland and how they’ve built their team, how are they doing it? with superstars or a plan that fits their reality?

      • They just missed out for the 2014 WC. I think hiring Lars Lagerback, former Sweden coach, may have made the difference. It still is a wonder how well they have done. I think Holland is a little easier to understand. Van Persie too old, Robben injured, Huntelaar more of a poacher, Wesley Schneider not like he used to be, and their defense has been suspect for some time. Argentina is a bigger mystery for me.

      • Coaching coaching coaching/ Manager manager manager! When you have a group of players that have done great things together in the past, and then you have that same group or close to the same group of players now struggle, you almost always have to look at the manager (with the one exception being if all of those players got really old).

      • LoL. Good call. That’s exactly what I was doing. DVRed the US CR match, watched plenty of good soccer. I skimmed a bit of the first half, saw more of the same and turned it off.

  11. “I see that we struggle to have a combination, a rhythm, movement off the ball where you know where the other one runs when you put the ball into space and you know that he’s running them. I see that”.
    1. No you do not, you are as blind as a bat. If you did Altidore would never start again on this team and we would have a CREATIVE midfielder like Feilhaber , Nyugen or Nagbe integrated with the starters from this point forward and we would stop playing players out of position……but it will not happen. Klinsmann is fixed in his ways and likes speed and strength rather ball control and technical abilities.
    “Guys come on’. We have to get that spirit up again and start that process of movement off the ball, combination plays, one, two-touches and all those elements. Getting back to those basics and playing as a cohesive unit would be solid first steps in rediscovering the form that allowed the U.S. to look real good in stretches in 2013 and 2014.”
    2. I call BS. What better way to establish team cohesiveness and understanding than guys already playing together in a league week after week. If he did we would have ready been experimenting with partnerships already on MLS teams to develop cohesiveness : like Jones/Nyugen/Agudelo…or Klesjan/McCarthy/Grella…or Feilhaber/Zusi/Besler…… or Zardes/Lletget/Gonzalez…….or Ulloa/Acosta/Hedges/Lloyd. NE, NYRB, Galaxy, SKC, FC Dallas are in the top 4 of their respective conferences for a reason.
    Like Howard said “It’s fine. We’ll get two wins against St. Vincent and Trinidad and everybody will be happy again.
    3. More than likely even Altidore will score against these teams and give USSF leverage and fanboys on here something to talk about, which is pathetic and the reason we are where we are.

  12. “The sun will come out tomorrow”? Seriously?

    Am I the only one who watched that game and wondered if the lack of inspiration from the players was a message that JK can’t get them to play hard anymore?

    Also, the quotes from Ream and Yedlin are less positive than matter-of-fact. Howard remains confident, but he hasn’t been a big part of the recent failures.

    • If a coach has to motivate professional players to play hard on a regular basis, it’s time to get new players. Perhaps they’re confused about what is wanted tactically and that causes hesitation, but the motivational ability of high-level coaches is highly overrated.

      • Read between my lines: the players want a new manager and were not going to fight hard for JK knowing his job is on the line.

        It’s not by accident when that many players don’t give their best effort.

      • Sorry, those lines were pretty thin. Even still, the argument doesn’t really hold much water. Every player on the field last night owes their chance to JK except for Altidore and Howard. Do you really think they’re not going to play their guts out for the guy? And effort wasn’t the issue against Mexico either. This whole idea of guys quitting on the coach is grasping at straws.

      • I don’t get that. At all.

        Most athletes at this level are hiiiighly competitive people by nature. They’ll bloody themselves not to lose a game of ping-pong. Shoot, I’ll die trying not to lose against a friend or my brothers let alone a televised competitive match.

        How about fighting for your team mates? Your position on the team. Club exposure. Your country. Pride. There are lots and lots of reasons to work hard that have nothing to do with the coach and plenty of teams that bust butt for managers they don’t love.

        What’s up? Poor/lack of tactics, defined roles, cohesiveness, confidence. Fatigue from likely lots of running in camp, emotions of losing a big game, then getting on a flight cross country to suit up in a game with a hodgepodge line up that’s never played together. They should have done better but… they were hung out to dry in a very thankless position. This team is thinking, not playing. They are way up inside their head and not in a good way. Soccer can NOT be played that way, especially at this level. When it’s right, its free, instinctual, in flow.

        Got news… they don’t have the luxury fans do. It’s on the players. Enough of this mopy a$$ sh&^%! They have to move forward assuming no one will bail them out, that JK will be there. Time for guys to man up, circle the wagons take personal responsibility man for man. We need Howard in the locker room and starting line up as he is at least the level of Guzan as a GK, and most importantly has “it”… seems to be one of the few true charismatic, confident, respected leaders. Maybe a guy like Cameron on tenure, merit, the league/level he plays in. They need a big time reset. For young talent? This is the opportunity of a life time. F’ng grab it by the balls or go home.

      • I share your sentiment. Sometimes I worry that we are raising a nation of wimps who expect things to be handed to them. What ever happened to the American spirit of fighting through adversity?

      • Yeah, that would be a great way to impress a future coach–quit on the one who is currently there. NOT. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase, when the going gets tough, the tough get going? Imagine you are a new coach reviewing video of recent games and you see players who aren’t trying hard. Are you going to say, Hey, I want that guy on my team? Try thinking things through.

  13. Klinsmann will be around until 2018 pending not qualifying for Russia 2018 or an outright player revolt. Once we accept that reality, the real issue staring this team in the face is the lack of player personnel. We cannot blame a coach for not having replacement players for those who have grown too old for this team. USSF really needs to take a hard look at itself because what they are doing isn’t working-the U-17 to U23 teams have been consistently underperforming for the last 2 cycles which has left a dearth of younger players to fill holes. US Soccer has never been able to attract the interest of the players who other countries get-“the hard knock life” neighborhoods/kids and we still rely on pay for pay club teams and school teams that routinely exclude these demographics. USSF also needs to have a discussion with MLS-there is a symbiotic relationship here and a loss in USMNT support coupled with poor form would have direct consequences for MLS as well-my opinion (probably unpopular) is that paying foreign stars insane money to come over here and play relegates our younger players to MLS academies and the benches-maybe it’s time to take a look at where the money is invested.

    If the US Soccer team wants to just plug a hole we can fire the coach (popular opinion) and bring in someone who will bunker in and do what we do best for the last 20 years. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo-but I’m an optimist- maybe we can try something new within our system to aid player development to prevent future managers from having to do the same old, same old every qualifying cycle and really never moving beyond what the actual reality is-we just aren’t good enough and it is not changing anytime soon.

    • That may be true, but it also absolves JK — and any coach — of any real responsibility. On the contrary, I believe that coaching, from player selection and evaluation to tactics, does matter.

      • I think the responsibility for player development should be placed on USSF and we should question whether what they are doing is right. The end product with who actually plays is a coach’s responsibility-I think JK has done a good job but has been frustrated by the deficiencies and what he wanted to do–in the end he had better go back to what has gotten us results before because he will have to for this generation-otherwise it’s a real possibility Russia 2018 may elude us.

    • Ryan, the fans who can be honest about things realizes that this team is short on world class talent, even class talent but the gripe is not about the players in the pool but the players that are being brought into camps for meaningful games(even non meaningful ones) and being played out of position. The gripe is also with the players that are being left at home that can contribute to this team right now but aren’t given a chance for either personal or lord knows what other reasons. This is also a manager who continues to throw his players under the bus and deflects criticism away from himself at all cost because in his mind nothing is ever his fault. Players really get behind a coach that in rough moments, can relieve some pressure by absorbing the criticism because at the end of the day he chooses the game plan and the players. JK wants his players to embrace pressure and to rise up and take it head on and that’s all fine and well, i get that, but at what point does this manager himself take pressure and criticism head on the way his is asking his players to?? This is why Donovan was spot on in my opinion.

      None of us knows who the right manager for this team is going forward, it doesn’t seem to be Klinsmann if recent results and a seemingly unproductive environment surrounding the team mean anything, but what is apparent is the US team is still playing a defensive brand of soccer 5 years after a “more progressive” style was promised. So with that being said along with the current nature of the team i don’t think its unjust to say we should cut our loses and bring in a new manager

    • There seem to be several players each from the U-23’s and U-20’s that can contribute in the future, but it looks like at least 6 to 8 years before we can plug in some adequate reinforcements and I would venture to guess that even that is problematic.

  14. Klinsmann will turn it around but Mexico will be tops for a while. This is CONCACAF after all and it’s not like our tactics were that complicated. All we have to do is out hustle teams like St. Vincent and the players will start to believe in The Chosen one again.
    Don’t expect this team to do much better than previous ones tho, the players are just not good enough to contend in a higher stage.

    • I don’t think that’s right. The players seem to sense that JK is done – whether that takes a month or three years to play out. You can see it in their body language on and off the field, their lack of focus and drive on the field. I’m guessing there isn’t a player with more than 10 caps who would say JK definitively knows more about soccer than does that player – and that’s when the ship is in danger of slamming into rocks.

      • “I;’m guessing there isn’t a player with more than 10 caps who would say JK definitively knows more about soccer than does that player – and that’s when the ship is in danger of slamming into rocks.”Considering Klinsmann’s experience as a player and coach, he would have to have the intellectual development of a moron for this to be true. I find it hard to take anyone seriously when they make statements like this. Do you know anything about the guy? You may disagree with his approach or say he isn’t the right person for the job, but to claim he knows almost nothing about the game is just stupid.

      • When you compare him to any player with more than 10 caps, that is strongly implied. I think Zardes already has more than 10 caps by now. C’mon, get serious.

      • I’d say Zardes also knows more than ‘almost nothing’ about the game. He probably knows that settling in on a core group of defenders is a good thing. I don’t know.

      • the MLS team I follow has a competent coach who I trust could replace his international players w/ his choice of US players and the team would be better. This whole its the lack of players thing is bunk, the actual team is awful, there is talent well beyond the level the USMNT plays at.

      • it’s totally bunk when used as an excuse for current results. are there challenges with skill level in the pool? YES! they were there for Sampson, the Bruce and BB as well, and were in full frontal view for JK when he promised the moon and dissed current affairs to win his contract with all that control those many years ago. JK wanted all the keys to the car. Now the car is sputtering and it’s everyone else’s responsibility?

        win anyway

      • BA and BB had Donovan and Dempsey in their primes. Does JK have any attacking players even close to that level at his disposal?

        Also, the competitive level of CONCACAF is much higher now than it was during their tenures. Yet we have improved only slightly if at all. It’s the same reason Mexico barely made it. You can’t coast in this region and expect to get through any more.

      • wow, the excuses are astounding…where was all this realistic thinking when so many were believing the snake oil? and ripping on those who saw otherwise?
        of course you can’t coast in this region…when could we??? JK has Dempsey and could have had LD, that was a coach’s decision many lauded here

      • JK does not have the same Dempsey and Donovan as Bradley and Arena did. Not even close. Stop being obtuse.

        I’m not making excuses for anything, I just like to see actual logic and sound reasoning instead of vitriol when somebody is calling for major changes.

      • How has MLS improved its quality so much over the last few years? Is it because of all kinds of American young talent? No. Is it because of guys like Dempsey, Altidore, and Bradley returning to MLS? No. It’s because of the influx of foreign talent like Giovinco, Diego Valeri, Lloyd Sam, Robbie Keane, Kaka, Dos Santos and a whole bunch of players who were stars in MUCH BETTER leagues than MLS. The idea that we can find a whole bunch of better US players on MLS rosters is a fantasy. Many have been tried and found wanting.


        Jurgen doesnt get his quality or non-quality to play well, what was the excuse at Bayern?

      • You sound like the proverbial kid opening the refrigerator and is full of stuff and claim “there is nothing to eat!”

    • None of the new guys who played yesterday did anything to show they deserved more pt outside of Ream and maybe Bobby Wood.
      Yedlin is a 1 trick pony who can come off the bench in the right situation but really struggles in so many areas of his game. Brek Shea was terrible. Just terrible. Danny Williams was careless. Zardes was continuously pushed around. Mix was absolutely invisible in his 45 minutes. The drop in midfield influence from JJ to Mix was clear for all to see.
      I thought Tim Ream was pretty solid and Bobby Wood is constantly making his presence known. He might lack a bit of the quality to be a starter internationally, but he is always making himself available for the ball, always tracks back to pressure the ball and has no shortage of confidence to run at defenders. That can’t be said of anyone else who played yesterday.

      • Agree. I’d add Evans showed determination with 2 shot on goal blocks to merit inclusion in the WC qualifying squad for the group stage.

      • Evans has character and determination but not quality. To me he looked scared every time the Costa Ricans closed him down and really made some bad decisions with the ball playing other guys into trouble…JJ had a go at him at one point for a really poor pass and Evans put Orozco into a few dodgy situations with back passes…he is not a long term solution and I’d like to see other options at the RB-we need to get FJ into the left midfield role and need a right back to step up an hold that position.

      • I agree Evans was not very good. He made 2 key blocks that were sure goals which was nice to see. Other than that he, like the rest of the team, was sloppy with the ball. I like Brad Evans. He is clearly an intelligent, hard working player, but he just isn’t good enough to be a long term option.

      • I though Ream was actually the brightest spot last night in the game. When watching the game he was cool under pressure…a few times I even noted when the ball was in the US’s defensive third he was able to pass out of pressure or get by the onrushing Costa Ricans and find open teammates to at least start an attack. It’s no surprise that the majority of the US’s dangerous attacks (very few lol) came from the left side-when JK subbed him out the entire back line went to chaos and CR just abused that side for the rest of the game-not coincidence.

      • “None of the new guys who played yesterday did anything to show they deserved more pt outside of Ream and maybe Bobby Wood.”
        How do you expect new players to shine when even Bradley, Dempsey and Altidore look lost as ever? How do you expect new players to come in and excel when you are bringing in a whole lot of new players in at one time….even the old ones can’t seem to find rhythm

      • Its not really an expectation to ‘shine’ as you say, but there were almost 0 positives from any of those guys. I was looking for any reason to be optimistic.
        Yedlin is an absolute turnover machine. His decision making is poor. He can’t play under any sort of pressure. A player cannot play at this level and give the ball away as often as he does. Get him the ball in space when he is running full speed 1v1 and he is really dangerous, but other than that I don’t see it at this point. Hopefully we see some growth from him at Sunderland.
        Brek Shea was really bad. I’ve never been a fan, but to me this was an all time worst performance from him. All I see is a tall, fast, left footed player. I hate when people completely write off a player, but I just do not see any international future for this guy.
        Zardes disappointed big time. He got a chance to start up front and struggled. He does not hide from the ball which is a good sign. Always checking to or away from the ball, but he was not on his game tonight.
        How many touches did Mix Diskerud get in 45 mins? Not near enough. He was nowhere near involved enough as a center mid on either side of the ball. To me, that’s a symptom of a player hiding from the game. I did not see enough activity from him. Again, the drop in midfield quality was soooo clear once he replaced Jones. Mix is a clever player in the final third, but the other 2/3 of the field he isn’t good enough.

      • Wow, that’s fatalistic. These boards are reaching depressing levels of loathing.

        Time to go get some fresh air.

      • Well, not screwing up and playing with intensity, heart and passion would be an improvement. We didn’t see much of these qualities.

  15. For better or for worse, Howard may be right. It just means that JK will face no real evaluation for three more years. Until then, we will have to trust that he can tight the ship. I just worry that if he can’t, the damage will take a long time to repair. At a minimum, I see plenty of wasted time and wasted opportunity.

    • all these players are content with this is what I read from Howard. Whats it really to them? USMNT has been great for Jozy, got him paid triple his Euro wages while failing. They are content with beating T&T and St. Vincent, wow.

      • I don’t see it that way. I don’t think Howard was saying that would satisfy the players. He was saying that would at least take away some of the sense of doom surrounding this team. In that sense, I think he’s right, though I’m not 100 percent sure we’ll beat both right now. We have no tactical cohesion, and if we struggle against either, I’m not sure that alleviates any doom and gloom.

      • What did you expect him to say? “We’re awful, we played with no heart we have little chance of qualifying. Is that what you want to hear from one of your premier players? I thought he took just the right tone.

    • If he stays, do our chances of missing the next World Cup go up?

      Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Panama are all showing real signs of improvement, while we’re slipping under our wunder coach, and possibly even on the verge of collapsing. We’ve got a nice string of qualifications going. It would be a shame to break that.

      • Does merely making the World Cup matter? Right now,mew wouldn’t make it out of a group including Tahiti, Bhutan and the Faroe Islands.

      • Being there is better than not being there.

        If losing the Gold Cup hurt, try to imagine what it would feel like to not even be in Russia. I’d rather scrape through qualifiers and take a three-and-out there than not go.

      • True, but we supporters have come to hope for and expect – in part as a result of JK’s promises – more than a three-and-out. It appears inevitable that JK will be the coach through this cycle, even if the team flames out in qualifying. That is, Gulati is wedded to Klinsmannn regardless of any interim results. And in light of the past year, that is risky.

      • Ridiculous exaggeration doesn’t help. We did beat Peru and finished on top of the group in the Gold Cup. We need to improve a whole lot, but please be realistic.

      • Do people not remember the Jamaica game? That game the US were dominating and a mistake from Guzan probably two mistakes allowed them to score two goals. then Mexico went to beat them easily in the final pretty easily

  16. When you play Jones and WIlliams (Mr. Turnover) in central mid while sitting Mix and Lee… what do you expect for shots? Then to stiff Nugyen with only 12-13 minutes and at outside mid, I am glad the “sparce” crowd booed Klinsmann. I just wish I could have been there to add my boo to the mix.

    FIRE KLINSMANN NOW He has lost the team

    • I was wondering about that Hank, and I’m glad you brought it up. It’s been many years since I’ve been to a US game in person, and the experience back then appears to be completely different than what it is today in terms of sheer numbers and overall support. This is great to see, but I’m curious, for those of you who regularly attend, what’s the response to a horrible performance like that against Costa Rica? How do the fans at the stadium react during and after the game? Back when I saw the US team, it was exciting and we supported the team with the handful of people in the stands, and even after witnessing a poor performance we clapped in support. But, things have changed and I’ve changed. Our program has grown. So, at this stage in our development, how do the fans react now after witnessing a performance like that? Are there boos? It sounds like there were. I’m hoping that there are (and were). I hope that these players and the team hear it directly from the regulars in real-time at the stadium because that performance was pathetic.

      • I think the fans are disappointed. It was always going to be a difficult game to get up for after a defeat to the arch rivals just a few days prior. I actually watched the pre-game on Univision Deportes and it looked like there were more Costa Rican fans there then American. When they did the CR National Anthem they had the cameras focused on a group of CR fans–when the anthem switched over to the US anthem the CR fans on camera actually placed their hands on their hearts and sang the US anthem word for word-I though that was pretty cool…but 9000 for a Tuesday night game is a poor showing-I think RBA seats 27000 so 1/3 full doesn’t give it much atmosphere and tat can affect players as well

      • I think the fans spoke even before the ball was placed for initial kickoff. When is the last time you heard about any USMNT home game where attendance was under 10k?

      • This. Given this was announced during the build-up to The Goldest Cup, where people were already voicing their displeasure with JK, I’m not surprised at the attendance.

        The timing is bad as well. It makes little sense to put a friendly after such a big game.

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