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The SBI View: Klinsmann won’t be fired if USMNT loses CONCACAF Cup, but he should be

Jurgen Klinsmann USMNT 21

photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports


It has been far from a banner year for the U.S. Men’s National Team, and pressure is really ramping up as a result.

The U.S. will play its biggest game since last summer’s World Cup this Saturday by facing off with arch-rival Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup. A berth to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia and bragging rights will be up for grabs, meaning that this match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, holds more weight than all the others the Americans have played this year.

This highly-anticipated affair would have been avoidable had the U.S. won a second consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, but Jurgen Klinsmann’s side flamed out of the competition by losing in the semifinals. Adding insult to injury and further hurting a bruised ego was the fact that the Americans lost the third-place game to Panama via penalty kicks, leaving the U.S. without a top-three finish in the regional tournament for the first time since 2000.

The lack of success at the Gold Cup and the poor and, frankly, erratic performances throughout left many U.S. fans to call for Klinsmann’s head. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has publicly stuck by Klinsmann in the aftermath of that failure, but the displeased voices have only grown louder, with some – like retired player Landon Donovan – coming out and saying this week that Klinsmann should get the axe if he does not win this weekend.

There might be those on the outside that believe that such a move would be overreacting, but, in all honesty, it wouldn’t be.

The U.S. has looked far from a cohesive team this year, with performances being anything but consistent. There were a couple of solid showings in come-from-behind wins against the Netherlands and Germany in June and a strong one prior to that vs. Mexico’s B Team in April, but the momentum from all that was killed off by a subpar Gold Cup group-stage campaign and subsequent shock elimination to Jamaica in the semifinals.

Losing happens – this is pro sports, after all – but the way in which the U.S. has gone about its business is concerning. There has been no semblance of an identity on the field for the Americans this year. No set style of play. Some players even talked last month about the U.S. losing a bit of its never-say-die attitude. The constant tinkering with lineups and rosters from Klinsmann surely has not helped.

Klinsmann has picked up several good results in his tenure as U.S. coach doing things his way, but there is no denying that he has struggled for consistent performances and victories in 2015 in games that either matter or are against equal or superior opposition. That has put the direction of the program into question, especially since World Cup qualifying is around the corner.

If Klinsmann adds to this year’s woes with another major letdown on Saturday, he should absolutely be fired. Not only would a defeat be the latest in a series of major setbacks for the U.S., but it would also mean that the Americans miss out on competing in a tournament in the 2017 Confederations Cup that Klinsmann has stressed as being important.

That lack of success would cost Klinsmann his job in most other nations across the world. Heck, former U.S. head coach Bob Bradley  was fired more or less for the same thing four years ago.

The 51-year-old Klinsmann should, however, be surpassing, not matching what Bradley did. Klinsmann has to be held to a higher standard because he is being paid more handsomely – much more handsomely – and has talked a big game about changing the U.S. into a team that is more proactive and less reactive.

How then can Klinsmann explain the U.S. being outshot 36-17, per U.S. Soccer statistics, against Honduras, Haiti, and Panama in the group stage of the Gold Cup four years into his tenure? That’s a mind-blowing statistic on its own, and even more astonishing given the homefield advantage the U.S. had in the tournament, and the talent superiority the Americans possess.

How can Klinsmann also continuously ignore attack-minded players who are putting up good numbers in MLS like Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, and Lee Nguyen in favor of Mix Diskerud, Alfredo Morales, and Kyle Beckerman? That demonstrates a confusing contradiction in the coach’s own ideas.

All this could still be somewhat overlooked if the U.S. was getting better results, but it isn’t. Beating Germany and the Netherlands in friendlies is nice, but is it that much better than, say, topping Spain in the Confederations Cup? Yes, you can point to getting out of a tough group in the 2014 World Cup as an accomplishment, but the end result of being bounced out in the Round of 16 was exactly the same as it was four years prior.

Klinsmann with his experience and knowledge is supposed to elevate the U.S. program, and there are no real signs that he is doing that. He has expanded the player pool, introduced new ideas, and challenged the status quo, but it has not translated consistently on the field, especially not this year.

There has been talk from Klinsmann about helping transform the U.S. into a soccer-crazed nation, one in which a lack of results leads to intense scrutiny, pressure, and occasional changes.

That is all slowly beginning to happen, so Klinsmann better deliver on Saturday vs. Mexico. He would deserve to be fired otherwise. Even if he won’t be.


  1. Hey, How come Sunil Gulati gets a free pass if JK screws up. This tenure of his is starting to feel like Sepp Blatter. How come no one says anything about removing this guy. Is he not liable for bad results? His time has passed. Time for a new boss. One with a soccer backround maybe

  2. One hundred and forty-three comments later, will anyone read this?
    For what it’s worth:
    I’ve been a Klinsy supporter from the beginning. I love all the German-Americans, didn’t mind his LD move, the way he has challenged people, or some of the semi-ridiculous stuff he says. And I want to believe.
    So last night I had a dream–true story, true confession–and the USMNT were playing Mexico. Rose Bowl. Saturday night. And the game started and BOOM, USMNT comes out playing like a machine, Deuce like a bat out of hell makes a Messi-like run to slot one past the Mexican keeper in the first minute and it was crazy and I’m like, no way, this is crazy, and then we just kept pouring it on, and on and on. Mexico was lost. We were going to Russia. And then, wierd, I noticed I was feeling a little sick. I wasn’t enjoying the victory. What’s up, the dreaming me thought. And then on cold leather seats it suddenly struck me, the idea of another year of more Klinsman-the-Mad-Scientist was more than I could take. I was tired of it all, nonsense tactics, line-ups that make no sense, a refusal to give a chance to certain players, a team that looks like a mess. I was done.
    Then I awoke and started making excuses.
    True story.

  3. Looking back, the reason to say farewell to Bunker Bob was because the team had no upward trajectory. Every game was played more or less the same way…bunker in on defense, hope for a quick goal on a counter, preferably early in the match, protect a lead by further bunkering. If the team fell behind, that was pretty much it. It was not attractive soccer, but the USMNT had stable lineups that rarely varied, and reliably won games they should have, but almost never won games against superior sides (not that many such games were ever arranged). They reliably qualified for the WC but only made it out of group play about 50% of the time.

    We can argue all night about whether the USMNT is better now for the last several years without coming to agreement. What is certainly true is that the USMNT is different, plays differently and is on a different path. Whether they will eventually be successful will only be answered if they continue on that path. Personally, I think going back isn’t going to get fans the results they want. The only choice is whether JK is the right coach to continue reforming US soccer or another would do better. In my opinion, collecting JK’s scalp right now will set US soccer back for the next 10 years, because the message will be loud and clear: we will sacrifice the upside that can come with bringing in more players and trying out different formations as long as we get regular wins. That means settling on a lineup and a formation which will almost certainly be conservative defend and counter, route one football. I hope we never go back to that, but it seems like the most likely thing to happen.

    • Actually there is a really interesting study about how bad international football is compared to the domestic leagues because of how conservative 99% of the coaches are. I agree with you. getting rid of JK now results in some backslide into the conservative bunker-ball… because that is the natural tendency when winning matters and your player pool is not up to snuff.

      • What does “bad” mean in your first sentence?

        I would agree that national teams rarely work together very well, because they spend so little time together and because most of them are basically all-star teams. National coaches often do not have the option of choosing only players that fit one sort of system or that complement each other. (think Gerard and Lampard).

        I would agree that national teams often play cautiously, stressing defense and possession, partly because, again, they have relatively little time to develop cohesion and, more important, because those are the tactics that are most likely to produce a win.

        I don’t agree that this is somehow “bad” soccer. Soccer is a competitive sport. The object is to score more goals than the other team. The only good soccer is soccer that increases your chances to win.

        Regardless of what many fans and some pundits say, stressing attack in soccer does not necessarily increase your chances of winning. In fact, quite the contrary, in many cases. Ask any coach.

        US fans have accepted the notion that Bradley is some sort of second rate coach because of his approach to games. Nonetheless, nearly all national teams use similar tactics. The number of national teams that play wide open, attacking, free flowing soccer can be counted on the fingers of one hand and some of them have no serious chance of succeeding so their tactics don’t matter one way or the other. In the last World Cup, who played “good soccer?” Italy? England? Argentina?

        The notion that introducing a more attacking style will somehow lead to better US teams has it all backwards. If, in the unlikely situation that the US produced a couple dozen world class players, playing differently might make sense (I doubt it) but until then Bradley’s approach is still way to handle the national team.

      • Under Coach Bob we were completely one-dimensional, and this cost us games. We couldn’t string together more than two passes at a time and when we needed to attack we were utterly lacking in creativity.

        Under Klinsmann, not only do we defend better (we allowed fewer goals), we are much better at maintaining possession and more dangerous in the attacking third. Sometimes all we can do is defend and hope for the best, but at least we do have a Plan B and can take the game to our opponents when we’re playing well. Coach Bob’s team could not have played the way we did after falling behind Portugal or Belgium (in the final minutes).

  4. Dont know if you guys realize but the next coach is basically all but decided.
    Jk will stay on as TD after 2018 and Herzog will coach the national team.

    • That’s very possible.
      Which brings up another point.
      We’ve hired Berti as “adviser” who has been at JKs side since Brazil.
      Berti has a pretty strong resume. I doubt JK brought him in to NOT listen to him.

    • I hadn’t thought about it… but that is something to chew on… now I am more interested in seeing the olympics to see what Herzog’s plan is.

  5. CO, do you really think Loew would say anything negative about his friend JK? See what the Bayern Munich players said about him. If you don’t, please subscribe to Sirius Satellite Radio and listen to what players who played in Germany have to say about the System before JK was a Manager there. How long did he manage the German Team. Not long enough to impact or make the changes he is credited for. Each Club Team had already had their Academy in place to develop their players through various age group. My apology was for the name calling.

    • He didn’t have to say anything either, and he credits having the job from JK as well. Yes, I go to Sirius for my fact based news with Howard Stern.

  6. Look, does anyone really think at this point that JK knows what he’s doing? If we beat Mexico, he probably has the job through the start of qualifying. If we lose to Mexico, his days are numbered. It would be one thing if the players loved him, but they don’t. Their silence regarding him is at times deafening. Personally, I think he understands what players need to do (he was world class at that and he mentions it endlessly), but it’s not at all clear to me that he understands what coaches need to do, or that there’s a difference.

    • How do you know how his players feel about him?
      The answer is you have no clue. Neither do I.
      You know how LD, Lalas, and Twellman feel about him…
      How do you think Beckerman and Beasley feel?
      What about any of the new guys who may or may not have ever gotten a look?
      Or Yedlin who wasn’t good enough to go to Brazil and now is in the EPL?
      Or Zardes who has the most starts this year? Who was it from the LAG that said last week Zardes came back from Jan camp and his NT call ups a completely different person and player?
      You have no idea how any of them feel

      • You’re right, I don’t *know*. But I’m pretty sure they don’t like him. What’s to like? He accuses them of being out of shape. He hangs them out to dry when his tactics and selections are questionable. He has zero accountability. Who would like that?

      • First you don’t know, then you’re pretty sure.
        I’d be willing to bet the locker room is like a lot of locker rooms. Some like him, some don’t. Some like him but don’t agree with some things, and vice versa.
        But you made a blanket statement based on your opinion of him. Otherwise I would have thought you could give some examples

  7. This article is a joke. Firing a manager every time the team has a bad run of form is ridiculous. Teams that do this set themselves up for failure (Mexico).

    The points about the line-ups are stupid as well. Sacha Kljestan and Feilhaber are not an international caliber players. Mix Diskerud was dropped. Everyone can play the lineup game, especially with these flavor of the month MLS players. Everyone has their own ideal lineup and it will be different from the coach’s. It’s not grounds for dismissing a coach…no one called for Sabella’s head when Tevez was dropped even when they protested it because they team played well.

  8. The decision is not just dependent on the senior national team game:

    – If the US wins the CONCACAF playoff, JK stays no question
    – If the US loses the CONCACAF playoff but the US advances to the Olympics, JK stays
    – If the US loses both games, JK is gone

    JK was brought in to develop the entire program – not just the senior national team. Moreover, despite the rest of the world not really caring, the US is all about the Olympics. So, the spin will be that the senior team had a mis-step, but JK is building the program overall. I know that isn’t the preference of most people on this site, but I think it’s the reality.

  9. You are right. My apologies. I’d like you to research JK’s playing and managerial history. Check out the bio on the current German players.

  10. Can someone tell me what impact JK has had on the U17, U20 or U23? None! These players ‘ development had already started before JK took over as Coach. I’ve never seen someone gotten so much credit for doing so little. When you reflect on his qualification and track record its a joke. He took over a German Team playing the WC at home. He was just a figure head while Low was doing the dirty work. Sunil credits him for changing the German infrastructure and mindset regarding soccer development but the infrastructure had already been in place. Germany started winning when they started using players who are dual citizenship, mainly Turkish and Polish players. JK has never and will never be an effective Coach. He was exposed at Bayern Munich. Only in a Country like ours would he survive this long without true progress. The Team played better during his first couple of months. Donovan is right, he needs to be held accountable. As Americans, we need to change our mindset. There are Coaches available to take over from JK. I notice that a few people have made fun of Mexico’s new Coach. Guys, they may have the last laugh. They have won U17 and U23 Championship. We need to learn from them. Yes, they have had multiple Coaches this year. But at the end of the day they were crowned GC Champion. Wishful thinking will not make us winners. It takes a competent Coach to put it together. From day one I said JK is not that person. Its good to play friendly games. These games matter because these games are used to develop chemistry and gauge the progress of the players and the effectiveness of your system. The majority of the time the USA takes the field the Team looks like 10 strangers playing kick ball. This is a reflection of the Coach. It’s time to cut the purse string and let him go. All we’ve heard from JK is excuses. When will USSF hold him accountable. Oh, I forgot, it’s run by incompetent bloated individuals. I watched the U23 play some attractive ball during the current Tournament. I’d hate to see JK get his hands on these guys.

  11. The correct answer to any question in the form “Should [person] be fired for [failing in small sample of performance]?” is, literally 100 percent of the time, no.

    Either Klinsmann should be fired now, or he should NOT be fired after the Mexico game. (I tend to think the latter, but at least the former is a coherent view.) Either way, though, the result of one game is far too little to warrant switching your views.

    • Even more so because this game could be a veteran heavy roster that won’t tell us much about the future, one way or another.

  12. How bad is it when one of the best arguments for keeping a coach is that we can’t immediately think of a replacement?
    I have never thought Jurgen was the right choice — limited coaching experience, no meaningful exposure to American soccer or American soccer players, as a star player himself an unlikely candidate for coaching success, the many suggestions that his time at Munich and the German national team were not happy ones for everyone else and so on.
    For me, Gulati is the real culprit. Apparently knows little or nothing about coaching soccer. Like many Americans seems ready to believe that any foreigner knows more about soccer than Americans and so on. And paying Jurgen so much money and giving him control of the development program as well as the national team are the actions of a complete amateur.
    Gulati has already said he will not fire Jurgen based on the result of Saturday’s game — perhaps another indication that Gulati doesn’t understand management. But in his defense, USSF would owe Jurgen a fortune and surely has no replacement lined up. If Jurgen walked off in a huff, not entirely out of the question, USSF would be in disparate straits in the short term.
    That said, I am sure that the US includes more than a few coaches who could do a creditable job with the national team. You have to accept that coaching a national team is different from coaching a club team and in key ways easier. With so much less practice time, you can do only so much coaching and, in most cases, man-management is more important because you are dealing with what amounts to an all-star team.

  13. There are no excuses for the gold cup disaster but to fire JK would make us just another football association run on emotion and hysteria. Hopefully Gulati will have the foresight to steer clear of that. instead of simply calling for the head of the coach, how about some serious questioning of tactics, squad selections and investigation into long term health of football in the country. If JK is failing on those fronts, sure fire him but not without a clear plan on how to go forward. Just bringing in a new coach is not going to turn us into a great team.

  14. So delusional. You fire Klinsmann and then what? You still have the same problem: your players suck and no coach can change that. If anything he should stay and help you recruit as many of Germany’s sloppy seconds as possible. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    • They were going to go with the US anyway. We can offer a spot at a World Cup while they aren’t going to get with Germany. Klinsmann is given far to much credit for this.

      • This is true. Most people think he recruited all of em, except for Jones, when the truth is very different.
        But he’s gotten a ton of criticism for the Duals.
        Is that fair criticism or just an argument that fits a narrative?

  15. Okay.. great opinion article. But could you have waited to drop this until Saturday night or Sunday morning (in the event of a loss)?

    I think Sunil made a huge mistake stating no matter how bad we play no pressure until after 2018..and now we are all doing the opposite by overreacting before the game…

    He should be on the hot seat and the fans and federation should be letting him know that, and no player or staff should be guaranteed more than the current game at the International level. We shouldn’t be debating what we do after future losses or if the fed has the finances or courage to make the move — all before the game even happens!

  16. Klinnsman has set the stage for his current coaching status to be judged by this one performance against Mexico. It’s probably not what he would have chosen, however, I’m sure he embraces it at the same time. How fitting that it is against Mexico.

    So if the USMNT take this one game, and if they do it convincingly, all bets are off and the arguments are mute for him being fired. I still don’t see us winning in Italy for the first time, winning in Mexico City for the first time, and pulling of come from behind wins in Germany and Holland on their turf with another coach. He’s seen way more than any other coach that would be a candidate to lead the USMNT.

  17. Ok-Counterpoints:
    1. Who are the players mentioned in the article? I’ve heard nothing of the sort. And I’d be willing to bet Strauss, Lalas, Twellman, Wahl,etc. anyone in the media would be DYING to write up a story like that if there was any specific grumbling in the locker room.

    2. How can one make the argument that his lineup “tinkering” has crushed us, yet say he’s significantly expanded the player pool in the same sentence?
    – How do you see what players can compete unless you play them and find out?
    – Since Brazil we’ve played the 4-4-2 diamond almost every game
    – People have taken the Alvarado bust and expanded it to a narrative that applies to everyone???
    – People BLEW UP and hit the tipping point vs Brazil
    (Guess what fans, playing 1 guy-Bedoya- in a new spot didn’t lose that game. Busquets would have made zero difference. We looked horrible-and we looked about the same last time we played them)

    3. I see tons of people complaining, but how consistent are the solutions?
    -I’ll read in the same sentence that someone should start over Jozy, then read JK is stubborn about his favorites, then when he sits Jozy the response isn’t that he held him to a standard, but he should have never called him.
    – I see in this article the case of BF, Sasha, and Nguyen. Bennie and Sasha have had tons of chances with the Nats, so how can one argue that he won’t call in retreads if they can help?
    Remember Beasley? Beckerman? Eddie? Edu? Or do people only remember the ones that fit their narrative.
    – Where are these magical players you all speak of?
    Why didn’t he call in Llegget who has played 20 pro games yet was hot and now cold?
    If there’s a ton of guys to choose from, but nobody can agree on more than one or two, maybe there’s a different issue?
    Nobody is willing to accept the possibility that we just don’t have a lot of good players.
    More to choose from doesn’t mean more Good ones.

    4. Some experiments work, some don’t-But people cherrypick the ones that don’t fit their narrative:
    – Why is Yedlin going to Brazil? Why is Yedlin at Right wing?
    Landon Donovan says Yedlin should start at right wing Saturday vs Mexico-How many of you knew that??? Is it different now that Landon says it?
    -Why is he calling a College kid? Who is Wood?
    Now everyone wants Morris or Wood
    Why does he keep calling in Ibarra? (When’s the last time he did? When it fit a narrative?)

    Look, I’m not saying that he’s without fault.
    I’m not saying I’ve agreed with every decision.
    But the percentages of detractors vs supporters has remained the same at about 65%-35% since he cut Landon. Every poll I’ve seen has had similar results.

    But there’s a counterpoint to every issue, and I’d ask this- Why is every pregame about 90% JK talk? Does that happen on NFL Sunday Countdown? MNF? Was every discussion about the NT 90% about the coach when it was BB or BA? No it wasn’t. Even the EPL people will still discuss players etc. when talking about Jose Mourinho. Same with Pep. Ferguson… etc. It’s never the only storyline, especially not for years.
    But with Lalas, Twellman, et al…. He’s the only story…and always has been….
    I could give many specific examples to further illustrate my counterpoints…

    Just be careful what you wish for…
    (Ask Texas fans NOW about their opinions of Mack Brown & Charlie Strong)

    • The hatred for Klinsmann and the black and white views of the national team is mixed with MLS, Donovan, MLS fans and Donovan fans bitterness towards a man that have mostly opposite views about soccer than MLS. Klinsmann’s culture is clashing with a league that actually looks down on everything about soccer, but how the game is played.

      • Thnx Concorde:
        I’ve thrown out a hypothetical question a bunch of times here, and only gotten 5 responses:
        Your Tourney life is on the line:
        US player is out on the wing 1v1 attacking. He has to either beat his man to the end line and deliver a good cross, or beat his man inside and create his own shot.
        Name that US player…..

        Here’s the 5 answers I’ve got:
        -Landon (GW said that)
        -Yedlin (Can’t remember him ever creating a shot for himself)
        -Jozy (?????)
        -Fabian (Would be my choice)
        -We don’t have that type of player or team, but that’s not the issue (Yes that was one answer)

      • I’m going to get killed for this one but I’d go with Brek Shea. He’d at least give it a shot. However that answer is pretty telling and you have a good point.

      • you’re probably not getting many answers because wtf is the point of your question?

        – are you complaining about our lack of wing talent?
        – are you trying to unfavorably compare anonymous internet commenters’ solutions to someone getting paid millions to come up with a solution?
        – or are you *still* amazed that different people will have different opinions?

      • WTF is the point?
        -If you can’t come up with at least 1 or 2 guys on a squad, any squad, who is an obvious answer, what does that tell you about the skill level or quality available? I have consistently maintained that there’s a difference between who we think we are vs who we really are-Perceived self vs Actual self. I use examples and question others rather than change my opinion with the flavor of the day Ex.(Why is he calling this Wood bum in? Why isn’t Wood on this roster)

        And thanks for the sarcasm, but you totally miss my point about the “amazement” & “opinions”
        Opinions are like A-Holes… u know the phrase.
        My point has always been, if there was anything close to a consensus on anything, it would make one’s point more valid.
        Ex-Alvarado isn’t ready, most agree right? So do I.
        Ex-Jill Ellis doesn’t know what she’s doing games 1-4, one tactical shift later we run away with the tourney & her contract is extended.

        I also asked a hypothetical question after the Brazil game- Everyone name me your starting 11 + 3 subs.
        I’d be willing to bet, Fabian would be the only consensus one on the list, maybe MB or Deuce.
        Then- I asked where would each play?

        So my point has always been, if there were just a few tweaks that would make us better, you could narrow down the issues. IMO it’s not that easy. Mostly I believe we’re just a wider pool of players, not deeper.

        JK may not be the solution-I don’t know, but he ain’t the only problem like this narrative.
        I’d have more respect for someone’s opinion that said, “I don’t know all the issues or answers, I just know something ain’t right” vs someone that will obsess over Bedoya playing 1 half out of position in a friendly vs a top 3 country and apply that narrative to every player in our pool since 2011

      • exxxxxactly…….

        people act like merely WANTING our team to be good will somehow make our team good, it doesn’t work like that. we are just but one country that wants to be the best. I’m sure Turkey fans want their team to be the best. i’m sure russia really wants to be the best, i guarantee egpyt wants to be great, as do all the other countries, but none of that actually matters in becoming the best. its up to the players, I’ve long been one who blames players for losses WAYYYY more than coaches. the coach can yell and scream and prepare and plan etc all he wants but if the players don’t execute then its on them. US didn’t look good against Brazil and thats the coaches fault? sure there’s a level of accountability that a coach should have but when people get so extra critical of a coach its like they’re giving a pass to the actual players that lost the game.

        so while, sure, it’d be great if we had the best talent, but WE DO NOT…… so it makes no sense when people solely say ” player X is terrible and should never get called up again”…. really? it should be less about “i hate so and so” and more about what is the optimal lineup and tactic to use for our current players. anointing youth players isn’t going to help (i.e. wood, morris, zardes, etc)

      • “My point has always been, if there was anything close to a consensus on anything, it would make one’s point more valid.”

        if that’s your point, then my response is the same as the last time you brought that up: most comments that i’ve read aren’t complaining that there isn’t a consensus (meaning thousands of people having the same solution); it’s that the one person in charge doesn’t seem to have a solution.

        and like it or not, the “bedoya” example *is* a symptom of the problem, even if not the problem itself. there was no realistic point to that experiment, and if klinsmann still doesn’t know how to practically experiment with his player pool, then (a) we shouldn’t be surprised if the team doesn’t improve, and (b) it might be time to look for a different manager.

      • It might be- or not. I honestly don’t know. Look Nate, you seem to know your stuff, and I don’t see you making some of the more outrageous statements, but you have to look at my response to you as a whole. I’ve been consistent with what I’ve said. My examples or questions are to illustrate that I don’t see this in black and white. You should admit most do. I understand your response about the person in charge, I don’t discount it, nor have you ever seen me give him an A+. You asked WTF was my point, well I tried to make it. If you’re not getting it then I didn’t say it in a way you’re getting. We’re not paid to find solutions, he is. I care about the team winning. That’s why I started my original post as “Counterpoint”.. not “He shouldn’t be fired and here’s why”
        If you saw Ray Hudson’s interview on BeIN after the Gold Cup, he said almost the exact same things. And he was adamant he disagreed re LD, and still thinks JK is the guy.
        His comments reflect kinds what I see- U see the Bedoya example as a symptom, so do I. But I see an issue that everyone discounts, that I see a coach with a lot of guys, and very little separation between them, trying to find that separation.
        He’s hit on some, and missed on some. IMO, he’s gotten more right than wrong

      • Bac,

        yeah, i don’t think we’re so far apart. you’ll notice that i ignored most of your examples (because i think those are good points) in order to focus on your “there’s no consensus!” because it’s really just immaterial, and worse, tends to sidetrack a legitimate argument.

        maybe for me, it just comes down to a pride thing. has klinsmann been horrible? of course not. but i think that we could have gotten the same, or similar, results without the ussf reducing itself to begging, flattering, and downright overpaying a glorified inspirational speaker.

    • It’s hilarious to me when people go on these long rants about how poor our player pool is, but then forget about that fact that we are often outplayed inferior opposition. How do you blame the players when we are out shot by teams like Honduras and Panama on our own home soil?

      • Well, I don’t know, because the other team played a lot better than us?
        I remember the same comments during the 1st qualifying cycle before the hex. Right before we ran away with the group.

  18. As the USMNT are in a transitioning faze, is Klinsmann the right person for the job?

    That is the question, but there are also other major things that could hurt the transitioning of American players that could hurt the national team even if we had America’s dream great coach. People may say that the lack of developing quality players within the American soccer leagues is a poor excuse, but that’s actually the problem. Our player development is a running joke because the USSF never created a stable one in it’s 100+ year history. Good players do not fall from the sky.

    If you think you can line up better players and figure out the perfect formation for them, I will like to here it. The sad truth for American strikers (finishers) is that our best finisher is Wondo. WONDO!!!!!!!!!! He scored over 100 goals in MLS and he suck in national team competition. Why? Zusi is considered one of America’s best playmakers and he suck also in national team competition. Matt Besler is our best defender in the USMNT squad and while he played good in some FIFA World Cup games, he is very inconsistent and suck more than he play good. Finally, our best goalkeeper is the only American world class player we have. Freak’en Tim Howard. Without Tim Howard, the national team would suck. You seen in the Gold Cup and past friendlies how our national team can do without him. He was even the best player back in the Donovan era and I will argue that point to anyone who disagree. Our national team’s success for the longest ran off of Tim Howard’s blood, sweet and tears.

    • I disagree about Zusi, he’s out of form now but you can really point to him having a big role in turning around qualifying and even had 2 assists in Brazil. Personally I think at his best he’s done a lot more then Bedoya has.

      • But his inconsistency is worrying. That problem he have is unfortunately a stigma of American players in general. There are only a very small few of American players that can stay consistent, but that’s it.

  19. Mexico has much better players and they’re bound to get it together eventually. If he didn’t get canned after losing to Jamaica he’ should’t get fired for losing to Mexico.

      • Are you blind? Mexico has more skilled players and better players. However, the best skilled players doesn’t always win which is why you play the game. Mexico has littered with teams that don’t play well as a unit. They are like a poor version of the Dutch.

  20. And after he is gone, the change in youth-soccer age groups from academic year to birth year will continue to haunt for years to come.

  21. “All this could still be somewhat overlooked if the U.S. was getting better results, but it isn’t.”

    you know that is factually incorrect, right? Paul Carr from ESPN provided the stats for both meaningful and all games under JK, Arena, and Bradley.

    that said, certainly the real difference between the three coaches is the 2015 Gold Cup.

    • Bryan, besides results and performance, don’t discount the importance of personality with these things. While you could argue personality shouldn’t matter, and I would agree with that, the truth is that it does matter.

      If I had to rank our last three coaches with respect to how annoying/dis-likable they were/are personality wise, it would be:

      1. Klinsmann (most annoying by a large margin)
      2. Arena
      3. Bradley

      Klinsmann is just as annoying as Mourinho but in different ways. Difference is that Mourinho wins so the fans/media are willing to put up with him.

      • i agree with that. i think i actually drew the comparison to Mourinho above as well. that is my biggest complaint of JK. so lets keep the conversation on that instead of saying we want to talk about results but only talk about the 2015 Gold Cup.

      • I disagree, Mourinho is annoying to suck up all the attention and take it off his players. Klinsmann does everything he can to make sure none of it is on him.

      • Agreed. Mourinho is an egomaniac but he also acts the way he does to keep pressure off his players. JK does the opposite – it’s always the players’ fault and never his.

    • actually the difference between the 2 coaches, meaning BB and JK, is the 2015 GC. Bruce Arena got our boys to the final 8 of a WC in ’02

  22. I personally like JK as a philosopher but he isn’t cutting it as a coach. I think he should have been kicked upstairs at the end of last WC and a hungrier coach brought into run the team. A coach begins to get stale after 4 years There is a difference between building a program and winning now and both are important as expectations in this country rise.

    I don’t think JK should be fired though until it becomes clear that qualification might be threatened. The USA should be the exception that gives time for coaches to work through things. This might actually attract quality people that might not want ride the coaching merry-go-round and thus pay dividends in the future.

  23. Personally my biggest disappointment with Klinsmann is that we didn’t see enough turn over coming from the January camp. A new cycle would have been the perfect chance, to make major roster turn over. However Zardes is pretty much the only new face we’ve seen. I think if Klinsmann took a younger hungry side to the Gold Cup i think people could look past the results. However now it feels like we’ve just come back to the WC roster with everyone a year older.

    • The younger hungry players got their chance and didn’t do much. Remember Alvarado and Brooks? We just don’t have much talent in the 24-28 yr old range. The top American goal scorers in MLS are 5. Wondo, 10. Jozy, 11. Bruin. The only player I can think of that would maybe help a little is Fielhaber, but he is not a spring chicken. On the plus side, the u23 team looks good…

      • this is the real issue. we don’t have players stepping up showing they can replace our aging, higher-quality talent. add that in with questionable tactics in certain games and we get bad results.

        sure, the talent pool is deeper but not with quality. there is less high-quality but more mediocre quality.

      • If you take away PKs then you have
        Bruin -11 goals
        Wondo – 10 goals
        Finlay, Jozy, Sapong, Davies – 9 goals
        Agudelo, Lletget, Dempsey Grella – 7 goals
        Rowe, Mullins, Zardes – 6 goals

        No real point, just thought it was interesting

      • personally i feel PKs count just the same. not to mention, it’s oft forgotten who earned the PKs; e.g. Jozy doesn’t take PKs but if he earns one and feels like taking it he will, so it seems slightly unfair to discredit the PKs especially when the player earned it and scores it himself.

        not arguing with you, jack, just adding to your (non)point lol 🙂

    • Sorry to beat a dead horse but our players don’t play in top leagues where the game is faster so it is hard for our guys to jump to the national team and excel without a learning curve. He unfortunately can’t just cap Man Utd’s 19 year old starting #9, like some nations can. Jordan Morris is an obvious, rather incredible, exception.

      Another case, Bobby Wood, has taken some time to acclimate to the national team, but has recently looked great out there. He by the way was in the January camp.

      • How are guys suppose to make the move to Europe? The National team is probably the best platform for guys to make that move.

      • I’d say youth national teams are the best way. But certainly not the only way. The world is getting smaller, and the soccer world along with it. A few years back a county club team from California traveled to England one summer for a series of friendlies against reserve squads. Pretty low level events, that only the die hard fans in those towns bothered to go watch. Except for one – Roy Hodgson. This amateur club team from Ventura, CA included Gyasi Zardes, back when he was still in college. Zardes impressed Hodgson, who made a point of meeting this kid and offered to set up try-outs with whatever English clubs he wanted to go for. Zardes politely declined, returned to college that fall, and of course later signed a home-grown with the Galaxy.

        The point of all this is that good U.S. players often are afforded opportunities to impress foreign pro clubs, even before they would ever be on any USMNT coach’s radar.

      • Brian Sciaretta made a great point that January camp use to be just MLS players trying to break into the team. However now that everyone’s come back to MLS you have Bradley, Jones, Dempsey, Altidore ect taking up those spots and different players aren’t getting looks they might of before.

      • But he has called in a bunch of young players in the past year: Brooks, Yedlin, Morris, Wood, Alvarado, Zardes, Kempin, Cropper, Bono, Yarbrough, Garza, Shea, Kitchen, Gil, Green, Agudelo, Rubin, Gyau

  24. I think Sunil is thinking that he gave JK so much leeway and so many responsibilities, running the USMNT from top to bottom, and having more control than any previous US coach, it’s not as simple as bringing another coach. He’d have to make many changes at every level. And that would mean that Sunil would have to admit he’s been wrong all along.

    In terms of this expectation that JK would “transform the U.S. into a soccer-crazed nation,” that’s been happening over the past decade. And I think Donovan’s goal against Algeria had more to do with that

    • Totally agree. I would be fine with Sunil covering face by keeping JK as the Technical Director. He is like George Lucas in that he can come up with great ideas but is not the right person to carry them out.

      • No way Guardiola, Hiddink, Moyes take the position. Guardiola makes 5 x’s what Klinsman makes, Moyes makes roughly the same amount Leading a La Liga club. Hiddink just retired from leading Netherlands and made more in his previous positions.

        I wouldn’t give Marsch, Heaps the position. They only ones I think might work would be Vermes or Kries.

      • EVEN IF Moyes took the job I would not want him as coach. Hiddink and guardiola, klopp, and low and conte are all probably steps up… as are, maybe ancelotti and maldini. Outside of that… you keep JK.

        and I note that Bradley has dramatically improved himself and that after a stint in premier, or wherever else, I would like to bring Bradley back after 2018.

  25. I will say the same thing I said when everyone wanted to fire Bradley. Who will be the replacement? Are there any qualified candidates that want the job? And preferably have international experience? None that I have heard. If US Soccer fires JK while still owing 2 more yrs of his large salary, then we: 1. are doing quite well financially and 2. sure as he** better have a stellar replacement ready to pick up the pieces.

    • Jb, that isn’t a legitimate question to ask. I will explain why:

      1. There are many many qualified candidates out there. Even if they are currently employed, managers have always shown that they are willing to leave their current position if they feel they are offered a better position.

      2. We have no idea which one of them would be willing to take the USMNT job. Nobody knows. The only people capable of finding out would be Gulati and the USSF board, and they can only find out by beginning to ask. There are plenty of people here that would be willing to assume things like “Person A would never want to coach the USMNT!!”, but those would just be assumptions and we don’t know for sure.

      So this whole argument that FANS/MEDIA need to be able to name a replacement if they are suggesting that Klinsmann should be fired isn’t realistic and is a convenient argument for Klinsmann supporters to make.

      • maybe their unwillingness to fire him is a sign they haven’t had any interest? do we know they haven’t put anything out there asking?

      • Bryan, that is very possible and you are right, we don’t know if they have done that or not.

        But by the way Gulati talks about Klinsmann I would be confident guessing that they have not asked anyone or explored the possibility yet.

      • UBG,

        It is a critical question. I’ll accept that fans/media don’t have to be in the loop, but if JK is fired without a plan in place to replace him then the decision strikes me as reactionary and irresponsible. Do we want our federation to look like Mexico’s? And you didn’t address the financial issue. Is US Soccer really going to pay for 2 head coaches at the same time? I guess its not my money but it really seems a waste. I’m disappointed by the play this yr as well, but only a bad beatdown on saturday would make me consider a change. Also the u23 team’s success (or not) should be considered.

      • I agree with you that it matters from a USSF view point. Of course you are correct about that. I was talking from the fans/medias perspective. Basically I was saying that it is pointless to ask fans that question because we have no way of answering it.

      • There are plenty of guys out there who would take the job.

        The trick is finding the right one. So, what is the profile of the right guy? That’s the point I think most get wrong – even national federation officials across the globe. It isn’t the same skill set as a club coach. It isn’t sophisticated tactics – just all-star tactics. It isn’t full of business decisions like player salaries and transfer fees. It’s just picking players from a pool and creating coherent rosters, and then giving those already-established professionals a simple but clear tactical focus.

        Beckenbauer was a pretty good national team coach, right? How much experience did he have before taking over Germany? None. Same for JK when he took over Germany – a team he knew.

        (In fact, if you really want to get into the blame game, Bayern has no one to blame but itself for the JK hire because a club at that level should demand a longer, more established resume than just a guy who did alright in an all-star tournament.)

      • And… that ‘alright’ was despite his own coaching decisions. Remember that was the World Cup in which JK wouldn’t play the keeper that probably a majority of the planet considered the best at that time.

        Why? JK gave an odd answer about how Kahn was so good he would take attention away from the other players. Is that insanity or genius? Who knows? But the fact remains that Kahn probably could have started for any team in that World Cup, yet watched it all from the end of the bench.

  26. Not fired, that ignores all that he has done, much of which is acknowledged in this article. But He should certainly not be head coach anymore. He should be moved on and given a different job where his obvious motivational skills along with his amazing ability to recruit foreign players can still pay dividends for US soccer.

    We need a tactical coach. JK has never been that even when he coached Germany Lowe was the tactician. We need someone who can see the strengths of the US pool and cater to them rather than trying to make the talent conform to a confused ideal the coach has.

  27. I will readily admit I am a Bob Bradley guy… he got the most out of his players…

    What I am sick of the most is Klinsmann and his grudge holding.. it kills us as a team… He is like Carlos Vela… I keep hoping he will like Vela… take the high road and bring guys like BF back into the fold… I still think he is a xenophobe but that is my own personal opinion..

    • my biggest complaint with JK is his unwillingness to say, “yeah, my experiment did not work”. to me, that is by far the most frustrating part of his tenure. it’s like Mourinho in that regard. never his fault.

      • The most frustrating is JK complete lack of transparency. He will say one thing and do another, he will criticize players and invite them back, praise players but not invite them back. Give on set of rules and standard to some players and different for others. His mixes up formations and positions so frequently, it even confuses some players. In short, it seems like he’s making things up as he goes along. It’s now frightening and also destructive.

        While I agree that one game should not decide if JK should stay or go, you do not have to look far or deep to find that the US team is not advancing as it should. When a coach does not even realize how the FIFA ranking points are given, and that there is a BIG difference between winning a confederation game as opposed to friendly, its time to move on.

      • i agree with your entire first paragraph except for the last sentence. to me, that last sentence is sensationalist. the status of the USMNT is not frightening and what’s going on is not destructive. playing Bedoya at DM and then pulling him would be destructive if he continued to do it. but his other experiments maybe aren’t great, but they are destructive either.

        “you do not have to look far or deep to find that the US team is not advancing as it should.”

        how should it be advancing? you are limited to the players you have. right now, despite this idea we should be at another level (which, JK did say he could provide…) is nothing more than fantasy. our player pool is not full of high-quality players. we have less than we did before in that regard. all we have now are more “middle of the pack” players. which IS good, but will never be the reason we get to the next level. and as i have pointed out, even with the 2015 GC, the team over his tenure is still performing fine.

        “When a coach does not even realize how the FIFA ranking points are given, and that there is a BIG difference between winning a confederation game as opposed to friendly, its time to move on.”

        i don’t really get this comment. did he say something about FIFA rankings? in games that matter, he has a better record than Arena or Bob. so what is he not getting in that regard?

      • Expecting coaches to be transparent is a bit much, if you ask me. I just wish I could catch some semblance of a plan in terms of style and performance. Now I am beginning to wonder how his players view him. It seems like most of the team has a serious reason to be at odds with him.

      • FIFA rankings? Transparency? ?? Since when is lack of transparency for a head coach to the public an issue. YOU DIDN’T hire him nor does he work for you. He works for USSOCCER. Bradley was noylt transparent either. Fifa rankings ??? You talk like the matter. Of course they are going to fall, we are not playing that meaningful games while all of Europe is playing qualifiers which count a lot more or did you not know that that was how it works.

    • Could it be that he just doesn’t rate Feilhaber? He brought him last January camp before Brazil and was not impressed. Sacha has NEVER looked good when he was brought. The only person who has a right to complain is Lee Nguyen, but he has brought him to camp a couple times.

      • I can’t say what players looked like at practices, of course, but in games where JK played SK, Sacha always seemed to be placed in situations that accentuated his limitations rather than his capabilities. In other words, he isn’t fast and shouldn’t be played in positions that require speed. But he is skilled (maybe best first touch in the pool) and demonstrated pretty good passing vision in Belgium. So why was he always played wide? Especially when we don’t have a good option for CAM – and have ended up moving Bradley out of a position in which he is pretty good into a CAM role where he struggles for adequacy.

        I think we need a coach who won’t be so quick to outsmart himself.

      • Sasha had a lot of chances with JK.I can’t remember one time he looked like he belonged on the field. When he got chances, everyone here blasted him…and JK for playing him…
        Now all of a sudden he’s a solution?
        How many times did Sasha play out wide instead of in the middle? I don’t know the answer, but I don’t remember him playing out wide.
        And who exactly sits if Sasha plays?

      • SK was blasted here. I tend to be in the minority on these issues. SK was never played centrally by JK to the best of my recollection, despite being a pretty effective CAM for his club team. Granted, it wasn’t in Bundesliga or Serie A, but I would argue that SK has the most impressive CAM resume of anyone in our current pool.

        Who would sit? Easy. In a 4-2-3-1 set-up, we’d move Bradley back to DM (with greenlight for box-to-box) and sit one of the also-ran DMs. I’d pair Bradley up with Jones at DM. Despite conventional wisdom that both would try to play box-to-box, I remember them being fairly effective in this set-up a while ago, when that was the norm. Both Jones and Bradley are smart, experienced players, and can coordinate themselves on the field… like we’ve seen them do, though some seem not to remember.

        In fact, without SK, we really don’t have the players to play 4-2-3-1. I thought Diskerud could maybe grow into the CAM position, but now I’ve got some doubts about that.

      • Well maybe someone will fill in the blanks where JK played him.
        I had hoped that Nguyen would continue his hot form-but he wasn’t 100% in Jan and started the season poorly.

        You do realize in your hypothetical you move Deuce to the wing or up top alone.
        JK would then be blamed for playing him on the wing which he hasn’t played in a few years, and won’t track back for 90, or he’d get blasted for playing him alone up top.
        Either way, chalk up another mark for someone being played out of position.

      • I would play Dempsey at LW, with FJ behind him. Dempsey won’t stay at LW, and he’s always more dangerous when picking his spots to overload the center. FJ can handle that void well.

      • I remember that Belgium game. Everybody got run over. Seriously, if that was the one-and-done, then we’d never play Tim Howard again. Seriously, the only U.S. player I remember looking like he belonged on the field was Jones.

      • Never said it was one and done. He was given a chance after vs Panama. Got run over there too. He’s a good club player but that’s necessarily translate to the national team.

      • When is the last time any U.S. player looked good at CAM? Anyone come to mind since Reyna? Bradley has looked alright at moments, but for the most part that has been a failed, ongoing experiment – failure both because he can’t play it well, and failure because it takes one of our better players out of the position in which he can be one of our better players.

      • You asked for examples of SK being in his natural position and those are them. If you don’t like the response that’s on you but he was given chances.

    • Then following that line of logic, how do you rate us when you consider the success Germany is having in the qualifying process? You see how that line of thinking can trip you up…well only if you consider all of the variables, I suppose.

      • Kosh, the USMNT beat a B squad of a good team and an A squad of a mediocre team. Both results were achieved in the final minutes after Klinsmann used up all of his six subs (and the other team kind of stopped playing). Klinsi is the king of the 6th sub. It’s a shame that you can only use 3 in an official game.

  28. whoa… it appears that JK has even lost SBISoccer…

    get ready for the JK-fanpeoples’ excuse bingo: he doesn’t have the talent to work with, it’s MLS fault, it’s the youth system, it’s players who don’t work hard enough, want it enough, compete enough, talented enough; injuries; those games didn’t count/matter; his shirt it too tight; how dare you question someone who won a WC as a player in 1990?; he knows more about soccer than you-am I missing any????

    • That we are optimistic people? Take the negatives with the positives? Favor the long view of things? Don’t participate in angry mobs? Proud of how we played in the world cup? Don’t give a d*** about you know who? Believe that every game means something including the friendlies that others dismiss as irrelevant? Real sorry about all that.

      The majority of sane people are probably rather critical of the coach and his recent results but still value his work. They just don’t enjoy bickering on internet blogs.

      • Concorde, I find it interesting that you wrote:

        “Believe that every game means something including the friendlies that others dismiss as irrelevant?”

        You are using that statement in support of Klinsmann while I would use it in the opposite way. Don’t forget about that year-long stretch after the world cup where the USMNT under Klinsmann kept losing game after game, kept playing horrible, and kept giving up late goals. What did all the Klinsmann supporters say?? “These are just friendlies, they don’t matter. The whole point of this is to experiment”. I believe it was the Klinsmann supporters that dismissed friendlies as irrelevant.

      • True. The friendlies have meaning because it test out current and incoming players on if they are good enough for more important games. However, I do agree with the typical saying that our American talent is not all that good and the options are not all that great either. I do see hope from the way our Olympic squads are playing. If those players can keep that level up and improve on top of that, our national team would be good, but for the mean time, I see no such players in the senior squad the impress me nor anyone else.

      • Never did that, so careful when you say “all”
        But it’s ok I suppose I have a more balanced view…

        We sucked vs. Brazil, but were good against Germany (twice), Holland, and Italy. We were dominated by Columbia but did well vs. Turkey, Czech Rep., and several times Mexico. We’ve fought against but been ultimately humbled by teams like France, Ireland.

        In this sport, all of that is the coach’s fault, yes.

        But I’ve been watching for a long time and I think we’ve done alright, pretty good for the decent team that we are. Whoever the coach is, we see these highs and lows.

      • “The majority of sane people are probably rather critical of the coach and his recent results but still value his work. They just don’t enjoy bickering on internet blogs.”

        And a +1.
        Thank you for this.

    • disagreeing that JK should be fired after this game does NOT make someone a JK fanboy. please clear on that.

      in meaningful games, JK has a record of .734 compared to Bradley’s .677 and Arena’s .674. so factually, if we look at his entire tenure, he’s actually doing better than the previous two. of course, context is important and the play of some of his teams has been very poor and nothing to be happy about.

      as for the talent pool, this idea we are deeper is true. but i think of it more as being “wider” than “deeper”. we have a lot more mediocre quality than we did before but we seem to have less high-end quality. so i think the talented enough argument makes sense when asking why our style of play has not changed. it hasn’t because we still don’t have the players for it. of course, JK said he would deliver that so it is on him when people bring this up. personally, i think anyone who bought into that statement was gullible.

      not sure who would complain about the youth. U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams all play an attractive, proactive style. is that because of JK? i won’t say that. but i certainly see a lot more talent in top academies, or playing professionally, than ever before.

      as for injuries, i think it’s vital to take that into account. how can you criticize someone for changing a lineup all the time without looking at injuries? obviously JK does PLENTY of experimenting when he shouldn’t, but the truth is, a lot of it has been driven due to injury. it would be cool to see someone do a top-down analysis of this since the end of the WC.

      and anyone blaming MLS probably shouldn’t be taken seriously anyway.

    • The issue is player selection. He is sticking with the same players and its a sinking ship. He must change the players or go down with this ship.

      Of course we were out shot. We have no attacking mid on the field and no forward that can finish the few chances he may get. End of story. Bradley is not an AM and isn’t even that good anymore. Jozy will always be an argument but I think we need more from that position. We do have the players in MLS but JK continues to shun them

      • wow… bradley not that good anymore… JK not trying out new talent… I think we have fallen off the deep end in this discussion.

        JK– got us out of group of death. Found Morris, is setting the u-23’s up to be great. Blooded the next gen of players (Brooks, Yedlin, Rubin, Morris, etc.). starting to show the team how to play attractive soccer.

        negatives — had a bad run while experimenting, didn’t win gold cup. Everyone forgets that gold cup is not what it used to be. Panama and Jamaica are for real, they can play and nip some wins out. Their teams have benefitted enormously from MLS and the higher skill level of their teams is a result. Combined with the horrid officiating (Barcelona would have looked disjointed if they had been kicked off the field like the US was all tournament), it is understandable, if inexcusable, that the US could lose a game.

        on balance? I think JK gets a super short leash if he can’t pull this win out. But you only fire him if he isn’t moving the whole program forward… and thus far he has been.

  29. “Some players even talked last month about the U.S. losing a bit of its never-say-die attitude.”

    I follow this stuff pretty closely, and I’m not sure what this is referring to. Can anyone clue me in on who said what? Besler’s unfortunate quote about not wanting to come to Jan camp in shape is the last time I remember any current nat player saying anything remotely negative.

      • A warm up camp? Instead of the warm up camp, it should be the players job to stay fit through that one month (month and a half for players that did not make the playoffs).

      • Well, a national team coach should not expect his players to be fully fit right before his preseason is about to start. That would be devastating long term. That was the bigger issue about the issue — Klinsmann’s expectations were self-serving and preposterous given the timing of that pointless national team camp compared to the upcoming league season.

      • it’s moronic. athletes need a cool down period. look at the nba. world class atheletes who are constantly told they need some down time for their bodies to recover every year. being at peak usmnt fitness full year round would break players. particularly considerig that if you read in between the lines it seems pretty clear that USMNT players under klinsman tend to wilt towards the end of matches/tournaments. A sure indication that they are too tired coming off of practices to fully recover for matches.

      • If I was supposed to be in shape during camps for my University, Club and High School teams, it is BASIC common sense that a professional should be in shape when camp arrives.

      • Not is that camp comes in your offseason. Why would a professional player need to be in shape for two meaningless friendlies when he is about to start his preseason soon after that. That is not a good long term approach to conditioning. You would think Klinsmann, the fitness guru, would be up on that stuff.

      • 1) I highly doubt your peak shape was equivalent to Besler’s offseason shape

        2) January camp is several weeks long before so players can get in shape as well. Klinsmann likes to look for excuses. The “fitness” one was called out by basically everyone else in the US Soccer community for being B.S. This was Klinsmann’s 3rd January camp, and it’s only now an excuse?

      • January camp… exactly. Off season. Rest. Players are not going to stay match fit for 12 months a year, and for a national team coach to expect that is not in the best interest of the players’ careers.

      • January camp is supposed to be for players with national team aspirations. there is no “off season” excuse. for the veterans there, set an example.

        SKC wa knocked out of the first round on 10/30/2014 and Besler was complaining about fitness in January of 2015. give me a break.

      • whatever. January camp is just another camp to d!ck around and not be with your family. It probably sucks in a lot of ways for the players. Especially for a guy who has been through a brutal season ending with an extremely taxing championship run. When he was making excuses for all of his failed experiments by accusing the players of being on a World Cup hangover, Besler was gritting it out on a weekly basis in a title chase. Dude is not gonna be in prime shape after all of that, and he shouldn’t — because it doesn’t make a difference at that time of the year anyway. Why Klinsmann would focus on something temporary like fitness at a time when he should be teaching and building a team is beyond me. I fear that Klinsmann’s approach is alienating / losing the players, and that they are losing faith in his abilities as a coach because he doesn’t make them better, never takes any responsibility, and has been known to choose players who have not earned a spot.

      • “January camp is just another camp to d!ck around and not be with your family. It probably sucks in a lot of ways for the players.”

        are you serious? January camp is meant for MLS players to showcase themselves to the US coaching staff and prove they belong in the USMNT picture. for the veterans, their role is one of setting an example. you honestly think Beckerman has ever complained about being in camp? no. he has the right attitude and that is one reason i went from question JK on his call ups to getting it.

        “Especially for a guy who has been through a brutal season ending with an extremely taxing championship run.”

        sounds like every top European player…

        “When he was making excuses for all of his failed experiments by accusing the players of being on a World Cup hangover, Besler was gritting it out on a weekly basis in a title chase. ”

        JK did not experiment at the WC. it was about as straight forward as you get. putting Dempsey up top was not desired, but it was needed because JK made the stupid decision of not bringing a guy like Boyd (who was healthy and in decent form at the time). Besler DID have a hangover, he was awful for SKC after the WC. that was well reported by just about everyone. the others he referred to were also in a WC hangover because they weren’t playing for their clubs. he specifically identified his European-based players in this regard.

        “Dude is not gonna be in prime shape after all of that, and he shouldn’t — because it doesn’t make a difference at that time of the year anyway.”

        i completely disagree. it DOES make a difference knowing you are a WC veteran heading into a January camp for the USMNT. 3 months, 25% of a YEAR, between his playoff game and the camp. there was time to get himself together and have rest.

        “Why Klinsmann would focus on something temporary like fitness at a time when he should be teaching and building a team is beyond me.”

        building a team? it’s the January camp. the point is to identify new talent that can fit in with the A team. with many A team players now in MLS, they are there to set an example. Beckerman always speaks on this point.

        “I fear that Klinsmann’s approach is alienating / losing the players, and that they are losing faith in his abilities as a coach because he doesn’t make them better, never takes any responsibility, and has been known to choose players who have not earned a spot.”

        no disagreement there. the Besler situation was a prime example. JK should have kept it internal and Besler shouldn’t have gone public…essentially throwing himself under the bus. poorly handled for both.

    • This is so stupid, none of these games even matter so I don’t care if Kinsman wants to run his experiments. The Gold cup didn’t even matter because we’d won the last one, but it would have been a good warm up for the Copa America next. Copa America and Qualifying those results matter than should determine if the baker boy is full of scheiße.

      • How do these games not matter? Our confederation championship doesn’t matter? Qualification for Confederations Cup doesn’t matter? Results in competitive matches don’t matter? What about having our worst Gold Cup finish in 15 years and our second worst in our history when Klinsmann himself stressed the importance of winning it?

        These games do matter… it’s friendlies like those against the Netherlands and Germany that don’t really matter. They are great for their own purposes of player assessment, program development, etc. but they don’t matter.

        Agreed that WC qualifying and WC games matter most, but this is what we have in between that matters and it’s a valid way to judge the manager’s performance.

    • I almost feel sorry for Klinsi, but he brought it upon hisself. I can forgive him many things, but the one thing I will never forgive him is excluding our best player ever, Landon Donovan, from the World Cup and taking scrubs like Wondolowski and Greene in his place.

      • The problem is Donovan is a primadonna, which is fine, I like the guy, think he’s great, but if he’s coming off the bench then the whole tournament becomes about when you’re going to put Donovan in, Donovan complaining he hasn’t been put in and undermining the coach and disrupting the chemistry. You saw the same thing on the Women’s team and Tom Sermanni had to go, it was him or Wambach. You can’t have to captains on one ship.

      • JK is the ultimate primadonna. His ego is so large he can’t even see that he is blowing it.

        I predict that if Mexico comes to play, we will be blown out and he SHOULD GO at that point

      • where do people get this Donovan is a prima donna thing? I have never seen anything but a humble respectful person in him. He took his sabbatical (for mental health reasons which everyone continues to ignore as not legit) and accepted the fact that he had to earn his way back into the team which he did in the Gold Cup. And that Gold Cup is the only reason Klinsmann has the chance to salvage a Confed Cup birth. Donovan came off the bench after his sabbatical and was fine with it, but fans still make things up about his ego

      • It comes from an american sports culture where tough guy wanna be athletes can’t relate to an honest sensitive man who also happens to excel at his sport. So to be “macho” they call him names and revile him. Best american field player ever should get some respect as such.

      • I will never stop being upset thinking about Brad Davis’ embarrassingly awful half against Germany, and thinking about how much better Landon would have been.

    • In the end, this article disappoints. I really don’t care anymore if JK gets fired. The whole debate has basically ruined my ability to enjoy watching the NT over the past 18 months, Pieces like this are just fuel on the fire…. no solutions suggested, no “next steps”, just a simple “off with his head” argument and nothing more.

      Heads up, Franco. We haven’t lost yet. Maybe would be nice if somebody – anybody – from major soccer media actually decided to focus on the strategy and tactics of the game itself. Might be a nice opportunity for SBI to differentiate by talking about… you know… soccer.

      • 18 months for you, I would say its been the past 3-4 years for me. Before 2010 I never missed a game, now most times I forget to record matches that actually matter. I can’t point to any particular reason for this but international soccer as a whole doesn’t have the same excitement that it did10-15 years ago

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