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Klinsmann buries hatchet with Johnson after recent USMNT incident

Jurgen Klinsmann, Fabian Johnson

It is all water under the bridge.

The Jurgen Klinsmann-Fabian Johnson incident that dominated headlines in the aftermath of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico in October appears to be over. Klinsmann has put the episode in the rearview mirror, as evidenced by his call-up of Johnson for the U.S.’s first pair of 2018 World Cup qualifiers this month, and is focused on moving forward with the player.

Klinsmann publicly criticized the 27-year-old Johnson a few weeks ago for what he perceived as a lack of commitment, and dismissed him from camp before the Americans played Costa Rica in a friendly. Klinsmann was unhappy that Johnson asked to be substituted in extra time of the CONCACAF Cup defeat vs. Mexico on Oct. 10, and sent the versatile veteran back to Borussia Moenchengladbach early so that he could “rethink his approach about his team.”

“It’s just a normal statement to make when there are mistakes done, when there are things that need to be explained,” Klinsmann told reporters in Miami, Florida, this week. “Also, I think a lot of people didn’t realize what actually happened there, so I explained it. I’m honest enough to come out and say, ‘Listen, this is what happened.’ He didn’t think that way in that moment, so it was a mistake in that moment.

“Now we have to learn from our mistakes so we avoid it for the next time.”

While Klinsmann and U.S. Soccer maintained last month that Johnson did not suffer an injury in the 3-2 loss to Mexico, Moenchengladbach said it was treating Johnson for a knock immediately upon his return to the club. Johnson then started and went the distance in a league match just days later, and has not missed a game since.

In fact, Johnson has been on a good run of form since his dismissal. He recently assisted on a goal in Bundesliga acton, and became just the sixth U.S. player to score in the UEFA Champions League last week.

“I think the next time, it won’t happen anymore,” said Klinsmann. “Sometimes you have to say things publicly to get everybody kind of on board, everybody understands it, knows how to deal with it. But then the door is always open, and you discuss it. I talked to him, and he will talk to his teammates about it, how he felt about it, and then we move on. He’s one of our most talented players that we have.”

Johnson, who has yet to speak publicly on the incident, and the U.S. now have their sights set on getting off to a good start in World Cup qualifying. The Americans first host St Vincent & the Grenadines on Friday before visiting Trinidad & Tobago four days later.

What do you think of Klinsmann’s comments? Just happy to see that he and Johnson have moved past the incident? How much do you think Johnson’s recent form came into play in Klinsmann’s decision to call him up so quickly?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. impressive, two cliches in the first 20 words (including the title). i’ll let bygones be bygones and put it behind me. can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch, but hold your horses, birds of a feather flock together.

  2. Playing as we have since the end of the WC, JK is in hot enough water to qualify for Russia that he cannot afford to alienate his best player options now. Hence the call back of FJ.. There should also be a fix in the works for Benny and Sasha, or we will probably not even make the Hex let alone advance from it. We need to develop up and comers quickly now.. no time for wasting minutes on Deuce, Altidore, etc…

    • I could see Feilhaber, maybe, during the January camp if he and JK make up. If he corrects his attitude and comes in fit than he’d be worth keeping around for a while. But wouldn’t expect more than a year or two.
      I don’t see any way that Kljestan can make it back into consideration. He’s shown time and again that he has difficulty at the international level. Lee, Benny, Bradley, and Nagbe are all well in advance of Kljestan….and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lleget & Rowe are given chances before Kljestan.

    • Here we go again with another “Kljestan” inclusion that no one who’s paid attention to the last 8 years of national team duty is asking for.


  3. If Fabian was not such a key piece and one of their best players in their prime, this story would be much different. JK has to concede.

    And by the way, a plug to Ives article on about it being time to reverse Yedlin and Johnsons’ positions. 100% agree.Now is the time to implement that. They are both playing at a high level at their respective positions. Make that consistent on the national team.

  4. “Now we have to learn from our mistakes so we avoid it for the next time.”

    Would that this applied to other aspects of JK’s management of the team.

  5. Klinsmann is, and always has been, a hypocrite and the king of double standards. He hurt our WC chances over the Donovan thing and can NEVER walk away from that. Now this clown quits on the team and angers the coach enough to send him packing and guess what? He’s back. Why is he back? Why didn’t he get the same treatment as Donovan did? We all know why. It’s because he’s German and plays in Germany. End of story.

    When we DONT look good on Friday… what will the spin be this time?

      • …and he was called out for it and sent home (rightfully so).

        That’s a locker room issue that you’d have to believe he’s made amends for to his teammates. If the coach didn’t feel comfortable with his attitude or approach going forward, he would not have been called back in.

  6. impressive, two cliches in the first 20 words (including the title). i’ll let bygones be bygones and put it behind me. can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch, but hold your horses, birds of a feather flock together.

    • “It’s just a normal statement to make – you know ja, it’s just like, I throw grenades into da media all da time. It’s normal.”

  7. Conspiracy theory: in the aftermath of the mex game it was reported some teammates were unhappy with Johnson. Is it possible some of those teammates were left off this roster in favor of Johnson? Th reason for Dempsey’s exclusion just doesn’t smell right to me.

    • thought i heard it was Brand Evans who said something, and he has been injured. Dempsey was poor against Mexico, and poor against Dallas last week (granted that was post call-up). Not defending Klinsi’s roster choices at large, but I can understand moving on from Clint for these 2 games.

    • Dempsey has to start if you call him up. From what I’ve read, the intention and game plan is to give other guys opportunities to stake a place going towards Russia. The only “smell” is the substance emitting from the concept of depending on a 36 Dempsey for 2018 Russia.

      Dempsey has been my favorite player to suit up for the Nats, but it’s time to start moving on. Why people continue to look for conspiracies is something only Mel Gibson can understand or relate to.


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