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Guatemala 2, USMNT 0: The SBI Breakdown

Clint Dempsey USMNT Guatemala 47

Uninspired. Unimaginative. Unbelievable.

The U.S. Men’s National Team suffered one of its worst losses in recent memory on Friday night, suffering a stunning 2-0 loss on the road at the hands of Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier that was never really a contest.

Guatemala took advantage of some shoddy defending to score twice inside of the first 15 minutes and never looked back, leaving the shell-shocked U.S. under intense pressure to try and conjure up a response. The Americans made a change at halftime and managed to look less inept after the break, but never were able to find the breakthrough en route to their first loss to Guatemala since 1988.

There was enough blame to go around for the disastrous display that sunk the U.S. to third place in its World Cup qualifying group. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann certainly shoulders some responsibility for his head-scratching lineup decisions and his group’s overall lack of focus, and the players themselves are also guilty of failing to properly deal with what transpired in the match at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.

All in all, it was a drab effort that only raised further questions about the direction the U.S. is heading in. The future has looked grim for quite a while now, and this embarrassing performance and loss only served to underline that.

Here are four takeaways from the Americans’ 2-0 defeat to Guatemala:


Poor performances and bad results happen to even the best mangers and teams in the world, but this type of underwhelming and abysmal showing has become far too common under Klinsmann.

Whether he is being too stubborn in his ways, overcomplicating things or simply running out of ideas, Klinsmann has had the Americans looking lost on the field ever since the 2014 World Cup. There seems to be no real identity to how they want to play or break down opponents, and that looked obvious from the onset against Guatemala as the U.S. failed to do much of anything when it had the ball. Possession without production.

Klinsmann’s odd lineup decisions come into play here. When have Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud truly worked well as a tandem, and why play Michael Orozco who has not played in a league game this year when the more in-form Steve Birnbaum was available? That is not the only factor, however.

Klinsmann continues to tinker far too heavily with his lineups, and that is causing chemistry issues. Injuries may have hampered him this time, but Klinsmann nonetheless needs to stop changing things so drastically so that there can be a better understanding between players and so that awful performances and results like this can be avoided.

Oh, and it is not exactly a ringing endorsement to hear a coach have no response for why his players lacked focus from early on.


All that is not to say the U.S. players are without guilt.

The Americans were the ones who repeatedly made bad decisions on the field against Guatemala, whether it was Tim Howard deciding not to have a man on the front post of the corner kick that led to the opening goal or Bradley’s decision to not head the ball on the goal kick that resulted in Carlos Ruiz’s insurance tally.

There was also the fact the U.S. did not handle pressure well. The Americans know full well and have stated for years how important it is to manage moments in games, but it seemed like they forget that once the tension amped up at 2-0. Passes went astray, ambitious and hopeful shots were taken from distance and there was a whole lot of unorganized chasing on the defensive side.

The U.S. looked far too frenetic and was far too sloppy in trying to force a response, and that allowed the Guatemalans to feed off their frenzied crowd and move the ball with relative ease. So much so that they looked the more dominant side for large stretches despite being the less talented one.

Still, when a team as a whole doesn’t show up like this, the coach bears responsibility.


Struggling in Central America is not a new development, but getting this outplayed by an inferior opponent is. The U.S. was outworked and outhustled throughout much of the night in Guatemala City, and what Klinsmann’s side could have desperately used was a dose of toughness.

With usual enforcer Jermaine Jones suspended, the Americans needed someone to step up and set a tone or strike fear in Guatemala via a crunching sliding tackle or verbal jabs. No one did.

The Guatemalans were able to just dilly-dally on the ball without much problem far too many times, and it allowed them to grow in confidence in all aspects of the game. That is why you saw players like Marco Pappa go at and cleanly nutmeg Bradley without concern, and why other Guatemala attackers were seen toying with the U.S. by pulling off back heels, flicks and tricks.

Part of this can be explained by the lack of a true holding midfielder in the lineup, but the U.S. as a collective used to be tougher to play against. No, the Americans were never a nasty or dirty team, but they used to have the right amount of grit that would let opponents know that things would not come easy.

You did not see that on Friday. The Guatemalans more or less had their way with the U.S., as evidenced by the ‘Ole’ chants in the second half, and there was little resistance.


As bad as things might seem right now, the truth is that the U.S. will likely still reach the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when all is said and done.

The Americans are returning home for a Tuesday rematch with Guatemala, and should have a spirited crowd at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, to push them on. What’s more is the fact that Ruiz is set to miss the game, leaving the Guatemalans without their savvy veteran striker with the nose for goal.

If the U.S. takes care of business and triumphs on Tuesday, it will move into second place in its qualifying group. Two very winnable games follow on the road vs. St Vincent & the Grenadines and at home vs. Trinidad and Tobago, and there is a scenario that could see the Americans clinch advancement to the Hex before the final round of matches.

Those on the outside might not have much confidence in seeing the U.S. accomplish that after witnessing Friday’s debacle, but Klinsmann and company smashed Guatemala, 4-0, the last time they met in the U.S. less than a year ago. A repeat of that game or even just an improved performance from Friday that leads to a win should all but assure the Americans advance.

Such are the forgiving ways of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.


  1. All professional coaches must walk a fine line between rewarding past efforts of aging players to maintain a sense of solidarity with the team and bring in new talent to improve the team. Each of the last 3 US coaches have had a difficult time with this. I think it is because each was kept for over 4 years (sort of the sweet spot in a player’s career), that resulted in forcing them to either keep players whose peak had passed or disrupt the (probably false) sense that past success would be rewarded with future opportunities. That led the ultimate falling off we saw after 4 years for each of these coaches.

    Said another way, it is hard to recover trust from the players after you jettison a loyal, aging player in favor of a younger player, or it is impossible to keep those aging players and make the team as good as it could be. Very few coaches have managed that balancing act for long (Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, and Tom Landry managed,but they are the exceptions).

    I think both Arena and Bradley erred too much on the side of solidarity with older players while JK seems all too eager to discard those who have given their all in favor of the newest shiny toy.

    • I agree that it’s a fine line that coaches must walk. It is especially difficult at the international level where coaches have so little time to work with their players. However, I think you are wrong when it comes to JK going in favor of the newest shiny toy. If anything JK is falling into the same trap as Arena & B. Bradly did by keeping older players around and as the focus for too long. JK’s continued reliance on Wondo, Beckerman, Orozco, Jones, Dempsey, and Howard is actually hurting this team greatly. Wondo, Beckerman & Orozco should be put out to pasture…we have younger players every bit as good (if not better) that are younger. They may lack the experience but they’re never going to get it if they are not called in and used. Jones, Dempsey, & Howard need to be subs/bench options at this point. They can still contribute, but cannot be the focus of the team. Let them be mentors & impact subs for the next 12 months than send them on their way.
      Generally speaking the peak age for soccer players is between the age of 26-31/32. There are exceptions (Goal Keepers & CBs to an extent) and some freaks of nature, but this is the range in which players have their peak physical ability and have the experience & consistency needed to succeed.
      We cannot continue to rely on players who are past their sell by dates….
      Dempsey-33 (35@WC), Howard-37 (39@WC), Jones-34 (36@WC), Beckerman-34 (36@WC), Wondo-33 (35@WC), Orozco-30 (32@WC), Evans-31 (33@WC)…Even Cameron-30 (33@WC), Bedoya-29 (31@WC), Castillo-29 (31@WC) Zusi-29 (31@WC), and Nguyen-29 (31@WC) are Bordering on questionable inclusions much longer.
      The team needs an infusion of young players. Even If these younger players are only nearly as good as their older counterparts they need to be brought in and given time on the field in order to gain the experience they’ll need to move forward. Now if the younger players are given the chance and “Crap the Bed” (nothing positive at all in their appearance) then they should be dropped for a while as well (looking at you Mix) to give a chance to someone else.
      International soccer isn’t about what a player did for the team 2 years ago…or even last year. Its about what you did the last game (or three). Poor performances in matches, lack of playing for your club side, etc…means that you are dropped/not considered. PERIOD!

      Entitlement has no place in professional/international sport.

    • Too many people want to invest in revisionist history and say the team stopped playing when insert past star was dumped. The truth is the team went on a record streak shortly after Boca was retired, and played together and with a fight and determination in the WC after LD was left off (remember if Wondo just taps it in we are in the qrtrs despite giving up like 30 shots on goal). Both replacements worked out to some extent Boca made way for Fabian Johnson who is arguably our best player at this time, and although Yedlin will never be Landon, he played well enough in Brazil to earn a transfer to a top 8 EPL team and just a year and a half later earned a regular starting spot in the EPL with a lower team. The guys on the team know when a player has lost it and they are all professionals, and regardless of what we want to believe international soccer is a business and letting go of an aging star is business.

      • Its funny you say guys on a team know when a player has lost it but these same players are quoted as saying LD was the fittest player at the camp(due to his beep test results) and that he was killing it in scrimmages in that same camp but keep making stuff up as you go. JK had a gripe with LD and its unfortunate you chose and to this day still choose not to see it but the fact remains this manager has no clue what he’s doing(which is why Germany didn’t fret nor did Bayer M when he left for the US)and the fact remains the teams results in games that matter are abysmal at best(and in not talking g about the b/c team Gold Cup).

      • I searched through six pages of Google links looking for these quotes about LD being the fittest player at camp and struck out. I found several people including LD himself saying he’d lost a step or two, but nothing about Landon being the best. LD even said he expected to be role player because of where his skills were at the time.

        You could make the same claim about any manager the US has ever had, primarily when we win the GC is when Mexico doesn’t bring their A team and truthfully we usually don’t either. So what is the one tournament that matters the WC and sorry reaching the round of 16 is an accomplishment. Bradley was awful at MetroStars and Chivas so should we discount his run to the round of 16 in South Africa. Egypt is sojourning on without him 7-1-2 over the last two years.

      • Oh felt bad clicking on over 20 links wasn’t enough and finally found it “finished in the top third” on the beep test according to sources, and that came from which had somewhat of an axe to grind, but I’ll believe them and their sources. So no he wasn’t the fittest in the beep test just in the top ten and it seems far fetched guys trying to make the team would think I’m going to count and see where Landon finishes so that puts him somewhere between 5 and 15 as top third would be an estimate from someone trying not to puke their guts up. So in your own words stop making stuff up.

  2. I always use to wonder why Arena and Bradley played with some of the blandest/predictable teams in concacaf qualifying and now I know why. Its just not presentable to run out with a creative team when playing these bunker box teams. Guatemala was lucky enough to go up early and that dictated tempo from the beginning. it wasn’t really a soccer match after that and in good latin american fervor any challenge was accompanied by a one minute time wasting of rolling on the ground. I think the US can come away with nine points. I think this squad is more suited to beat south american and european opponents than a concacaf away match. Klinsmann will learn if we have to go to Honduras dont worry about a two forward formation or playing beautiful football. Bring in two CDM’s With non attacking FB’S. Play your own version of bunker box. Get some fast wings and a strong striker and do exactly what Guat did to us. Its the only way to take points away from Concacaf away matches. Bedoya on the RIGHT, Zardes on the left, Dempsey or Wood in the middle. By the way can we put the Mix experiment to rest and bring in Hyndman already. Bradley will never except his advanced roll he is personality shows he is defensive minded. He is the answer to the Beckerman-jones question, Now bring in Hyndman to play Attacking CM.

    • National teams are essentially all-star teams. Coaches don’t get to do much coaching. The tactics are usually rudimentary. (I think you will find that very few national sides play “beautiful” soccer. ) Arena and Bradley did what most national team coaches do around the world. If they did something else, it was to stress workrate and to encourage a level of teamwork that exceeded that of most national sides. (It’s a lot easier to get players to work together when you have very few players who think they are owed a place in the side.)
      Conversely, the national team is not a developmental program. It is not the place to try to change a “national” style if there is such a thing. You pretty much have to adapt your style to the players that are available. That’s what Bradley and Arena did.. (That they had both coached in college and were used to making the most of what came their way helped a great deal.)
      Klinsmann and, more important, Gulati don’t understand any of this and thus the mess they have created.

    • While I agree with you to a certain extent that Guatemala was lucky enough to go up early and were able to dictate the tempo of the game thereafter….I have to disagree with some of your analysis of the situation.
      First off “Its just not presentable to run out with a creative team when playing these bunker box teams.” The US didn’t run out a creative team on Friday. The went out with 3 Center Backs, 1 outside back, 2 Box-to-Box midfielders, a outside back playing wide midfield, and 2 forwards. This is hardly a creative starting XI. Looking at the rest of the team assembled there bulk of it was made up of CBs, CMs, 2 injured players,1 hybrid striker/midfielder, and 1 striker. Again not really a creative group.
      The blame for this atrocious performance can be equally balanced between the Coach and the players. The players appeared to be completely disinterested in the match. There was no heart or desire from any of them. On talent alone the players fielded/used were good enough to win or at least get a result. This is where the failing of the coaching staff came into play. The coaches failed to select a balanced team (Limited wide options both on defense & midfield), played players in the appropriate positions (Yedlin at RB & Cam at CB), and have a tactical game plan (or if they did to convey it to the players). The players selected were an odd collection heavy on CBs & CMs which on the surface appeared to be assembled to grind out a performance. However they were deployed in a manner which left much to be desired. Using the same XI JK and his staff could have gone with the 4-2-3-1 formation you suggested or a 4-1-3-2 with a higher probability of success. Instead they were deployed in a 4-4-1-1 empty bucket which was poorly executed by the players.
      Overall a bad night in which both the players & the coaching staff were to blame. Both players and coaches need to be put on notice.

  3. Can we be real, is it JK or the lack of talent there is in the pool? I think the u23s could probably beet the senior team if u gave them jab, yedlin, Wood a healthy Rubin an gyua

  4. Can we stop saying they had a good World Cup, they won the first, blew the second, lost the third, and got severely outplayed by Belgium.

    • The 2014 World Cup will forever be remembered for Klinnsmann cutting our nation’s greatest player when he still had something to offer. The 2010 World Cup will be remembered for Landon’s huge goals, Howard’s amazing performance, and a team that played with the pride and never say die attitude that our nation is known for.

      • I’ll remember Dempsey’s goal in the first 30 seconds, outplaying Portugal for much of the game only to have Ronaldo whip in a perfect cross in 95th minute to draw after Dempsey broken nose and all chesting in a go ahead at 80 minutes, and Tim Howard putting eleven men on his back to come within a Wondo shank of sending us to the quarters. Your letting your hatred for the coach cloud your appreciation for what the boys did. One could equally paint 2010 with the negatives of each match against significantly weaker competition and make it sound just as bad.

        Donovan made his own bed when he came to camp out of shape and openly said he wasn’t willing to train they way the rest of the team was going to train. Yes, I know he finished strong with the Galaxy, but MLS isn’t the World Cup, I don’t think he makes a difference in any of the four games. Ghana doesn’t matter we won, Yedlin (one of the replacements, sends the cross to Zusi to lead to Dempsey’s goal and overall is the surprise of the tournament, Germany better than Davis sure but we weren’t beating them even with LD they were just too good, finally Belgium as you say we were dominated LD couldn’t have provided any better cover to Belgium’s wingers and Green (replacement 2) scored even if it was a shank. He’s the greatest American field player of all-time, but he tied Klinsman’s hands with his attitude and effort. Everyone bashes Allen Iverson for his “We’re talking about practice” quote well Donovan basically said he expected to play, but not have to practice.

    • Blew the 2nd on a inch perfect cross from the 2nd best player in the world in the 95th minute of a game played in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest. And if Wondo doesn’t miss a tap in he hits 9 times out of 10 we go onto the quarterfinals despite all that.

      Can we stop acting like it was a bad World Cup? The guy should go and some of the players from that team have lost their form, but to trash their accomplishments because of how the team is playing two years later is unfair. We reached the knock out stage that’s what we should do, anything beyond that is just icing on the cake until our player development increases significantly.

  5. Someone needs to be held accountable for these dismal performances. I cannot recall a sound byte or written account of a player backing Klinsmann in a long time. He appears to be the problem and his lineup decisions, call ups, and pure lack of tactical awareness supports this. He always spoke about a team’s style of play representing the culture of our nation. I am not sure what this style represents but JK is building a big wall and making the supporters pay for it!

  6. I don’t pay too much attention to USSF inner workings, why are people so against Gulati other than he hired and hasn’t fired JK. Is that it or is there something I’ve missed.

    • Hiring Klinsmann, paying him a fortune, and giving him two jobs — national team coach and development director (?) are surely enough evidence that Gulati has no clue.
      US soccer has long suffered from an inferiority complex — that we needed foreigners to come and tell us how to do things, even after we have proven that we can do them on our own. Bradley and Arena were both highly effective coaches. Not everyone liked their methods but they got a lot out of their players and, in my view, over-achieved at the international level (not everyone agrees with that). Hiring Klinsmann seems, to me, a move backward, based on the apparent belief that we needed someone to revamp everything in US soccer and that only a foreigner could do the trick.
      I think it is obvious by now that more than a few American coaches could do as well (or badly) as Klinsmann has and that everything about the US national team didn’t need to be changed, at least not the ways Klinsmann has changed them.

    • Kreis, Berhalter, or Porter. The problem with the 2nd two would be do they give up a full time job for a two year job? Anyone know if Kreis was around for training this week, I believe he helped out in January?

      • Until any of them have either success vs Mexican/CA teams and/or European teams (you know, the players we have to play against) i have my doubts with any of the suggested replacements. Somebody like Mexico’s hire (veteran coach) would be a better choice than any of the unproven MLS options. If Porter or Vermes wins CCL next year I would warm up to that idea..

        Im 50/50 on Klinsmann at best but lets hold judgment until after the home leg.

      • I am not sure how judging MLS coaches based on their CCL experience is necessary. MLS teams don’t care about the CCL because their fans and sponsors don’t care. They play reserve lineups throughout the group stages usually playing home matches at small colleges instead of their regular stadium because no one comes. And as has been rehashed many times once you get to the knockout stage you have MLS in the early preseason against Mexican teams in the third month of the season. That pretty much leaves you with hiring a foreign coach who probably doesn’t have much experience beating the types of teams you mentioned either.

      • It is hard to discount Marsch, who led the Red Bull to the supporter’s shield despite needing to rebuild a team after Henri and Cahill left.

        Also,Marsch prefers to play high pressure and deny the opponents time on the ball. It is a tactic that will have some bad games against the likes of Spain, but it will do very well against CONCACAF and middling European teams.

        The only thing is that he would have to find forwards who are more active than Dempsey, Altidore, Johannsonn, etc. A forward more like Twellman was or Wondo now who never stop moving, but a bit more athletic would be good. Grella has done well for the RedBull but I am not sure he is athletic enough and none of the U-23s seem ready. I know Vardy is not available, but he would be a perfect match for that kind of setup.

    • Let’s not spend a fortune on the next tactical ‘genius’ and just find someone who can get our identity back – a former player, preferably a defender or midfielder, with basic understanding of the simplified tactics these national teams (read, all-star teams) play. Someone who has been through the CONCACAF wars and knows what to expect, and someone respected by current players. My first choice would be Boca. Dolo would be another option but I don’t think we could get him.

  7. This is to frank and Ives… I would like to see journalists proposing a way to transition JK out and some new in–I mean specifics. You know that you have your readers behind you, except for the odd duck perhaps. Someone here mentioned that it would be a good time after the hex (assuming we get through). But who will replace him? If money is the issue, let’s pass the hat. Crap, I’d contribute $5 to end this race to the bottom. All the good work of previous coaches is at risk here. Not to mention the abundant skills of a new generation.

    • Wednesday morning would be better. Two warm ups in May and Copa America to work with the new manager before the final two qualifiers. The Hex starts in November this time just two months after this round. If a change is going to be made and it should be it needs to be this week.

  8. Here’s the deal. In soccer, if you are well-organized and work hard and have a bit of luck, you can win games that you are not supposed to. The US coaching staff used to understand that. It’s not all about fancy theories and international pedigrees. Sometimes it’s about simple common sense coaching and lots of sweat. Guatemala deserved its win. They earned it, even that clown Ruiz.

    The United States effort was a disgrace, an embarrassment. The USA have not lost to Guatemala since the 1980s, even in Guatemala. Guatemala is not a good team. They probably could not beat most MLS teams on a good day.

    Klinsmann is and has always been a complete fraud. He knows nothing about coaching. Last night’s lineup looked like something dreamed up by a newcomer to Football Manager for a pre-season friendly.

    No, Klinnsman will still be around this time next year. But that’s because Gulati knows less about soccer than the average doorknob.

  9. He has lost the team, it’s not debatable at this point, and it happened a long time ago. There is only one thing to do now but USSF is poorly ran and it won’t happen 🙁

  10. I think after the Olympics if the USA make it we will see a huge roster change and give the likes of some of the u23s a shot and weed out some of the older guys. It’s time for a change and cohesiveness in midfield and back four. Should stick to same back four for the next two years, and Castillo wasn’t that bad last night. But let’s get Brooks, mizga, yedlin and a left back weather it be Acosta, Payne, Castillo, villana or Vincent let’s just stick with one and let them play together. Bring up Hyndman and let him run the middle, if anyone noticed when he pushed to the middle in the U23 game last night they looked slot better, the kid has skill set that is needed. I’m over the Bradley days, nagbe and Hyndman I would like to see and I was kinda cautious about calling pulisic up even though he is good enough, what else is there to lose.

    • I’d be happy if we could stick with the same back four for three consecutive games.

      I understand that everybody isn’t always available, and you have to experiment with younger players at times. But we’re six years into this current coach’s time, and none of us has any clue who will start next on the back line. No time to develop chemistry. I can only guess that for some strikers turned coaches, the importance of defense just isn’t recognized. But defense used to be our strength. Now its an afterthought, and teams that have little hope of qualifying for a World Cup are popping in multiple goals on us. We can score on anyone now – which is great – but we also can give up multiple goals to even middle level sides.

  11. The team selected was not prepared to play, that’s the managers fault.The slowest striker in the Americas, carrying a beer belly and caboose of tacos, beat the CBs on several occasions with ‘speed’.

    • Regardless of JKs deficiencies and there are many, two professional CBs should be able to handle a goal kick up the middle of the pitch.

  12. A few thoughts:

    1. Congrats to Guatemala. Sometimes the underdog wins.
    2. In 1988 saw the USMNT beat Guatemala in Connecticut. The team was made up of college players. Now we have a team of professionals making millions and they perform like this? We are regressing.
    3. Any coincidence that the defense was a total shambles and we had three of our back four from Liga Mex?
    4. Has JK lost the dressing room? I get the feeling that Bradley in particular, resents Klinsman and is not in his camp.

    Lot of work to do.

    • I agree, Bradley, Dempsey, Cameron, and others are trying to be good soldiers but they are simply not ‘having it.’ ‘Yes sir, where do you want me to play next sir?’ This may be a stretch but it feels the the locker room began to turn when bocanegra and cherundolo, two experienced and popular players were ‘fired.’ Donovan was the last straw. the locker room is long gone imho. The ‘team’ has been playing worse than the sum of its parts for since before the 2014 World Cup.

      • Cherundolo was injured and retired and if you go back and read the recaps from the last qualifying games against Guatemala everyone was screaming for Boca to be gone because he was letting in goals all over the place. There’s enough to complain about without revisionist history.

      • Carlos Ruiz burning Bocanegra in Kansas City in this same round 4 years ago is pretty much what ended his national team career. .

      • Thanks for responding. Okay, you’re memories are better than mine and I don’t have the time or patience to go back and look. My point is this, the leadership of those two was very important to the team and to be honest all our players have their days. As bad as Alvarado? Bornstein? Easy to blame on age.

      • Well that same Ruiz is still burning our younger defenders to this day so what the excuse now?? JK has lost the team and he still continues to play players out if position and players who are of form. I have never seen Bedoya at LM and his unfamiliarity there showed last night. Orozco has been playing with Tijuanas youth team and he gets a start. Castillo continues to be a wtf callup why play Yedlin at RM when he has been playing well at Sunderland of late?? Sunil needs to grow pair and let JK go, give him this last game and lets cut our losses with this crap

      • I love Boca, but he was physically unable to hang at the international level a year before JK cut him loose. And Klinsmann loved Cherundolo, and continued to speak about him continuing to contribute right up until “Dolo blew out his knee and was forced to retire from the game altogether.

        I share the frustration with the team, but other than the lack of a consistent defensive lineup I don’t have much to lay at JK’s feet. Or maybe I’m just realistic enough to realize the real problem is a serious lack of talent in the player pool.

  13. Despite the US playing terribly, they did have their chances to get at least three maybe four goals only to be stymied by the game of Motta’s life. The US should have at least buried a couple. I think the US will dominate the possession game in Columbus once again and could benefit from a creative player like Nguyen to facilitate breakdowns in the final third. Of course, they should still win without Nguyen, but I would like to see him start. It is incredible how JK rates Orozco higher than some other deserving players. I think the US gets a victory on Tuesday then defeat both Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad at home. Then it would be a perfect time to thank JK for his services right after this semi-final round.

  14. if things do not change and there is no team
    rejuvenation, we end up not being able to get
    to the world championship. the next call to
    be different: Lletget, Chandler, Morris,
    Miazga, Vincent, Trapp, Williams, Morales,
    Ream, Hedges, Shea, Arriola should be
    considered as options

  15. the performances and the results are getting
    worse, blame the poor Klinsmann’s decisions
    and the ridiculous attitude of some players
    on the field: Bradley can not even hit a good
    corner kick, dempsey unmotivated

  16. “It was a lack of focus, concentration and wrong decisions… And we can write everything on the whiteboard—it’s in the locker room—if they have that kind of moment where they are not kind of remembering where their position is, then things like that can happen… On the first goal, nobody covered the first post… The second goal was a sequence of mistakes, from Michael not heading the ball to the centerbacks thinking that Michael has it, and one thinking the other has it… Maybe that’s a question for the players.”

    What a snake. Nothing is ever his fault. Would you want to play for a guy like this?

    • Your leaving out the part where he said everyone has blame coaching staff and players. He should go, but lets be honest about it and not take two lines out of a press conference.

      His overall tactics and strategy were sub par at best, but he is right on the two goals, if you work on something all week and its in the plan on the board to have a defender on the post and that guy doesn’t get to where he is supposed to be that’s firmly on the player and the captain or keeper for not grabbing him and throwing him there. Gonzo and Orozco are to blame for the Ruiz goal that’s middle school level defending mistake. Even if he had put Dempsey and Bedoya at center backs they should be able to handle that play.

  17. When we get beaten by a team that:
    Just replaced their coach in December
    Sub in Midfielder that got let go by Seattle Sounders
    Has a striker, who couldn’t cut it for DC United, played lone striker effectively (at age 36)
    Who experimented with a Guatemalan league striker and Germany league 3 Defender in midfield and win by two goals
    Lock us down with a defender that can’t even displace Hedges and Zimmerman (neither of with we called in) for a starting position at FC Dallas.
    Then the coaching is simply terrible.
    “If my tools are better than your tools, but you are able to create something better than me then you are simply better at that craft, because you can do more with less”

    SBI said it best
    “Poor performances and bad results happen to even the best mangers and teams in the world, but this type of underwhelming and abysmal showing has become far too common under Klinsmann.”

    • Not only four years ago. In order to get out of the semi final round in 2000 under Arena, the US needed to win their last game against Barbados and did not score until the 63 minute. People were screaming for Arena’ head back then; The US then comes in third in the HEX beating Jamaica in their last game by a PK in the 80th minutes by Moore; then the US beats Mexico 2-0 in the WC and then lost to Germany 1-0 in a great game dominated by the US. Despite all of this, JK needs to go.

      • No, the Jamaica match was not the last of the Hex in 2001, and no, there were not widespread calls for Arena’s head. We clinched WC qualification with that win, and still had a game in hand. The other CONCACAF results were announced while players were still on the pitch, and they celebrated with Sam’s Army, which had filled one end — believe it or not, they were the best supporters our boys had back then. SA may have eventually earned their demise, but they did a good job backing the boys during years when popular support was scarce. It’s a bit sad their legacy is unknown by so many today.

        For those of you newer fans that may like a little history, the October 2001 Jamaica match was a special day for several reasons. It was less than four weeks after 9/11, and just getting there by air was a surreal experience. I flew on United, LA to Boston (the reverse route of one of their hijacked flights). I travelled often for work, but that was my first post-9/11 flight, and I had never experienced such a quiet cabin, or passengers that paid such solemn attention to the flight attendant’s safety briefing. For many of us, I think commercial air travel remained a tense experience for a while.

        That match was also the first international competition for the US in any sport since 9/11, and — I believe — the last ever USNT match at the venerable “Fort”, which would soon be torn down to make a parking lot for Gillette Stadium.

        It was a typically cool Fall day with sunshine and some patchy clouds. After the National Anthem, Sam’s Army unfurled a banner from one corner to the other that read “America, You’ll Never Walk Alone”, and proceeded to sing the song made famous by Liverpool fans. I had never heard it in a US stadium — before or since — and it was amazing. If the song is unfamiliar, I encourage you to find a video of Liverpool fans singing it.

        The match was supposed to be televised nationally on a major network, and at 9’11” after kickoff, SA began singing “America the Beautiful” to a nation that, for the most part, wouldn’t hear it. TV programming had been pre-empted by news on almost every station, covering combat operations that had just commenced in Afghanistan; everyone knew it was coming, but we were definitely at war now. By halftime, word had spread through the crowd, and you could hear people talking about throughout the concourse.

        Crazy days. Emotions were raw for a lot of people back then, and a lot of us shared tears that day, but being around so many US fans supporting their team was great medicine. Even the many Jamaica fans celebrated with us. Maybe they are just cool to begin with, but I think they knew our country needed it.

        Klinnsman doesn’t have sh!t on Arena, and this team doesn’t have sh!t on those boys.

      • Grunt- thanks for sharing that story, that was really cool to read from someone who was there. I remember how strange it was to fly again after 9/11 too.

        That team went 4-1-0 in the first half of the hex and looked assured of qualifying, even beating Honduras on the road. Stewart hits from 35 yards on a deflection and Mathis with the winner on a free kick late (

        Then the wheels fell off and we lost three in a row, including a 3-2 loss to Honduras “on the road” at RFK in D.C. Along with poor but expected performances at Saprissa and Azteca.

        Here’s the video of the Foxboro game Check out Landon’s hair, and what was the Jamaican defender thinking on that penalty ouch!

      • The loss to Honduras at RFK was indeed a shocker, and the disrespectful conduct of many Honduran fans in our “home” stadium made it especially bitter. It didn’t help that it was bracketed by our two most difficult road fixtures (which we expected to lose).

        That was a tough stretch, but in contrast with the last 18 months of Klinnsman? Not so much.

        Btw – I was at the Azteca match as well. There were about 120 of us that were part of a coordinated trip, and so were able to provide a modest presence behind one of goals (behind a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire). We had a big-ass flag that really incensed the Mexicans when we unfurled it. I paid for my beer with all the coins thrown at us, but the pieces of concrete and fireworks were less fun.

        At halftime, they replaced the ordinary police around our section with cops in riot gear standing shoulder-to-shoulder. After the match, they made a tunnel by holding their plexiglass shields overhead, so we could get to the exit tunnel with some prtoection from all the objects and cups of liquids raining down.

      • This is for Grunt. Yes it was the HEX. And yes, we had a game at hand. It was a long time ago but that Jamaica game was basically what decided the US’s fait. It felt like the last game and it might as well have been. At the time of Moore’s PK nobody predicted that Trinidad would beat Honduras, nobody. It was Trinidad’s first and only win of the HEX. At the time the U.S. had 12 points and Honduras 14. Honduras lost to Trinidad and then to Mexico. The U.S. beat Jamaica and then tied 0-0 with Trinidad if I remember correctly. By the way, you or I may not have been calling for Arena’s head but many were during the semi-finals. My point is that Qualifying is never easy.

      • This is for Grunt. Yes it was the HEX. And yes, we had a game at hand. It was a long time ago but that Jamaica game was basically what decided the US’s fate. It felt like the last game and it might as well have been. At the time of Moore’s PK nobody predicted that Trinidad would beat Honduras, nobody. It was Trinidad’s first and only win of the HEX. At the time the U.S. had 13 points and Honduras 14. Honduras lost to Trinidad and then to Mexico. The U.S. beat Jamaica and then tied 0-0 with Trinidad if I remember correctly. By the way, you or I may not have been calling for Arena’s head but many were during the semi-finals. My point is that Qualifying is never easy.

      • To be fair 2001 was well before the social media boom. If it had been there certainly would be some call for him to go. Remember we lost in the quarters of his first Gold Cup in 2000 to Columbia, so not totally unexpected at the time.

        Of course back then only the most devoted fans even knew there was a GC.

  18. “As bad as things might seem right now, the truth is that the U.S. will likely still reach the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when all is said and done.”

    Don’t know how anyone can draw that conclusion. With JK in charge, this group can lose to anyone anywhere. Even if they make the Hex, significant improvement is necessary and there’s no reason to think JK i capable of delivering that improvement. JK should have been fired after the Gold Cup and he should have been fired before he left the stadium after last night’s debacle. I guess it’ll take missing out on Russia for US Soccer to make a change.

  19. Got to give Guatemala some respect, they went all out and got a historic win. Hope the US can drum up half as much passion, grit and organization in the return leg

    For the US its just sad watching such a flat performance. Sad seeing Bradley, Dempsey and Howard three of the all time greats with nothing left.. Klinnsman management is not helping but I put this loss on the regular players more than anything else.

    • People have been saying for years that JK messes around with defenders too much, and the problems now are mostly defensive. This was Guatemala who hung a quick two on us, and then could ride that lead the rest of the night. Not Germany or other global leaders, not even Mexico/CR/Jamaica/Honduras/Panama or other CONCACAF teams we can expect to see in the Hex, but Guatemala! A back four needs chemistry – each has to know his responsibilities and trust other members of the unit to handle their responsibilities. For a long time, we’ve looked like a team playing pick-up games. You can get away with that for a bit further up field, but not on the back line.

      This team seems to have nothing going forward, so why not fire JK and just have one of those ball kids pick a line-up – see what happens? It can’t be worse.

    • I agree. Bedoya looked awful. Every ball either rolls up his leg or gets passed weakly to the other team. With all due respect to dempsey but if I have to watch him lay on the ground crying for a foul I think I’ll puke.

      • Bobby Wood was doing the same thing. They need to take it as a given that the ref will be bad and learn to get up and play on.

  20. Not a JK fan but ill wait until WCQ is over to judge. Too many people have itchy firing fingers. No he isnt showing us anything new. And if he fails, than JK wont have an Y excuses either. Bringing in another coach now wont dramatically change things.

    • “Itchy trigger finger?” This team has been atrocious for almost two years now. He’d have been fired anywhere else ages ago. And bringing in a new coach is something that is tried all the time around the world in both club and international football and it often works. What have we got to lose at this point? Are we really going to play worse than last night or at than we did at the Gold Cup?

    • I believe itchy would have described a firing right after the Gold Cup. I believe he could have been justifiably let go after crashing out of Olympic qualifying for the second time and losing to Mexico in the play in game to the confed cup. Combined with mediocre youth levels, which he vowed to improve and there is plenty to be upset about. He was supposed to be our change agent — admittedly I was super supportive for years — however, he has little to show, and some might say that the programs at every level have regressed. Last night was just another reminder we’re stuck with a lousy coach and arguably a lousy technical director, because there is too much money in his contract to let him go.

  21. Up until last night, I was on the fence on Klinnsmann continuing. After last night, he needs to go. This team is a mess all around. I am tired of players not “in form” at their club playing for country and tired of players played out of their club position.

    Chinese fire drill comes to mind when trying to describe Jurgen’s tactics.

    • I second that. I was one of the US fans that supported sacking Bob Bradley 5 years ago after Mexico man-handled the US in the Concacaf Gold Cup and welcomed the hiring of Jurgen Klinsmann hoping he will bring real hope to US soccer. I’ve had enough of Klinsmann since the 2014 World Cup was over. There was no excuses for the extremely poor performance from the defeat in Guatemala last night. Despite injuries to Fabian Johnson, John Brooks and Matt Besler, having played Diskeruud alongside Bradley in midfield and the not in form Orozco in central defense away in Guatemala City was the last straw for me. USSF should axe both Klinsmann and Gulati at the same time, from the top down.


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