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Jurgen Klinsmann discusses recent criticism after USMNT mauls Guatemala

Jurgen Klinsmann USMNT Guatemala 70

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A couple hours before the U.S. Men’s National Team took on Guatemala in a World Cup Qualifier on home soil on Tuesday, a plane with a banner flew over Mapfre Stadium.

The banner read, “#FireKlinsmann He’s a tiny little bit behind”.

It was quite possibly the biggest sign of protest that any U.S. head coach has ever faced, and a window into how frustrated and angry a good portion of the American fanbase was towards Jurgen Klinsmann.

The U.S. entered Tuesday’s clash with Guatemala under an avalanche of pressure given that the match was a virtual must-win, and the person many fans and pundits held responsible for that precarious situation was Klinsmann. The Americans had shockingly dropped a 2-0 decision to the Central American nation just days prior, and the defeat was seen by hordes of supporters and observers as an extension of a poor run of form that dated back to 2014 rather than a disappointing one-off.

The criticism that followed that shutout loss on the road was pointed. The sarcasm was unrelenting. Insults were plentiful. There was an uproar for Klinsmann to be fired.

Klinsmann apparently noticed.

“I’m cool with that. I let people say whatever they would like to say. It’s alright with me. Here and there you wish maybe some comments could be a little bit more respectful, but it is what it is,” said Klinsmann following the U.S.’s 4-0 beatdown of Guatemala on Tuesday night. “It’s an emotional game, and emotions go both ways. When things go well, the emotions, in Brazil, they skyrocket suddenly, and then if you lose a game some comments go the other direction.

“As a coach, you have to live with that and you’ve got to keep your balance, which I do. It’s not a big deal.”

Since being appointed U.S. head coach back in 2011, Klinsmann has encouraged discussion amongst fans, media, and everyone else involved in American soccer in an effort to grow the sport. He welcomes debate, and doesn’t hide from it. In fact, the 51-year-old German has at times even asked tough questions and started controversial conversations that have infuriated people like MLS commissioner Don Garber.

Still, Klinsmann sounded a bit more sensitive to scrutiny than usual following Tuesday night’s triumph.

After Klinsmann answered a question as to whether too much is made about fielding consistent lineups, a U.S. Soccer spokesman noted that the two most previous U.S. coaches, Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena, fielded different starting teams in almost every game they coached.

Per the statistic given, Bradley used 78 different starting combinations in 80 games and Arena had 129 in 130.

“So much for consistency,” said Klinsmann before the next question was asked.

Klinsmann’s seat might have gotten a little cooler after guiding the U.S. to such a lopsided and convincing win over Guatemala on Tuesday, but the pressure to produce results in games that matter will be plenty intense in the coming months. The Americans have the remaining two games of the third round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying on the schedule later this year, but also the Copa America Centenario this summer in the United States.

“Now we can kind of really plan for, hopefully, a very, very exciting Copa America, where we want to do well,” said Klinsmann.

Winning tends to cure everything, so a good showing for U.S. in that tournament would certainly help to ease concerns about the direction that the Americans are headed in.

On the other hand, an early exit and poor overall performance might only lead to more drastic measures than airplanes with anti-Klinsmann banners.


  1. Well we know Van Gaal is going to get fired, Can we be sure JK will be fired? I think so. The NBA , the NFL, Maybe NHL too? What nonsense. You are pulling this out from somewhere. You probably didnt even see what Di Maria said. Its always the player, never this coach. Good coaches understand players are performers, most players want to be put in a place where they look good and succeed. Players , being on a stage, can be quite vulnerable. Its easy for the fans to be macho. The general pool of players available to JK is so much better than was for Bradley,that to get the same result more or less, is a travesty. You cant play like Barcelona if you have the talent of NYCFC. Tailor your game to succeed, Not to show how clever you think you are.

    • I don’t pay to go to games to watch the USA play bunker ball for 90 minutes… I pay to watch good soccer. We didn’t bring JK in to play nyfc style soccer… We brought him to change what the US was doing. It’s not an overnight process.

      • then the ussf should only be paying him to be the technical director, *not* the usmnt manager.

    • Dr, u realize you contradict yourself, if bob played bunkerball to maximize his players lack of talent, then if JK has players that are “so much better” then why would keeping the same bunkerball make sense. Either the players aren’t good so jk should play bunker ball. OR… The players are better which means he SHOULDNT play bunker ball………..

      (Insert nick young face here)…

  2. you can’t pin Di Maria’s problems on Van Gaal any more than you can pin the problems of 100 other failed signings on those coaches. Teams have a character and a playing style, and sometimes guys don’t mesh… sometimes its the coach… sometimes its the players. Look at the NFL and NBA, where it happens all the time. A guy does great in one situation, where by the way he is surrounded by Ronaldo, and 9 other galacticos and goes to a team where he maybe has to carry more of the load… and boom, he doesn’t do as well. is it him? the coach? the style? Why did the coach use that style? maybe because he doesn’t have a team of galacticos? maybe he needed this signing over here instead of over there because of an injury or something. I am not a MUN fan, so I don’t know the details… but blaming Van Gaal and then trying to tie JK into that same blame is idiotic.

    Look at Messi’s struggles with the Argentinian teams for years… but yeah, all those coaches should absolutely be fired. Look at Moss’s struggles before going to the Pats, or carson’s struggles before the cardinals. other commenters can feel free to add more.

    your naivette is astonishing.

  3. Just check out the interview Of Di Maria about why he did poorly at Man U and why he is doing fine now. Its as if he were talking about all the bad things JK does. The profound stupidity of the “experts” who rationalize a bad coach is sad to read. Klinsman is a goner. He will never win the battle he has lost for the hearts and minds of the fans and players. It happened in Germany and is happening now. Dont drink the coolaid about different formations and strategy. There is no strategy except to not take any responsibility and blame the players because they are not good enough. If Klinsman were coaching himself, he would be out on left wing or something because everyone should be playing everywhere, especially when you dont know where they should be in the first place.

    • Let’s hypothetically imagine Bob Bradley was never fired and replaced by jk. Let’s imagine Bob Bradley instead of being fired decided to implement a new system, let’s say he did the exact same things jk did in call ups, development, changing the attacking tactics and not playing Bobby’s bunker ball. Let’s imagine all the results were the same. Would you still hate bob and say he knows nothing or congratulate him for trying to move us soccer to the next level with admitted growing pains while also not regressing? Well in reality, jk has had equal or greater success while still, by the numbers, playing essentially the same amount of different lineups with “out of position players” as bob did. So again I ask, if things have held consistent while implementing a new system then how have we recessed? We’re still not a top 10 team, never was; were still not a terrible team that never wins like Canada or something… We’re reworking our system and getting rid of the terrible bunker ball that has identified us for so long. The conclusion to be made is that people can hate jk but hating him for incorrect reasons is no more helpful than a “bad coach”…

      • something to remember: not all of bob bradley’s teams have played “bunkerball” (although his teams are known for being very disciplined).

        bradley’s usmnt teams played bunkerball because that’s how we could win. that was his (and anyone’s) job as a national team manager: to win games. he was astute enough to recognize what kind of players he had, and put them in the best position to win games. which is also why he overachieved with that team.

        if bradley started changing tactics and subsequently finishing fourth in the gold cup, losing to guatemala, etc, yes, people would be upset, and i guarantee he would be fired. most people (not purists like turkmenbashy, of course) want their team to win–without cheating–first and foremost. if we were to win the world cup (or even advance to the semi-finals) playing like greece 2004, i would be f–king thrilled, because i’m aware of the limitations of our current player pool.

        the crux of the matter is that it is apparently not klinsmann’s job to win games, which is why i don’t have any argument (yet) with his role as technical director, but a major problem with his performance as the national team manager.

      • was just talking about competitive games, in which klinsmann is substantially behind both bradley and arena.

        i’ll cheer the team on and watch every match, but i can’t get myself to care too much about results in friendlies, whether they’re wins against germany or losses to costa rica.

  4. There’s a lot of criticism for JK’s use of differing lineups that don’t seem to hold up to scrutiny as JohnnyRazor helpfully lays out above. I wonder if people aren’t just longing for the simpler days and tactics of Bradley who could be counted on to stay compact defensively and counter attack as the opportunity arose and to dominate on set pieces. The better the opponent, the deeper the bunker. In that system it was easier for players to switch positions because the demands of each position were easier to understand. Players were easier to evaluate too because the emphasis was on speed, strength, and stamina and to a much lesser degree skills and tactical acumen. The biggest internal failure in that system was a defensive lapse, hence the scorn for certain players such as Jonathan Bornstein (who was ironically being played out of position by Bradley).

    My point is, the anger at JK over his lineups and deployment of personnel is really misplaced anger over his refusal to settle on a single formation or strategy in his attempts to modernize US football. It looks ugly because sometimes it has been ugly. But sometimes it has been beautiful. Coming out of the defensive shell that the USMNT had adopted as its identity was always going to present some risks and have some stomach turning failures. I don’t know precisely what it will take to get to the elite level, but surely we couldn’t continue doing the same thing, over and over.

    • Amen again… and here is the other thing to remember, teams don’t attack with 11… that is why soccer is such a low scoring game. in soccer you are going forward with 3-6 guys, 8 if you are REALLY desperate, 9/10 if it is the 90th minute of a elimination game. So on defense… you should be able to defend with an equal number of guys back… i.e. Juventus can defend with a 3 man back line if they are playing an opponent that is only willing to commit 3 people to the attack… and the 4-4-2 lineup is designed to offset a 4-4-2 on the other side… with your LB/RB only playing defense when the other side commits its MF into the attack… for people to sit around and argue that OMG we lost because we didn’t commit more good players to the defense in Guatemala (i.e. the this guy isn’t a 6 argument)… is basically saying I only think we can win with bunker ball… more guys on defense than the other team is committing in attack. WHICH I THINK IS THE UGLIEST SOCCER ON EARTH. I would much rather lose like Brazil than win like Greece… of course, winning like Brazil used to would be better… and Brazil’s losing is because they are in a dead spot in terms of talent and savvy (which Ironically I blame on the Europeans taking all their 14 year olds and bringing them to Europe!)… point being, JK is starting to defend in equal numbers to the guys being pushed forward by the other team… but that results in some mistakes (and BTW, both of the goals were MISTAKES). So yeah, JK is not the problem here.

  5. If Klinsman were coaching the German national team when he was playing, he would have been put on left wing because everyone should be able to play anywhere.

    • No, but he might have switched with the winger during the game and played on the LW for 15-20 minutes to confuse the other side, or pull a guy out of position… and BTW, if he played for the Dutch or Barcelona… yeah, he might have been put at LMF.

    • I’m not going to look, but I don’t recall a lot of fans calling for Zusi, Zardes, and Beckerman. Most also wanted to bench Dempsey after Friday’s game. There were about 30 different line ups posted on here so someone might have struck gold I suppose.

      • Your question intrigued me, the closest anyone came was 8 out of 11, and no one had those 8 all in the spots they played. A few had the formation correct, but again no more than 5 or 6 players in the right spots. But I get your sentiment.

  6. Ok I went back to Bradley’s 2010 teams qualifying in the Hex, here are the back line breakdowns.

    Bornstein, Boca, Gooch, Spector= 3 times
    Bornstein, Boca, Gooch, Dolo = 1 time
    Bornstein, Boca, Marshall, Dolo= 1 time
    Boca, Demerit, Gooch, Dolo= 1 time
    Beasley, Boca, Gooch, Wynne= 1 time
    Beasley, Boca, Gooch, Hejduk= 1 time
    Beasley, Pearce, Boca, Calif, Hejduk= 1 time
    Beasley, Pearce, Boca, Gooch, Hejduk= 1 time

    I couldn’t find renderings of the last two so Beasley may have been a midfielder, but he was listed third on the lineup list which would normally mean defender so maybe we ran a 5 man back line.

    Boca and Gooch started in the CB position 6 or 7 times (depending on that last formation) which is much better than we’ve seen of late from JK teams, but overall back line varied a lot.

    in the 2012 there were 10 different lineups but its more consistent than that would seem

    Omar played 7 times at CB (with Besler 5 times)
    Beasley played 7 times
    Cameron started 6 times 3 at CB and 3 at RB (2 of these he could have been a DM but was listed with CBs so hard to tell without a graphic which he played)
    Evans played 5 times
    Besler played 6 times at CB
    Goodson and Orozco twice
    FJ twice where he appears to have been a fullback not a midfielder

    If you look at the core of Beasley, Besler, Cameron, Omar, and Evans, 3 or 4 of them were on the field 6 times out of 10 so maybe not quite as consistent as 2010 qualifying, but pretty darn close considering Besler developed into a good player during the hex itself and only Evans played in the meaningless game against Panama.

  7. He is too arrogant or ignorant to accept any critisism. he has turned the national team program back he needs to be fired

    • He is arrogant he was one of the best soccer players in the world during his era and you don’t get to that level without a significant level of self love. Nor do you even apply to be a national team coach without it. Arena is very arrogant, Bradley is very arrogant, but in more a Bill Belichick Ijust won’t answer your question if I think its stupid sort of way. You can’t reach the level of these guys without it. Are some managers a little more polished in the “awe shucks, its all just these great players, I just sit back and watch” sort of way sure, but I can bet you behind the surface Jurgen Klopp is just as arrogant as Jurgen Klinsmann.

      • Haha spot on. I love the post game interview of the coach saying “it was all the players” with that cheeky smirk that says “…but they’d be NOTHING without you my brilliant brain!” lol. Mourinho, klopp, Wenger(but it’s harder to see the smirk on his stone skinned face)

  8. Once again, he wasn’t wrong and we should be “more respectful” of his boneheaded decisions Why? He managed to lose to a team we hadnt lost to since I was far younger and much lighter. And why did we lose? Player selection and positioning. The 4 he dropped for last night stunk the place up. Others he put where they belong. I guess I respect that he made good changes for game two but I don’t respect that he was so stupid in game 1. We cannot afford a coach that doesnt get it right most of the time on the first try. JK almost never gets it right on the first pass and often fixes things by subbing. It’s his judgement on the starters that upsets people the most. Even last night he started stone footed Zardes as his only real error. And once again, I ask why him? Some will say he got 2 assists. Yeah, he tripped into two defenders, ball bounces off him to Dempsey and its an assist. Assist 2 – ball bounces off his calf and another goal….. brilliant. Total accidents

    So to wrap this up… Dear JK…. next time out, pick a team that can actually win and maybe you’ll get the respect you think you deserve and wont have to see a plane dragging a “Fire Klinsmann” sign around the stadium….. Can you imagine that? I think you could easily get donations to have that at every game if someone got it started. That was brilliant. Even Sunil can’t pretend that didnt happen

    • Can I ask your honest opinion? Had Wondo started and done what zardes did on those two goals would you have agreed with a poster saying “see wondo just has a knack for getting into good spots. That run he made to draw two defenders was important to leaving Clint wide open for the smash” ?

      I only ask because way too often I see hypocritical support or criticism on this blog.

      Definition of insanity is….

    • I don’t disagree with your critique of selections, but to pick out that tiny part of the quote is misleading. He said fans are entitled to voice their opinions, he just wishes a few would be a little more respectful, when people are calling for his death, deportation, dismemberment, I think most would agree those could be more respectful.

      • when people are calling for his death, deportation, dismemberment, I think most would agree those could be more respectful.

        What’s embarrassing is this isn’t an exaggeration. This “sarcastic” response was actually uttered on this very website by William the Terror.

  9. Klinsman’s response is a joke. Those statistics reflect minor changes that Arena used but he had 7 or 8 guys who always played and played the same position. Grant Wahl article where he interviewed a bunch of 2002 WC vets and every single one of them pointed to consistency being a key issue.

    As the article points out, these days when you can’t have that consistency because of professional obligations, you really need to put players in a good position to succeed. Not play them out of position in a constantly varying slew of formations.

  10. Grant Wahl interviewed a bunch of players from the 2002 WC team and to a man they mentioned a core of 7-8 players that were starting helped them build continuity and teamwork.

  11. Regarding Brazil, aside the draw against Portugal, we were thoroughly outplayed. We got lucky against Ghana, and it was humiliating how inept we appeared against both Germany and Belgium. The regression from 2010 was already apparent, and even more so now. Klinnsman should have been shown he door then, but some idiot decided to sign him to an extension before the tournament started.

    • We get outplayed in every world cup ! And please be fair – Germany won this world cup, beating host Brazil by a touchdown, and Belgium emerged a little over a year later as the best team in the world.

      We scored two fantastic deserved goals against Ghana, and I don’t recall Ghana having too many chances. To call that win lucky is absurd, why are you fabricating arguments ? … maybe we were lucky that Ghana’s team was in shambles but nothing to do with what happened on the field.

    • Lucky against Ghana? Leading the entire game sans a few second half minutes is a lucky win? Beating Portugal sans a lucky 94′ perfect cross from the second best player in the world, that’s the standard for terrible now? A meaningless result against the eventual WC winners is the standard of terrible? Coming within one wondo shank of the WC quarter finals is the standard of terrible?

      Appearantly I’m in the minority being an actual supportive fan of our country’s soccer program….

    • To be fair you could make the same argument about every WC 2nd round we’ve ever made.

      ’94 scored on a set piece, but were relatively outplayed by Swiss, caught Colombia by surprise playing behind the home crowd without the OG its a different game, Romania beats us 1-0, but it wasn’t that close, played entire 2nd half against eventual champ Brazil up a man and mustered nothing on the 4th of July no less. Still love this team, they got me excited about US soccer.

      ’02 great win against Portugal’s golden generation, but a lot of holding on over the last 30 minutes or so, good early goal against SK at home held on to preserve the tie, dismantled by Poland needed SK to defeat 9 man Portugal to advance. Played really well at times, and poorly at times too, lost a lot of sleep those three weeks getting up for games at 3am.

      ’10 Howler by Green gives the US a point, Slovenia dominates the first half up 2-0 and the US fights back as they let off the gas a little and we probably should have won, Extra time goal after Algeria had an undefended shot on goal, and Howard with a perfect throw to LD to start the counter. Played from behind most of the game against Ghana in both regulation and extra time. A lot of fun, but poor starts in these games made this world cup more exciting than it needed to be and some terrible officiating. Ian Darke’s call on the Donovan game would be right up there with do you believe in miracles if the game had been more important.

      I don’t point these out to belittle these teams accomplishments each World Cup cycle there are over 180 plus teams that wish they made it to the second round, but at the World Cup the margin of error is so small. Germany could have lost Algeria in round of 16, Brazil could have easily lost to Chile or Colombia, Belgium had chances to beat Argentina, but could have lost to the US. Not one US player would have started for Spain and they crashed out with 1-7 goal differential against Chile and Netherlands. Its not about being pretty its survive and advance and we did that better than 186 teams in the world only 8 were better.

      • Preach brother. People just need to deflate their own arguments sometimes to try an arbitrary view. To a 24 year old soccer lover in Norway (random example), has the U.S. Drastically changed in the last 5 WCs? Probably not. Perhaps an overall slight upward trend is there. But to us in the country, a 2-0 loss and its “off with all of their heads!!!!” The ‘their’ ironically being ‘our own country’s representatives’… How does that make sense to some?… lol

        All in all, always enjoy the debate (and pointing out simple facts to the blind rock throwers here on this fantastically fun site.

  12. holy sh!t. for the sake of my sanity, i’m going to assume that klinsmann didn’t miss the entire point, and was just purposefully misleading with his statistic.

    the criticism is not that he should be using the exact same lineup more often–that would be dumb, not to mention completely unrealistic for a national team–the criticism is that he is *unnecessarily* tinkering with his lineups. i’m sure he could call up the exact same players again and again and *still* have problems with consistency, because he can’t keep himself from “thinking outside the box”. holy sh!t.

    • apologies; i basically just echoed what 5 other people had already said. was too fired up to read the other comments first.

    • Anyone remember pope playing Cb and fullback at times?
      Anyone remember boca doing the same?
      Anyone remember Ricardo Clark playing wing and Cdm?
      Anyone remember Landon Donovan playing striker, lw, rw, cam and Cm?

      I could keep going. But I’m sure those weren’t instances of coaches not named JK playing “utility knife players” “out of position” right?

      Can some one Google hypocrscy for me? My brain seems to be off

      • so, you’re going with “klinsmann completely missed the point”?

        i specifically mentioned that the problem was *unnecessarily* getting all fancy with the lineups–a criticism i can’t imagine bradley ever getting.

        obviously managers are going to have to make lineup changes depending on what players are available, and any manager is going to switch players now and then to just try something new; the criticism is that klinsmann takes it to a whole new level, and it seems to be hurting the team.

        and no, i don’t remember rico clark playing on the wing–thank god.

      • Right and my point was more that it’s constant in the idea that each coach only uses players that are capable of being moved around. Maybe jk does it more frequently but that could come down to mere context. But in each case, he is still playing a player in a position that they have played before( the only exceptions maybe are yedlin–who was a striker his whole career until he joined the sounders from what I’ve read–, and the bedoya/Cdm/Brazil fiasco. Which he wasn’t a lone Cdm. Just a dual pivoting Cdm. ) the rest of the examples people use are just off. Dempsey can play striker, cam, cf, and lw/rw and has done so to success but no one mentions that. Bedoya has played Cm, cam, LM, rm, lw and rw for club and country both. He’s best on the right or tucked inside as a dual cam 433 but it’s not crazy to slot him in at LM/lw when FJ is injured. We’ve lack left sided players for ever. My point I If i s people knowingly admit that all the past 3 coaches have done the same act yet when one coach does it it’s some how more detrimental rather than positive experience-getting or a reaction to injury?

        If people listed the worst out of position players jk has put out there I can assure at least 60% wouldn’t actually be “out of position”. Cameron is easily an RB if needed. Orozco is easily a cb if needed (his current form is a bother topic, but he’s a cb for sure, could have been a RB too. But neither mean he’s out of position.)

        Question, is lahm a Cdm or a fullback? Success at both positions? Would playing him at one necessarily be playing him out of position JUST because “YOU” think he should be at the other position?

        It just seems this “jk has ruined our team by playing people in positions they’ve never played” argument is ‘narrative creating fact’ rather than merely fact… This is evident by…. the actual facts that these players play multiple position regardless of any viewers lack of knowledge of said fact.

      • maybe i’m just not explaining very well?

        the issue is not simply players being “out-of-position”. as you rightly say, cameron can easily play rb; the issue with him there in guatemala was that it was apparently orozco who pushed him out there, when orozco shouldn’t have been on the field at all. and that’s representative of klinsmann’s management: odd decisions that put the team at a disadvantage.

        “It just seems this ‘jk has ruined our team by playing people in positions they’ve never played’ argument is ‘narrative creating fact’ rather than merely fact… This is evident by…. the actual facts that these players play multiple position regardless of any viewers lack of knowledge of said fact.”

        first, obviously “jk has ruined our team” is not an objective fact; you’re not really going out on a limb there. but the “players play multiple positions” argument is so facile that it’s totally meaningless. just because a player *can* play a certain position doesn’t mean they *should* play the position in any given game; it’s the manager’s job to figure out how to make all the pieces work together to give the team the best chance to win.

      • While I may agree Cameron at cb and orozco at rb could have worked better, it’s the Union of those two events that’s makes it seem odd. Had he played orozco at cb, yedlin at RB and Cameron at Cdm due to all the injuries would it be so wild having orozco at cb? If he played Cameron at RB with birnbaum and gonzo at cb and no orozco would people complain about Cameron at RB? But when both happen all of a sudden it’s a dumb choice and he should be fired?

        That’s the part about fitting a narrative. If either player at that position individually makes some sense then it can’t “make no sense” f they both happen to happen. I’ve seen plenty times where orozco played CB against Guatemala-esque level teams and do quite well. I’ve seen Geoff Cameron play great at RB similarly. But when they both happen it’s the end of the world and the ‘utility knife’ point somehow HURTS a player? No, orozco is a cb. Cameron is easily a sufficing RB. So using them as an example of “crazy Klinsmann” is… (Censored).

  13. How often they changed their line-up? A phony argument with phony stats. Major, continuous changes to formations, players and their positions is a singular Klinsmann attribute, resulting in a sloppy, confused and uninspired play by a team that has not jelled.

    • Agreed. The problem wasn’t that he changed the line-up, but it was that he put players in positions where they were at an obvious disadvantage due to unfamiliarity and unclear roles. Mix Diskerud is neither a defensive midfielder or a box-to-box midfielder. He is a attacking wing midfielder or a number 10 who can add some pressure to the opponent’s back line, but then gets lost in transition back to defense and can’t make the hard tackles needed to break up a strong opposition in the middle. He should only play in a three-man midfield or possibly out wide. Have Orozco and Gonzalez ever played together in central defense? Orozco has hardly played at all and the poor communication between Gonzalez, Orozco, Bradley, and Diskerud was obvious. Cameron was our best and most experienced defender on the field, and JK started him at right back. When you don’t have the right combination down the spine of your team, the team will either collapse and play to narrow or just give up weak goals like the second Guatemalan goal.

      Tim Howard starting in goal after not playing in months is just a bad idea that I can’t even deal with in the moment.

      Yesterday, we didn’t look like the most creative squad, but with Beckerman starting, Bradley and Zusi could put good pressure on Guatemala, force turnovers, and capitalize on those turnovers.

      Zardes is still to raw to start, but I loved what I saw from Ethan Findlay. I would easily switch those two going forward on the right.

      Formation matters only that is allows the players to be in a position to execute. I don’t know why JK played a 4-4-2 in Guatemala, but because MD isn’t a box-to-box, he was out of position and ineffective. I think you need Fabian Johnson or Jermaine Jones in the midfield of a 4-4-2 with MB for it to be effective. If either one of those are unavailable, then back to a 4-3-3 with Beckerman or Cameron as the #6.

  14. It’s really not complicated, 0-0 in TnT was underwhelming. 0-2 in Guatemala was abysmal and hadn’t happened since basically the 1990 qualification run. Jamaica ran us out of the Gold Cup. Mexico then finished us of for Confed Cup. That is not fixed with a home win to Guatemala, or even if we take 6 points like we should from the rest of the fourth round schedule (StV away, TnT home).

    We are regressing, and in the case of the last three big losses — Jamaica, Mexico, and Guatemala — I don’t buy we sent out the best players in the best formation for us. Against Guatemala his game plan seemed like it didn’t factor them and their players in at all….Omar marking Ruiz. So yeah, it’s completely fair to question the results and the lineups, and just because he got the 4-0 Guatemala done he should have at home doesn’t mean it’s all under control.

    • I see this time and again about the Jamaica game in the GC. The US had at least 60% of possession and 10 shots on goal vs. 3. Their goals came off a throw in, a real fluke, and a golazo after a free kick that was a once in a life time call. We totally outplayed them and were terribly unlucky.

      • if you just looked at the stat line (not counting goals scored), then yes, we outplayed them, i guess. if you actually watched the game, you’d see that we didn’t even remotely look like winning.

    • I’m on the fence about whether the USMNT has regressed. CONCACAF teams have gotten a lot better over the years, especially considering the recent WC results. Some of these nations are no longer minnows. That being said, the USMNT has definitely not improved since BB’s departure.

  15. I suspect that the USSF Spokesman’s statistic is misleading. Klinsman could use the same 11 players and still never develop consistency because he would switch up the positions and formations every match.

    Also, who else is tired of hearing Klinsman bring up the 2014 world cup over and over again like it was the high-point of US Soccer? I don’t think that team really under-performed, but I don’t think the results in Brazil were as good as they could have been with the talent available. Klinsman should shut up and act like he hasn’t accomplished anything until he wins a trophy or gets to the quarter-finals in 2018.

    Let Klinsman run wild training coaches to teach youngsters, improving development of all the young players. They may never make the NT, but the overall level of play from YDP to MLS is the type of thing Klinsman could probably improve. It may pay off years from now. And the best players will be better for it.

    But for now, hire a coach who will put a team together to do the best it can now and in this WC cycle. You can’t take mature pros and significantly improve their soccer DNA by making them play out of position — especially in a NT situation when you only get to coach them a few days here and there and then they go back to playing for a club coach who – unlike Klinsman – has to get results to keep his job. Keep it simple. Pick a style and a few formations that fit the talent available. Find the best two or three guys at each position, and keep running the best available out there.

    I would be interested to see Klinsman manage an MLS team (not my team of course).

    I feel better now. Thanks.

  16. glad Jurgen and USSF can feel the heat.

    he has proven that he can be a great coach when the stakes are high (2013-14) but when given a long leash he will make stupid decisions (2012, 2015-16). USSF needs to make clear goals with deadlines and publish them. A lot of teams do this and keeps everyone in check.

    out of the Copa Group – or he is fired.
    6 Points in the Fall Qualifiers – or he is fired

    I hope we can achieve these goals. US Soccer, fans, players, everyone involved deserves some accountability.. unfortunately, Sunil is too weak to do this.

    • Only two things are important–getting to the World Cup and getting out of the group in the WC. I can’t understand why so many fans can’t understand this, it’s so obvious. Question–who was more successful in 2014, England or Mexico? England handily won its group in qualifying and was ranked among the top 10 in the world for much of the year. Mexico finished 4th in the Hex and only got into the WC by winning a playoff with lowly New Zealand. The answer, of course, is Mexico because they got out of their WC group and England didn’t. Who remembers that Uruguay got into the WC in 2010 only by beating Costa Rica in a playoff? No, what they remember is that Uruguay made it all the way to the semifinals before losing. Who remember who won the Copa Sudaamerica in 2013? No, what people remember is that Argentina came in second in the 2014 WC. How important was it that Brazil won the last Confederations Cup? Or was it more important that they got stomped by Germany in the WC? Need I go on?

      • I can’t understand why so many fans can’t understand this, it’s so obvious.
        Sorry getting out of the Copa group is not that important in the grand scheme of things.

        Because there’s no limitation on the amount of parameters temperamental fans want to place on Klinsmann’s job security. To the point now we have “fans” saying the Copa Centenario has fireable ramifications to.

        The manufactured hysteria is manufactured.

    • Sorry getting out of the Copa group is not that important in the grand scheme of things. I know its at home, but we’ve played in it three times and finished dead last twice. I know we sent the B/C team 2007, but we sent the A team in ’93 and got last. In ’95 it was a great result, but we played Argentina’s B team because they were already through and got Mexico in the quarters.

      Guys, I know people aren’t happy with Klinsmann for a variety of valid and invalid reasons, but he’s here through the end of the cycle now, no matter what (barring some sort or huge gaffe pr gaffe ie ethnic slur, sexist remark, drug arrest something majorly embarrassing)..

  17. The criticisms I had of the manager included poor selections which forced his hand into playing players he didn’t intend to start. He corrected that and finally played the formation (4-3-3) that I believe can get Michael Bradley to play in his optimal position. Of course going forward this may leave some good players on the bench but for the time being it saved Klinsmann a potential disaster.

    -Yedlin looks much more sure of himself and should get every look at RB going forward. He’ll need more games to polish his game up, but he’s on the right track.
    -Birnbaum may have been a surprise to some, but every time I’ve seen him in a national team jersey, he has looked like he belonged. He’s a quality CB to have in the squad.
    -I’ve never been a major fan of Zusi but his experience showed yesterday. Playing more of a central role than a wide role was part of the reason as his lack of speed wasn’t an issue. He may have found a role on the team as Klinsmann will be grateful that he helped him get out of a jam.
    -Bradley’s best role is not DM or AM, it’s a box to box role where he has a dedicated DM behind him. With a three man midfield, it allows Bradley the freedom to take chances, roam, and not worry about getting beat on the counter-attack. Ultimately, I think Nagbe will become Bradley’s partner in the middle while Williams or someone else will replace the aging Beckerman.
    -Wood looks very dangerous at times and forced the foul that got Cameron his goal. As a wide forward he didn’t look out of place and that versatility will keep him on the field. He’s higher in the pecking order than Zardes, whose first touch is absolutely awful but gives the team some speed up top.
    -Castillo and Zardes won’t cut it at the international level. Zardes gets more credit for the first goal than Dempsey who got the goal on a silver platter, but outside of that he was poor in retaining position and shouldn’t be a starter going forward. He’s a good utility player to have on the bench though. Castillo was also uncertain and I’d rather have Brek Shea or Tim Ream at that spot. If Klinsmann is worried about a free kick taker, Shea should get another look soon as he’s healthy now and embracing the leftback role. Shea and Yedlin could be the answers to the fullback spots.
    -I’ve criticed Klinsmann in the past and one win against Guatemala doesn’t change much, but it was nice to see the US change up their tactics and high press the heck out of an inferior opponent. I’d like to see more of the gegenpressing in CONCACAF games (often used by another JK – Jurgen Klopp) to overwhelm opponents and utilize our fitness to our advantage. Though I realize how taxing it can be in warm weather and in tournament play.

    • I’m not sold on Shea as a LB, but he should have two months at Orlando to show something. Hopefully he can stay healthy as I think his lack of games over the last few years has really slowed his progress.

      • Shea needs to improve his defending but he’s exactly what Klinsmann wants from a fullback on the attacking end. He’s young enough to continue giving chances to because I don’t see many alternatives. I don’t necessarily like Ream at LB permanently because of his speed, but he’s a safe option to have because you know what you will get from him. Outside of those two I don’t know of many options that I like. But I know that Beasley (age), Garza (slow), and Castillo (not international quality) won’t be the answer there anymore.

      • FJ is far and away our best LB option. Unfortunately, he’s also our best outside mid option as well.

  18. Can we all just give a slow golf clap for JK FINALLY going back to a 4-3-3? Geez, I’ve been calling for this formation for ages now. It fits our personnel perfectly, and allows us to play the style we want to play. Plug in some better players (JJ/DWill for Becks, Nagbe/Bedoya for Zusi, FJ for Wood or Zardes, and JAB for Steve B) and you have a fantastic lineup that can defend, high press, and create with aplomb. Please, for the love of God JK, stick with the 4-3-3. The diamond 4-4-2 is not working, because the flanks are so exposed that any team with half a brain can figure out how to beat it.

    • Also, loved the 4-3-3. I question JJ in that will he stay back like Beckerman does or will he bomb forward forcing Bedoya/Zusi/Nguyen/Nagbe to rotate back into a defensive role they aren’t suited for too often. My other question is if Johnson plays a forward/LWM who plays left back again? Ream I guess?

      • You know how long Gattuso played as a DM? till he was like 38… if all you are being asked to do is run around in your own half… you can play until 36-38, no problem. Becks can stay if he unlocks everyone else, despite himself.

      • We’ve used a 433 quite a bit but it’s been the 4231 variety rather than 4123. The former is too defensive and has left us looking uncreative. And the latter better fits our skillset with two attacking minded cams and one defensive only minded Cdm. 3 attackers pushing the attack and fullbacks providing width. It all needs two passing-capable CBs tho– something JK had been in search of the from the beginning

      • The formation we choose lacks significance if the USMNT don’t play with intensity and a sense of urgency. That was the main difference in this game. Without intensity, we fall into the trap of simply passing amongst our defenders, and than booming it upfield. Than we scream about what little scoring chances we had. And watch how in inferior team (on paper) possesses the ball longer, and looks better doing it.

    • Seriously doubt it will work against Mexico and maybe not even Costa Rica because they possess the ball so well. It’s best when we are playing an over matched opponent, especially at home.

      • It does however, plug up the midfield, which Mexico was able to do to us in October. Both CR and Mexico would have the wings to make it much more dangerous, but the Netherlands has been using it as its primary formation for most of the last 50 years so it can’t be too bad. (Yes, I know the Dutch players are a little better than us, but France, Italy, and Germany are better than Mexico.) In reality for what we need it for we don’t need to be better than Mexico and Costa Rica, just TnT, Panama, and Honduras/Canada.

      • I can’t believe you animals… play a 4-3-3 like the Dutch! but JK is totally outside his tactical league because he played a RB at CB, or vice versa… or a RB at RM… or vice versa.

        If you are going to play a 4-3-3 like the dutch, its called total football… where everyone is supposed to be able to play anywhere! @@@@@. Which is what JK has been asking his guys to do! and here everyone is whingeing about whether the specific standing spots for guys are their best standing spots! arrgh.

  19. JK (and the USSF spokesman) answered the wrong question. The issue is not consistency, in the sense of identical lineups. It’s shifting people around, even when injury and other issues don’t require it. But in JK’s world, coaches never make mistakes . . .

    • Exactly. Rotating one or two players out of necessity is understandable.

      During the Arena and Bradley years, self-belief and determination were consistently apparent, and helped us punch above our weight. I believe the loss of those attributes is worse than the lack of technical and tactical progress under Klinnsman. I also believe they could quickly be regained with an American replacement.

    • Brooks, F Johnson, Bedoya, and Besler were injured and J Jones wasn’t available because of suspension. If those players are available, then Brooks would have started. Next to him would have been Besler or Cameron. Then you put Yedlin at RB because F Johnson and Bedoya would have been wingers. J Jones would have taken the Diskerud role. Thus, you have a completely different lineup if everyone was available, so your premise that he didn’t have to make adjustments is totally faulty.

      • Yes, he had to make adjustments. My comment was not based on the premise that he did not have to make adjustments. It was based on the observations that he did not have to play Yedlin, Cameron, and Diskerud where he did, or to play Orozco at all.

  20. The lineup stat is flawed. I don’t think people question the line up change but the positions that the players played. I don’t recall Bradley or Arena playing so many players in different positions … that was the issue.

    • The more telling statistic would be how many times did each manager have the same CB tandem and backline, the one area that needs communication and continuity. If you love statistics, you must know that they can be bent to show you what you want to hear. I would wager that Klinsmann’s changes on the defense are much more often than Bradley or Arena who sticked with a CB pairing (Pope, Boca, Gooch were mainstays for years). Sure, it was a luxury for Arena and Bradley to have those guys in place, but Klinsmann has tinkered a long time with players who aren’t starting caliber international players (like Orozco and Alvarado) for far longer than he should have. Also, I think Klinsmann would have tried to use different CBs if he had been in charge then as Gooch and Boca aren’t as skilled at distribution compared to our CBs today.

      • My comment was merely suggesting that less hyperbole than “jk is the only coach who can’t pick consistent lineups” would be welcomed and sensible. 🙂

        More a defense of the coaches having similar takes on the player pool than it is a prosecution of anyone

      • You have up to 14 players that could possibly change from game to game. There isn’t a team in the world who will run out the same 14 players consistently. It’s a horrible stat.

        What is more telling is the amount of change from game to game. My educated guess is JK is way off the charts compared to Bruce & Bradely.

      • Gooch and Boca were rarely injured and so clearly better than anyone else, there were no realistic options. You seem to forget that Brooks and Besler were both injured. Brooks certainly would have started if available and Besler was also a likely starter. Also, it wasn’t that long ago that Besler and Omar were the constant starting tandem, so JK inserted Omar for Besler. When you look at the situation carefully and analytically, the CB’s used weren’t that out of line, with the possible exception of Orozco, who played well for the US in prior years. If the US had played with half as much effort in Guatemala as they did in Columbus, it wouldn’t have mattered.
        The more I watch soccer, the more I believe that games are won or lost in the midfield. If the midfield controls the game, the back line doesn’t have much to do.

      • Wow… Gary Page… you just came to the conclusion that games are won or lost because of the midfield? jeez. If this is the analysis level of Americans, then no wonder our team sucks.

        Plus, I mean, there is a reason everyone idolizes #10… and Pirlo…


        Ok, so back to JK… I think I made this comment a couple days ago… Soccer is not a hard sport. you run, you pass, you play keep away… and a couple of guys need to be able to score or have quick reflexes and stop balls… more or less, everyone other than Messi, Maradona, or Crouch is 5’9″ to 6’3″ for a reason… and no less famous a person than the late Johan Cruyff brought forth the idea that everyone can play anywhere.

        So this whole lineup analysis thing smacks of basballing… a new term I have invented for when Americans who don’t get soccer over think the lineup, tactics, set-pieces, etc. as if they were watching a baseball game. No, you don’t need a left footed keeper to offset Ronaldo’s amazing right footed shot. So, yeah… that’s my position. and, if you paid attention to the U-23… if that is the talent JK is working with… then he is a crazy genius for getting the US as far as it has come already and we should all be bowing down.

  21. Ok, there is a difference between selecting a consistent lineup (which is rare for national teams for obvious reasons) and selecting lineups that put the team in the best position to succeed.

    Last night was great. But it also made me mad. Take Yedlin, for example. He has really been making strides as a RB in the premier league. Has speed to get forward and recover.
    Disagree with me but I do not see him as a strong midfielder.

    Makes logical sense to play him where he starts in the premier league. Especially, because it is a current hole that we tend to have in our lineups.

    When the team’s back is against the wall, JK finally plays him there. He has a solid game.

    It should not get to that point! JK’s sensible lineup last night makes me more mad as a fan. Things that many fans have been clamoring for worked!

    Same story can be told with Cameron.

    This is a classic JK move. He is a great politician. He is deflecting and belittling the criticism.
    When pundits and fans talk about the lineups, they are not talking consistency. They are talking about sensible coaching. Putting the team in the best position to win.

    If you want to make crazy, out of the box decisions in friendlies against Guatemala, go ahead.

    Reality is that we probably would have won in Columbus with the lineup we had in Guatemala.
    Just from our confidence and Guatemala’s lack of.

    In my mind, this does not change anything. In fact, it only should fuel the fire. (pun intended).

    • For a long time Yedlin’s defense was spotty. He is only beginning to mature at the RB position, thanks to his time with Sunderland. Don’t forget so soon how well he played in midfield at the last world cup.

      As for Cameron, he is a rare talent who can play all over the field. For Stoke has has played all over the place. I agree with you that his best position is in the back but, again, recall what people were saying after the WC14 match vs. Portugal.

      • See what you are saying. My point is sensible coaching and reading where players at the current time. Basics.

        Agreed with Yedlin. Firstly, the World Cup was two years ago. And when he broke out, he was wide eyed speedster that came in during times where we needed a spark. And his job was to get forward and make something happen.

        Yes, he had spotty defending. For the Nats and Seattle. Agreed.

        But he has been starting RB in Premier League for months. To counter – what about Castillo? Suddenly he starts playing for his club at LB and is brought in there despite his past call ups?

        Cameron – you have a case. But when you are down CB’s, Cameron is a logical choice since he has experience playing in the PL there. And to use your logic, played CB in the World Cup.
        (I actually prefer him at CDM)

        Big picture – sensible coaching. That is all I am saying. Arguing about the above players has been done many times over. Just two examples.

        JK refuses to budge from his principle that players being uncomfortable keeps them on their toes and challenges them to play better.

        I understand that for the top countries in the world where that may work.
        Get the best players on the field and be a holistic team and an enigma for opposition.

        But I just do not think that logic works in our setup – at least not yet.

        Well into the second World Cup cycle for him – we are still in the same spot we were in 2011.

    • Certainly positioning has been the bigger criticism, but there has been plenty of complaints about consistency as well. There were many on here over the weekend saying we just need to pick 4 for the back line and play them together every game this Summer.

      And to be honest Bradley was out of position last night at least according to most on SBI, Zusi was out of position from where he regularly has played, and Wood was out of position playing so wide. Maybe that’s fewer than some other games, but it shows you aren’t going to get the same line up most of the time.

      • Yup, good points. My original comment really was going against JK’s comments and use of the stats on past coaches use of lineups as a deflection of the real problem.
        I find it condescending for most followers of the national team.

        It is a fact – there is never exact consistency within national team lineups. Thank you for that, JK.
        Not the real issue.

        Yes, hard to argue with you about consistency of CB pairings. But reality is, indicated by the stats presented, is that option is not always available. Injuries, form, players being available, etc.

        My point is more on his decision making as a manager. Game day preparedness: shaping up the lineup – tactics, formation, etc.

        Players coming in to camp for important qualifiers and not having a clue is an issue.
        And one that has played over and over again.

    • These guys are professionals who have played several different position. I guess I have to keep pointing it out, but Cameron has played probably three or four times more games at RB for his club than at CB. You get at the main issue at the end–we could have won with the same lineup we used in Guatemala. The difference was much more due to commitment, effort, and concentration than where the players play. Against a team like Guatemala, it’s not terribly important about positions because each of our players is better than each of their players, with maybe one or two exceptions. Against better teams then it can make a difference. Remember the playoff with Mexico? I don’t think there were any major disagreements with the lineup then. The problem is that Mexico was (and is) a little better.

  22. Following the World Cup, Bradley signed a contract extension in August 2010 to remain as the USA coach until the 2014 World Cup.[4] In June 2011, Bradley led the US to the final of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, despite a defeat to Panama in their second match, but an early 2–0 lead in the final was overturned by Mexico, who eventually won 4–2. On July 28, 2011, he was relieved of his duties by the United States Soccer Federation.

    I remember us firing a coach before his contract. Why can’t it happen again?!?!

    0/2 on Olympics
    1/2 on Gold Cups
    2nd in Group at World Cup
    Most importantly promised this progressive soccer.

    • 1. USSF didn’t want Bradley back in the first place they wanted Klinsmann after South Africa, but couldn’t make the deal. This hung over Bob’s head for the year and half following the cup and certainly didn’t help the team.
      2. His contract was small enough that it could easily be bought out, Klinsmann’s would be harder and USSF isn’t like college football were you just call some oil tycoon or wizard to pay it for you. And the Bernie Sanders small donation style would take too long.

      Neither of those reasons have anything to do with on field product you will notice.

  23. The difference between JK and Bob/Arena was JK is willingly putting healthy players in new or foreign positions. Previous coaches had very consistent line-ups (whether we agreed with them or not) and really only changed them in minor ways out of necessity. But with Bob, every game we knew 7-8 players were locks in certain positions.

    JK proved over the last 2 games that he is a hypocrite about playing people in the correct positions. He basically moved everyone where they were supposed to be and we magically started playing better. No idea why our most talented CM is on the bench (Nagbe) but hopefully he will get a solid run out next game with MB being out.

    Having a #6 makes a massive difference as well. His fascination with not playing a true #6 is amazing to me.

    • It is interesting to me that JK or someone bothered to look up those stats on Bradley and Arena. So, the forces of darkness were worried; but the forces of darkness also have a point, I have to admit. That point only goes so far, and to demonstrate the absurdity of any implication that JK doesn’t play around more than did either Bradley or Arena – I had a pretty good idea most of the time of who are A-team defenders were under those coaches. It changes over time, of course. But most of the time, I knew who were starters. Now, I have no idea.

      • And I think this is the real risk here. It used to really bother me that I didn’t know who JK’s starting defenders were. More recently, I’m finding it harder to care.

    • To help him regain match fitness and sharpness. I would hope and expect that this was discussed with TFC. if so, makes sense to me all around.

      • Yes I am and it’s generally not in a WCQ match. It’s generally with reserve sides and in practice with their club teams. But thanks for the condescending ad hominem.

      • Any condescending came from your perception, not my intention. Sad how people take honest questions as sarcasm far too often. You’re a great person and I hope you have an amazing life.

        To add, the specifics on jozy’s “injury” we’re that he felt some tightness a day or two before the opening week’s game and tfc assessed it saying, ‘he could play on opening day but it’s a long season and we don’t want to push it to being an actual injury’. They sat him the first game, publicly said he could play the second week but sat him as well just to be sure. He played in week 3 for 30 minutes. Then joined his NT to gain fitness and help his country—which he did…..
        It’s not as if a player must play 90 or he can be of no help.

        Another perspective, jozy has played in 5 games (out of a possible 7 total) for club and country in 2016. He has played 270 minutes and has scored 3 goals that’s roughly a .47 goals per game and roughly 1.0 goals per 90…..

        So what’s the problem? Much like last mls season for jozy. When he was there he scored at a great rate. He missed about 17% of mls games. Some due to injury some due to national duty. People just want to qualify it as a bad season etc for their own narratives

      • I will call BS on this one. If you were not intending to sound condescending, then you really are even denser than you often appear to be.

      • DLOA–don’t confuse people with data and facts. Jozy scored, did not did not suffer an injury and somebody has a problem with that? That’s like going out of your way to find fault. I get enough of that from my wife.

    • Intentional or not, DLOA, your choice to frame your answer as a question — “Are you familiar with soccer and how players build up their minutes coming off an injury?” — was well crafted to take MLSsnob down a notch by showing that you know what you presumed that he/she didn’t know.

      • Damn. Three directors (and a bunch of associates) proofreading your comments, and yet you still come off like a twat. My apologies for the life you must lead.

      • So, DLOA, are you familiar with the difference between meaning, i.e., intending, to say something and writing something that could easily be read as delivering the same message? I was not presuming to tell you what you meant; I was merely saying that the way you wrote your response made it quite easy to read it as a dig at MLSsnob.

        No offense intended here — I’m honestly curious about your level of experience on the subject.

      • Brain, I am fully aware of my intentions and the various interpretations of my question. These interpretations directly relate to the level of intelligence of various interpreters. With that said, I stand, fully, behind my question.

        Hint: perhaps my question was a double entendre of sorts…. 😉

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