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Gulati says discussions will be had before deciding Klinsmann’s USMNT future

Jurgen Klinsmann Sunil Gulati USMNT 84

One question popped into everybody’s mind following the U.S. Men’s National Team’s putrid loss to Costa Rica: Is this the end of the road for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann?

The U.S. suffered an embarrassing 4-0 road defeat to Costa Rica on Tuesday night, prompting media members and fans across the United States to wonder afterwards if this was it for Klinsmann. The result and performance in San Jose would have likely sparked the discussion on their own given how poor they were, but that all of this came a mere four days after the Americans suffered their first qualifying loss to Mexico in the Columbus.

The reality of the situation for the U.S. right now is that it has zero points from its first two qualifiers in the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF’s campaign. That type of start might be enough to warrant an immediate firing in some other countries, but U.S. Soccer does not plan to provide a verdict with regards to Klinsmann’s future until things can be discussed.

“We won’t make any decisions right after games,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told on-site reporters following the lopsided loss in Costa Rica. “We’ll think about what happened today and talk with Jurgen and look at the situation. Obviously it’s not a good start to the Hex, and today in particular was not a good performance.”

Gulati had given Klinsmann a vote of confidence this past Friday, saying that he expected the German to finish the Hexagonal as U.S. head coach. The comments came before the Americans suffered a 2-1 loss to arch-rival Mexico, however, and that defeat combined with Tuesday’s abysmal game could lead to a potential change of opinion.

Conversely, the future could still very well include Klinsmann on the U.S. sidelines. His hefty contract runs through the 2018 World Cup, and there are still plenty of qualifying matches that could help him turn things around.

“When you lose two games, there’s obviously some concern,” said Gulati. “But Mexico qualified (for the 2014 World Cup) with 11 points. There’s a lot of points left on the board, 24 to be exact. As I’ve said the last two cycles, the sequence of games matters a lot, and we’ve had what one would consider our two toughest opponents early.”


  1. Since 2014: USNT has looked mediocre without ball possession and no fair.

    Gulati should do best for USNT and Gulati shoot himself. Gulati’s crimes are unforgiven.

  2. The USSF needs to swallow the 6M+ they would pay Klinsmann for the remainder of his contract and then fire Gulati for signing such a deal in the first place.

    While all coaches will expect to get paid, even when fired, some do not if they fail to meet the obligation put forth in the contract. Klinsmann did not do anything as the USSF Tech Director, yet part of his paycheck was for that position. He also did not do anything as a coach. But how do we know this?

    The USSF and Gulati “forgot” to put any metrics or performance touchstones in his performance ratings (did they even rate his performance?) As such, Klinsmann and his employment attorney laughed all the way to the bank. Gulati gave away the store as Klinsmann was his “white whale” and was after him since after the 2006 WC and even later, the 2010 WC, finally giving him a huge contract in 2011. After polishing this turd for 6+ years, giving him a raise, even when he did not produce anything better than his much lower paid predecessors had already done, it comes down to the fact that he might not even get the US team to the WC.

    You get what you pay for, except in this instance, you get what you deserve.

  3. I wonder what CCV thinks about playing for the US after watching these 2 games. Obviously a great deal more to it than that but it couldn’t have given the greatest impression.

  4. Klinsmann has to go. There were several inexcusable mistakes over the last 2 games:

    1) Friday’s first half formation. I don’t hate the idea, but I HATE the execution. I hate the execution by trying to implement this for the first time ever in a major match, and I hate the execution because of the personnel utilized. Timmy Chandler at wing back?! When Yedlin is on the bench!? In excusable. Yedlin (and Johnson) were almost born to play wing backs in a 3-back set. And when you have Cameron, and 3 good CBs with Brooks-Cameron-Besler/Gonzalez, the formation might work. But Friday was not the time to attempt it.
    2) Continued belief in Timmy Chandler. Chandler was clearly the worst player on the pitch for the USMNT Friday. Through the first 60 minutes, he proved again that he had no business on the pitch. So really, this is 2 mistakes: a) starting him last night; and b) not subbing him off in favor of Yedlin, who could provide some offensive prowess from the back.
    3) Starting Besler out of position last night. No reason for this. Our best lineup over the last year has featured FJ at LB and Yedlin at RB. I know people want to see FJ further upfield, but we don’t have a left back. The drop-off from FJ to out-of-position Besler or whomever else would play LB is much steeper than the drop-off from FJ to Bedoya/Kleisjtan/Gooch/whoever else you would start instead of FJ in the midfield.
    4) Did I mention starting Timmy Chandler last night????
    5) Subbing off Pulisic. The kid is hands-down the best player we have, and the only man capable of providing a moment of brilliance out of the blue. It’s time to stop coddling the kid. He wasn’t as good last night, but he was still the best player on the pitch for USMNT. It didn’t appear to me like fatigue was a factor. So really no excuse in my mind for bringing Pulisic off.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting several more, but these are the most inexcusable, imho.

      • Agreed. I mean going back to Besler playing out of position you could have gone with him at CB, and that would definitely be an improvement over OG. Even with Besler at LB, Birnbaum probably a better option than OG. CCV is too inexperienced.

    • An added point on formation…I don’t think it was a coincidence that Pulisic looked much better in the 3-4-3 formation, in which he was able to be the creative force linking the D-mids (Bradley-Jones) to the strikers. For my money, I think that the US needs to think about going to a 4-3-1-2 with Pulisic as the 1 (or hell, call it a 4-3-3 if it makes you feel better). But I think such a formation would work, with Pulisic as the focal point, and giving him the freedom to get where ever he can find space, and take on defenders as he sees fit.

      • I like it. Would look something like this:

        4-3-3 with two forards and two DM with Klejstan and Pulisic in the middle







      • Bingo Joe Dirt, you read my mind. Not married to Klejstan, but he’d definitely be in the mix for that position. The other added benefit of this formation (after freeing Pulisic to be the creative force), is that it gives FJ and Yedlin space to maraud down the sidelines, which is on of their strengths.

      • So I am super annoyed JK got away from the 4-3-3 that did so well in the Copa… but bringing Pulisic into the middle WITH Klejstan/whomever would result in getting thoroughly destroyed on the wings, since we are already getting crushed down the wings (or you push jones and bradley out, which eliminates your grit in the middle), I don’t see this as a formation. Also, Pulisic is not a 9/11. He needs to get the ball and interact with other guys running forward. i.e. wide FW in 4-3-3 or wide AM in a flat 4-4-2.

      • Joe that is a very narrow formation that would cause Jones and Bradley to cover a ton of ground, not really their cup of tea at this point in their career or Wood and Altidore would have to track back which isn’t their strong suit either. If you want CP beneath the forwards I don’t think you can play him with Kljestan.

  5. It’s difficult to generate any attack other than wing play, when you have two defensive midfielders in the middle of the field, i.e., Jones and Bradley.

    • I don’t know how anyone can disagree…..and don’t wait. If it is happening, do it as soon as possible. Some of the candidates to replace are on break now too.

  6. Unfortunately, I think Gulati has too much of his own reputation wrapped up in Klinsmann to do what’s needed to be done for a while. Pursued him in 2006 and again in 2010. Finally got him in 2011 and then gave him a big promotion and contract extension prior to the ’14 World Cup. Klinsmann is Gulati’s handpicked savior of US soccer. If he fires him now, he’s essentially admitting that he was wrong.

    Chances are we’ll still qualify for the World Cup and maybe we’ll get out of the group. But the reality is that we have regressed under Klinsmann. We’re more reactive than we’ve ever been. Our former strengths—grit, fitness, team chemistry, and a sound tactical identity—aren’t there anymore. And the most disappointing aspect of it for me is that this is the deepest talent pool we’ve ever had.

  7. So many agree, it’s not just losing it’s how we lost. The ship has lost its rudder and we are floundering. This is a team without an identity because Klinsman keeps changing the construct. I for one thinks it time for an American manager.

  8. I have not posted here for a long time. I just was so delighted to see this result. indeed, methinks, christmas did come early. just feeling very, very happy, and looking forward to reading good news, regarding jk’s sacking, hopefully very soon.

  9. said Gulati. “But Mexico qualified (for the 2014 World Cup) with 11 points. There’s a lot of points left on the board”

    Back then we made fun of Mexico. Today we hope we can be as good as they were then.

  10. I don’t know why the majority thinks the sky is falling because of our opening loses against the 2 best teams in CONCACAF. Had we played Trinidad and Panama first, and got 4-6 points, would it make the situation any better? This would have set us up with a false sense of security so its better we lost early which brings visibility to our weaknesses than finding out too late down the schedule.

    This just proved scheduling friendlies against Cuba and NZ and playing with veterans did jack squat to prepare the team for Mexico and CR.

    • In case you haven’t noticed, the weaknesses have been there for awhile and for some reason we keep shooting ourselves in the foot(whether its team selection, tactics, etc). We haven’t won a game that matters in as long as i can remember. Whether it was vs. Jamaica in the GC, Mexico in the Confed Cup, Argentina in Copa, Mexico friday night and now this. There have been so many “first” under this regime, and i’m talking about in a negative way, so to me the false sense of security has always been there especially when you consider getting out of the group in Rio and last summers Copa!

    • Its how we lost. Very little possession. Not linking out of the back thru the midfield. Errant passes and giveaways. Lack of effort and passion defending near your own box. Poor touches. Ridiculous substitutions, JK should really be asked what is thinking was pulling out our most attack oriented player. Basically sloppy and no heart. Some of our players have never look worse in my opinion for club or country. Shockingly bad.

      Agreed on the NZ and Cuba friendlies but given that every other federation were in the midst of real qualifiers we only had Concacaf and Oceania to choose from for those friendlies. Maybe Jamaica or Guatemala would have been better but maybe USSoccer tried that and they didn’t accept.

    • You could live with the being out coached on Friday, you can’t live with the out motivating of players on Tuesday. If just qualifying is good enough keep JK we’ll most likely still qualify. If you want to get out of the group and maybe win a knockout game then its time to take a risk and move on.

    • The problem is that these type of performances, lineup selections, weird tactics are have become all too common. No, Jurgen isn’t an experiment anymore as coach. He continually thinks his motivation persona is all that is needed. He can’t game plan worth anything. Look at this Costa Rica game. He put in Besler at left back and Costa Rica recognized that weakness right out by continually attacking that right side. Jones had heavy legs, non-existent passing, but Jurgen waited until it was a bloodbath to make any change. He continually has that blame the players (and of course professional players need to do their job) excuse and not it’s him. Besides this, the Gold Cup disaster, losses to low ranked teams on home soil. What more do you need? Seriously, IF they happen to qualify, how ready are they for the World Cup with him in charge? He said he’d bring change, and the only big change is a lot of firsts in lows for the USMNT.

    • It is not the losing that is the problem, it is the manner in which it has happened. The lack of passion, teamwork, and pride for the jersey is obvious. The poor coaching decisions, including lineup choices, call ups, and substitutes, has led to players who do not want to work for the coach and cannot figure out what he wants from them.

      What Klinsi does not understand is that when you are not one of the elite teams in the world, chemistry and team concepts matter much more than putting out the most talented players and saying “go get them boys!”. He keeps choosing players who do not work together, gives the captaincy to a guy who looks like he just does not care, and makes pre-game and in-game decisions that make it look like he is worried much more about being right than getting it right.

      Klinsi chose those practice games. He put out the lineups he did in those games. Then, when it mattered most, he decided to blow it all up in favor of an untested formation with players who have not played to together. This is not rocket science, but Klinsi refuses to stop playing mad scientist and it needs to stop now!

    • For the love of all that is good, stop inhaling the helium. Klinsmann has taken this program to every low it has ever been to – two cycles not qualifying for the olympics, U20s not qualifying for world cup, first elimination from Gold Cup that didn’t come at hands of Mexico or Brazil, first and second times US ever lost to Jamaica, first loss to any Carribean team on US soil, 1st home WC qualifying loss to Mexico since the ’70s, first loss ever in Columbus, 1st loss to Guatemala since ’80s, loss to lowest ranked team since FIFA rankings instituted, first 4 game home losing streak since ’60s, first time ever losing first two Hex matches. All of this while we have more Americans playing soccer was suppose to.

    • Helium,

      Good post that brought about a lot of other good posts.

      I don’t completely disagree with you. If this happened when we had been on the way to qualifying it would be viewed as a bump in the road. Costa Rica and Mexico are both very good teams and can both do very well in the WCup.

      But it didn’t later, it happened in the beginning and if the US plays like that again, they could lose at home to teams that they should finish higher than, which would put the US in a world of hurt.
      And the US are NOT good enough right now.

      Answering why determines whether JK should stay.

    • Hey Helium… “This just proved scheduling friendlies against Cuba and NZ and playing with veterans did jack squat to prepare the team for Mexico and CR.” yes, you are correct. But as I recall, there were no quality opponents to schedule because they were all involved in qualifying matches. That’s because we are in sh-tty sh-tty concacaf.

  11. Those discussions should be “Ok how do we pay Jurgen’s buyout and have enough cash to hire a quality manager?” and “Jurgen would you like to mail your USSF computer and phone to us or should we send a courier to pick it up?”

  12. No news here, what else is he supposed to say?? He was never going to fire Jurgen after last night, that would have sent the federation into a tailspin, but all the same, it seems that a change at the top is closer than it has ever been!

    • Gulati and JK are now playing game “to calm down and buying time” with social media and US fans, after a while Gulati and JK will join “press-conf” promising “raise US soccer level and .all BS..”. Gulati hope that early next year the situation improve then he can proudly to keep JK until 2026 or more….., Sorry MNT we have no hope on you, just matter of how soon you guys say goodbye to Russia 2018.


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