Top Stories

Klinsmann accepts blame following resounding USMNT defeat

Photo by German Alegria/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by German Alegria/USA TODAY Sports

Jurgen Klinsmann admitted that Tuesday night was the lowest point of his U.S. Men’s National Team tenure. It was a 4-0 beatdown at the hands of a federation rival, a loss that saw the USMNT fall to last place in the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying through two match.

Overall, it was a miserable performance, and the USMNT boss accepted full responsibility for what transpired on the field of Costa Rica’s Estadio Nacional on Tuesday night.

“I’ll take responsibility, it’s no problem at all,” Klinsmann said. “It’s also a learning point. Six months ago, we were in the semifinal of the Copa America and now we have two defeats to start the Hexagonal. That’s how fast it goes. It’s soccer. Things can turn around very quickly. It is for us now a negative moment. It’s about how we kind of come back now and get everybody united and talk through issues.

“It’s not about blaming anybody with the players,” he added. “It’s about taking it, swallowing it, taking responsibility, which I do, and finding a way to correct it.”

Klinsmann says that, from the start, the idea was to bring the energy from the second half of Friday’s match against Mexico. After dominating a majority of the second half, Klinsmann was anticipating a similar effort on Tuesday from a similar group. In theory, if the team played to that level, the U.S. could, at least, go toe-to-toe with Costa Rica on their home soil.

A goal just before halftime provided a “psychological knock”, Klinsmann said, and the U.S. never recovered. The USMNT couldn’t muster anything resembling a turnaround, turning in a flat second half performance that ended with three additional Costa Rica goals.

Regardless of the result, Klinsmann still feels his team has plenty of quality. Just days before the Costa Rica loss, the U.S. pushed Mexico to the brink, but Tuesday’s game simply got away from them.

“Obviously you want to have some points so this is definitely a moment to reflect about what happened the last 10 days, and to open up a lot of discussions with the players and the team. At the end of the day I said to the team that it won’t be the last 4-0 defeat in their careers. There will be here and there in their careers some lessons, but definitely it’s a bitter moment because we wanted to do far, far better than what we did.”

Now, Klinsmann faces questions from all sides. His job will be called into question for the next several weeks. The U.S. is now in a very precarious spot, and Klinsmann is sure to feel the heat.

Still, despite all that went wrong in the past week, Klinsmann believes he is still the right man to guide the U.S. through the Hexagonal phase. He’s ready for the criticism, but is just looking for a chance to lead the U.S. out of its current situation.

“I think so,” he said when asked if he remained the man for the job. “But I obviously understand when you lose two games, and especially two World Cup qualifiers right after each other, that there will be a lot of comments. That is just part of the job. It’s part of the game. I told the team at the end, ‘the last cycle we lost here too, so we gave away these three points here as well’. We didn’t give away the three points at home against Mexico, so now we are three points behind what we did in the last cycle, and we won the group with 22 points at the end of the day.

“We definitely are still in the process of building towards 2018 between two cycles,” Klinsmann added. “It’s a bitter moment. Two defeats to start the Hexagonal, it’s very disappointing. It’s tough to swallow, but it’s also part of the game. It’s important to go into details and reflect and discuss part of our stuff, but the team definitely has the quality to correct some things and get back on track and qualify.”


  1. So we hire Arena, we barely qualify, we have some good wins and a few loses leading up to Russia, we get beat again in the semis. Futile. At least Klinsmann is trying to find new players and develop a new style. I don’t have a problem with some set backs. We put a whooping on Costa Rica recently, and they didn’t throw an tantrum. They came back.

    • we barely qualify
      we have some good wins and a few loses leading up to Russia
      we get beat again in the semis
      ……..all this is happening under Klinsmann anyway
      After 6 years we are still nowhere, we don’t have an identity, we dont have a clue when it comes to formations… anything is better than another 2-4 years of Klinsmann because after 6 years, with a better league, with better players overseas, with a better football structure…. we are no better back then as we are now

  2. Performance by a foreign coach
    A foreign coach has never managed a World Cup winning team. The nearest is West Germany, whose coach in 1974, Helmut Schön, was born in what became East Germany. The best performance by a team with a foreign coach is second place, reached by Sweden in 1958 with Englishman George Raynor and the Netherlands in 1978 with Ernst Happel of Austria.

    “It doesn’t always work, and is in many cases can be detrimental to the development of domestic coaches. The idea that the national team cannot be trusted to a domestic coach – see the situation in many African nations – can become pervasive and debilitating” ….by Carragher.

    There is an object lesson in all this, hence teams would be wise to stick with homegrown talent, which might be less about a big payoffs and more about nationality, citizenship, and patriotism. Foreign-born managers often have trouble communicating with players (No surprise there, the team looks lost half the time), introduce strategies that don’t work (hmmmm), cause culture clashes, and devote little time to developing young local talent….by Samuels.

    The power of History and local coaches winning with their country of origin is also very evident in the case of England. In Germany 2006, the English team was made up of talented players like Steven Gerard, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, John Terry etc (way different from Jones, Bradley, Altidore, Wood,Johnson, Cameron…lol). In fact, the team had 6 players who were either captains or assistant captains in their various clubs. With so much talent it was expected that they would win the world cup or at worst get to the semi- finals. However, they could not make it past the quarter- finals for the simple fact that they had a Swede coach in Sven Goran Ericsson.

    So with that said it’s no surprise both Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley both have a better record than Jurgen Klinsmann. Question is why is Klinsmann still our coach?

    Its time for change….

    • Jurgen Klinsmann is my pick to replace Roy Hodgson… I always favoured an Englishman but we may have to turn to a foreign coach. Carragher- Daily Mail June 2016

      Bob, Bruce, and Jurgen all have a very similar overall record. Jurgen’s is better than Bob’s the last time I looked. Both Bruce and Bob have one bigger victory (WC Rbd of 16, Confed Cup)

      • Wikipedia has it Arena, Klinsmann, Bradley, but really the point is they are all pretty close. I think it might also depend on how you count ties, some give half a point some just do straight winning percentage.

        ————–w–t—l——–winning %——–wins and ties
        Klinsmann 55-15-28——56.1————–63.8
        Bradley 43-12-25——53.8————–61.3
        Arena 71-29-30——54.6————–65.8

        Of course its wikipedia so those could be off somewhere, I couldn’t find it on US Soccer

  3. Listen, you can’t say you take responsibility and then avoid any discussion of your mistakes. That’s a cop-out, a phony, empty admission…

  4. No more excuses. JK must go. Against Costa Rica, he had a CB at LB, his best LB in the midfield, his best RB on the bench, a substandard CB, two central midfielders who can’t play effectively together, and no true creator in the middle. He gets results by accident, in the same way a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    • Your center mid and creator comments are spot on, but at least half the people on here have been screaming to play Fabian in the midfield and probably a third wanted Chandler over Yedlin and a few more wanted Chandler at LB with Yedlin at RB so its not like those two were obvious. An article on this very site claimed that Omar was our best CB and should definitely start. Plenty of criticisms to make but lets not get too revisionist.

      • Thank god. People are morons. This ridiculous scapegoating annoys the hell out of me. Its as if everyone think’s we are Brazil or Argentina. 2 steps forward… one step back… people keep being totally delusional. I blame Rongen for a lot of this too… his whole JK lost the lockerroom talk during the second half… that was irresponsible. Does Rongen know something? If so tell me who said what and when… if not, the STFU. JK took a chance and it backfired… and he made some bizarre subs in the second half in CR… but if that is it, then I don’t think he should be fired. Gonzales and Bradley played awfully, Jones is out of shape and Howard got injured… if there is more to it, then we need to have a bigger discussion. But unless people are running around with information I have not heard reported, then we need to all take a deep breath.

      • I respect these views, but I’m not going to defend what other people called for. FJ may be more dangerous on the wing than he is at LB, but alas, he is still the team’s best LB. We can disagree about the relative merits of Yedlin and Chandler, but in my opinion (which is not that of an expert but also not moronic), Chandler has yet to perform at a high level for the MNT at RB. We can also disagree about Gonzalez, I guess.

  5. Lackluster effort resulting in a bad loss, but do consider the circumstances before jumping to fire Klinsman – the team played a tough game Friday night followed by a long airplane ride – played in a difficult place where we seldom if ever have got a good result – these conditions are very taxing on the players – Klinsman should have rested most of his starting eleven from Friday’s game and subbed the max permitted around the 60 min mark as needed

  6. Yeah, Klinsman had a bad night, but as a former athlete, this is on the players. THEY GAVE UP!!!! How the hell can you give up??? Only Wood, Altidore and Guzan kept fighting and didn’t look resigned. A change has to be made. If Klinsman cannot recognize that, then he needs to be gone. Our midfield was crap, but who is going to replace them. FJ is better at left back because he can defend and push forward. Bradley needs to be gone. Jones is done. Omar (good guy) is nothing more than an emergency bench option at this point. Brooks had a bad night but is usually better. If Geoff is hurt, then the pairing should be between Birnbaum, Besler and Brooks. Chandler is good, but was not good yesterday. Should have pulled him early and pulled in yedlin.

    The midfield needs to be rebuilt. Brooks is emotionally soft, but can be talked to. Yedlin needs a run at RB.

  7. I know this will be hated by everyone here, he moved FJ up like everyone wanted so who was supposed to play LB, that dude in Mexico who I can’t spell his name from Portland can’t get on the field wasn’t called in again so he plays a LCB at LB and has shown pretty well. I think yedlin should have started yes but shit happens. Formations are over rated and the players need to be held accountable, Bradley sucks Jones is old and can’t keep up. Youth movement is needed. Can’t argue with the subs cuz they were bad but I like JK and think he sometimes struggles with the lack of talent he has to deal with considering what he’s used to. MLS sucks, I’m out and will never post on this site again cuz nothing but homers on here except for jonnyrazor and dloa

    • Because then someone with actual knowledge of the game will stop playing by the rules tha Garber and co have set out, and we all know that the status quo can’t have that.

  8. To truly take responsibility he should offer to step down. We have come a long way since ’94 and so it shocks me that both Gulati & Klinsmann fail to grasp how embarrassing these last two losses are. Any US coach who blows a game against Mexico because he is “trying something” and then gets blown out by Costa Rica should be gone. That our standard is anything less shows how much further we need to go. Landon Donovan is correct coaches should be held accountable for losses!

  9. If you really believe you’re at fault, do us all a favor and quit. That wont happen and he can’t change. Sunil is a fool for signing him to an expensive long term contract… it comes down to it costs too much to fire him so we all suffer while watching his latest boneheaded move

  10. He didn’t take full blame, he did say after the second goal the players didn’t have what it takes to fight back.
    So basically he still tossed them under the bus

    • …but that is EXACTLY what happened. They didn’t fight back except for Jozy, Wood and Guzan. They displayed weak or tired minds. As a former athlete straight through the collegiate level, I never EVER blamed the coach for giving up because I NEVER DID. I ALWAYS…ALWAYS got up. However, I blame coaches for line ups & strategy and substitutions. The execution and fight is on the players. On the 2 games, I blame Klinsmann for the 1st 25 mins of the Mexico and the goal (although that was a Bradley mistake – surprise, surprise – but it could have been 3 goals). The line-up and tactics for Coasta Rica were understandable. I don’t blame him for players giving up, but do some of the substitutions. He has to make adjustments, if he does not then it is on him.

  11. LOL. What a snake. He knows his job is actually on the line so he says and does whatever he has to in order to keep it. I don’t believe he thinks he is responsible for anything. Not one word.
    He is a textbook definition narcissist.

    • ya.. “let me remind you of the time we went to the Copa America semi final (0-4!) or that time I beat Mexico in a friendly in Azteca”.. Jurgen knows he is on thin ice, if not already done.

    • Hopefully ‘tune out’ really means you’ll continue to watch, cheer, and drink beer to your favorite team while simultaneously making overly aggressive, arm chair criticisms we can all support in the SBI comments section.

  12. “A goal just before halftime provided a “psychological knock”, Klinsmann said”

    Yes, so make a flippin adjustment to switch the momentum. Sub the 35 year old who hadn’t played 90 minutes since July and was on 3 days rest. Add an attacking player that can hold possession or perhaps move FJ or CP who can effectively play multiple positions somewhere else on the field to stress the defense. Any of those would have been better than doing nothing.

    • yep. spot on. His second half decisions were way bizarre. That was what shocked me the most this week. I would love to know if there is something at practice that makes him think/do certain things.

    • JK’s idea of how to help the team recover from that “knock”:

      1) Do not make a single halftime adjustment in a game where we had not a single shot on goal at the half.
      2) Tell the guys to play better. “Take your chances, be proactive, go at them!”
      3) Sit back for another 25 minutes waiting for them to be better, go at them, blah, blah, blah
      4) Take off out best player for a weaker version of that player, replace FJ with Zusi, and wait until the 80th minute to see that Jones was useless all night.

      At least he says he understands it is his fault, but I can just hear the words I just read in his voice, with that little smirk on his face, and I know he does not really believe he made any mistakes. He just does not have good enough players to do what he wants them to do. They just do not understand how to gel into new formations with new guys instantly, and that when he says play better, they just refuse to listen!

      JK is a “player motivator” who can no longer motivate the players, enough said!

    • The 35 year old was our only player that looked like he belonged on the field. You don’t take that guy off. I would have subbed Kljestan for Bradley who has deserved the hook for a couple years.

      • He may have had an idea, but his fitness after coming off injury or his speed coming off injury wasn’t good enough. Balls he won and turned into offensive chances this Summer turned into fouls or breaks going the other way. I like Jermaine, I think he deserves a chance to recover and see if he is still one of the best 11, but his physical condition didn’t allow that on Tuesday.

      • You must have been watching an old World Cup replay. JJ was BAD. Maybe not Brooks or Bradley bad against Costa Rica. But definitely top five for please sub him at half time and make sure its not Zusi BAD..

      • other than brooks and gonzo, jones was probably the worst on the field (and got even worse after his yellow). like johnnyrazor said, i think it was probably just due to fitness, but he was really bad.

Leave a Comment