The USMNT lost again last night. An international friendly was the scene of the team’s latest embarrassment, 1-nil to Costa Rica. The Stars and Stripes are in more than a funk, and coach Jurgen Klinsmann is to blame.
Sure,the match wasn’t meaningful in a competitive measure and the Yanks only started a B+ lineup, but the state of the men’s game is now in full-blown panic. Many national sport writers are joining me on the #Jurgenout bandwagon. Starting with the lead up to Brazil and going into this weekend’s game, I’ve consistently expressed my supreme lack of faith in Klinsmann.
Jurgen Klinsmann is a snake oil salesman. He sells a shiny, positive vision of a dominant soccer team equipped with advanced metrics, technology and a psychological edge. He never delivers. He failed to do so at Bayern and now US Soccer. US Soccer President Sunil Gulati is so mesmerized by Jurgen’s pitch that he claims Saturday’s result has no bearing on Klinsmann’s job security. Normally back-to-back failures of this magnitude, the Gold Cup and CONCACAF Cup, gets your butt fired, just ask Bob Bradley.
Bob Bradley had an identical coaching record to Klinsmann in World Cups: 1-1-1 in the Group and an extra time loss in the Round of 16. Both played defensive, reactive styles of soccer and both lost the following year’s Gold Cup. Somehow Jurgen is still employed (and Bradley lost the Gold Cup to Mexico and still took silver, he didn’t bow out to a middling Jamaica squad and then finish fourth after squandering the 3rd place game.).
Jurgen Klinsmann is not only is failing win silverware, but is also wasteing a bumper crop of US soccer talent. Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Graham Zusi, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson and Jozy Altidore (hell, even Landon Donovan) were in-prime studs last summer. The US sent its, arguably, best squad to a World Cup and did worse than an over-achieving 2002 team, and equal to a not-quite-ready-for-primetime 2010 team. Unless the young guns like DeAndre Yedlin, Julian Green and company can really develop, it may be a while before we see a team as strong as 2014’s. And we have nothing to show for it.
Jurgen is also bad for his players physically and mentally. His affinity for “cutting-edge conditioning techniques” runs his teams ragged. As a Sounders fan, it’s obvious that Dempsey always comes back from USMNT duty a spent man. Even when we were a joke of a footballing nation, never once was the USMNT’s fitness questioned. But in light of allegations of harsh pre-competition training camps, the USMNT now tuckers out late in games.
We are establishing a habit of conceding late goals for the first time in its history. Saturday night’s loss, which was somehow close despite the run of play, is a testament to this. Before the end of regulation, Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson looked gas.
Mexico’s late goals can be attributed to both payers’ tired legs and sloppy defending. Johnson was directly responsible for Mexico’s second goal (Peralta beating Guzan to the opposite post). He had been leggy for a long while and, despite doing his best to play through it, but he couldn’t keep up. Jermaine Jones’s sloppy tackle gave El Tri the freekick in the 117th minute that started the sequence that clinched the game. Jurgen has yet to take responsibility for this unsettling tiring trend, and instead blames the US soccer culture or his players directly.
Jurgen is a narcissistic napoleon who plays mind games with his players. He’s already shattered the confidence of Omar Gonzalez, insulted Dempsey and Bradley, and now he’s throwing Fabian Johnson under the bus. Johnson took himself out of the game in extra time (see above, the man was cashed). Jurgen challenged him for doing so and kicked him out of USMNT camp. These are not the actions of a measured leader, let alone a competent coach.
We lost the Gold Cup. We won’t compete in the 2017 Confederations Cup. And yet… there is still time to get the ship righted before Russia 2018. #Jurgenout.