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USA Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann Silences Critics With Winning Team Selection

landon donovan jurgen klinsmann 600x338 USA Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann Silences Critics With Winning Team Selection

Since dropping Landon Donovan last month, a fury of angry US fans, bloggers and — in some cases — mainstream media personalities have turned into vociferous critics of US Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

The United States’ 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday night was achieved despite Jürgen Klinsmann’s team being outplayed for large portions of the match. The US head coach recently switched to a diamond midfield that was designed to allow Michael Bradley more freedom of movement and more touches in the attacking areas on the ball. For reasons perhaps related to the early Clint Dempsey goal or the injury to Jozy Altidore, the formation did not work at all, giving Klinsmann’s domestic critics more fodder to attack the US coach.

Despite the failure of the diamond formation and the particularly poor performance from Michael Bradley, the best field player the United States has produced in the last decade, Monday night in Natal was one of vindication for Klinsmann. His second most controversial squad selection, John Anthony Brooks — who unbeknownst seemingly to the critics was coming off a decent Bundesliga campaign — not only scored the winning goal but was outstanding defensively after being forced into action due to an injury to Matt Besler.

Jermaine Jones, who has been ripped to pieces by critics who have chosen to exaggerate his weaknesses and discipline record, was the single best player on the pitch for either side in this match. The poor performance of Bradley and DaMarcus Beasley, the United States makeshift right-back, were largely masked by the dynamic Jones work-rate and positioning sense.

The constant selection of Kyle Beckerman has been another bugaboo for Klinsmann’s critics. Beckerman was largely ignored by Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley and has only emerged as a national team force after he turned 30 and Klinsmann became head coach. Following US games, it has been a fashionable trend on social media for fans to criticize Beckerman and Jones while defending the likes of Landon Donovan and exaggerating his impact on proceedings.

Monday, before the match, Landon Donovan was again a trending topic on social media. US fans were questioning Klinsmann’s decision even though it had been weeks since the announcement of Donovan’s release from the US team. Monday night when Jozy Altidore was injured, the social media buzz was not about Terrence Boyd, the player that Klinsmann probably should have brought to Brazil as proper cover for Altidore, but again about Donovan.

However at the full-time whistle, Klinsmann’s side had defeated Ghana with the players most criticized and associated with this manager making the difference. The United States could not overcome Ghana in the previous two World Cups in matches where Landon Donovan featured. Donovan was particularly poor in the 2006 Group Stage match against Ghana, most memorably turning down a clean look at goal late in the match to pass to Ben Olsen who was outside the area. These sorts of moments in Donovan’s World Cup career were forgotten by those who simply wanted to beat up on Klinsmann and in some manner may have been doing so in order look like wise men and women when the US failed. However, Monday night those critics have learned that Jürgen Klinsmann does not make decisions just for the sake of personal reasons. He does so because he knows how to craft a winning side.

SEE MORE — Read the latest USMNT World Cup coverage.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

11 Responses to USA Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann Silences Critics With Winning Team Selection

  1. EDub says:

    Well said, Karthik. While there are *hints* of a Klinsmann apologist in this article, there is no doubt that Klinsmann’s decisions (decisions that undoubtedly would NOT have been made under Bradley or that imbecile Arena) led directly to this victory.

    Well done, USA!

  2. David says:

    Did Klinsmann impress me with his development of the squad in the past few years culminating in a win last night, of course. Did Klinsmann prove to us that he knew what he was talking about with Jermaine Jones, of course.

    All that said, we did not win last night BECAUSE he left Donavan home, we won in spite of it. Donavan assuredly would’ve been a better sub than either Zusi or Johannsson. Until Davis, Green and Wondo (none of which should’ve been selected ahead of Donavan) see the field and make an impact then I’m sticking by my opinion, Klinsmann put his personal dislike for Donavan ahead of what is best for the team and made a huge mistake leaving him home.

    • Remy says:

      It’s Donovan, for God’s sake. If you are going to express and defend your opinion, at least spell his name correctly.

  3. Efrain says:

    Jermaine Jones the single best player? Maybe. He did rock and looked awesome and had a huge impact on our game. But I think Tim Howard did an awesome job and his name should be sneaked into this or another article.

  4. francis says:

    Klinsi looking like a genius right now. Heck he was even proven right with his Kobe Bryant comments as the (basketball)Spurs won the title due to their aging star player takingk less money!

  5. AJ says:

    I think it’s great we won. So key facts we need to remember here:

    1- No American sub EVER has scored a World Cup goal

    2- No U.S. team with Donovan has beaten Ghana

    3- Klinsmann beat Ghana. Arena and Bradley didn’t

  6. StellaWasAlwaysDown says:

    The U.S. caught them at the beginning, but struggled the rest of the match to hold them off. I mean, we had 8 shots on goal compared to something like 17 for them. We need to create more chances.

    Donovan would have still been a solid contributor to the team. The end does not necessarily justify the means. That being said, what a great win by the boys.

  7. Factcheck says:

    No not 17 shots on goal. Ghana is great with taking outside shot opportunities. But there is a big difference between 20 shots going, more often, way off mark and the ones that must be defended.

  8. EPLNFL says:

    I think American World Cup practice had been to play to win this years event only. After all for so many years we felt just lucky to be there. Klinsmann as many other coaches look beyond the current year and tries to develop a team not only for this year but 4 years or 8 years from now. Hence an influx of youth and sending a message to other potential players who can join the American team that if they pledge to the US they will get to the World Cup.

  9. JDog says:

    I think this game did nothing to silence critics. Although Donovan would have been very helpful playing the counter, having no backup for Altidore is unforgivable. Boyd should have been brought. Yedlin and Green will never see the field

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