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Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann should be sacked if USMNT fail to win Gold Cup


When Bob Bradley got sacked as US manager after the 2011 Gold Cup, it was the right move. The US needed a new voice. Fresh ideas. Different energy. Bradley did a good job, but it was time for both parties to move on.

A 4-2 loss to Mexico in the tournament finale at the Rose Bowl was the final straw. Never mind that the US went down to what was the best Mexico team of the century to date, Bradley was canned.

Bradley coached that tournament like he had nothing to lose, because he knew that his job was on the line. After an indifferent first year following a decent, unspectacular World Cup, the manager couldn’t recover from losing the Gold Cup on home soil.

That was four years ago this summer, and circumstances surrounding the US national team are frustratingly familiar.

After a successful, if slightly disappointing World Cup, the US under Jurgen Klinsmann has had a torrid year. They’ve shipped late goal after late goal in friendlies amidst acrimony and scandal, with little to no progress being shown in the program overall

There is absolutely no reason why Klinsmann shouldn’t be held to the same standard that Bradley was – win the Gold Cup, or get fired.

If you still think, after almost four full years, that Klinsmann is a transformational soccer mind, you’re delusional.

Klinsmann, is, in fact, a mediocre manager whose greatest assets are his playing career, his undeniable charisma, and his massive ego.

There is no great American soccer revolution coming, and nothing screams inferiority complex like handing the keys to the entire national team program over to a man that has accomplished nothing that his two predecessors didn’t because he’s German and they were American.

Klinsmann’s force-fed narrative about being aggressive and provocative doesn’t match what we’ve seen from his teams on the field.

Getting out of the Group of Death at the World Cup was a great accomplishment, but one that has greatly diminished in hindsight. There was a fair amount of luck involved.

Ghana were a side with infighting so outrageous that two players were sent home during the tournament, the players’ bonuses had to be flown into Brazil on a private jet under threat of a strike, and the FA was allegedly making lineup decisions – and that’s just the stuff we know about. If you’re interested, a movie is already in the works.

Portugal ended up being extremely mediocre; while Germany had already won the group by the time they met the US in Recife and were hardly at their most motivated.

The US conceded four goals after the 80th minute in the tournament, sat 10 players in its own half in three of the four games, and had the majority of its endearing success by running faster and trying harder than ever before.

This isn’t to say that Klinsmann doesn’t deserve any credit – he was golden on Kyle Beckerman, DeMarcus Beasley, and DeAndre Yedlin – but by the time the Belgium game rolled around, the US were so completely exhausted, mismanaged, and confused that they were absolutely massacred.

That’s not to mention the non-contact muscle injuries to Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Fabian Johnson, and Jermaine Jones, or how Klinsmann played the team’s best player, Michael Bradley, out of position for the entire tournament.

In truth, Klinsmann destroyed much of the morale and confidence that his team had built up throughout 2013 when he stuck a knife in Landon Donovan’s back at Stanford.

Whether you like Donovan or not – and you should, because he’s the US’ greatest ever player and, by last year, a stand-up person – his play mandated that he go to Brazil and play a big role.

The US’ senior players were aghast when he was cut. Tim Howard could barely keep it together when asked about the shock move in interviews. In cutting Donovan, Klinsmann put himself before the team, and it hurt.

Donovan would have made the US twice as dangerous as they were in Brazil – especially in Altidore’s absence, which Klinsmann made all the worse by deciding to bring Julian Green and Mix Diskerud instead of a single backup target forward.

Instead of Donovan, we got Brad Davis starting against Germany in the platoon from hell with Alejandro Bedoya and Graham Zusi. No wonder the US couldn’t keep the ball.

Whether the US bunkered because Klinsmann’s setup was incredibly cynical, or whether they bunkered because they weren’t good enough to go toe-to-toe with Ghana, Germany, and Belgium, Klinsmann certainly didn’t deliver on his original message to change the way the US played the game.

His reign has been comparable to Bruce Arena’s and Bob Bradley’s so far, in both style and results. The only difference is, Klinsmann has more autonomy than those two did, he is getting paid far more, and the US is now a much better soccer country with a much better soccer league than it was in previous World Cup cycles.

I was all for giving Klinsmann a shot in 2011. He hasn’t lived up to his billing.

Even if Klinsmann was unquestionably doing a great job, it’s hard to coach a national team for more than four years. Ideas are stale. Messages get repetitive. Complacency sets in.

Players are tired of hearing about how they’re not fit enough. They’re tired of hearing about how they need to be pushed out of their comfort zones. People are tired of hearing Klinsmann bash MLS. He’s lost Don Garber’s support, as well as that of much of the media covering the team.

Klinsmann’s obsession with recruiting duel-nationals and changing everyone’s position makes it difficult to build a true team.

Grant Wahl of SI reported a few weeks ago that there is considerable unrest amongst players as well. Klinsmann’s particular brand of condescension is growing ever more grating, and he no longer has a World Cup to keep everyone in line.

It’s not a surprise that Howard has taken a year off from national team duty. Why would he want any part of the national team setup right now, three years before Russia 2018?

Klinsmann is stubborn and has no new ideas. Morale is low. If he doesn’t win the Gold Cup, he should be fired. That’s how we treat average managers. And Klinsmann is nothing if not an average manager.


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  1. Beadling Boy

    April 3, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Don’t forget that, with Portugal, they lost 4 very important starting players just prior to their match vs. the States: Their starting keeper (Patricio), their starting forward (Almeida) and two world-class defenders (Pepe & Coentrao); plus one of the best 2 players in the world (Ronaldo) was playing with an injury. You put all of those players in the game versus the U.S. and Portugal probably beats the U.S. and the Yanks stay go home after the 1st round. We didn’t play against the strong Portugal team everyone forecasted would be extremely tough in Brazil, we played against a shell of that team that would not have even qualified for the WC.

  2. Mark

    March 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Why don’t we wait until Klinsmann actually loses to Mexico a couple of times like Arena and Bradley did? Jurgen has never lost to Mexico! WHAT A FAILURE! Yes, the sky really is falling.

    Arena – lost Gold Cup twice, lost to Mexico 4 times

    Bradley – lost Gold Cup twice, lost to Mexico 3 times

    These are the guidelines to firing USMNT coach.

    • brad

      March 31, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Didn’t Jurgen win in Mexico?

      Jurgen won’t lose his job until after the next World Cup.

  3. Kevin

    March 30, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Who is Abe Asher? He started watching the sport in 2006?

    It shows. Amateur piece. Could have been copy-and-pasted from any anti-JK thread on any soccer board. And FWIW, I am neither pro- or anti-JK, but this column brought virtually nothing to the debate.

  4. Kei

    March 30, 2015 at 10:49 am


    The day Klinsmann gets forced out of the US managerial post would be one of the darkest days in American soccer history. The universe can only hope that the likes of you don’t get your way.

  5. CBF 1914-2014

    March 30, 2015 at 9:53 am

    He would find a new job in Europe within a Month.

    • Keith O'Toole

      March 30, 2015 at 10:16 am

      So? let him.

  6. drod

    March 30, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Still butt hurt over Donovan???

  7. Tom Moore

    March 30, 2015 at 9:34 am

    It is time to let go of the Donovan talk – a World Cup roster spot is not something that should be handed out as a lifetime achievement award.

    The U.S. program is going through a massive rebuild, not just on the national team but from the entire foundation and up. That takes time, which is something that many fans struggle with, and Klinsmann is pushing that through with a concept of one voice.

    Dumping that and starting over – and you know things will start over if they replace the man at the top – will just recycle the club backward.

    This is a time of transition on the team with older players, like Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard, being closer to the end than the beginning, and Klinsmann is working in new players like John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin and the like with a bigger-picture view than just this summer’s Gold Cup.

  8. Smokey Bacon

    March 30, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Spot on accurate assessment of the Klinsmann era. They wil inevitably lose to Mexico in the gold cup at which point the lack of progress will be there for all to see. His time is up.

  9. Tim

    March 30, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Oh boy here come the Euro loving bots. Klinsi has not shown us anything. Amazing how we can continue to lose and not look good at all and yet the majority of you think its progress. What a bunch of crap. If he does not win the Gold cup against lesser teams than he should be sacked!

    • yespage

      March 30, 2015 at 9:10 am

      If the US gets bumped from the US Cup very early, yeah, the idea should be entertained. If the US loses a great final?

      Here is the deal, these friendlies don’t mean much. When the US had that long winning streak, it meant absolutely nothing. The World Cup performance would be the standard.

      All things being equal, the US did admirably in the World Cup and predictably crashed out against Belgium.

      Now some people are trying to find excuses of why the World Cup performance wasn’t that good and using the results of meaningless friendlies as evidence to get rid of the coach. That just seems ridiculous.

      I’ll let the guys performance when it matters dictate his value. Do the US have to win the Gold Cup? No, but they have to play well enough that they could have won.

  10. Flyvanescence

    March 30, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Guys chill this is an Abe Asher article. Nothing to see here, just his typical MLS-bot propaganda piece. Don Garber probably dictacted this piece to him verbatim.

  11. orealy

    March 30, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Donovan deserved to go to brazil? He was playing horribly! He ended up getting a slight second wind after the world cup before he retired but there was no guarantee he would bring results to the world cup. It was a difficult decision but it wasn’t wrong. Before even the world cup started it looked bad for us. No one would of been surprised if we hadn’t made it out of the group stage. Let’s stop overacting from results in friendlies from experimental lineup’s.

  12. Bo

    March 30, 2015 at 12:05 am

    What a load of crap. Still unhappy about Donovan, It’s over, get past it. There’s no way of knowing what he would have done in Brazil. Could have gotten injured first day in training. This Gold Cup is going to be harder then last time, Mexico is rebuilding and Costa Rica is growing. Sounds like a fun tournament. Even if we don’t win, still get a playoff for the confed cup. Gimme a break.

    • yespage

      March 30, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Donovan would have led the US to the Finals and scored 42 goals.

      At least, that is the impression these people seem to think.

      Based on the the groups in the World Cup, it was going to be near impossible to get past the first knockout round.

      • jtm371

        March 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

        Why short lanny i think it would have been 50. What a freaking joke donovan cashed his chips when he went on his walk around sabbatical.

  13. futureisnear

    March 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Has anybody noticed our friendlies since the world are against pretty good teams instead of second class teams as under Bradley and arena. Jk is challenging some our youngest in our pool right how is this not good when we r about to go in gold cup where we normally do well. We should win this gold cup and then all media will be back on jk side. These friendlies other than Ireland we were in good postion to win even against Colombia.

  14. JY

    March 29, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    So who should be the replacement? What players should be brought into the team? Do you have any solutions other than your own “delusional” ranting?

  15. Yespage

    March 29, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Best not to refer to the readership as “delusional”.

  16. jtm371

    March 29, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Delusional how much did Garber pay for you to write this post.

  17. brad

    March 29, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    dream on

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