How could some of the mounting pressure on Jurgen Klinsmann be relieved without even playing a match? He could have turned a wandering eye to the World Cup qualification draw this morning.
In a time when CONCACAF despite all the peripherals is steadily improving, the US somehow came out with as easy of a draw as they’ve ever been handed. In the semifinal round, they will play Trinidad, the winner of the playoff between St. Vincent and Aruba and the winner of the playoff between Antigua and Guatemala. Now, while the US may have struggled against the latter two in qualifying during the last cycle, it could have been much worse.
The possibility of having to play Panama, Jamaica and Haiti existed for a brief moment on the stage in St. Petersburg, which would have made a bad set of days for US Soccer even worse. Instead, Klinsmann and his methods are spared their blushes with trips to three different Caribbean islands on offer – disaster averted.
Some will croon that playing in the supposed “Group of Death” Group B would have been better for the US since it will make them battle hardened for the Hex and the World Cup ahead, but for Klinsmann’s sake it is probably better the US is playing Aruba than Jamaica. The World Cup does not pit the world’s best 32 teams against each other. The 31 teams that have a winning combination of skill and luck plus the host earn the right to dance, and sometimes getting lucky is better than being put to task off the bat. The four team groups offer much smaller margins for error, and an easier group is certainly a relief to all involved.
The pressure on Klinsmann is ratcheting up minute by minute, and said pressure could be suffocating by the time the qualification matches begin in November. But with the qualifying group the US was handed, Klinsmann now can afford to experiment and bed in young players, much to the dismay of many, because the teams he will be matching wits with are so down on quality. Problems that may arise may well not be punished playing Aruba that would be against Jamaica. Will this make the US better by the Hex, and hopefully the World Cup? That’s what the next two years and beyond of qualifying will tell us.
If the US somehow doesn’t advance out of this semi-final group, no one should be safe. Not even Sunil Gulati.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Get a Paramount+ one month free trial for a limited time
- Who should host the World Cup Final in 2026?
- Where to find Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville on US TV
- Ronaldo wants to leave Man United – reports
- Kylian Mbappé can shock the world again at World Cup 2022
- What is the best soccer stadium in the world?
- Where to find Santos vs. Flamengo on US TV
- Where to find Fluminense vs. Corinthians on US TV
- Romelu Lukaku homecoming provides opportunity at Inter Milan
- Wimbledon, Tour, cricket and rugby find Covid still in the air