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Jurgen Klinsmann

Klinsmann can breathe easier after World Cup qualification draw

Juergen Klinsmann

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.


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  1. Brad

    July 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I think if the US fails in the playoff game in the Confederations Cup they should let Klinsman go. That would be 3 straight setbacks and for the most part the team hasn’t played well in the Gold Cup.

  2. Roehl Sybing

    July 26, 2015 at 6:48 am

    As horrible as Gulati was in making a short-sighted decision in hiring Klinsi, suggesting that Gulati should be on the hot seat before Klinsi is betrays the bias of this website and its writers.

    I guess when you bottle up snake oil in the label of “changing the culture” and “taking the game to the next level,” accountability doesn’t apply to you. I gotta get me that kind of unjustified job security!

    • toby

      July 26, 2015 at 8:06 am

      You can’t blame Klinsi. He was the guy who changed the culture in Germany that helped turn them into world champions.

      The issue is Klinsmann said he didn’t want players coming back to MLS because this would weaken the national team with fewer players playing at an elite level. You can’t blame him for predicting the future.

      The USA lost to Jamaica and there were more players playing Europe than the USA team and you could tell.

      It usually takes 10 years for changes to the US system to be seen. He has only been in charge since 2011.

      When Klinsmann became Germany boss he was getting many bad results and said his methods were crazy but he ended up getting Germany to the semi-final in the world cup and many people credit him for the change in German culture and progressive ideas for Germany’s world cup win last year.

      • Bo

        July 26, 2015 at 10:01 am

        How dare you Toby, maybe putting the blame on the … Players… :O
        You’ll get yourself in serious trouble dong that. 😉 😀

        • Eugene

          July 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm

          Toby, not necessarily true with the game against Jamainca. The 2 guys who scored for Jamaca both play in the MLS with Vancouver and Houston. Johannson, Brooks, and Guzan, all guys who play in Europe had horrible games against Jamaica. Overall, we were missing a lot of the oung guys due to the Under 20 world cup and injuries (Morris, Cameron, Gyau etc). In September we should a lot of changes in the roster and a lot of these veterans should be left off the roster

      • Tony

        July 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

        I tried to explain it so many times and that Klinsmann gave a warning that top US-player are not challenged enough in the MLS. It is just stating the obvious but then you hear that dumb argument that the European players did not play that great either and it does not matter if you play for MLS or Premier league. MLS is getting better but is not even at a level of a second division European league in England, Germany or Spain.

      • Creek

        July 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm

        Gotta love the Klinsmann can do no wrong crowd. Germany made it to the final in 2002, yet a worse finish at home in 2006 is somehow an improvement. He also gets all of the credit for Germany’s winning the World Cup 8 years after he was the coach.

        Meanwhile, your argument of MLS players dragging down the USMNT is blatantly false. The US scored 12 goals in the Gold Cup, 11 by MLS players. Meanwhile, a defensive line that primarily featured 3 players from the Bundesliga and 1 from Liga MX regularly looked overwhelmed.

        And I do put the blame on the players, but I also put the blame on the coach who decided which players were on the roster and which players played. This was the worst Gold Cup in US Soccer history, and it’s not eve close. How some of you can hold Klinsmann above reproach is simply mind boggling and speaks to your obvious contempt for soccer in the United States.

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