Nov. 29, 2016
Post Costa Rica Game Reactions and Klinsmann Discussion
I will come right out and start this article by saying that I am on team 'fire Klinsmann". I wasn't always on this side of things but after the USMNT losses to Mexico and Costa Rica I think it is time for his departure. I have waited a few days to write this so I can calm my nerves, listen to some reaction, and write a high quality article on why I think Klinsmann needs to be fired. The Jurgen Klinsmann era of U.S. soccer has not been all bad. I do believe that he has opened doors for the U.S. but in overall terms of quality and improvement we haven't grown as a country. Klinsmann has beaten the teams that he has supposed to have beaten over his tenure as USMNT manager. To improve your reputation and growth as a national team you need to start to beat teams that you aren't supposed to beat. Yes, Klinsmann beat a Germany team but let's face it, Germany didn`t throw out all of their most talented players. Time after time it is apparent that Klinsmann has extreme difficulties beating teams that are "better than us". He showed it in that awful Gold Cup, he showed it in the 2014 World Cup, he has shown it in the Copa Centenario, and now he has shown it again finishing 2016 with two losses. Klinsmann seems to get out coached in these more important games. Even before his time with the USMNT he was known as a guy who didn`t really focus on the "X's and the O's" but rather he was a manager that emphasized "energy" and "passion". Energy and passion can get you past teams like Ghana, Australia, and Honduras. But when you have to go play national teams such as Mexico, Belgium, Germany, and Portugal you need to have that passion WITH some tactical knowledge. It is time for the USMNT to have tactical knowledge. Our youth needs to learn and needs to have coaching telling them what to do. Klinsmann has had a plethora of talent under him. He has had young American talent such as John Anthony Brooks, Julian Green, Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood, and Deandre Yedlin. You are starting to see some struggles from these players, not because they don`t have the talent to be successful but because talent can only bring you so far. Young talent needs supervision and guidance and Klinsmann doesn't bring that to them. Klinsmann has also had older American talent that were and still try their best to be successful for the USMNT. Players like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Graham Zusi have all had their various ups, downs, and conflicts with Klinsmann. Finally, we have the final "type" of players that Klinsmann has had under him, the (and I hate to call them this) German rejects. JK has had Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, and Jermaine Jones, who all seem to digress in the red, white, and blue jersey.
Klinsmann has managed 98 games for the USMNT, winning 55 games, losing 28, and tying in 15 of them. That record doesn`t look horrible at first glance but when you look at everything that I talked about before, along with his "fights" with the MLS, and U.S. legend Landon Donovan all signs point at Klinsmann heading for the door. Another personality factor that I dislike about Klinsmann is his inability to take blame for a poor performance. A manager should stand up for and protect his players (to a degree) and Klinsmann likes to push his blame onto his players and protect himself.
Now, I want to look at possible future managers if Klinsmann is fired in the near future. I have been hearing a lot of callings for Bruce Arena to come back as USMNT manager. I am a huge Bruce Arena fan and think he is a type of polar opposite of Klinsmann. Players will still have that energy and also know what their manager wants them to do. Also, with his age I think his role as a national team manager would be good for his health. But, in my mind going back to a previous manager seems like a step backwards. Arena had his time and I think we need someone who his new and fresh willing to make an immediate impact. I have four managers that I wouldn`t mind seeing take over the reins (here they are in no specific order):
1. Louis Van Gaal
2. Oscar Pareja
3. Caleb Porter
4. Peter Vermes
The first name on that list (Louis Van Gaal) I have rarely seen people talk about. I also find it very unlikely for Van Gaal to become the next manager of the USMNT but why not? Van Gaal might not have had huge success with Manchester United but look at what he did when he was the manager of the Netherlands. He managed 43 games with them recording 25 wins, 13 draws, and 5 losses. He has an impressive resume and I think would be a good fit. But let's go to managers with a more realistic chance of being hired. Oscar Pareja is someone who I would LOVE to see as the manager of the USMNT. Pareja knows how to find young talent, develop that youth, and work them into his system. He also knows the game of soccer very well and focuses his training on the basics. For the sake of players like Pulisic, Stanko, and Carter-Vickers I would love to see Pareja take over. Next, I have Caleb Porter listed. This is a guy I'm iffy on. Porter is relatively young for a manager, he has coaching experience in MLS and in the USMNT system and he has won at those levels. I would personally wanted Porter to grow a bit more as a manager before hiring him but where we are right now as a country he could step in. Finally on my list I have Peter Vermes. Vermes has a bit more time under his belt over Porter and has also won on the MLS level. He plays tactically and has put together some very good Sporting Kansas City teams. He played the game of soccer for the USMNT and knows what kind of intensity level, skill, and coaching is needed for there to be success. I would be happy with any of these four men over Bruce Arena but let's first see if/when Klinsmann is fired.