Jurgen Klinnsman, the man who has been in charge of U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) since 2011 was let go today. It doesn’t really come as a surprise after a very unimpressive start to the Hexagonal Stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. After losing to Mexico 2-1 and Costa Rica 4-0 it appears that the U.S. Soccer Federation has finally had enough of its Manager and Technical Director.
Now, in my humble opinion, it was time for Klinnsman to go as technical director and manager of the USMNT. While our senior squad made some pretty good strides during Klinnsman’s reign, our youth ranks constantly kept under performing, which is a problem when you’re trying to build a National Team that can compete on the World stage. We have developed a problem of having players that have no big game experience when they reach the senior squad. Now I’m not saying that this alone led to his downfall as the man in U.S. Soccer, he has also made some very questionable tactical decisions as of late. His constant shuffling of formations and not setting a specific lineup for big games has really been hurting the senior squad.
When Klinnsman was hired he was talking about how he was going to change the brand of football the U.S. plays, making it fit the “beautiful game” moniker. Since his arrival, I really don’t feel that our National Teams playing style has really changed all that much. We still play the boring counter-attack style we’ve been playing for twenty-five years. We’re still relying on grit instead of skill to get things done. Overall nothing has changed, but if you asked Jurgen things were chugging along just fine.
I know our national team has had some successes under Klinnsman over the last five years, but I don’t feel that he lived up to the hype he was given upon arriving. Sure we made the round of 16 in Brazil, beat the Netherlands and Germany for the first time, and made the Copa America semi-final. We just never made it to the heights that Jurgen Klinnsman was promising when he arrived. So when I look back on the last five years of U.S. Soccer I’ll remember winning in the Azteca, Tim Howard and Julian Green trying to beat Belgium on their own in the World Cup, and beating Ecuador in the Copa America last summer. But then I’ll remember losing the Gold Cup to Jamaica, getting dismantled in Copa America by Argentina, and last but not least, the horrific past few weeks that are making Russia 2018 look a little more unlikely. I’d like to say danke for the good memories, but it’s time for another manager to carry the mantle for U.S. Soccer.