Klinsmann and the Americans: An Uneasy Alliance

November 18, 2015

“It’s fair to say that U.S. Men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been under fire this year from American fans and writers. The failure to gain the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, after being defeated on penalties by Panama in the semifinals, coupled with the October loss to archrival Mexico for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup, has created doubts as to whether Klinsmann is still the right man to lead the American squad that earlier in the year had beaten Mexico, the Netherlands and Germany in successive friendlies. Klinsmann, who has also coached the German national team and Bayern Munich, led his squad through a strong 2014 campaign, highlighted by their advance from the World Cup ‘Group of Death’ in Brazil, but the question in sports is always ‘what have you done for me lately?’” Bundesliga Fanatic

USA World Cup qualifying roster: Nagbe, Johnson in; Dempsey out

November 8, 2015

“Clint Dempsey, who started the year as U.S. national team captain, is off. New citizen Darlington Nagbe and emerging defensive stalwart Matt Miazga suddenly are on the threshold of their international debuts. Fabian Johnson is back after a short stay in the coach’s doghouse. And Jurgen Klinsmann has found a balance between continuity and overhaul on his first World Cup qualifying roster of this new cycle. Less than a month after reaching the nadir of his four-plus year tenure as U.S. coach, the embattled manager has named a 23-man team for the upcoming qualifiers against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis (Nov. 13) and Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad (Nov. 17).” SI

Should CONCACAF Champions League change its schedule?

November 1, 2015

“With the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) group stage coming to an end last week, it’s a good time to address whether or not the North American governing body should change the schedule of their premier club competition, something which has been discussed for a while now. The suggestion is to alter the competition to run spring to autumn, rather than autumn to spring.” Outside of the Boot

Mexico tops United States 3-2 in thrilling CONCACAF Cup

October 11, 2015

“Paul Aguilar scored a goal for the ages to end a game for the ages. The Mexico defender, who had been a thorn in the U.S.’s left side all evening at a sold-out Rose Bowl, latched on to a high, speculative pass from Raúl Jiménez in the 118th minute and hit a thunderous volley past Brad Guzan and inside the left post. The strike lifted Mexico to a 3-2 extra time triumph in a gripping Confederations Cup playoff that will be remembered for as long as the Americans and El Tri play the sport. With a berth in the 2017 tournament at stake, players on both teams gave their all on a sweltering Pasadena evening. Mexico took the lead twice and the U.S. recovered and equalized twice. When substitute forward Bobby Wood—the hero of the friendly wins over the Netherlands and Germany—scored in the 108th minute, it seemed as if penalty kicks would be needed to end an epic affair. But Aguilar’s moment of brilliance highlighted the genuine difference in skill between the two sides and was a game-winner befitting the occasion.” SI

U.S. Fails to Keep Step With Mexico’s Lead
“Mexico defeated the United States, 3-2, on Saturday night in a game staged to decide which team would earn a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup, an eight-country tournament of dubious prestige that will take place in Russia, the site of the 2018 World Cup. Mexico’s winning goal was scored in spectacularly skillful fashion in the 118th minute, in the second half of overtime, as Paul Aguilar sprinted into the right side of the box, settled under a rapidly descending lob pass from Raul Jiménez and lashed a low, wicked volley inside the left post. The Mexican players scrambled to form a joyous pile near the corner flag. The Americans stood still, stunned.” NY Times

After Mexico loss, it’s time to consider Klinsmann’s suitability as U.S. coach
“I’ve been reading a good book lately. It’s called Das Reboot: How German Soccer Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World. The author, Raphael Honigstein, tells the story of how the Germans completely rethought their approach to talent development starting in the late 1990s, refined it even more in the early 2000s and reaped the ultimate reward by winning World Cup 2014. Jurgen Klinsmann is a central figure in the tale whose voice appears throughout the book. When the German federation has trouble finding a suitable coach in 2004, Klinsmann gets the job and shocks the traditional German system by bringing in his American fitness gurus and introducing a technocrat’s way of thinking when it comes to developing talent and exploring new ideas. In many ways, he’s like a McKinsey consultant for soccer.” SI (Video)

Soccer Godcast, Episode 5: U.S. vs. Mexico and the ugly side of patriotism
“The latest international break is upon us, and the American soccerverse is consumed by all things USA vs. Mexico. Being the upstanding Americans that they are, hosts Kevin Brown and Miriti Murungi discuss this weekend’s CONCACAF Cup showdown and the wonderfully reckless comments from Landon Donovan, who may or may not have suggested that it was time for Jurgen Klinsmann to be fired, should the United States lose on Saturday. Later, they discuss Elliot Turner’s story about the unfortunate parallels between the conversations surrounding the U.S.-Mexico rivalry and the ongoing American immigration debate, which sparks a conversation about the number of U.S. fans who use soccer as a flimsy excuse to be xenophobic in the name of patriotism, and whether an ideological gap may exist between various segments of the U.S. fanbase.” Fusion (Video)

The USA-Mexico soccer rivalry mirrors immigration debates raging in the U.S.

October 7, 2015

“Surprise, surprise. Another soccer game between the United States and Mexico is on the horizon. On October 10, the two teams will contest a one-game playoff for the right to represent CONCACAF in the always super competitive Confederations Cup, the tournament, hosted by the next World Cup host nation (Russia), that pits regional champions against one another. But do we really need another U.S.-Mexico game? With so many Gold Cups, what is the need for this brand new ‘CONCACAF Cup’?” Fusion

Tactical choices in the center key to USA-Mexico CONCACAF Cup playoff

October 5, 2015

“Neither the United States nor Mexico heads into the CONCACAF Cup match in an ideal situation. Unrest has been the theme since the Gold Cup, with Mexico battling–yet appearing to narrowly avoid–key injuries sans a full-time manager and Jurgen Klinsmann still with some calls to make in regard to his first-choice lineup. Through the chaos in each camp, the key on Oct. 10 will likely be each team’s defensive approach. The finer details—player selection and formations—could change, but the broad strokes should remain the same because coaches don’t have time to drastically change now.” SI

Gritty comeback win over Peru gives USA a foundation to build on

September 8, 2015

“In sports, team identity can be a tricky thing. What do you want to be about? What are your fundamentals? Your bedrock? And do you achieve the defining characteristics that you’ve set out as a goal for your outfit? Jurgen Klinsmann announced some audacious plans when he took over the U.S. men’s national team in 2011. He wanted nothing less than for the U.S. to become a proactive team that initiated the attack against elite opponents and made them react. That kind of transformation takes time, of course—lots of it—but it doesn’t mean you have to throw out all the good things that defined the U.S. team pre-Klinsmann.” SI


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