Later today the United States will face Mexico for the CONCACAF Cup. More than a trophy, the match will determine who will participate in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. There could be more on the line, however, as some are calling for Jurgen Klinnsman's head.
Among those looking for more accountability from Klinsmann are London Donovan and Herculez Gomez. Sure, the opinions of those former U.S. internationals are important, but we know you're aching to hear from the staff at The Bent Musket.
U.S. Soccer's pursuit of Klinsmann was kind of cute, but it just hasn't worked out. The German gaffer is masterful when it comes to friendlies, but he needs to produce more than that. Under Klinsmann's watchful eye, the USMNT have looked typical in a World Cup and downright dreadful in a Gold Cup. And before we go too far, let's not forget to pay respect to all the hamstrings that have been tweaked during the Klinsmann era. As you can probably tell, I'm anti-Klinsmann and a loss against Mexico would simply be another strike against him.
I don't care if we're talking about first-team coach Jurgen Klinsmann or technical director, U.S. Soccer absolutely should never lose in the semi-finals of a Gold Cup on home soil. Not winning the Gold Cup four years ago cost Bob Bradley his job and Bradley at least made the finals before getting routed by Mexico. As technical director, Klinsmann's development of new players has to this point been nothing more than a successful recruiting class, not unlike the work of a college basketball coach. His youngsters, especially on defense, show little improvement despite lots of playing time on the national team and there are games where his offensive game-plan is non-existent. I think that head coach Jurgen is clashing horribly with tech. director Jurgen but the USSF seems more or less okay with it.
Whether or not the Confederations Cup is important (Ryan Rosenblatt and Rob Usry debate this concept in an excellent back and forth piece on Stars and Stripes FC), it should still be a goal for the USMNT. The Confederations Cup and representing CONCACAF should be important goals for the U.S. as a team. The tournament serves as an excellent dry run ahead of a World Cup. I thought the 2009 version was a surprising success for the USA despite that second half in the final against Brazil. A lot of the stars on this team now were young, emerging internationals six years ago and the 2017 tournament could be a similar springboard for the success of the next crop of US players.
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Klinsmann has revolutionized the U.S. in many ways since his hiring, and a premature dismissal eradicates any and all progress. To keep on pushing upwards, the U.S. needs a mover and a shaker like Klinsmann at the helm. He offers an outside perspective, understands what it takes to compete in world football, and is a top-notch recruiter of dual nationals. Someway, somehow the results will take care of themselves and the U.S. ship will right itself. But for that to happen, the designated "captain" needs to be firmly behind the wheel.