Jurgen Klinsmann

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Arena speaks about USMNT turnaround, says “no secret formulas”

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It’s only been one competitive match since Bruce Arena regained control of the U.S. Men’s National Team and there’s already been a noticeable difference in form.

[ MORE: Three keys for the USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]

The former LA Galaxy manager wouldn’t have you believe that though following Friday night’s convincing 6-0 victory over Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

“It’s nothing I can write a book on,” Arena said about his team’s turnaround in form against Honduras. “You have a sense of your group, and you go about doing your business. There’s no secret formulas to this stuff. Work together, take ownership in what you’re doing, treat them like responsible professional athletes, and you get on with your business.

He added, “They want to be successful. They want to play in a World Cup. Is that a recipe for success? I don’t know. I’m sure Honduras wants to play in a World Cup too.”

Arena, who took over for Jurgen Klinsmann following the U.S.’ collapse during the first two matches of the Hexagonal, is unbeaten in his first three games in charge since getting his job back with the Stars and Stripes.

Although there has been a considerable turnaround in the way the USMNT has performed in the first three matches of 2017, Arena wouldn’t stoop to comparing his style to that of Klinsmann.

“I’m not doing anything differently,” he said. “I’m not taking a survey [of the players]. I know it’s different. We lose tomorrow, there will be articles written that, ‘This a—— is letting these guys run loose.'”

“I have spent no time on the past. There’s nothing I can do about it. I kind of have a sense about things, but there’s no point in me spending time investigating what went on in the past. The idea was to get it going the right way from the start.”

Arena’s next test with the U.S. will be on Tuesday when the Yanks travel to Panama City to take on Panama.

Bobby Wood looks forward to working with Arena, praises Klinsmann

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A back injury kept Bobby Wood from United States men’s national team camp, but the Hamburg striker has been feeling good about the side’s World Cup fortunes since before the big win over Honduras.

Speaking with Hamburg’s team magazine, Wood gave a sprawling interview on his career and time with the national team. Wood praised Arena for scouting in Germany, saying the USMNT boss is a quiet coach who has his own style of playing, one that will prod the Yanks into the World Cup.

[ MORE: Complete USMNT-Panama preview ]

But the 24-year-old Hawaii-born striker saved his fondest words for ex-coach Jurgen Klinsmann, essentially calling him a career-saver. From HSV live (translated from German):

He’s very important to me. I believe if Jürgen had not been U.S. coach, then I might have stopped playing football or would have played somewhere in the fourth league.

That is why I am very, very grateful to him. At that time I was in a deep hole – it was real heavy. … He has believed in my quality. We are still in contact, he texts me.

Wood was a part-time player for 1860 Munich when Klinsmann first called him up to the national team side, and now he’s a Bundesliga striker who will be in demand if the club is relegated. Wood has also been mentioned as a target for Premier League clubs.

That’s a pretty good career jump. Klinsmann may have failed to deliver much of what he promised to the national team, but talent mining was done quite well.

Klinsmann urges Bobby Wood to stay at Hamburg

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Despite increased interest from the Premier League, former U.S. Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has urged one of his former players to stay in Germany.

The former USMNT boss has suggested that despite Bobby Wood’s strong transition into top-flight football in the German Bundesliga that the young striker should continue to grow in the league.

“Bobby still is in a period of development,” Klinsmann told Hamburger Morgenpost. “It’s great to see how Bobby is coping with his first steps in the Bundesliga. He’s doing a great job.”

“I would advise him not to make a switch right now. HSV [Hamburg] are already a big club with a wonderful stadium and great fans. The folks love their HSV, and now they also love Bobby.

“For him, Hamburg is not only a stopover. Even though he’s on a roll now, the step into the Bundesliga, and also into a big city like Hamburg, is a major one.”

Wood has scored five goals this season for Hamburg, who currently sit 16th in the German table. The 24-year-old has netted on three occasions though in his last five appearances for the club, which is something that Klinsmann says Wood needs to continue to do in order to reach his full potential.

“The key word is consistency. Bobby now needs to set a goal rate. A goal in every second match, that’s my wish for him.”

In addition to Wood’s progression through German football, the striker has become a budding star on the international stage as well for the USMNT.

Wood was called up yesterday by new U.S. manager Bruce Arena to join the Red, White and Blues for their upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying fixtures against Honduras and Panama.

Over the last two calendar years, Wood has scored eight goals on the international stage for the USMNT, including three so far for the U.S. as they look to qualify for Russia in 2018.

Benny Feilhaber among US vets getting 2nd chance under Arena

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Only a year ago, Benny Feilhaber thought he had no chance to get back in the good graces of Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. national team.

[ MORE: David Villa discusses MLS season, La Liga title race and more ]

So the frustrated Sporting Kansas City midfielder let them have it, sharply criticizing Klinsmann’s player selection in an unusual moment of bridge-burning candor for a frustrated veteran athlete.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

One year and one new coach later, Feilhaber has just completed a January training camp with the U.S. men, and he is on the 23-man squad for the first matches in a crucial year of World Cup qualification for the Americans.

“A clean slate,” Feilhaber said with a broad smile.

The U.S. begins the year Sunday with an exhibition against Serbia at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. New coach Bruce Arena’s MLS-based player group is clearly optimistic about the tests ahead, but the U.S. needs immediate improvements after two losses late last year put the Americans at the bottom of their World Cup qualifying group.

“It’s a new vibe,” Feilhaber said. “It’s been great. Everybody is fighting for positions, but united in the knowledge that we need to do something special this year in qualifying, and it starts in this camp.”

Feilhaber is an offensive midfielder who could provide a dimension that seemed lacking in the Americans’ attack in recent months. He is just one of several players getting newfound looks and increased attention after fading from Klinsmann’s favor.

Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius and Chad Marshall also might have thought they were all done with U.S. national team play after getting passed over by the German coach. Other younger MLS-based players, including Sebastian Lletget and Walker Zimmerman, still hadn’t attracted Klinsmann’s serious attention.

When Klinsmann was fired and Arena took over late last year, the veterans had already made their usual January vacation plans – and McCarty even scheduled his wedding this month.

They all reported to the Los Angeles suburbs for the start of another run under Arena, who has been determined to keep an open mind about anyone who could help his team.

“They don’t have to prove anything extra,” Arena said of the second-chance contingent. “But they’ve demonstrated they’re good players, and they’ve convinced me that they’re options. At the end of the day, we’ve got to compile all of this stuff after this camp and then look at our pool of players that are in Europe as well as in Mexico and try to see what makes sense for the games in March. It’s not going to be an easy exercise, for sure.”

The match in San Diego is Arena’s first for the U.S. team since June 22, 2006, when the Americans were eliminated from the World Cup with a 2-1 loss to Ghana at Nuremberg. After his first U.S. tenure ended, Arena moved on to build the LA Galaxy into a three-time MLS champion.

From veteran Jermaine Jones to youngster Jordan Morris, the MLS-based players appear to appreciate Arena’s confident style of management – while realizing the results will determine his real success.

“Bruce is very open with his players,” Feilhaber said. “He lets you know exactly what he expects from you, and he’s been very clear with me what position he would like me to play in, and what my responsibilities would be for the team. It’s very straightforward and easy to grasp what my job is. It’s been very few surprises.”

Jones speaks out on Tim Howard’s “dangerous” talk (video)

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New LA Galaxy midfielder and USMNT mainstay Jermaine Jones is hoping he can clarify Tim Howard’s controversial comments about dual nationals.

Howard said Wednesday that there were commitment issues with some of the dual nationals on the United States squad, adding that players like Jones and Fabian Johnson were great for the team.

[ MORE: Galaxy adds Portugal CM ]

Jones answered those thoughts on Thursday, labeling them “dangerous stuff”.

From ESPNFC’s Doug McIntyre:

“With all the respect for Timmy, I feel it’s not if you’re half American or full-American. It’s more what you have in here [taps his chest].

“If you go on the field and you give everything for this country, then of course sometimes there’s a situation where you’re not playing good.

“But it’s normal. That can happen to everybody, and that’s what you have to understand.”

Jones isn’t shy to share his comments on anything, and it was definitely a surprise to hear Howard’s thoughts on dual nationals. Salient words from Jones.