Jurgen Klinsmann, the man who promised a soccer revolution in the United States upon his appointment as head coach of the U.S. national team nearly five years ago, says that a performance in which the USMNT was hugely outclassed and never had a sniff of a positive result against Colombia is “very pleasing.”
[ MORE: Recap on USA 0-2 Colombia ]
Following Friday night’s 2-0 defeat to Colombia in the opening game of the 2016 Copa America Centenario, that was the gist of Klinsmann’s post-game press conference (quotes below).
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At one point early in the second half, the Colombians zipped the ball back and forth and back and forth and back and forth across the field to chants of “Ole! Ole! Ole!” from the predominantly pro-Colombian crowd at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. This is fine, though, because the USMNT was “totally even,” according to Klinsmann, despite having just one clear-cut chance (two official shots on target) over the 90 minutes, which came only in the 64th minute.
As for the lede of this post, Klinsmann was adverse to the idea of bringing on Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe — creative, attacking players by nature — before the 66th minute because, in his words, there was too little space for the USMNT to create chances. This, of course, is the same man who has routinely lamented the USMNT player pool’s lack of creativity and that of past editions of the team for their unattractive, grind-it-out style of play, and promised the kind of progressive, attacking soccer he has wholly failed to deliver in the 58 months since he was hired.
Anyway, here’s Klinsmann, because that’s what you’re really here for:
“Overall I was very pleased with the performance of the team.”
“Once they are up 2-nil and they drop deep, you don’t find much space [to create chances], so you have to grind it and grind it and work on it. That’s what the guys did, and we created some chances [in the] second half that didn’t go on. That’s what you’ve got to keep doing. [Colombia are] a quality side. It’s really important for our players to see that they are absolutely beatable, that they come out of this game, saying, ‘We gave the three points to them, but it’s absolutely no problem now going forward.”
“I think obviously you guys put the benchmark on the result, but I think that playing these guys, who they are and the quality they have, we were absolutely even. We had a totally even game here. Obviously the penalty decision was a major point in this game, but it is what it is. You can’t change it anymore. He gave a penalty, but didn’t give any in the second half for Clint [Dempsey], but that’s the referee’s decision.”