U.S. Soccer prez Gulati calls for improved results from Klinsmann, USMNT

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Jurgen Klinsmann felt the heat turned a notch up on Tuesday, hours ahead of the U.S. national team’s 2016 Copa America Centenario clash with Costa Rica, from his boss, the president of U.S. Soccer, Sunil Gulati.

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Gulati, speaking to reporters before the USMNT’s must-win second group game (FOLLOW LIVE), admitted that Klinsmann has fallen somewhat short of expectations in his role as head coach of the USMNT, while lauding the 51-year-old World Cup-winning German for progress made in his other capacity, technical director of U.S. Soccer’s men’s program — quotes from ESPN FC:

“Results are what matter — everyone understands that. ”

“The results over the last 18 months, overall, have not been what we would’ve hoped for — especially in the official competitions.”

“It’s the official competitions that matter the most, and we haven’t been up to where we’d like to be. We’ll look at everything at the end of this competition. I don’t get too high or too low based on one game, especially when it’s a game against a very good team.

“So, we’ll wait and see how the next two games go and hopefully some additional games after that before we assess where things are.”

“There are things, overall, in his role as technical director, we think we’ve made good advances on. But we need to win games, and we need to win games in competitive play.”

“We haven’t broken though to match up well against the world’s elite,”

That seems a completely fair — and noncommittal — assessment by Gulati. It’s good to know that the folks to which Klinsmann answers still hold him to the same standards and goals that were set forth at the time of his hiring in August 2011.

Failing to advance from the group stage of the 2016 Copa America — a Group A that’s not exactly loaded with talent outside of the world no. 3, Colombia, whom the USMNT has already faced — seems the only conceivable circumstance in which Klinsmann could lose his job this summer. Then would bring about a whole new question for Gulati and Co. to ponder: who would replace Klinsmann? For the sake of the internet and soccer in America, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.