US Soccer president Sunil Gulati expects Jurgen Klinsmann to finish out the World Cup qualifying cycle.
This, of course, is not really news. The Americans lost 2-1 to Mexico on Friday, but have nine qualifiers left including Tuesday’s big opportunity to snag a first ever win in Costa Rica.
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But given the divisive nature of the Klinsmann tenure, every significant loss inspires questions about whether Gulati might fire the German-born California resident.
A far more interesting topic from Gulati’s weekend talk with the media was the president’s impression on whether Klinsmann might stick around beyond the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“There’s no reason for us to think about those sorts of issues now,” said Gulati. “There are very, very few coaches that do third terms anywhere. There’s not many that do second terms, in big countries. But let’s see where things are [in 2018].”
It’s been easy for critics to bag on Gulati, but he shouldn’t be criticized for any opinion on moving past 2018 with so much to be decided in the next year (let alone by Russia).
Let’s say the Yanks win a knockout round game or two against a traditionally bigger side, with Klinsmann’s lineup and tactics on point (stop laughing): Would critics still demand he leave? Many would, sure, but the majority would want to continue with him on board.
On the flip side, imagine the USMNT barely qualifies for Russia before failing to win a game in a non-competitive group. Sure, a few in the “blame the player pool” camp would argue his case, but ultimately everyone would accept a new coach.
Waiting is fine.