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Should he stay or should he go? Klinsmann should be on thin ice

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Jurgen Klinsmann’s future as USMNT head coach has never been this much in doubt. And so it should be.

[ MORE: Gulati on Klinsmann ]

On this Wednesday morning, it feels like the lowest point of Klinsmann’s much-scrutinized reign as U.S. national team boss and there’s a very real possibility that two damaging World Cup qualifying defeats in five days could mark the end.

It wasn’t so much the scoreline in the 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Tuesday which was concerning. It was the manner of the second half collapse which will be giving U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati a sleepless night as the team travels back to the U.S. bottom of the Hexagonal group following defeats to Mexico and now Costa Rica. It seemed like the players threw in the towel and didn’t fight for their manager.

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With no more World Cup qualifiers until March 2017 (the U.S. host Honduras and head to Panama with four points expected at the very least) and a shortened January camp coming up, Klinsmann will have plenty of time to stew on these awful results over the past few days.

So will U.S. Soccer.

Gulati said last week that Klinsmann’s job would be safe until the end of this World Cup qualifying campaign. Klinsmann’s current deal as head coach of the USMNT and the technical director runs out after the 2018 World Cup. It seems like nobody at U.S. Soccer is remotely thinking about firing Klinsmann. That’s the reality.

That’s a problem.

At the end of the day, this is a result business. Right now, the U.S. isn’t getting the ones they need. Klinsmann’s long-stated goal for the U.S. is to get them to a World Cup semifinal. Right now, most fans would be happy with just qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

United States' Jozy Altidore, center, protests to referee Cesar Ramos, of Mexico, during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Costa Rica, in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

It is worth remembering that it is still very early in qualifying and there are still eight games and 24 points to play for. The U.S. has got two of its three toughest games out of the way (Mexico away being the other) and if they don’t finish in the top three of the Hex and seal qualification to Russia 2018 it would be a huge shock. If that happened, it would also cost Klinsmann his job.

Last week when ProSoccerTalk’s writers discussed the upcoming World Cup qualifiers I said the U.S. should be happy with one point from their opening two games of the Hex. There’s no mistaking that Klinsmann’s men were dealt a hard schedule to World Cup qualifying and if you chuck in the absence of influential, experienced players like Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey, plus the injury of Tim Howard in the first half of the Mexico game, then they were up against it.

Klinsmann has always welcomed criticism of him and his players as a sign that the U.S. is growing as a soccer nation. There will be plenty more critics of his team in the coming months.

The way the USMNT came out of the traps on Tuesday, they seemed timid and scared in Costa Rica. Then the shockingly poor defensive mistakes in the final 30 minutes prove that they not only didn’t rise to the occasion but they also had no belief in themselves or the project. That’s a massive problem. It’s one Klinsman must sort out, if he’s given the chance. He probably will get the chance to try and rectify it.

Klinsmann has had some severe ups and downs during his time in charge of the USMNT but this seems like the roughest waters he’ll have to guide the team through.

Here’s a look at some of the facts. I’ve grouped them into positives and negative achievements during his time in charge of the U.S. so far…


Positives

  • Getting out of the Group of Death at 2014 World Cup, reaching Round of 16
  • Winning 2013 Gold Cup on home soil
  • Marquee friendly wins over Holland and Germany in the summer of 2015
  • Reaching semifinals of Copa America Centenario 2016

Negatives

  • Knocked out of 2015 Gold Cup at semifinal stage vs. Jamaica
  • Losing in the CONCACAF playoff to Mexico, missing out on the Confederations Cup
  • Losing to Guatemala on the road in the fourth round of World Cup qualifying in 2016
  • Heaviest defeat since 1980 in World Cup qualifying, losing 4-0 to Costa Rica

Notice anything about those major negatives in tournament and qualifying play? Yep. They’ve all occurred in the past 18 months.

Firing Klinsmann would not be a knee jerk reaction. It has been coming.

He is the most divisive figure U.S. soccer has ever seen. He has staunch supporters and some despise him. He has criticized Major League Soccer, enraging many, and has not been scared to try and rip apart the U.S. soccer establishment at the seams and tell them what they’re doing wrong. It’s hard to keep doing that when the USMNT is struggling so much in a region they should simply be dominating.

The most frustrating thing for those who criticize his tactics and personnel choices is that Klinsmann doesn’t seem to be held accountable for his actions. When he arrived in 2011 Klinsmann promised sweeping changes to the infrastructure and to improve the style of play. He may well have achieved the former, with U.S. soccer plowing plenty of resources in and plenty of young American players heading to Europe to play in academies on Klinsmann’s advice, but the latter has not been achieved.

It is time for Klinsmann to take a long, hard look at himself.

His favorites in Omar Gonzalez, Jermaine Jones and Timmy Chandler and many others have been given chance after chance. They’ve proved they aren’t good enough at the international level. His decisions to change up tactics time and time again (the bizarre 3-5-2 against Mexico last week highlighted that perfectly, as did the confusion from his players in-game which led to him switching back to a 4-4-2) and then blaming his players for their lack of ability to deal with it boggles the mind.

Klinsmann has thrown his players under the bus so many times I’ve lost count. Yet after the defeat to Costa Rica we heard something different from him. He held his hands up and was accountable.

“I take responsibility and it is no problem. It is a learning experience for us,” Klinsmann said.

Will U.S. Soccer now truly take responsibility and address the elephant in the room head on? If Klinsmann was the manager of any other national team on the planet there’s no way he would’ve lasted this long.

The most worrying thing for Klinsmann is that judging by their performance on Tuesday in Costa Rica, a large chunk of his players agree with that sentiment.

VIDEO: Bernardo Silva doesn’t applaud Liverpool in ‘guard of honor’

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Bernardo Silva didn’t applaud Liverpool in the ‘guard of honor’ Man City gave them and couldn’t get off the pitch quick enough.

Silva and his teammates lined up on the pitch before the game at the Etihad on Thursday and welcomed the newly-crowned champions by flanking them on both sides.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Every other Man City player gave Liverpool a round of applause, which will be expected from each team Liverpool face in the rest of the Premier League season as they won the title with seven games to go. It will be intriguing to see if other teams and players have a similar reaction to Silva.

Bernardo Silva was not having it, though, as he sipped on a drink, look disinterested and started walking to the benches before most of the Liverpool team had got past the end of the line.

Check out the video clips below of Silva showing perhaps why Man City went on to batter Liverpool 4-0 in the game as he looked angry and most of the Man City players looked far from pleased that they had to applaud Liverpool onto the pitch.

These rivals are a lot closer than the current 20-point gap in the table suggests and given the flashpoints which arrived throughout the game, Man City will be coming back even stronger next season to challenge Liverpool for their title.

Report: USMNT’s McKennie linked with Everton, Newcastle

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Weston McKennie has been linked with a move to Premier League sides Everton and Newcastle United.

The USMNT midfielder, 21, has been the main man in Schalke’s midfield over the past few seasons but he is reportedly available for $28 million this summer and several Premier League teams are interested in McKennie.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

According to a report from Bild, both Everton and Newcastle want to sign Weston McKennie from Schalke this summer.

McKennie has been one of the only Schalke players who can come out of the end of the season with his head held high. David Wagner’s side ended the season on an incredible 16-game winless run and scored just five times after the restart. McKennie scored two of them.

The versatile midfielder can also play at full back and per other reports, Hertha Berlin are also interested in signing him. Schalke’s sporting director Jochen Schneider pointed to the fact that McKennie has a contract until 2024 which he signed last summer but he wouldn’t rule out a move.

Schalke are said to be in a dire financial situation and are trimming their wage bill and squad accordingly this summer.

McKennie has previously said he wants to make the move to the Premier League and both Everton and Newcastle would seem like very good landing spots for him. In fact, along with Crystal Palace and West Ham, those were the two teams I previously selected as being the best place for him to land if he did indeed get his wish for a move to England.

“For me, the next target is England. It has always been my dream to play in the Premier League. I want to join a club that is fighting for a place in Europe: the Champions League or the Europa League. For now, I am happy in Schalke because I can play,” McKennie said.

That’s the key here. McKennie will want to play and at Everton and Newcastle he would have a battle to get into the team initially but he would surely be a regular contributor considering what we’ve seen from him in the Bundesliga over the last few seasons. Both Everton and Newcastle need a destructive holding midfielder and McKennie fits the bill.

The $28 million price tag seems a little high in the current market, so that could be a stumbling block, but there’s a deal to be done here. Schalke need to trim their wage bill, McKennie wants to move to the Premier League and Premier League clubs wants to sign him.

NBC Sports Premier League schedule

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The new NBC Sports Premier League schedule for the 2019-20 season has been released, with time and dates for the first three matchweeks confirmed and here’s how you can watch it all live on TV in the USA.

[ WATCH: Premier League video ] 

With games spread out across multiple days and many in separate time slots, there are lots of changes to your regular schedule as the league returns on June 17 after being suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Games will be played in empty stadiums and at home venues for the most part, with the venues for a handful of games TBC due to UK government and police concerns.

The full TV schedule for the games this month are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com, the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold and the new Peacock streaming service from NBC.

Below is the new schedule for the Premier League on NBC Sports from June 17 to July 12, as we will release the dates and times for the final three matchweeks of the 2019-20 season when they become available.


Premier League: How to watch in USA (all times EST)

Matchday 29

Wednesday, June 17: Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United
Wednesday, June 17: Man City 3-0 Arsenal

Matchday 30

Friday, June 19: Norwich 0-3 Southampton
Friday, June 19: Tottenham 1-1 Man United
Saturday, June 20: Watford 1-1 Leicester
Saturday, June 20: Brighton 2-1 Arsenal
Saturday, June 20: West Ham 0-2 Wolves
Saturday, June 20: Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
Sunday, June 21: Newcastle 3-0 Sheffield United
Sunday, June 21: Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea
Sunday, June 21: Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Monday, June 22: Man City 5-0 Burnley

Matchday 31

Tuesday, June 23: Leicester 0-0 Brighton
Tuesday, June 23: Tottenham 2-0 West Ham
Wednesday, June 24: Man United 3-0 Sheffield United
Wednesday, June 24: Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa
Wednesday, June 24: Norwich 0-1 Everton
Wednesday, June 24: Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth
Wednesday, June 24: Liverpool 4-0 Palace
Thursday, June 25: Southampton 0-2 Arsenal
Thursday, June 25: Burnley 1-0 Watford
Thursday, June 25: Chelsea 2-1 Man City

Matchday 32

Saturday, June 27: Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
Sunday, June 28: Watford 1-3 Southampton
Monday, June 29: Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley
Tuesday, June 30: Brighton 0-3 Man United
Wednesday, July 1: Everton 2-1 Leicester
Wednesday, July 1: Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle
Wednesday, July 1: Arsenal 4-0 Norwich
Wednesday, July 1: West Ham 3-2 Chelsea
Thursday, July 2: Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham
Thursday, July 2: Man City 4-0 Liverpool

Matchday 33

Saturday, July 4: Norwich City v. Brighton, 7:30a.m. ET
Saturday, July 4: Leicester v. Crystal Palace, 10 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 4: Man United v. Bournemouth, 10 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 4: Wolves v. Arsenal, 12:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, July 4: Chelsea v. Watford, 3 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 5: Burnley v. Sheffield United, 7 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 5: Newcastle United v. West Ham, 9 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 5: Liverpool v. Aston Villa, 11:30 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 5: Southampton v. Man City, 2 p.m. ET
Monday, July 6: Tottenham v. Everton, 3 p.m. ET

Matchday 34

Tuesday, July 7: Crystal Palace v. Chelsea, 1 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 7: Watford v. Norwich City, 1 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 7: Arsenal v. Leicester City, 3:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 8: Man City v. Newcastle United, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 8: Sheffield United v. Wolves, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 8: West Ham v. Burnley, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 8: Brighton v. Liverpool, 3:15 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 9: Bournemouth v. Tottenham, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 9: Everton v. Southampton, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 9: Aston Villa v. Manchester United, 3:15 p.m. ET

Matchday 35

Saturday, July 11: Norwich City v. West Ham, 7:30 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 11: Watford v. Newcastle United, 7:30 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 11: Liverpool v. Burnley, 10 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 11: Sheffield United v. Chelsea, 12:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, July 11: Brighton v. Manchester City, 3 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 12: Wolves v. Everton, 7 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 12: Aston Villa v. Crystal Palace, 9 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 12: Tottenham v. Arsenal, 11:30 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 12: Bournemouth v. Leicester City, 2 p.m. ET
Monday, July 13: Man United v. Southampton, 3 p.m. ET

Premier League standings

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The Premier League is back a three month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Below you will find a reminder of the Premier League standings as we get back to business.

[ MORE: Latest PL TV schedule ]

With 92 games remaining in the 2019-20 Premier League season, there is plenty to play for up and down the league and the standings are extremely tight.

Liverpool have wrapped up the Premier League in stunning fashion over Man City, with the reigning champions and current second-place side eager to focus on cup competitions.

Three of the top four should stay there unless Leicester City’s form dips considerably, but the race for fourth and fifth should be fierce. We may know whether fifth is a Champions League place after scheduled June 8-10 meetings to hear Man City’s appeal over its European ban.

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With between nine and 10 matches left for everyone and eighth potentially being a Europa League spot, all the teams between fourth and 11th still have European hopes in the balance. That would change should Norwich City or Newcastle win the FA Cup, so call it 13 clubs.

The action is going to come fast and often, with the league putting together a staggered schedule of kickoff times that will make matches even more of an all-weekend affair.

Below are the Premier League standings in full, as we will updated them throughout the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

PREMIER LEAGUE STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Liverpool 32 28 2 2 70 25 45 16-0-0 12-2-2 86
 Manchester City 32 21 3 8 81 33 48 12-2-2 9-1-6 66
 Leicester City 32 16 7 9 60 31 29 9-4-3 7-3-6 55
 Chelsea 32 16 6 10 57 44 13 8-3-5 8-3-5 54
 Manchester United 32 14 10 8 51 31 20 9-5-2 5-5-6 52
 Wolves 32 13 13 6 45 34 11 6-7-3 7-6-3 52
 Sheffield United 32 12 11 9 33 32 1 8-3-5 4-8-4 47
 Arsenal 32 11 13 8 47 41 6 8-5-3 3-8-5 46
 Tottenham Hotspur 32 12 9 11 51 44 7 9-3-4 3-6-7 45
 Burnley 32 13 6 13 36 45 -9 8-2-6 5-4-7 45
 Everton 32 12 8 12 40 47 -7 8-5-3 4-3-9 44
 Crystal Palace 32 11 9 12 28 37 -9 6-4-6 5-5-6 42
 Newcastle United 32 11 9 12 33 43 -10 6-7-3 5-2-9 42
 Southampton 32 12 4 16 41 55 -14 4-2-10 8-2-6 40
 Brighton & Hove Albion 32 7 12 13 34 44 -10 5-6-5 2-6-8 33
 West Ham United 32 8 6 18 38 56 -18 5-3-8 3-3-10 30
 Watford 32 6 10 16 29 49 -20 4-6-6 2-4-10 28

 Aston Villa 32 7 6 19 36 60 -24 5-3-8 2-3-11 27
 Bournemouth 32 7 6 19 30 54 -24 4-5-7 3-1-12 27
 Norwich City 32 5 6 21 25 60 -35 4-3-9 1-3-12 21