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Klinsmann’s latest insults prove he will never respect USMNT fans

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While U.S. Soccer ponders head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s fate, one would imagine the man would have a little humility while his current employment hangs in the balance.

Instead, he doubled down on an exhausting narrative that provides reason enough to make a change.

Klinsmann has never respected U.S. fans. No, he has repeatedly dismissed the opinions of the fans and media as inexperienced, foolish, and naive. He’s continually reiterated that “we have a ways to go” and repeatedly speaks about “educating the country” as a required part of the growth of the national team.

[ UPDATE: Klinsmann fired as USMNT head coach, Technical Director ]

So after two embarrassing losses to begin CONCACAF’s final round of 2018 World Cup qualification, his job under heavier scrutiny than ever before, he continued to beat the same dead horse he has for years.

“The fact is, we lost two games,” Klinsmann told Sam Borden of the New York Times Sunday evening. “There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.”

[ RELATED: Klinsmann “not afraid” of job speculation ]

These “people” Klinsmann is referring to include a host of intelligent, well respected journalists across the country who have publicly called for change following the 4-0 drubbing to Costa Rica. Those “people” also include a wide berth of fans from various backgrounds, many of whom have followed the national team pridefully and astutely long before Klinsmann took charge.

It’s true that soccer in the United States has seen a recent popularity boom, with plenty of new fans who are beginning to seek out the sport and learning its intricacies. What’s not true is that those who have been here all along – and even those recently aboard – are somehow doing it wrong. As with any sport, there are a wide spectrum of mindsets across the US fan demographic. Klinsmann continues to blanketly dismiss the opinions of this country’s masses as stupid and irrelevant, when in fact they are the most important of all.

“I’m not afraid,” Klinsmann told the New York Times. “What you need to do is stick to the facts. Soccer is emotional and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport.”

[ MORE: Crazy comeback sees #1 Maryland fall in NCAA Tournament ]

If the 52-year-old German wishes to degrade those with dissenting opinions by dismissing them as “emotional” and rash, we shall indeed “stick to the facts.” The facts are, Klinsmann managed the United States to its worse start to a Hex ever. The facts are, Klinsmann managed his team to its first home defeat in World Cup qualification in 11 years at the country’s most fortified soccer stronghold. The facts are, Klinsmann’s United States embarrassed itself in last year’s Gold Cup, owning the worst finish for the country ever in the competition. The facts are, the U-23 team has missed the last two Olympics under his watch. The facts are, the United States coughed up qualification for the only Confederations Cup of his tenure. If Klinsmann wishes the fans “stick to the facts,” well, the facts are actually quite damning. The undeniable fact is, based solely on paper, the United States has regressed during his time in charge, and both fans and media are fully capable of recognizing that stark reality.

It’s time the United States gets rid of the man who will never respect U.S. fans, and time they hired one who understands them, and will garner motivation for his professional success not from personal gain or for written legacies, but from those whom the entire process boils down to. Club pride can be earned through performances on the field, but managing a national team requires a specific identification with those who feel drawn to the flag and the crest of their home nation. Klinsmann not only cannot identify with the United States fans, but he can’t even bring himself to respect them.

So while there are plenty of on-field reasons to question his abilities – which we apparently aren’t qualified to discuss based solely on our national allegiances – add one more tick mark to his rapidly growing list of transgressions. A man who does not appreciate the fans whom he has been charged to lead is in fact no leader at all.

Goalkeeper goal seals knockout stage spot in UEFA Youth League

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Club Brugge goalkeeper Senne Lammens may just be 17 years old, but he just lived every goalkeeper’s dream: to score a dramatic equalizer in the dying seconds of a game to send the club through to a European competition’s knockout stage.

The young goalkeeper came forward on a corner in the 94th minute of a game against Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League Wednesday morning in Belgium. With the visitors leading 2-1 and added time just about expired, Brugge needed to score an equalizer to secure passage to the knockout stage, lest they be left at the mercy of Galatasaray’s match against PSG.

Lammens delivered. The corner swung in to the top of the six-yard box and the youngster was on hand to head home a pinpoint effort inside the far post.

The header was quite literally the last act of the game, with stoppage time already creeping more than 60 seconds past the minimum three added minutes.

Lammens has shuttled back and forth between the youth squad and the senior squad this season serving occasionally as an emergency third goalkeeper behind Simon Mignolet and Ethan Horvath. Mostly, though, he’s been with the youth squad appearing in five of their six UEFA Youth League games, with three wins and a draw.

Report: Arsenal not interested in Ancelotti “profile”

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According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, Arsenal is not interested in a manager of Carlo Ancelotti’s “profile.”

The Italian was recently let go by Napoli after a disappointing first half of the season despite qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.

Ancelotti has won a Premier League title, three Champions League titles, and a Scudetto during his career but apparently a manager with his resume does not interest the Gunners, who may be looking for a more youthful boss with a longer-term strategy and potentially stronger club or domestic ties.

At 60 years old, Ancelotti has been fired from posts at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and now Napoli over the last four years. Over those four seasons, he has just one league title, the 2016/17 Bundesliga crown he won with Bayern in runaway fashion, and has exceeded expectations in very limited capacities, instead seeing things turn sour at each job relatively quickly. This season at Napoli, the club sits seventh in the Serie A table, mired in a horrible seven-match winless run that has seen them tumble further from the Champions League places.

Ornstein’s report also touched on the timeline of a potential hire, with the club apparently still deciding on whether to see out the season with interim manager Freddie Ljungberg or make a mid-season appointment. He states that the club “want situation settled asap” but also prefer “right man over quick decision.” He does not identify who the number one target is, but suggests that if that person is available at this point in time, they will make the hire mid-season, otherwise there will be a waiting game.

Jorge Sampaoli resigns as Santos boss

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Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.

Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.

The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.

His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.

The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of Goal.com, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.