CONCACAF Cup

Getty Images

U.S. Soccer doesn’t have to fire Klinsmann (But we get it if they do)

17 Comments

Did one of the most disappointing days in United States Soccer history seal the fate of Jurgen Klinsmann as U.S. Soccer mastermind?

His detractors will call the 3-2 loss to Mexico in Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup final the last and most painful nail in Klinsmann’s coffin.

His supporters? They can only shrug and claim the hammer’s bad, or the nails are crooked.

[ MATCH RECAP: Mexico 3-2 (aet) USMNT ]

“Let us run to the hardware store. It’ll only take a year. The Copa America Centenario is next summer and we’ll have some nails if you need them after that’s over and done with, but maybe you won’t?”

The United States doesn’t need to fire its head coach, but we doubt there’s anyone who can make a case it would be unjust (It’s unlikely he will be fired, for what it’s worth).

Klinsmann made a big show of saying the Gold Cup mattered, and qualifying for the Confederations Cup was imperative.

After going out in the semis of the former, and getting embarrassed by Mexico in the latter, it’s hard to imagine he can make a case for keeping his job or — at the very least — fulfilling any of his 2015 goals.

There’s something poetic about 2.Bundesliga striker Bobby Wood nearly rescuing the game for Klinsmann. Wood is the fulfillment of his coach’s thesis statement, that there are players out there who need just a bit more time to develop than you, the average soccer fan, understands.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings from a beat down in California ]

At the root of the American soccer problem is Klinsmann as a head coach. Maybe he’s got the right idea as a technical director. He certainly recruits players like a champ.

Yet Klinsmann has found himself outfoxed as tactician, time and again. This time, it was a Mexican caretaker manager keeping the seat warm for Juan Carlos Osorio.

Even when he gave fans what they wanted, essentially the same lineup as the World Cup group stage, it failed them and him.

In fact, this loss feels a lot like the loss that got Bob Bradley canned, the 4-2-fall-from-ahead Gold Cup final loss to Mexico, and Bradley had a heck of a lot on his U.S. resume.

[ WATCH: Three extra time goals in a wild USMNT loss ]

U.S. Soccer needed an overhaul in its development, and the German machine combined with American athleticism sure seemed like the right way to go.

But in terms of man management, of in-game play, Klinsmann has not been the man to implement it. Many of his big wins have come by last-minute heroics more than 90-minute control.

He hasn’t thrilled in player selection, but he’s mostly used the best ingredients available to him to make wildly inconsistent meals.

Does U.S. Soccer need to fire Klinsmann? No. But the case for keeping him is wobbly, and hardly keeping any of the water its carrying. The seeming Olympic flameout won’t help.

[ MATCH RECAP: Yanks’ Olympic hopes take terrific blow vs. Honduras ]

There’s a friendly against Costa Rica in New Jersey on Tuesday, one that will be uncomfortable at best. After that, World Cup qualifiers start in November, and the U.S. looked nothing like a Hex dominator on Saturday.

Maybe it’s time.

Player ratings from the USMNT’s CONCACAF Cup beatdown by Mexico

Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images
11 Comments

A disheartening night at the Rose Bowl saw the “home” side come out on top, as Mexico dominated the United States into extra time in a 3-2 score line that didn’t tell the story.

[ MATCH RECAP: Mexico 3-2 (aet) USMNT — Pure El Tri dominance ]

Will it be Jurgen Klinsmann’s last match in charge? If so, here’s how his final choices fared in defeat.

Starting XI

Brad Guzan — 6 — He’s not going to do anything on the first goal, and he cleaned up some serious messes during the first 90. In fact, we were ready to say he silenced some doubters tonight, in particular with a big, late save in extra time. But the Aston Villa man was too shallow on Aguilar’s winner. You may say that’s harsh, but a No. 1 guy isn’t beaten there… or at least finds a way to stop one of three. Mexico is not Belgium. But Guzan was not Tim Howard.

DaMarcus Beasley  — 4 — Very good work from the veteran… until he was victimized on the first extra time goal, and charged out of position on the second. Dang.

Matt Besler  — 5 — Beaten for the Chicharito goal, and could’ve been beaten for several more. May’ve avoided a calamitous handball non-call. But his extra time, including a timely clearance of a Guzan rebound gets him from 4 to 5.

Geoff Cameron  — 8 — Honestly, could’ve put a 10 here and not felt bad about it until he faltered on the extra time goal. Commanding performance from the Yanks’ first goal scorer.

Fabian Johnson (Off 111′) — 4 — One of his worse games in the red, white and blue. Very, very messy. Probably a bit too used to playing wing with ‘Gladbach, but that’s not a good excuse.

Kyle Beckerman  — 6 — Did his job, but provided little moving forward.

Jermaine Jones  — 4 — He came. He saw. He lashed long shots over the bar and was roasted on the extra time goal.

Michael Bradley  — 6 — You’d call him one of the match’s best players, but it’s difficult to score him too high when he was the general of a bossed unit.

Gyasi Zardes  (Off 78′) — 4 — An ordinary performance with some bad touches and not too many moments of positivity. Part of that was Dempsey taking a nap, but you want better from the Californian.

Clint Dempsey  — 3 — He’s getting all three of those points out of respect for former contributions. Almost invisible aside from a dribble or two.

Jozy Altidore (Off 98′)  — 4 — Some nice hold-up moments and flicks, and won the majority of the States’ scant few free kicks. Overall, we’re left wanting much, much more. Looked gassed from about the 60th minute onward. Horrific giveaway on one of the States’ only extra time counters.

Subs

DeAndre Yedlin (On 78′) — 6 — Looked uncomfortable, diving and sliding like a desperate man. His pace was desperately needed, but essentially ended up as a fifth back. Until the gorgeous ball for Wood, which makes up for everything.

Bobby Wood (On 98′) — 8 — “Who. Is. This. Guy!” That’s the text I got right after the goal. I don’t have the answer, either.

Brad Evans (On 111′) — N/A

WATCH: Chicharito, Cameron trade early CONCACAF Cup goals

Elsa/Getty Images
1 Comment

The United States and Mexico are already promising a thriller through a half hour of play at the Rose Bowl.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez opened up the scoring by opening up a dicey U.S. back line to give Mexico an early lead, but Michael Bradley and Geoff Cameron teamed up to level things soon after.

The winner of Saturday’s match goes to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

Hernandez struck first, as Matt Besler risked too much and Fabian Johnson risked too little in a porous bit of defense.

Then the States struck back, as Michael Bradley whipping in an inviting free kick for Stoke City man Cameron to accept. 1-1.

LINEUPS: Cameron/Besler center backs for USMNT vs. Mexico

Jonathan Moore/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With his job potentially on the line, Jurgen Klinsmann has turned to experience for Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup final against Mexico.

Aside from Brad Guzan keeping his No. 1 goalkeeper slot ahead of Tim Howard, it’s a lineup closer to what we saw at the 2014 World Cup.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Jozy Altidore is up-top with Clint Dempsey, with Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman an experienced midfield trio to join Gyasi Zardes.

Geoff Cameron is in the middle of the defense with Matt Besler, while Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley are on the outside.

And here’s Mexico’s XI: Munoz; Aguilar, Reyes, Moreno, Layun; Marquez, Guardado, Herrera; Peralta, Jimenez, Chicharito.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

PST’s writers predict the USA vs. Mexico score

5 Comments

This is it. Don’t get scared now.

On Saturday the U.S. national team take on Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, as the bitter rivals square off to decide who will be going to the 2017 Confederations Cup.

[ FULL PREVIEW: USA vs. Mexico ]

The time for talking is over. Whoever wins the one-off game in California will be heading to Russia a year before the 2018 World Cup to represent the CONCACAF region.

Click on the link above for a comprehensive preview of everything you need to know heading into Saturday’s massive game, while below all five of our writers predict the score and how the game will pan out.

[ MORE: Bedoya out for USA ]

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

Joe Prince-Wright

USA 2-2 Mexico (USA win on penalty kicks)

For some reason, I think this is going to PKs. Expect a fast, frenetic opening and if the U.S. can keep things level at the break then I think they have a great chance. I see a dramatic evening playing out in this dramatic rivalry. U.S. win. just.

Nicholas Mendola

USA 3-2 Mexico

After the game, one in which Fabian Johnson serves the game winner to Clint Dempsey, Klinsmann runs shirtless across the field with “Benny who?” painted on his chest. On the back, he’s painted, “I’m kidding, America. Benny is a wonderful midfielder and a blessing to our shores.”

Kyle Bonn

USA 0-2 Mexico

The U.S. limped its way through the Gold Cup and still doesn’t have any idea what its best 11 is. Mexico takes this one despite turmoil at the top. (Also the team I pick usually doesn’t win, so I’m all in with the reverse jinx)

Andy Edwards

USA 1-2 Mexico

Too much possession conceded to Mexico, too much pressure on the USMNT defense… just like the Gold Cup, except against even better opposition.

Kyle Lynch

USA 1-2 Mexico

The United States takes an early lead, but Mexico fights back and wins it all in Jurgen Klinsmann’s final game as USMNT manager.