Klinsmann bases USMNT success in 2013 on a rise of accountability

Jurgen Klinsmann

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team saw the squad complete their best ever calendar year in 2013, leaving folks with high hopes towards next summer’s World Cup.

The USA won 16 games out of 23 and finished with a .761 winning percentage. During World Cup qualifying matches, the USMNT went undefeated at home as well as going undefeated in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on their way to the title. What changed from 12 months ago when the team seemed in disarray?

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes that a culture of accountability has made the difference.

“I think in the stretch of the last two and a half years you can see they are more accountable for what they are doing, they are more responsible about what they are doing,” Klinsmann told U.S. Soccer at the World Cup draw location in Bahia, Brazil. ”Obviously they have the big dream of going to Brazil and that helps eventually, but I think they understand that being a professional soccer player is far more than just playing games.

“Therefore we created a performance based culture, an accountability based culture, and not only with the players but also with the staff. The coaches, the physios … whoever is involved, whoever is close to the players. It’s the same philosophy. If they have an issue and don’t perform or take it sloppy, there are thousands people who want to be part of the program. I think we stepped it up in terms of accountability.”

The new philosophy has indeed changed the culture within the team. Players who once had guaranteed starting places in the squad are now looking over their shoulder as players such as Alejandro Bedoya, John Brooks, and Aron Johannsson are all gunning for a place in the World Cup squad. Everyone has had to raise their game to keep their place in the side, and it’s shown on the field.

Klinsmann’s plan so far has created consistency in a constantly changing side, with plenty of players playing in new positions, and different starting lineups used thanks to injuries or poor club form.

“I think throughout the year in 2013, it was great to see players improve on a more consistent basis,” Klinsmann said. You know players understand now that in order to get to their highest level they need to put in more work. Consistency is a key word, and I think we were far more consistent. The players also understand that they have to perform when they come into camp. They have to perform every time they step on the field. They have to perform in a sense of what they are doing for the team.

“It was great to see in a stretch of 23 games throughout 2013, we had many different formations and many different players. The Gold Cup had different characteristics than the World Cup Qualifying games or friendly games, but whoever got on the field understood more and more his role, understood the urgency that we preach and they understood that is more than just playing on the field. It requires a 24/7 mindset to be a National Team player. I think overall the program is on another level now. “

While every USMNT fan was glad to see the squad finish in first place in the Hexagonal round, plenty are worried about the USA’s prospects at the World Cup. With the draw rules confirmed, the USMNT is placed in the same pot with the AFC qualifiers, meaning that the chances that the U.S. ends up in a group with two European powers and/or an African or South American giant is very likely.

The U.S. head coach isn’t worrying about the possibilities though, and he’s just excited to get to work preparing for what could be the toughest World Cup in the tournament’s history.

“It’s really exciting because you can feel it, you know what to expect, and you have those three opponents for the group stage,” Klinsmann said  You can start making plans; you can start analyzing the teams and get familiar with the locations where you play them. You get to work. That’s what you love to do, and we want to do everything possible and be perfectly prepared for those three opponents and also already look ahead to what we can expect in the Round of 16 if we pass the group stage.  This real thing – this is what you work for two and a half years. The process starts now.

“You need to lead them six months in advance in terms of what they’re going to expect and to make sure that they are ready because once you kick off the first game they’re going be emotionally going 200 miles per hour.”

With the MLS Cup final on Saturday, Klinsmann has discussed his thoughts of the biggest game of the year. Four players in the match – Matt Besler and Graham Zusi from Sporting Kansas City and Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman from Real Salt Lake – have spent plenty of time with the USMNT this year and Klinsmann has praised both of the team’s playing styles as well as these four players.

“I think we all can expect an exciting game. Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake both had tremendous years,” Klinsmann said. “They played very consistent, very tremendous football. It’s fun to watch them, and they have a philosophy that is in sync with the way we look at the game.  They want to have possession, they want to dictate the game, they want to play high tempo and they want to play high pressure. Both teams are really creative to watch and to see them come through going to the final is deserved. For us, it’s exciting because we have four national team players, two on each side, that are constantly with us and in a certain way role models.

“You take Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, two players that came through the January camp, and with Kyle Beckerman you have someone with a lot of experience and who is what I like to say a giver to the game. Nick Rimando is also such a positive character, and it’s great to see those four compete in that final and great to see two teams that really deserve to be in there. Hopefully it’s not going to be too cold in Kansas that day and they can play a good game.”

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73 Responses to Klinsmann bases USMNT success in 2013 on a rise of accountability

  1. Vic says:

    Has nothing to do with accountablility even though Klinnsmann wishes it to be the case. When Klinnsmann first started the roster selections were horrible. You had players such as Shea, Klesjtan, Ream, Edu and Spector starting or getting significant playing time. You also had 3-4 defensive midfielders starting at one time. It took a while for Klinnsmann to realize who should play and what formations to use. Add that to the many dual nationals that chose to play for USA and we now how the most depth ever.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      You beat me to it. I was going to say, “This is the type of things coaches like to tell themselves.”

      We have more depth, the rest of our conference has been terrible, and we still got some really good luck (snow, some mind bogglingly bad defensive decisions by others). Even the supposed highlights of results at Azrtece and against Italy were not in qulaity very differnet than we have seen in the past.

      JK is going to have to accomplish more than Arena (2002) and Bradley did at the WC to prove he has really brought something new to the team.

      • USsoccer100 says:

        My choice for USMNT player of the year? Brian Strauss.

      • Justin says:

        Vic’s post at least gave credit to Klinsmann, just for different reasons than the article related. Your post makes it seem like our best year happened by accident., or that the competition has just been more awful than prior years and we walked into a vacuum. Totally disagree – we’re winning games with far more consistency and certainty, and expectations have justifiably been raised for this team. I do think it was not just a hope, but an expectation, to conquer CONCACAF this year and we did so with relative ease. That’s never happened before, and it’s not just due to Mexico’s failures.

        As for what he needs to “accomplish” in Brazil: I don’t think we should be saying “semi-finals, or else Jurgen hasn’t improved this team”.

    • quozzel says:

      I completely disagree with this.

      Klinsmann hasn’t been afraid to make anybody mad. Jozy Altidore wasn’t getting it done, and he got criticized, and when he pouted publicly, he didn’t get the call-up. When Jozy got back in he had a whole new work ethic and attitude towards playing it Klinsmann’s way.

      Donovan took an extended sabbatical, and went a long, long time between callups, had to ultimately re-prove himself in the Gold Cup. He came out on absolute fire and showed arguably the best from Donovan has ever showed.

      Timothy Chandler started waffling about answering his call-ups. Klinsmann chased him for awhile, then ultimately dropped him even though our option at that point was Brad Evans.

      Danny Williams suffered a drop in club form in the Bundesliga, then couldn’t get on the field at Reading. Klinsmann dropped him. Edu stopped getting games with Stoke and hasn’t found consistent playing time since. Klinsmann dropped him. Bocanegra – our captain! – left Rangers, went to La Liga 2 and then Chivas USA. Dropped.

      Lichaj wasn’t showing good form and wasn’t getting consistent playing time at Aston Villa and couldn’t get a call-up to save his own life. He finally is now getting quality minutes in the Championship and his form has improved…and all of a sudden, hey, there’s his call-up.

      Nobody seems immune. If you don’t answer your call-up, or if your form drops, Klinsmann drops you. Some might argue that Jermaine Jones has been an exception…I dunno. Jones still starting for German power Schalke ’04, and other than Baby Bradley, who do we have at CM who’s better…and, frankly, who has been more committed to the team through thick and thin? Jones has never, ever not answered a call-up, and by all accounts, he’s a high-energy maniac and a leader on the practice pitch.

      I’d say Klinsmann has been pretty consistent about the level of professionalism he requires, and if he doesn’t get it, you don’t play for him…no matter who you are.

      • Jermaine Jones says:

        I suck

      • Hogatroge says:

        I like your analysis, though it’s worth noting that Danny Williams was not playing for Reading due to injury, not form.

      • bryan says:

        agreed.

      • ATX_Colin says:

        Great Points, I love JJ’s heart and desire.

      • Gbott1999 says:

        Agree on all points..you can even add Captain Duece to that list that has been called out by Klinsi

      • Gary Page says:

        What i was going to write. Some people choose to ignore facts, especially when they clash with their pre-conceived conclusions. It is called cognitive dissonance.

      • UMF89 says:

        Here is where JK has been the difference for the USMNT versus wearing out his welcome with Die Mannschaft and Bayern…He is the only person who has played and coached at the highest levels of the sport!!! That is why he can say Clint has not done S##T in the sport or any other USMNT player and his is right!!! Those types of comments either got old or just did not work with players at the level of Die Mannschaft and Bayern. If we get placed in a group of death and get knock out of the WC I do not put that on JK. I expect his response would be we have not fully developed the mentality to compete at that level and again he would be right. AND PLEASE DO NOT talk to me about WC 2002 and Bruce Arena….we beat Portugal and Mexico, two national teams with long histories WEAK Mentalities’!!! and who did we lose to…..GERMANY the most mentally tough futbol country on the planet and the home of…..JK, this guy will go down in USMNT history as the man who translated the attribute of mental toughness at the high level and turned the USMNT team into mind set of Die Mannschaft and then the talent gap will catch up to the mentality and bang… legit WC contenders!!!

    • ABC123 says:

      Really a nonsensical comment. You didn’t think that through, did you?

  2. Wonderloaf says:

    Glad to hear that Klinsmann is finally committing to starting Wondolowski up top for the World Cup.

  3. wood chip zip says:

    Brian Straus’ article didnt hurt either

    • GW says:

      Strauss? The man whose anonymous sources were probably paid off by JK to ignite a controversy and precipitate a “them against us mentality” that worked so well against Costa Rica?

      I bet JK loved that article and the attention it brought the program thus adding more “pressure ” to the Costa Rica game.

      Before the 2006 World Cup when Germany had a couple of bad losses in exhibitions leading up to the World Cup the German Parliament called JK in to testify before it and explain the losses. That’s pressure. I didn’t see the US congress asking JK to testify before them.

      Do you think he was worried about an article that most every high profile euro manager sees written about him about every other week? Strauss’s article may have been a big deal to US fans but I doubt JK cared unless he actually paid to have it done.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        ah yes, it was all part of klinsmann’s master plan. brian straus, you have been played for a fool.

  4. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    I like almost everything that JK has done. Maybe don’t agree with all the decisions, but that would be true with any fan and any coach.

    The one thing I don’t like is him constantly giving himself credit. US soccer is on the rise, with or without him. He is one cog…and replaceable.

    Win the US a World Cup and THEN you go down in history.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Quit whining about soccer in the US

    • slowleftarm says:

      Wow, he doesn’t deserve credit unless he wins the world cup?!

      • Dennis says:

        I think the point was that JK is only one of the people responsible for the present state of soccer in the USA and he does like to talk like it is all because of him, kinda Mourinho-like. But unlike Mourinho, he is not handling a team of superstars from whom he must deflect attention and thus the pressure added by the public. JK actually seems to go out of his way to add pressure to players; I’m not so sure that is a good thing.

        • GW says:

          “JK actually seems to go out of his way to add pressure to players; I’m not so sure that is a good thing.”

          JK always said that is what he wants to do.

          Since we have almost no players playing at the highest levels and therefore unused to the kind of pressure they will face in the World Cup, He is putting the screws to them now to see who will crack.

          Better here than in Brazil.

          Or maybe you prefer the soccer mom school of thought where everyone gets to play and everyone gets an award?

  5. Del Griffin says:

    “How do you say accountability in German?”

    –Jermaine Jones

  6. bottlcaps says:

    There is no doubt that Klinsmann is putting pressure on the players, not only to perform ON the field, but to take responsibility for their team position, which means their performance is constantly being monitored, measured, evaluated and should it be necessary, criticized All this is felt to be necessary to ensure players being vetted for the World Cup are the best players in terms of ability and motivation..

    But as much as this is a turning point for the USMNT, it has also changed the way Klinsmann does review, selection and preparation. Like coaches before him, JK has to deal with players spread not only across the country, but across the ocean, and in two different seasons/schedules.

    Klinsmann has profited by turning problems into opportunities. While one set of players are resting or in off-season form, others are being used, expanding the player pool.

    But what I seem to like about the approach JK has made to his position is his willingness to use the best soccer players regardless. having midfielders up top, or wingers on the back line, or defenders in the midfield, it challenges the team gives it more options and more flexible and ultimately, makes it a better team. Another revelation is Klinsmann acceptance that not all the best US players are in Europe and his willingness to use Mexican and MLS based players in key matches, even when Euro players were available and willing. This is progress that future managers will certainly build upon.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      So if he accepts the necessity to include MLS players, why didn’t he choose Mike McGee (paleyer of the year). It was obvious already at the beginning of the year that he was going to score lots of goals starting at the Galaxy and then moving to Chicago. I presume Klinsmann is really beholden to European players. But politically he can’t overlook certain MLS people. We’ll see who wins the cup this year, and we’ll see whether his faith in all the Kansas City players is warranted. My bet is that Real Salt Lake is going to win. They have the better coach.

      • Leo says:

        Mike McGee??????? He doesn’t exist, it is Magee, and even if he is the MVP, there are better players than him in the pool…

      • GW says:

        “why didn’t he choose Mike McGee (paleyer of the year)”

        You want to drop Donovan, Dempsey or AJ for a 29 year old Magee?

        Be my guest.

  7. Jermaine Jones says:

    I am ze best. I play in ze Champions League. All of you internet users are losers.

  8. alocksley says:

    JK was brought in to see if this team can do some damage in Brazil. Other coaches have gotten the US through qualifying, but Klinsmann’s specific mandate is to improve our showing AT the World Cup. Everything he has done was geared toward this end. Soon we will see if it all bears fruit…

  9. David M says:

    I’m almost sorry, but what has so far been accomplished that had never been accomplished before Klinsmann? The best one year record playing mostly against the likes of Belize, Cuba and Guatemala at home? Whoopie doo. I’m sure all Europeans and South Americans are shaking in their boots.

    Accountability? Is Klinsmann implying there was none prior to him? Guaranteed places? When did anyone was guaranteed a place on the US national team?

    I really dislike how Klinsmann constantly denigrates work done by his predecessors who, by the way, had achieved with the USMNT what Klinsmann hasn’t yet. Let’s make it to the quarterfinals in Brazil, and then Klinsmann can toot his horn.

    • usaalltheway says:

      +1000

      JK certainly has a high opinion of himself, doesn’t he? At least, that is what I take away from articles/statements such as these.

      The fact of the matter is that the USMNT is still a second-rate team and does not have the necessary pieces, culture or support to run with the big boys. Punishing Jozy and Landon might have made him feel good about himself but his record, player selective, formations and willingness to change haven’t impressed at all.

      The USMNT is basically where is was 4 years ago. The only difference is that we can’t score on set pieces, our defense is shaking at best and our best players aren’t playing well.

      I love the USMNT and bleed Red, White and Blue for them but the reality is that JK is not a good coach and we will get exposed at the World Cup.

      My prediction stands; zero goals, zero wins.

      • shultz says:

        usaalltheway

        does not compute

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i think you’re way too negative about this. i laugh at klinsmann’s coachspeak as much as anyone else, but ‘zero goals, zero wins’? i guess maybe if we’re in the group of death.

      • Gary Page says:

        Yeah, you sure sound like you bleed red white and blue; a true fan. Why do I get the feeling you want to see the US fail just so your opinion of Klinsmann will be vindicated?

  10. ETGoodman says:

    I rarely post a comment because normally what I have to say has been said more succinctly than I would have. I’m getting the sense that we’re attracting more trolls and it bothers me more than I would have thought. I’m a lurker and I like to read intelligent comments about the sport I love. If I want an uninformed 12-year old’s opinion, I’ll just ask my son. I think it would be nice if everyone had to use their real names and provide proof of age before they are ever allowed to post here.

    I was excited when we (USA) finally ponied up and hired JK as our coach and I’m still excited today. I no longer worry that we’ll hunker down and play defense hoping to counter-attack with speed and steal a goal or two for a possible win. I no longer worry that we’ll be unfocused during the first 15 minutes of a game and inevitably get scored on and have to play comeback. I no longer worry that a certain player is “irreplaceable” and we can’t get the job done without them.

    I’m not a huge fan of the 4-3-3, but I know that’s because I love offense and I selfishly want us to play with 2 strikers in a 4-4-2. JK has shown the willingness and ability to adapt his preferred system when it is necessary. I agree with him that the US team is at the “next level” and I don’t think we’d be there this soon without him.

    I have high hopes for WC Brazil. That being said, I’m not unrealistic. I don’t know who we’ll play yet, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion that we’ll be in a tough group. If we don’t make it out of the first round, I will not blame JK and I sincerely hope we’re lucky enough to keep him for the next WC cycle.

    So…for the next few months I’ll be watching Sunderland, Stoke City, Nantes, Roma, Schalke as often as I can and supporting the game and players I love. Go USA!

    • David M says:

      ” I no longer worry that we’ll be unfocused during the first 15 minutes of a game and inevitably get scored on and have to play comeback.”

      You didn’t notice how many times this year the US team got scored on first? Remember the Costa Rica game where we were down 0-2 after 9 minutes? Against Belgium, down after 6 minutes. Bosnia, down after 8 minutes. Heck, we even fell behind playing Cuba at home. So, don’t tell me that you’re seeing noticeable improvements in that area compared to the previous regime.

      • usaalltheway says:

        +1

      • ETGoodman says:

        I said I don’t worry about it anymore, not that it doesn’t or won’t happen. In my opinion, this team under JK is much less likely to give me a heart attack. I’m much more confident of our team and in my opinion JK is mostly responsible for this change. I liked BB very much, but after WC 2010 I was ready for a different style and more confident play. I hate playing not to lose which is one reason I’ve never liked Italy’s national team. BTW I really, really like Belgium’s chances either this WC or next. They have some fantastic players and they are the one other team I’m really looking forward to watching this WC.

        • Dennis says:

          I guess we should all be relieved that you are no longer worried about the US falling behind early. Unfortunately facts are stubborn things and the facts are that aspect has not changed. As for WC success, entertaining soccer is not always successful at producing wins; in fact as Italy has amply demonstrated it is certainly not a requirement for WC success.

          • TheChamp says:

            Do you know why I feel so superior, because there are dopes like you around. Every team is going to fall behind early at times you dope. Do you know by how many goals the U.S. has outscored their opponents under Klinsi? Man,you are easy. Well, that’s why I’m the best and why you are a meathead.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      ‘I no longer worry that a certain player is “irreplaceable” and we can’t get the job done without them.’

      funny, that’s exactly the worry i have about michael bradley. not that i blame klinsmann for that; it’s just the way it is.

      • GW says:

        “that’s exactly the worry i have about michael Bradley”

        You just proved Goodman’s point. The 2010 WC team would have been DOA without Donovan, Dempsey, and Bradley.

        Nowadays you all treat Dempsey and Donovan like old colostomy bags.

        Very big difference.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          how does that prove his point? we’re completely disagreeing.

          dempsey (arguably) and donovan do not run this team, not necessarily because we’ve just improved so much, but because they’ve slowed down a bit.

      • TheChamp says:

        It is what it is? Well, What is it, meathead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Shyam says:

        It’s hardly JK’s fault that Bradley is amazeballs.

    • AMPhibian says:

      I have also been reading for years, and I comment seldomly. I have always enjoyed reading the comments here, the majority made by people with soccer intelligence, who share my passion for the game. I still like reading the comments, but I agree that it seems the boards have gotten a bit more snarky and trollish in the last few months. Oh well, I guess it means that SBI has become more popular for whatever reason, which is good. The people who try to be divisive for divisiveness’ sake are still the underwhelming majority, and I have no doubt they will always remain as such.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Well said ETG, very much agree, JK has succeeded at every level, and the USMNT, are fortunate to have his full commitment. I believe his oldest child, is a Junior USMNT player, (Keeper).

  11. Len says:

    The likelihood of advancement in Brazil will be in part related to the draw we get tomorrow (bad draw in 2006, much more favorable draw in 2010; 2002 is a longer discussion) as much as any improvement or lack of improvement made by Klinsmann over predecessors.

    • John says:

      Its interesting that recently the big teams that on paper you’d say were most likely to loose to, like Italy and England we got draws. While its been the teams you might like our chances against like Ghana, Poland, Czech Rep that has really done us in.

      • Dennis says:

        I think the problem in 2006 was outside of McBride, there was no real scoring threat. The defense, then as now, relied upon a make-do left back. Dempsey scored the only goal for the USA at WC 2006, but Italy kindly scored for the USA to gift us the tie.
        The Czech R were ranked second in the world, but lost their big center forward, Jan Koller through whom most of their attack played, to injury during the US match and he did not play in later games. They had other injuries as well, notably Baros missed the Ghana game, that loss highlighted the importance of Koller and Baros in their attack. None of the opponents in 2006 were soft.

        • Gary Page says:

          It was considered a group of death at the time.

        • Gary Page says:

          Koller just ripped the US defense apart and the Czechs also had Nedved who was widely considered one of the top 3 or 4 midfielders in the world. Also, Rosicky had an outstanding game that led to him being picked up by Arsenal. And Baros was also considered a top striker although he didn’t realize his promise when he played in the EPL.

    • Mason says:

      2002 was a tough draw. ROK at home. POR and POL were both good teams that wilted.

    • Gary Page says:

      The draw is most important. Something else important is the continent. European teams don’t do as well as expected outside of Europe and we got out of group when it was played in Asia and South Africa because neither continent is as strong as Europe or South America. So, look for the South American teams to excel, especially teams like Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, and, of course Brazil. They will all undoubtedly have a lot of fan support and won’t be playing far from home. Because of that, if we get a top S. American team in our group plus a tough European team, it may be just as hard for the US to get out of its group as when playing in Europe.

  12. Chad says:

    Check it out, the historical results prior to the World Cup:

    2001 0.93 goals for, 0.87 goals against per match
    2005 1.65 0.60
    2009 1.79 1.47
    2013 2.15 1.00

    As you can see, we look good when it comes to scoring. Dempsey, Altidore, EJ, and Donovan are responsible for 80% of the goals. Let’s pray no one gets hurt…….

    Midfield and defensively we are weak……., we struggle to maintain possession allowing an average of 1 goal per match……..not good………

    • AMPhibian says:

      I like your analysis, but I think it may not be accurate to draw the conclusion that since goals have been going up, we are in a better place then we were at this stage in previous cycles. I would need to see the same stats for many other international teams, because this could simply be a global trend over the last decade, we may just be adapting to an evolving style or tactic.

  13. blokhin says:

    I’d like to see if JK’s supporters and critics would take issue with any of the following, which I believe to be true:

    1) since JK (like any NT coach) did not coach and develop this pool of USMNT players from their youth to their present day, he cannot take full credit or blame for their skill set and talent. He can only hope, as a coach to find the right pieces among the available talent and maximize their collective abilities on the field and get the most out of what he has to play with. The core of this team is quite similar to the one Bradley succeeded and failed with prior to JK (Howard, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, Donovan, Altidore)

    2) The potential long-term impact of JK and USSF’s efforts to realign the youth system won’t be known and cannot be judged until years from now, when the players coming through the “new” youth system emerge 10-12 years from now

    3) As of right now, JK has not clearly demonstrated that the current USMNT is clearly better than previous editions because his true opportunity to do so will be at the World Cup-USMNT has won Gold Cups and Hexes previously and has beaten #1 teams in the World as well. If he lands a tough draw, whatever improvement he is thought to have made may be masked by a 2006-like performance for the USMNT-but as the coach he will be responsible for those results.

    4) JK has his favorites (JJ) like Bradley and Arena before him and has played players out of their strongest positions to their and the team’s detriment before eventually placing them back into their logical positions. His subs however have shown the ability to change the complexion of games to the USMNT’s favor.

    5) JK’s presence has gotten more USMNT players training stints with European clubs than under previous coaches

    6) Half of the Germericans who’ve played for the USMNT had committed to doing so under Bradley.

    • GW says:

      blokhin,

      The biggest difference between the US and most of the “big boy” teams is that the US is on a 4 year cycle and most of them are on a 2 year cycle.

      What this means is Italy, for example, gets to play at the 2010 World Cup and then reboots for the 2012 Euros, a tournament that some say is of higher quality than the World Cup. It is a tougher competition than the Gold Cup.

      The team Italy will take into the 2014 World Cup will in theory have already been battle tested in the Euros.

      The South Americans have the Copa America to serve that 2 year function as well.

      In addition most of the contending South American and European teams have many players who are regulars in the Champions league the highest level of completion available.

      The US has only the much hated Jones with Schalke in the Champion’s league ( Anderlecht is not a serious contender and Schalke barely is) and the World Cup is the only serious tournament they play so they are never tested anywhere near the way the big teams and their players are.

      So every 4 years the US goes into the World Cup with a very different and untested team. Howard is a better keeper now than he was then, though Guzan being around makes the keeper slot better overall. then, while Donovan and Dempsey have slid back a bit. Bradley and Jozy are better and Dolo may not make it.

      None of this is JK’s fault and is the probable reason why JK is pressuring these guys so hard. They need the experience.

      Previous US teams have done well but it has always been with a bit of luck and they have fallen in the big World Cup games, not necessarily because of an inherent talent or skill deficiency, but because they simply don’t know how to win these kinds of games.
      That is why JK was brought in; because he knows how to win big World Cup games. Hopefully he will be able to get that across to this bunch. If he can do that he will have succeeded.

      We’ll see.

    • AMPhibian says:

      1. JK not taking full blame nor having full credit is kind of obvious, and Jones was not a part of BB’s failure.

      2. Again, Duh.

      3. I don’t fully understand this one. Will JK be fully responsible if we flame out in a tough group? I think you hint your bias. He will likely share blame with with many, but we really have to see the the games first before we can say.

      4. I fully agree. Many coaches seem to have favorites, regardless of form, that the majority of fans find nonsensical. That said, there is a long strategy to be played here, and we don’t have the proper insight to judge this with any authority. His subs have been great, although I think he must share some credit with lady luck.

      5. Totally, yes. It is very admirable how he has been so active in trying to challenge and improve his player pool. I love his effort in this regard.

      6. What is your point?

    • ETGoodman says:

      I agree with all of your points with a couple additional thoughts.

      Regarding the current crop of players, it is true that JK cannot claim credit nor blame for their abilities or lack thereof. However, I think JK has “managed” this team better than BA or BB. To clarify, I’m referring to his improvement in the player pool and no player being guaranteed a spot. Also his ability to make the right substitutions has impressed me. Competition is always good.

      There are several players that I may not always agree should start over others, but I also do not see them in training camp so my opinion is not well informed. I felt the same way when BB was manager (with the possible exception of Bornstein). If I were to say that I think Brad Guzan has surpassed Tim Howard and should be the starting keeper it would undoubtedly upset some people. However, nobody here could possibly have as much information regarding those two than JK and therefore our opinion is less valid.

      Regarding whether the current team is better than previous versions is difficult to say. What strikes me is that I “feel” like we are a better team. Not very scientific I know. The difference for me is that I don’t perceive us as an automatic underdog anymore against the best teams in the world. It is no longer “shocking” to me when we play well and compete with these teams. This is perhaps JKs biggest accomplishment in my eyes. We’ve gone from a team that might get lucky against the powerful on any given day (vs Spain) to one from whom most teams will expect a tough, well-fought match. I guarantee you that no-one will look forward to having us in their World Cup pool.

      • GW says:

        Mr. Goodman.

        Guzan is a better keeper than Howard.

        However, Howard has more experience and may be a big factor in the clubhouse. In addition, Guzan’s play has kept Timmy’s feet to the fire and made him keep him game up.

        Timmy had no such competition in 2010 resulting, I believe in his crap World Cup.

        I believe Timmy plays because his US form is just good enough.

        And if you benched him and made him the backup you would have a #1 and a #2.

        With Timmy starting , you have a #1 and a #1A.

        Timmy would be a crap backup while Guzan is used to it.

        But if Timmy shows in the opening game that he is losing his focus and up to his old tricks, then JK will pull him so fast his head will spin.
        .

  14. markwriter says:

    The best evidence of Klinsmann’s effectiveness as a coach was the Gold Cup. That group of players had an extended camp, worked hard and well together, with a soupçon of Donovan man management that was really effective as a message and added to Klinsmann’s authority.

    Soupçon.

  15. Sarasota says:

    “A performance based culture, an accountability based culture.” Well said JK and well done!
    Are you listening Obama? Of course not! That used to be America. Your idea of America is Detroit.

    • bryan says:

      Keep your political rhetoric off SBI.

    • ABC123 says:

      Keep your politics elsewhere, but I can’t help ripping this to shreds, so….

      Is your argument that Obama’s idea of America is rampant offshoring and market competition coupled with overzealous brand creation of giant auto manufacturers that supported an entire city while simultaneously lobbying to forgo all non-auto infrastructure in the city center, so that when the industry started to fail (when Obama was in college mind you), the city had no alternatives to turn to and no infrastructure to draw suburban capital inward?

      Because if that’s “Obamas idea of America” than you’re painting him as a raging, unapologetic capitalist–because that’s what happens when an entire city is propped up by a single, massive, protected industry that also undermines it for their self-interest.

      Free trade and overextension doomed Detroit–and doomed it long before Obama had probably ever stepped foot in the city.

      But yeah, it’s Obamas fault.

  16. Sepp Blather says:

    Ach, I sought you said ACCOUNTANT! I vould completely agree vis sis tactic.