By J Hutcherson (Oct 12, 2015) US Soccer Players – Regardless of how anybody tries to interpret what happened over 120 minutes at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, the result didn’t go the USMNT‘s way. After a week of heavily promoting the Confederations Cup as a very important competition™ it’s Mexico taking that very important place in the 2015 tournament. Did US Soccer learn anything from what happened in Pasadena? That’s also open to interpretation.
By J Hutcherson (Oct 12, 2015) US Soccer Players – Never underestimate a team coached by someone with very little to lose. Mexico’s next head coach was watching the game from the stands. The coach on the sidelines had no interest in impressing his temporary El Tri bosses into making his interim job permanent. Ricardo Ferretti going with three forwards might have looked like something more suited to video game soccer. Given his lineup, he didn’t seem overly concerned with what happened on the counter. Whether or not he intended for this to be soccer’s version of the run and gun offense, if he was staying on the job there would probably be at least a few questions. Mexico outshot the USMNT 20 to 13, putting 10 of those on goal to the USMNT’s five. That’s supposed to happen when you overload the offense, but this was a game that stayed 1-1 through regulation. Though it was probably not the right time to say it, and we’ll certainly get to that, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann was right to stress that his team did well to come back twice and press for that third goal. They did, against a tactical version of Mexico we’ll probably never see again.
Klinsmann the commentator
Last week, Klinsmann seemed to be everywhere. Q&A’s on USSoccer.com, the mainstream media, and bizarrely a bylined column at The Players Tribune website. The US Soccer Federation’s media blitz fell silent following the loss to Mexico. It shouldn’t have. If the coach and the Federation want to talk prior to the game, they should be talking following a disappointing loss. Officially, just like they were doing before.
It’s a shame that DaMarcus Beasley was the player involved in the scenario that led to Mexico’s winner. Beasley has given more than enough to the USMNT. That includes being on the field at the end of extra time in an energy sapping game for any player, much less a 33 year-old once again pressed into service at left back after a career of thinking offensively. Add in Mexico deciding to overload on forwards, and any criticism of Beasley’s play has to carry significant caveats. Klinsmann’s almost shamanistic substitutions are easily enough to overlook because they led to the USMNT’s equalizer. They came too late and left the USMNT open to issues in the back. Creating a goal only to give one up. That’s as much on the coach as it is the players on the field.
Criticizing the coach
Landon Donovan‘s comments to ESPN took away the main story line US Soccer wanted to stress during the week leading up to the game. For US Soccer, it was the importance of the Confederations Cup. Losing makes criticizing that almost impossible. Good luck to anybody trying to downplay the Confederations Cup now. What Donovan did was shift the mainstream discussion to the future of the coach. What that discussion mostly missed was Klinsmann as part of US Soccer. He is almost fundamentally when it comes to the Federation’s initiatives under his tenure as coach and coach/technical director. Removing Klinsmann without reorganizing the leadership of US Soccer doesn’t make strategic sense. Not last week and not this week.
J Hutcherson started covering soccer in 1999 and has worked as the general manager of the US National Soccer Team Players Association since 2002. Contact him email@example.com.
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