The U.S. Soccer Federation finally wised up and fired Juergen Klinsmann on Monday. Despite Bruce Arena taking over the team through the 2018 World Cup, the coaching hire after that will lead to much bigger growth for the national team.
The Americans always seem to do their best when they’re counted out — the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups being prime examples. So don’t be surprised if it’s the United States walking off the pitch tonight as the team heading to Sunday’s Copa America final.
The Copa America Centenario, which begins Friday, is basically a cash-grab. But coming in the middle of the 2014 and 2018 World Cup, the tournament is a great opportunity for teams to integrate newer players to the squad, which is why Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood need to see considerable playing time this month.
There is plenty of blame to go around for this disaster of a team that has struggled for the past couple of months. But no one person deserves more of the blame than Jurgen Klinsmann. Yes, the man that was supposed to “save” U.S. soccer has now run it’s course … right off of a cliff.
And now it’s time for Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, to cut ties with Klinsmann and move on before this becomes even more of a disaster for the Americans.
The fear and questions surrounding the American team were somewhat put at ease over the weekend. After struggling to put away much lesser sides in the previous few weeks, the U.S. smashed lowly Cuba (who was missing quite a number of players due to supposed defections) with a 6-0 win and a hat trick from Dempsey Saturday in the quarterfinals. The win was the largest victory of the round, which also saw two matches go into extra time and one of those had to be decided by penalties, and it sends a message to the other three teams remaining: the United States might just be turning a corner in this tournament.
For anybody who watched the semifinal and final matches for the U.S. Women’s National team, seeing the U.S. Men’s National team survive through the group stage at this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup has been a stark reminder about just how far we have to go as a nation to really get into the top football/soccer discussion.
Now, after getting a chance to train with the U.S. Men’s National team this month and everyone knowing his name, Akindele is going to have to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump in order for FC Dallas to at least have the same season it had last year.
Just under a month ago, the best news Major League Soccer received since the World Cup television numbers came in the form of the return of U.S. national team members Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. After strong performances in the U.S.’s run to the Round of 16, there was some speculation that they would be headed to Europe. Instead, both signed long-term deals to remain with Sporting Kansas City.
But while MLS and its supporters praised the signings, others, namely those who despise MLS simply because it’s not the Barclays Premiere League, slammed the two for not going to Europe.
There comes a time in every player’s career where it can’t go any higher and they eventually they ride off into the sunset with a great career in the rear view mirror and a spot in the Hall of Fame guaranteed.
That time has come for Los Angeles Galaxy and United States Men’s National Team star Landon Donovan. The day after he scored the game-winning goal for the MLS All-Stars against Bayern Munich, Donovan announced that he would be retiring from soccer and riding off into his sunset.
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