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Klinsmann must learn from his mistakes

The US Soccer Federation is committed to Jurgen Klinsmann but he has to change the way he does certain things.

The US Soccer Federation is committed to Jurgen Klinsmann but he has to change the way he does certain things.

Jurgen Klinsmann is in no danger of being relieved of his duties as the US men’s national team’s manager, not even after a shocking 2-1 loss to Jamaica in the semifinals of the Gold Cup. That loss is unacceptable, far worse than the 2011 Gold Cup finals loss to Mexico that cost Bob Bradley his job leading the team. But, the US Soccer Federation has too much invested in Klinsmann. The entire youth system is being developed under his command; he is going to get a second opportunity leading a World Cup team.

But Klinsmann is going to have to start accepting he has made major mistakes and change some of the ways he does things is.

Klinsmann really put an emphasis on winning the Gold Cup. That would have guaranteed the team’s placement in the 2017 Confederations Cup, a key tournament that would help best prepare the American team for the World Cup. Now, with the loss, the 2013 CONCACAF Championship will have to play a game against the winner of Sunday’s final in October for the right to go to the Confederations Cup.

Despite making sure he used a lot of veterans, Klinsmann’s team’s Gold Cup failures must be link to horrible decisions he has made.

The back line was, above all, the reason USA lost to Jamaica. Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez made up a formidable duo at centerback at the last World Cup but Klinsmann has completely moved away from them. Besler was left entirely off the team and Gonzalez was coming off the bench and sometimes not even being put in the center. Against Jamaica, Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks were back there and just looked lost.

One of the strengths of the US team at the World Cup was their usage of Kyle Beckerman as the central defensive midfielder, but Klinsmann has completely ignored his dramatic drop in play and pace over the past year because of his age. Beckerman looked very tired against Jamaica and was called for a bad yellow card while trying to catch up.

Klinsmann also makes too many changes from game-to-game and does not stick with a lineup.

Playing that much soccer in that short amount of time wears on these players3 but, they are world class athletes. They can handle it. Soccer is a sport about chemistry, constantly changing the lineup hurts the team’s flow from game-to-game. The back line was never the same in any game at the Gold Cup.

Players are also being moved around too often. In three games, Alejandro Bedoya has been asked to play in a different spot every time. DeAndre Yedlin has been moved from right back, where he shined at the World Cup and earned himself a spot on Tottenham, up to midfielder. And he is coming off the bench. Clearly, Yedlin is one of USA’s best players and has great fitness and should be on the pitch as much as possible.

Gyasi Zardes showed great potential early in the Gold Cup, but was constantly put in a new position throughout the tournament and struggled near the end. One night he was a striker, then he was a right midfielder, then a left midfielder. One night he came off the bench as a spark. One night he was a starter.

There has been no consistency with Klinsmann’s lineup and it prevents the team from gelling.

Going back to the World Cup, Klinsmann’s ultimate failure was leaving the team without a reliable striker behind the oft-injured Jozy Altidore. Naturally, Altidore got hurt and USA struggled to score.

The World Cup was not even a huge success for USA either. They did move out of the ‘group of death’ but did so by beating a Ghana squad that simply did not play very well in the tournament, tying a Portugal squad that was without some of their best players (and it absolutely should have been a win), and then got beat by Germany and Belgium. Again, in that tournament, Klinsmann made too many lineup changes.

Most ironically, Klinsmann has also been very vocal about his displeasure with Americans playing in the MLS, yet his two best players are MLS stars and the two Jamaicans that scored were MLS players. This is not too say the MLS has all of the best American players, but he must look there for players more than he is.

If Klinsmann continues to make the same mistakes maybe the US Soccer Federation will have to choice but to end the Klinsmann era early.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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