Gold Cup 2011: After Worst Loss in Bradley Era, USMNT Fans Should Be Careful What They Wish For

Nelson Barahona and Panama had a great game plan and executed it against Cherundolo and the Yanks. Now the USMNT fans want blood.

By Puck

First, before getting into my final thoughts on the Panama game, I need to give a huge shout out to the American Outlaws Tampa Crew for putting together one hell of an event. Everything from the pregame at MacDinton’s Irish pub, the exceptional tailgate, and the transportation to and from was spot on. With the awful play on the field, the game ball goes to you.

Now that we have all had at least 48 hours to reflect on the loss, can we all just finally calm the Rossi down? Yes it was a bad, even terrible loss, but the sky is not falling. The earth has continued to revolve around the sun, and the USMNT still has a chance to win their group. Yes, it will take a Canadian win over Panama and total US domination against Guadaloupe. The point here is quite simple; we came out and played like dog shit against a squad that had a very solid game plan to attack our weaknesses and executed perfectly.  Countless writers better than I have broken down what took place on Saturday, and I encourage you to check them out and form your own opinion. Here at, “the most influential blog of our time”, senior writer Raf and Editor-in-Chief NWB have had some debate over how much coach Bradley is responsible for the teams defeat Saturday. Neil holds the players responsible with USMNT veterans shouldering most of the blame. On the other hand, Raf feels like Bradley’s player selection and tactical strategy has left the USMNT with little room for improvement. Throughout the blog-o-sphere writers and fans alike have been calling for Bradley’s head. Many have stated the following ultimatum: If Bob Bradley’s USMNT does not end up winning the Gold Cup, the manager needs to go. Before we all start losing our minds, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you why ultimatums like this one are completely ridiculous, especially within the current USMNT climate.

First of all, we (as in UMSNT fans) need to stop acting like we were going to steamroll out way through the tournament in the first place. For those of you that have not noticed, Mexico is playing some of the best soccer they have in years. In the last week they have ripped out 3 wins and outscored opponents 14-1. Even if the USMNT was on form, there would still be no guarantee that we win the final, even if we managed to get there.  To be clear, I am not conceding the Gold Cup to Mexico, but any non-delusional soccer fan has to admit that Mexico is not a team we want to be playing the way we look right now.

Let’s say in some fantasy land that Gulati actually considers giving Bradley the ax if the USMNT does not win the Gold Cup. In my opinion, that simply won’t happen because there is not a long list of candidates out there to replace him, but if it did, quickly going over the popular options will help prove my point.

Thomas Rongen: The former U-20 coach does have some positives. He has been involved in US soccer since 2001 and is very familiar with members of the current squad as well as the talent moving up the ranks in the player pool. At the same time, I don’t see how anyone could give him a chance to manage to senior team after failing to qualify for the under 20 World Cup just months ago. If failing to accomplish your goals got you promoted, no one would be unemployed.

Forget the guy who also won a World Cup group !! We want the guy Bayern Munich fired!! Okay. But be careful.

Jürgen Klinsmann: UMSNT fans have been drooling over this guy for two World Cup cycles now. They wanted him after 2006 when Arena flamed out after a second term at the helm. They still want him. They blame everyone from Sunil Gulati to Tim Howard’s brilliant outlet pass for not having him. After 2010, he was again the popular choice as fans did not want to see a repeat of the Arena years. Before Gulati offered Bradley a chance to coach the team for a second cycle, there were, we’re led to believe, some serious discussions with Klinsmann about taking the job. Eventually, Bradley was rehired because Klinsmann wanted what Gulati characterized as “too much control” of day to day operations including youth development and access to MLS players anytime during the year. If Klinsmann wanted this much control a year ago, just imagine what Gulati would have to give up a year later. I can’t imagine Klinsmann not asking for even more control the second time around if Gulati actually showed up with an offer—rarely can you get “your man” at the same price when you blink the first time and come back with your hat in your hand. Essentially, if they could not come to an agreement a year ago, it won’t suddenly happen now, so long as Gulati is in charge. And there’s no reason to think he won’t be. Oh- and for good measure—Bob Bradley, like Klinsmann, has won a World Cup group. Only difference as coaches (not players) is Klinsmann did a bang-up job at Bayern Munich…oh wait.

Claudio Reyna: Honestly, I never even considered him for the gig until one of the AO Tampa guys mentioned his name during Saturday’s pre-game banter. He is without doubt one of the greatest players ever to wear the Red, White and Blue, and his appointment as the US Soccer Technical Director was a genius move (one the Gulati bashers don’t want to talk about, because heaven forbid they have to admit the great things he has done, but I digress..). While this may be a good option in the future, is the senior team really a place for someone to work out the kinks who has had no coaching experience?

Not satisfied with the possible replacements? Neither am I. That is exactly why Gulati will not let Bradley go no matter how things turn out with the rest of the Gold Cup. If you feel I left any reasonable replacement off the list, please comment below. Hopefully we can finally get our act together Tuesday, or I am going to be a miserable SOB at the office Wednesday morning.

Puck is The Pop Culture Guy for The Yanks are Coming. He can be reached at puck@yanksarecoming.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @PuckLovesPBR.


Filed Under: Bobbo Hate SpeechFeaturedJune 2011USMNT

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  • Amy

    Another couple of common names tossed out there are Dunga and of course Jason Kreis– but both of those are pretty easy to refute. Klinsmann might work, actually- but it is hard to imagine, as you’ve written– him letting US Soccer off easy for walking away the first time.

  • ignats75

    How about Siggy?  He won in Columbus.  Players love him.

    • http://blog.3four3.com/ Gary

      Absolutely not.

  • Jon

    what about nowak? he did a damn good job getting the guys that will be our core for the next cycle or so to play well together, and he’s doing a great job with an MLS expansion franchise in its second year.

    • http://blog.3four3.com/ Gary

      He’s done well at identifying and selecting technical and intelligent players with the Union. But he is yet to show a clearly identifiable style of play. That is a no-no. However, Bradley is a no-no to both.

  • Raf

    I’m with Jon – would love to see Nowak given a shot, but that’s never going to happen and it’s sad.  It’s not his fault that Orozco was stupid, but it was somewhat his fault that Guzan messed up that set piece.  I don’t think he should be the scapegoat, but I doubt the USSF will let him do it.  While that debacle was good because it spawned this website, it was bad for a number of reasons, one of the most important of which is that Nowak may never be given his shot.  Unfortunate….he would have been excellent.  

  • Andrew R

    1- Why did Jurgan need so much control over youth development if he really wants the job?   While it could be great for long term position of the player pool….would it have made such a dramatic difference in a 4 year term?  I want someone at coach who really wants it.
    2- I think he is an amazing player…and was one of my favorites as a kid….but Bob took a club team from the back to the front of the standings and got coach of the year awards and has a good track record as an MLS coach. JK took one of the best teams and could not keep them there and lost his job mid season.  He is also a technical consultant for one of the still worst teams in MLS.  US fans would need to see fast results to be happy with a coaching change and in these two cases he was not able to produce. 
    3- One thing that often is not mentioned about JK….while he is clearly the face and name of the German results….wasnt it Low (the current coach of an equally well performing German team) that was his Assistant coach and known more as the tactical talents of the squad?  How much of the German success was JK’s and how much was really Low’s?

    What confuses me is I would think the US job would be in high demand….you get to live in the US (ok so I am biased) so for an international coach I would think this would be a nicer move for the family then going to the Ivory Coast or Algeria.  Its one thing to take the UK, Spain, Germany, Argentina, etc far in Cup play…people already expect them to go far….but if you take a team like the US which doesnt have the same depth still has enough talent that I would think this is just the kind of a team that a coach can really put his mark on.  If half of your team played in some Spanish clubs development program since 10 and plays at some major pro clubs now…how much of their play is about what they came to the table with vs your ability as a coach to get more from the team?  The US is still a team that some countries love to put down.”They just dont know soccer”…which I dont think is true (ok so I am biased) so imagine if you are the coach and you go far in cup play you can say “Well…the US might not “know soccer”…but I do so look what I can do as coach.”  If you become the guy that can say “America is now a soccer power house and I made it happen”…even if its not as simple as being all up to the coach, I would think that would let you pretty much write your ticket to any other major club team in the world more then saying “Look what I did with Turkey”

    I am not saying Bob should be replaced, but I would think there might be a much larger and louder group of people wanting a shot at his job.  Just like players know they might get sacked…maybe having a few other big names putting their hat into the ring would light a Chicago Fire under him. If he just looks around and sees the fired Rongen, the never coached Reyna, and “I will never take the job” Klinsmann maybe he feels a little more comfortable then he should in the role and his need for dramatic improvements. 

    Last thought….I am just going to come out and say it Kinsmann never wanted the job.  He is afraid.  He had a one trick pony with the previous German performance riding the talents of some amazing players and having the brains of Low to rely on.  If you put Bob or Arena with Low and gave him the same German team maybe they could have won it all as well.  He can always look back and say he was a German icon and responsible for the German success (getting harder the better Low does now).  If he had the US playing the same way in this Gold Cup people would be demanding his head and back in Germany, it might deflate his legendary status some.  He likes people in the US cheering for his name to be coach, he likes being asked to give World Cup commentary.  He is afraid all of this will end and he will hurt his record if he cant produce for the US.  So, what does he do?  He asked for everything under the sun knowing he will never get it.  He does not have to be the fall guy and tell the US public he doesnt want to help out the USMNT, instead he gets to paint himself as the hero again, but one who US Soccer just will not recognize his talents and genius.  “I would love to make the US a global power.  I know exactly what is needed to make this happen tomorrow, but US Soccer just cannot recognize my amazing skills.”

    This way….he still remains as a hero back in German, the US public will continue to beg for him and cheer his name.  He will still be asked to be on TV and help from time to time with a consulting job for an MLS team with good money and less hours then a full time role.  He will never have to go head to head with Low’s Germany or risk having people view Low as the true reason for all of his coaching success. 

    There I said it. Kinsmann is a coward….and all other talented coaches who think they could take a squad from zero to hero in the World Cup and have not tossed their hat into the coaching ring for the US are also afraid.  Bob on the other hand against most warnings said “I am the man. I got this.  I am going to take us to the top.  AMERICA! F**Yah Baby!!”  And I must say, there are few things more American than that, and regardless of the future results,  with no one else seeming to man-up, Bob is my guy…..anyone out there care to prove me wrong? ;-)

  • Pingback: Puck’s Friday Happy Hour: Klinsmann’s Culture Change Will Take Time, and Lingering Questions Remain | The Yanks Are Coming

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