USMNT: To Rüssia With Love

Infield Infidel

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Not thrilled with Arena but we need someone to come in quickly to get us through 8 matches and the GC next year. He'll at least put out an organized team, and I'm less worried about us playing poorly and losing to teams we shouldn't lose to. WRT his comments, if he doesn't make an effort to include Johnson, Brooks, et al, I'll be the first to rip him.

I don't think this is a long-term move, I doubt he'd stick around after the WC, unless we do surprisingly well and Gulati re-signs him for another rotation, thereby repeating the mistake he made with JK and Arena the first time. Frankly I'd prefer Gulati hired Ernie Stewart as Sporting Director and take the duty of hiring manager out of Gulati's hands and just let Gulati handle the business side.
 
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InstaFace

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Bielsa as TD would be a very good thing IMO. A philosophical type like him might be interested in that.
It was first suggested here by someone else, so I can't take credit, but it was a good idea - and now an even better one if it gives them an opportunity to bring him into the fold without pissing off Arena, asking too much of Arena, or expecting him to take the field with his squad in 4 months.
 

ifmanis5

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Landon keeping it classy. I'm sure he has pretty strong feelings about today.

It's pretty sad that Arena is the best they can do. The lack of great US-based coaching material is also kind of a smack in the face to the program overall.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Not thrilled with Arena but we need someone to come in quickly to get us through 8 matches and the GC next year. He'll at least put out an organized team, and I'm less worried about us playing poorly and losing to teams we shouldn't lose to. WRT his comments, if he doesn't make an effort to include Johnson, Brooks, et al, I'll be the first to rip him.

I don't think this is a long-term move, I doubt he'd stick around after the WC, unless we do surprisingly well and Gulati re-signs him for another rotation, thereby repeating the mistake he made with JK and Arena the first time. Frankly I'd prefer Gulati hired Ernie Stewart as Sporting Director and take the duty of hiring manager out of Gulati's hands and just let Gulati handle the business side.
The team wouldn't survive a decision like this, and neither would he (and probably Gulati as well). I don't foresee this being a real problem. He likely won't be very aggressive in drawing dual-nationals, though, which is one of the myriad reasons Arena should not be retained past Russia.

And I know I'm beating my own personal dead horse here but I also fear that Arena is not the guy to deemphasize Michael Bradley aka one of the single greatest ills plaguing the roster.

So, yeah, mixed feelings overall but it needed to happen. Just put the players in the right positions, get the ball to Pulisic and qualify. And please don't start bringing in also-rans from the pool for familiarity's sake.

Pity it is too early for Cherundolo.
 

Titans Bastard

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1. The end of an era that I will not miss whatsoever. In the end, Klinsmann revealed himself to be poor in just about every facet of management - he's not a good tactician, he doesn't make good subs, his man-management is very suspect, and he has little ability to communicate a specific vision/plan to the players beyond meaningless soundbytes and generalizations.

2. As technical director, I don't think he did anything, good or bad. There is little evidence he engaged with the US domestic development ecosystem in any way. He installed Andreas Herzog as U23 manager, but the rest of the youth staff was old-guard USSF types. The US did add U16 and U19 teams, which I like, though it's unclear whose impetus that was. You'd be hard-pressed to find any details about any impact he made on youth development at the club level -- USSF Development Academy clubs, MLS academies, whatever.

3. I would not choose Bruce Arena if this were a clean slate (or even earlier in the cycle), but in the middle of the Hex, I think he is well-suited to the job. First of all, he's a vastly superior manager to Jurgen Klinsmann in just about every respect except maybe recruiting -- which IMO has been an overrated skill, as most of our Germericans were never going to play for Germany anyway. He also has deep knowledge of the player pool and has experience in international management. Considering that we only have a few January camp friendlies before WCQs resume, the next manager will not have much of a chance to work with the squad. There is no time for a learning curve on either the player pool or int'l management front. There is also no time for a top-notch manager with big plans to implement said plans. Many will find Arena an unsexy choice, but his background + his ability to quickly implement a Keep It Simple, Stupid plan makes him the wisest hire right now.

4. If you wanted someone you find more exciting, you should be pissed at Sunil for not pulling the trigger after the 2015 Gold Cup. Back then, there was still time for a new face from Europe or Latin America to build a foundation. It's too late for that now.

5. January camp is now going to be by far the most interesting it has ever been.

6. Wahl tweeted that Tab Ramos is a leading candidate to take over post-2018. Barf. That would be Klinsmann redux - same mix of strong political/PR skills and lack of managerial ability. But with less charisma! Unlike some, I believe that there are some decent domestic managerial choices for the next cycle. Ramos is definitely not one of them.

7. Let the leaks begin. Unless Klinsmann is gagged as part of his buyout deal, he'll be throwing bombs at the US. And I think that a lot of players and USSF staff may have things to say.
 

coremiller

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Any chance they use Arena get through WCQ and then dump him before the actual World Cup (assuming qualification)?
 

Titans Bastard

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Any chance they use Arena get through WCQ and then dump him before the actual World Cup (assuming qualification)?
No. NTs do not get a lot of time to play together. The time devoted to gelling and becoming familiar with / comfortable in a system is precious. It would be very short-sighted to change the concept and the manager right before a WC.

Don't freak out about Bruce Arena. He's a good coach. It's not like we're hiring Tab Ramos or John Hackworth or something.
 

Titans Bastard

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Can someone (looking at you TB) lay out the rest of the Hex for us?
3/24 vs. Honduras
3/28 @ Panama
6/7 vs. T&T
6/11 @ Mexico
9/1 vs. Costa Rica
9/5 @ Honduras
10/6 vs. Panama
10/10 @ T&T

Points earned by place in Hex, going in backwards chronological order

#3 - 15, 16, 16, 17, 14
#4 - 11, 16, 13, 14, 12
#5 - 8, 8, 11, 8, 10

The maximum possible points we could earn is now 24. If we take care of business at home, that probably puts us in playoff range, so we'd need some road points to get into the top three.

I think it's possible we could see a relatively high point total for the #5 finisher this year since T&T could be a total patsy, giving most teams a baseline of six points before considering their performance in other games.

Six points in March would REALLY take the edge off. A home win and a draw in Panama would be solid, too.

Maybe it will come down to getting a result in T&T on the last day of qualifying. We should call up Paul Caligiuri.
 

Cellar-Door

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So this is probably bogus but:


Bielsa's demands:
$4M in salary
Landon Donovan as one of his assistants
Move the MLS season up 5 weeks.
 

teddykgb

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I would not need that sub forum if we somehow landed Bielsa. But I'll be damned if I could even hazard a guess as to who could play CM in a Bielsa system in our setup. I know he has played some 4-2-3-1 in a few stops and maybe he'd be forced into that for the USMNT, but you don't hire Bielsa and not implement 3-4-3 with a high press. But holy hell, how many players do we have who can play that system? The number might actually be 0.
 

Infield Infidel

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So this is probably bogus but:
Bielsa's demands:
$4M in salary
Landon Donovan as one of his assistants
Move the MLS season up 5 weeks.
The last line's translation is a little off, It says "Move the start of the MLS to February" This season started March 6, so it would be anywhere from 2-5 weeks.

Probably bogus, and that's a lot of coin. But once we're done paying JK and Arena in 2018, that could actually work. I've always wanted MLS to stretch out the season by starting on Presidents' Day and end the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
 
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DJnVa

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Money is money, they could make that happen. And is there any reason to believe he couldn't pick Donovan as an assistant coach?
 

teddykgb

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They've theoretically saved that much in future bribes through all the corruption scandals cleaning out the usual suspects. I suspect out of that theoretical list it would be moving the MLS season around that would be the issue. I have no idea if Donovan wants to be an assistant or why on Earth Bielsa would want such a tremendous flake around but I can hardly imagine that would be controversial.

But there's no way it's going to be anyone but Arena. And I'm going to be depressed.
 

DJnVa

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But there's no way it's going to be anyone but Arena. And I'm going to be depressed.
I think we're talking about in 2018 though...

Arena now is probably the best/safest bet. Bielsa would be a sea change and you can't do that now.
 

moly99

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I would not need that sub forum if we somehow landed Bielsa. But I'll be damned if I could even hazard a guess as to who could play CM in a Bielsa system in our setup. I know he has played some 4-2-3-1 in a few stops and maybe he'd be forced into that for the USMNT, but you don't hire Bielsa and not implement 3-4-3 with a high press. But holy hell, how many players do we have who can play that system? The number might actually be 0.
I will be honest and say I have not watched Chile or Marseilles. Is your concern simply about exhaustion? We have quite a few high energy midfielders . . . in MLS.

I would love throwing players like Darlington Nagbe out there, even if it means losing a few more games due to errors. We are not going anywhere special with a team built around Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley anyway.
 

teddykgb

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I will be honest and say I have not watched Chile or Marseilles. Is your concern simply about exhaustion? We have quite a few high energy midfielders . . . in MLS.

I would love throwing players like Darlington Nagbe out there, even if it means losing a few more games due to errors. We are not going anywhere special with a team built around Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley anyway.
Bielsa CMs need to be incredibly complete -- from technical skills to the engine. Arturo Vidal is probably a prototype in many ways but I don't think there's anyone in our pool who can truly play a box to box high press CM role. They have to carry the ball forward, distribute especially to the wide players who hug the touchline, and then arrive late to the box to create overloads in the attack. But recognize when the ball is lost and quickly transition into an appropriate press while making sure they will track all the way back....this is not Darlington Nagbe, who is a relatively nice player but has nowhere near the engine (imo) to play this kind of role. When you're playing his 3-4-3 / 3-3-1-1 you basically need 3 of these players although one of them will hold and can get away with being a bit slower/more limited.
 

BelgianSoxFan

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I never liked Klinsmann, he is a snake oil salesman, but I was impressed with the team in the last world cup. The US is in a difficult spot, the talent has improved to where the team talent is better than any team but Mexico in concacaf, but not to a point where there are more than a few players who would start or even be on the bench for a top 10 team.
The talent pipeline has to increase. Pay to play has to stop, it clogs the pipeline with folks whose parents are hoping for some scholarship. Maybe societally we are better off like that, because soccer players in Belgium tend to give up a lot of other opportunities. I dont think you can build a world class team from the middle class.
That said, there is hope, talent is improving and things can turn around quickly, just look at Belgium. That said, Belgium has a better chance of never winning anything than of winning the Euro or WC even with this golden generation. A lot of things have to go right to win a prize.
Recruiting is important though. A lot of great players have options for who they play. On the one hand Klinsman did very well there, but sometimes he was not looking out for his player's career. A young player on the bubble for a good team, should be called up with care for some friendly state side. I think fans underestimate the effect of having to leave the team and coming back jet lagged instead of getting the extra work in when you are trying to earn your spot.
Are there any good MLS coaches?
 

Titans Bastard

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Are there any good MLS coaches?
I like Oscar Pareja. He'd be my choice (among MLS coaches) if this weren't such a salvage job. He got the most out of his Colorado squad and then has turned Dallas into an attractive team since taking over in 2014. This year, he won two trophies: US Open Cup and the Supporters Shield. Last year, Dallas lost the SS on goal difference.

What I like the most about Pareja is that he really believes in youth and gives young players a chance more than other coaches in the league. And young players have consistently responded well, both in Colorado and in Dallas.

The knock on him is that he hasn't been able to win the big games in the playoffs. This season Dallas lost badly to Seattle, though they were crippled by injuries. On the other hand, MLS playoffs are small-sample-size, so I'm not sure how much this matters.

I like NYRB's Jesse Marsch, too, though I think he needs a little more time.
 

InstaFace

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3. I would not choose Bruce Arena if this were a clean slate (or even earlier in the cycle), but in the middle of the Hex, I think he is well-suited to the job. First of all, he's a vastly superior manager to Jurgen Klinsmann in just about every respect except maybe recruiting -- which IMO has been an overrated skill, as most of our Germericans were never going to play for Germany anyway.
Let me dive into this.

John Brooks I think clearly would stand a strong chance of making the squad, especially on his current form for Hertha. He may not be better than Hummels, but he brings a very different skillset than Mustafi, and I think he could compete with Tah, Ginter or Howedes.

Fabian Johnson is pretty arguable as well. As a LB in a 4-2-3-1, he'd mostly have to compete with Jonas Hector, though in the 3-4-2-1 that Low has been running out there since the Euros, he'd be a LM competing with Gerhardt too.

Timothy Chandler would be competing with Sebastian Rudy and Ginter. I don't see a lot of Rudy, but I very much doubt he kicks Ginter off the squad. Call that one unlikely.

Back in the day, Jermaine Jones was clearly talented enough to make the German team - was a top prospect for them and all, and played friendlies with the senior squad. But his 2009 switch to the US came after it was clear Low had no plans for him. He was a very good player but better than DMs like Emre Can, Khedira or (at the time) Schweiny? Doubtful. Fair to note that it wasn't Klinsmann that sold him on the switch, though, but rather Bob Bradley.

Julian Green, still too early to tell. I mean, he's getting minutes at Bayern Munich. Off the bench in second-tier matches, yes, but still.

I don't think we ever had to worry about losing Alfredo Morales or Kiesewetter. But overall, we nabbed one and arguably two players who are, at minimum, nearly good enough to make the best international team in the world. And Klinsmann brought them both into the fold, despite them both participating in German national-team youth squads.


----

Also, I guess time to drop the umlauts from the thread title, TB. :)
 
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Titans Bastard

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Let me dive into this.

John Brooks I think clearly would stand a strong chance of making the squad, especially on his current form for Hertha. He may not be better than Hummels, but he brings a very different skillset than Mustafi, and I think he could compete with Tah, Ginter or Howedes.

Fabian Johnson is pretty arguable as well. As a LB in a 4-2-3-1, he'd mostly have to compete with Jonas Hector, though in the 3-4-2-1 that Low has been running out there since the Euros, he'd be a LM competing with Gerhardt too.

Timothy Chandler would be competing with Sebastian Rudy and Ginter. I don't see a lot of Rudy, but I very much doubt he kicks Ginter off the squad. Call that one unlikely.

Back in the day, Jermaine Jones was clearly talented enough to make the German squad - was a top prospect for them and all, and played friendlies with the senior squad. But he switched to the US after it was clear Low had no plans for him. He was a very good player but better than DMs like Emre Can, Khedira or (at the time) Schweiny? Doubtful. Fair to note that it wasn't Klinsmann that sold him on the switch, though, but rather Bob Bradley.

Julian Green, still too early to tell. I mean, he's getting minutes at Bayern Munich. Off the bench in second-tier matches, yes, but still.

I don't think we ever had to worry about losing Alfredo Morales or Kiesewetter. But overall, we nabbed one and arguably two players who are, at minimum, nearly good enough to make the best international team in the world. And Klinsmann brought them both into the fold, despite them both participating in German national-team youth squads.
You mentioned that Jones received his first cap under Bradley. Chandler is another guy who got his first cap under Bob.

Brooks has played for the US since 2010, when he was recruited by Rongen for the U20s. It's good that we jumped on him early. I don't know how he'd fare with the German NT, but I'm pretty sure he could have made some of their YNTs over the years.

We can ask @Schnerres for a ruling, but I don't think anybody in Germany stays up at night wondering if Green is the one who got away. Not a bad prospect, of course, but Germany has plenty of others.

Johnson may have been able to get some fringe caps for Germany, but we caught him at the right time. He was part of their UEFA-winning U21 squad in 2009, then moved to Wolfsburg where he did nothing for two years. His career bounced back when he moved to Hoffenheim in 2011 and he switched right after that move. He's since done better and better, but at the time he looked to have a very minimal chance of ever playing for Germany.

Morales is actually a triple national who had interest from Peru. He's cap-tied to the US now.

Other German-Americans with zero interest from Germany include Kiesewetter (Rongen), Boyd (Rongen), Williams (Klinsmann).

Players like the prestige of playing internationally and I think most of these guys would have wound up in the US camp regardless of the manager. If we were to point to players who Klinsmann specifically influenced, I think you could make the strongest cases for Aron Johannsson and Gedion Zelalem. Additionally, Klinsmann may have also induced Green to switch to the US more quickly, but I think he would have ended up with the US eventually.

Also, I guess time to drop the umlauts from the thread title, TB. :)
Indeed. When the dust settles, it may be time for a new thread entirely.
 

Titans Bastard

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Cellar-Door

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Honestly Arena through the WC is fine. Whatever.
The real questions with USSoccer now are:
1. Does Sunil get another go round? (Of course he will)
2. Do they start looking right now for a real architect to build the program after 2018? (HAHAHAHAHAHA)
3. Will they clean house at the youth level? (hint.. nope, Tab Ramos forever!!!11!!)
 

Titans Bastard

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Honestly Arena through the WC is fine. Whatever.
The real questions with USSoccer now are:
1. Does Sunil get another go round? (Of course he will)
2. Do they start looking right now for a real architect to build the program after 2018? (HAHAHAHAHAHA)
3. Will they clean house at the youth level? (hint.. nope, Tab Ramos forever!!!11!!)
Yep.

I'm on record as believing that Klinsmann was largely a ceremonial/absentee TD. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm not, but the fact remains is that he's the only TD that the USSF has ever had. There's nobody against whom we can compare him.

What does a great TD for the US look like? Thinking out loud:

1) The top priority absolutely has to be raising the level of youth coaching. Facilitate and expand coaching education/training/licensing programs. This is by far the most important influence on the baseline level of the USMNT.

2) Hold Development Academy clubs to a high level of accountability. Make sure that clubs are playing the right way and kick out those that aren't. Cultivate new clubs, especially in underserved areas, to make sure that the DA doesn't become too much of a closed shop.

3) Work with all stakeholders (MLS, USL, NCAA, youth clubs) to improve the various developmental pathways. Make sure youth players are always being challenged and don't have pointless logistical obstacles to accessing the resources they need at the next level.

4) YNT hires. It's hard to entice established names for these jobs, so find ways to identify quality no-name youth coaches looking to raise their profile rather than handing jobs to USSF hacks and unqualified ex-players.



Sunil really struggles to hold people's feet to the fire. He gives a very long leash to the wrong people (Klinsmann, Ramos). I'm just not very confident in him to make the right choice, especially for a role like TD which is very behind-the-scenes and is not subject to much public pressure or opinion.

Depending on how things go in Philly, @Infield Infidel's suggestion of Earnie Stewart could be a good one. He has been a TD at three clubs now (including two in the Eredivisie) and knows US soccer well.
 

Titans Bastard

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I could see Sunil promoting Ramos, which would be a real shame. Somebody who has shown themselves to be tactically poor as a manager should be nowhere near a role that involves overseeing coaching & development.
 

Cellar-Door

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I could see Sunil promoting Ramos, which would be a real shame. Somebody who has shown themselves to be tactically poor as a manager should be nowhere near a role that involves overseeing coaching & development.
I wonder if moving Ramos to TD with an assistant like Cherundulo (who can take over U-20 from Tab) might be an interesting move.
Now Cherundolo might not be interested, but it seems like Ramos is well thought of in terms of the politics and structural aspects of that job. If he had someone who could help him with the more tactical aspects, and move him from on-field to back office, it might work. Of course Tab wants to be USMNT manager at some point, but if he could be convinced that eventually the Federation President job is where he should be aiming, maybe it works?
 

teddykgb

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To address the topic more seriously, while I'm OK with seeing Klinsmann go because he hadn't delivered on what he had promised, I am beyond depressed about retreating to Arena because that's exactly how I view it: America's retreat to what had worked in the past.

Jurgen had promised a way forward. America was going to try to develop the kind of talent that other nations possessed so that we could seek to challenge any of football's royalty on the pitch not by luck, determination, Tim Howard, and the occasional counter attack. Rather, by being just as good as those teams. It was always going to take time but having someone who was crazy enough to want that goal was really important, in my view.

To give up on that ideal so quickly...to so narrowly retreat to Arena and a probable return to a defensive, counter attacking style that seems to accept our frailties as a footballing nation is a very depressing notion to me. What I bought into from all of Jurgen's talk is the fundamental truth that a nation of our size and athletic capability should be able to produce far more than we have produced. All of this, of course, is a case for a competent Technical Director, not for Jurgen to be our manager. But the generic hostility Arena has expressed toward European football and European footballers signals a lot of wrong things to me about where we'll head and whether we fundamentally see this as a continual problem.

I can, of course, see the logic. We aren't going to radically change the pool between now and 2018. We need to win with what we've got, there's no time or room for Revolution. I just can't help but wonder whether there wasn't some middle ground, someone with a more global perspective. Of course, Bielsa is out there, but I can't imagine convincing him to take this job. And maybe they did sound out some other prospects and there just wasn't anyone more promising. But where we stand right now, at the tail end of a cycle of accomplished players but with only one super bright talent starting to emerge, it is scary to think about a manager who wants to produce the MNT from MLS. We should be aiming to produce talents the MLS cannot possibly afford to hold onto.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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To address the topic more seriously, while I'm OK with seeing Klinsmann go because he hadn't delivered on what he had promised, I am beyond depressed about retreating to Arena because that's exactly how I view it: America's retreat to what had worked in the past.

Jurgen had promised a way forward. America was going to try to develop the kind of talent that other nations possessed so that we could seek to challenge any of football's royalty on the pitch not by luck, determination, Tim Howard, and the occasional counter attack. Rather, by being just as good as those teams. It was always going to take time but having someone who was crazy enough to want that goal was really important, in my view.

To give up on that ideal so quickly...to so narrowly retreat to Arena and a probable return to a defensive, counter attacking style that seems to accept our frailties as a footballing nation is a very depressing notion to me. What I bought into from all of Jurgen's talk is the fundamental truth that a nation of our size and athletic capability should be able to produce far more than we have produced. All of this, of course, is a case for a competent Technical Director, not for Jurgen to be our manager. But the generic hostility Arena has expressed toward European football and European footballers signals a lot of wrong things to me about where we'll head and whether we fundamentally see this as a continual problem.

I can, of course, see the logic. We aren't going to radically change the pool between now and 2018. We need to win with what we've got, there's no time or room for Revolution. I just can't help but wonder whether there wasn't some middle ground, someone with a more global perspective. Of course, Bielsa is out there, but I can't imagine convincing him to take this job. And maybe they did sound out some other prospects and there just wasn't anyone more promising. But where we stand right now, at the tail end of a cycle of accomplished players but with only one super bright talent starting to emerge, it is scary to think about a manager who wants to produce the MNT from MLS. We should be aiming to produce talents the MLS cannot possibly afford to hold onto.
Agreed, it's my gravest concern that the federation will look back at JK and think "well nobody can say we didn't take our shot on that whole European thing, oh well!" and hunker down within the USSF best friends club in relative perpetuity.
 

Titans Bastard

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I wonder if moving Ramos to TD with an assistant like Cherundulo (who can take over U-20 from Tab) might be an interesting move.
Now Cherundolo might not be interested, but it seems like Ramos is well thought of in terms of the politics and structural aspects of that job. If he had someone who could help him with the more tactical aspects, and move him from on-field to back office, it might work. Of course Tab wants to be USMNT manager at some point, but if he could be convinced that eventually the Federation President job is where he should be aiming, maybe it works?
Ramos is good at talking the talk. If you only read interviews with him, you would be impressed with his commitment to playing attractive soccer. But while he is skilled at telling people what they want to hear, he doesn't know how to execute on what he articulates. He received poor reviews when he was coaching a DA team and his U20 teams have never been all that great. Tactically he was a complete disaster in the 2013 U20 WC. In 2015 he rode Miazga and CCV to the quarterfinals but the team still exhibited some Klinsmann-esque incoherence. A knockout round win over Colombia was a highlight, but the same team struggled to beat Myanmar(!), beat a weak New Zealand team, and got thumped by Ukraine.

I'd love for him to get a job somewhere in MLS. That would really bring some clarity on where he truly stands as a manager.

To address the topic more seriously, while I'm OK with seeing Klinsmann go because he hadn't delivered on what he had promised, I am beyond depressed about retreating to Arena because that's exactly how I view it: America's retreat to what had worked in the past.

Jurgen had promised a way forward. America was going to try to develop the kind of talent that other nations possessed so that we could seek to challenge any of football's royalty on the pitch not by luck, determination, Tim Howard, and the occasional counter attack. Rather, by being just as good as those teams. It was always going to take time but having someone who was crazy enough to want that goal was really important, in my view.

To give up on that ideal so quickly...to so narrowly retreat to Arena and a probable return to a defensive, counter attacking style that seems to accept our frailties as a footballing nation is a very depressing notion to me. What I bought into from all of Jurgen's talk is the fundamental truth that a nation of our size and athletic capability should be able to produce far more than we have produced. All of this, of course, is a case for a competent Technical Director, not for Jurgen to be our manager. But the generic hostility Arena has expressed toward European football and European footballers signals a lot of wrong things to me about where we'll head and whether we fundamentally see this as a continual problem.

I can, of course, see the logic. We aren't going to radically change the pool between now and 2018. We need to win with what we've got, there's no time or room for Revolution. I just can't help but wonder whether there wasn't some middle ground, someone with a more global perspective. Of course, Bielsa is out there, but I can't imagine convincing him to take this job. And maybe they did sound out some other prospects and there just wasn't anyone more promising. But where we stand right now, at the tail end of a cycle of accomplished players but with only one super bright talent starting to emerge, it is scary to think about a manager who wants to produce the MNT from MLS. We should be aiming to produce talents the MLS cannot possibly afford to hold onto.
I wouldn't despair. Arena is being called upon to put out a fire and should be gone after the WC. I don't think that Arena is going to dramatically change the squad composition. He will undoubtedly have some player preferences that differ from Klinsmann, especially on the margins of the roster. However, the core problem with Klinsmann wasn't a matter of player selection, it was a matter of a lack of team concept, structure, and defined roles.

I don't think it is likely that anyone who plays outside MLS will be frozen out for non-meritocratic reasons. I think when it came to giving players chances, Klinsmann has established a lower bar for non-MLS players than for MLS players and some of those lesser non-MLS types will be gone under Arena. I'm thinking of guys like Yarbrough, Orozco, Stanko and past picks like Alvarado and Ibarra. I could also see Chandler and Jones having reduced roles, which I am fine with for on-field reasons.
 

DJnVa

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Arena on now during the MLS delay. He's "clarified" his stance on foreign-born players and he welcomes all qualified players.

Perhaps an unexpected World Cup run means he keeps job longer? If that's the case, then he wants as wide a net as possible.

EDIT: On-field things: young attacking talent, get backline fixed, play aggressive for 90 minutes, he hasn't spoken to Landon Donovan.
 

Titans Bastard

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Here's the Straus article from this afternoon's presser with Arena and Gulati.

Bruce on Bruce:

I’ve had 10 years on the field at the club level [since leaving the U.S. in ’06] and I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented players in the world, and to understand how they work and how to build a team and continue to grow on the tactical side, continue to grow on how to deal with players, learning how to plan and playing away [from home] and playing in big matches,” Arena said during a media conference call. “I think 10 years later, I’m better prepared to do this job than I was in 1998, 2002 and ultimately 2006. The experiences I’ve had will benefit the program.
Bruce on roster changes:

No names are off the table. But it’s highly unlikely we’re going to bring many new players into the program. We’re at a time where we need to get results … We need to build the chemistry of this team and have a common goal and really work on the team concept. I really believe individually and positionally we have good players, and we’ve just got to get them working together as a team. There are no real secrets on how you build good teams. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes communication. It takes discipline, and it takes some talent. And I think we have enough talent to build a good team and end up in Russia in 2018.
Bruce on dual nationals:

I certainly don't believe that that's my attitude and as a starting point, probably one of my most favorite players in my eight years as national team coach is Earnie Stewart [who was born in the Netherlands],” he said. "I believe that anyone who has a passport in the United States is certainly eligible to play for our national team, and I embrace all the players who are eligible to play. I just want to make sure their heart is in the right place and when they put the jersey on they're playing for the crest that's on their shirt. It’s important for me. I have a great passion for this national team and I expect the same from the players.
 

Cellar-Door

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I wonder if one of the few new guys to get a look is Lletget. Arena knows him well from LA Galaxy, and he has the kind of on-ball craftiness that nobody outside Dempsey and Pulisic brings.
 

teddykgb

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I wouldn't despair. Arena is being called upon to put out a fire and should be gone after the WC. I don't think that Arena is going to dramatically change the squad composition. He will undoubtedly have some player preferences that differ from Klinsmann, especially on the margins of the roster. However, the core problem with Klinsmann wasn't a matter of player selection, it was a matter of a lack of team concept, structure, and defined roles.

I don't think it is likely that anyone who plays outside MLS will be frozen out for non-meritocratic reasons. I think when it came to giving players chances, Klinsmann has established a lower bar for non-MLS players than for MLS players and some of those lesser non-MLS types will be gone under Arena. I'm thinking of guys like Yarbrough, Orozco, Stanko and past picks like Alvarado and Ibarra. I could also see Chandler and Jones having reduced roles, which I am fine with for on-field reasons.
I'm not particularly worried about swapping the fringey foreign players for fringe MLS players. I agree that Klinsmann at times showed an odd loyalty to certain individuals (nobody detests Chandler more than I do) but all managers end up doing this to some extent.

My despair is that I think Hex qualification is relatively straightforward. So I assume Arena will get it done, then if we get a decent draw in Russia and he gets us out of the group stage, then what? We stick with him? Or we continue down the MLS manager path? Like was said earlier, I worry that we'll consider the "step up" to European ambition as a tried and failed experiment and simply move on.

The rest of Concacaf has gotten much better in the past few years, imo, but I think we exist in a perpetual danger of being good enough to fool ourselves into thinking we are better than we actually are. While I know Klinsmann took a lot of heat for his prioritization of players moving to and playing in Europe, I think it was entirely appropriate because it pushed and challenged the players to be better. Now, it didn't work out for Jozy and it isn't looking great for Miazga right now, either, but I think giving it a go and trying to find a way to compete in a more technical and more competitive environment is a worthwhile goal and one that I really want our NT coach to push on the players. I can see a lot of that mindset going away under our own insecurity in trying to justify the worth and prestige of our own national league vis a vis these other leagues in Europe. I see it as short sighted and foolish.

I wonder if one of the few new guys to get a look is Lletget. Arena knows him well from LA Galaxy, and he has the kind of on-ball craftiness that nobody outside Dempsey and Pulisic brings.
I sure hope he does. I mentioned him earlier this season when I was watching a fair amount of the Galaxy. I think the end product isn't always there, but in particular against some of the more defensive teams in the Hex it is always useful to have a tricky player who can beat a man. You could make a heck of a case for us to play a 4-2-2-2 formation with Pulisic and one of our many smallish CAM types playing as the alternate forward CAM. Too bad Pellegrini went to China I'd have loved to have seen him take over the USMNT and put in that formation.

In the end, I do think Arena is a qualified coach and I think the USMNT will be just fine. The Galaxy play some relatively attractive football. I'm not going to spend a lot of time killing him if the players do not get it done. I continue to think that the talent pool is the problem and that the manager can only do so much about this. Klinsmann had resorted to doing some odd things to try to shake it up and it clearly wasn't working. I love to debate formations and selections as much as anyone but what remains of the Hex is a bunch of games the USMNT should expect to be difficult but should also expect to be able to win. If they fail to do so, then maybe we will have arrived at more of a conclusion on whether the talent pool or the management has been the problem.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Regarding Arena and success: The US needs to break away from extending coachs past 4 years. In all my time of watching soccer, Joachim Low is the one major exception of an international manager not losing his grip on the job over time. Otherwise, the second term almost universally pales to he first. If they extend Bruce, it's US Soccer's fault. They have the resources to pick a quality succesor. Just sticking with Bruce if he makes it easy to do so would be on them.

Jurgen shoukd have had foresight, stepped down after Brazil, and gone all in on the technical director job. His chance at reaching the hype he created went away with Wondo's missed goal vs Belgium. As George Costanza learned, leave on a high note.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'm not particularly worried about swapping the fringey foreign players for fringe MLS players. I agree that Klinsmann at times showed an odd loyalty to certain individuals (nobody detests Chandler more than I do) but all managers end up doing this to some extent.

My despair is that I think Hex qualification is relatively straightforward. So I assume Arena will get it done, then if we get a decent draw in Russia and he gets us out of the group stage, then what? We stick with him? Or we continue down the MLS manager path? Like was said earlier, I worry that we'll consider the "step up" to European ambition as a tried and failed experiment and simply move on.

The rest of Concacaf has gotten much better in the past few years, imo, but I think we exist in a perpetual danger of being good enough to fool ourselves into thinking we are better than we actually are. While I know Klinsmann took a lot of heat for his prioritization of players moving to and playing in Europe, I think it was entirely appropriate because it pushed and challenged the players to be better. Now, it didn't work out for Jozy and it isn't looking great for Miazga right now, either, but I think giving it a go and trying to find a way to compete in a more technical and more competitive environment is a worthwhile goal and one that I really want our NT coach to push on the players. I can see a lot of that mindset going away under our own insecurity in trying to justify the worth and prestige of our own national league vis a vis these other leagues in Europe. I see it as short sighted and foolish.
Some good points here. A few of my own thoughts:

1) On players: I'm not too worried about it. Klinsmann isn't the first US manager to applaud players going to better leagues abroad and he won't be the last.

The players generally want it, too, because that's where the real money is. The mega-contracts that Americans in MLS have received (Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley) all went to players with extensive experience in Europe in the first place. For American players who are MLS lifers, so far nobody has done better financially than guys like Besler, Zusi, and Beckerman who are locally popular one-club players (not KB, but he's been at RSL for nearly a decade) who were able to cash in on some World Cup cachet. All are making in the $750k range. You can make a lot more in England. I bet Yedlin is making a lot more in the Championship.

I expect there to be a steady flow of players from MLS to European leagues for that reason. MLS clubs have been willing to sell young talent like Miazga and Yedlin for reasonable fees. LA sold Gonzalez to Pachuca and Dallas has sold two academy products to Mexican clubs. Not American, but DC sold academy product Andy Najar. KC was willing to part with Palmer-Brown in a loan-with-an-option-to-buy deal to Porto. Others leave on frees.

More significantly, a TON of good young American players are bypassing MLS entirely. The current U-20 generation of players born in 1997 and 1998 has left for foreign clubs in droves. Pulisic (Dortmund), Zelalem (Arsenal), Perez (Fiorentina), Akale (Villarreal), McKennie (Schalke), Wright (Schalke), Gaines (Wolfsburg), Lennon (Liverpool), Olosunde (Manchester United), de la Torre (Fulham), Sabbi (Las Palmas), Koreniuk (Vitesse), and others, too.

It's early days, but MLS has done a little better so far with 99s and 00s, but that's largely because players can't move before their 18th birthday unless they have the right passport. Signing a four-year pro deal at 15/16 means that you can be sold at age 18/19 or walk on a free at age 19/20. I expect the 99s and 00s who progress well will make the leap, too.

From what I understand, there has been a significant uptick in foreign scouts keeping tabs on the Development Academy in the last few years. More will bypass MLS. One of our most highly-regarded 99s, Nick Taitague, will sign for Schalke when he turns 18 next year.

2) The post-2018 manager question is a real mystery right now. I'd hope that the USSF keeps an open mind and explores and weighs all foreign and domestic options fairly. If the Klinsmann Era created any reflexively-anti-foreign-manager sentiment in the USSF, hopefully 18 months of Arena will buy enough time for that to fade away.