Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soooooooo... what now?

After yesterday's Sporting News revelation, USMNT camp breaks and all our gums set to flappin'.

- Greg Seltzer


Tony M said...

Alexi was a source for the article. In the middle part of his comment, he looks like a winger tip toeing the line at speed, trying not to step over. He endorses the substance of it without coming out and saying so.

I disagree that three points ends the issue. We need three points and we need to look confident doing it. Squeak out an ugly win, while I'll celebrate that as a fan, won't end questions about JK.

As a side note, every time I see that clip of the losing goal, I wonder why and how Cameron gets none of the blame and Gonzales all the blame? But that's another argument...

Greg Seltzer said...

If it helps, I blamed Cameron more. :)

dikranovich said...

you have two watch the second video all the way to minute 7.19. ohh too much. we have serious issues.

Tony M said...

Greg, you and I are the only ones and it completely mystified me... If Cameroen shields Howard properly, the is no play without the attacker barreling into his back.

I'm hoping to see Cameroen at right back, where he could be very interesting. And Gonzales is going to be a monster some day.

Phil McCracken said...

While it's easy to take issue with both Cameron & Gonzalez, a lot of blame should be directed at JK who put together this pairing which didn't have any continuity with each other or Howard.

That's how lack of communication & preparation manifests itself on the pitch.

Tony M said...

Phil: 100% agree.

But I do make something of a spectator sport out of watching the crowd (metaphorically speaking) about Nats players. Like how many people were still blasting Baby Bradley and claiming nepotism when it was pretty clear that he was becoming our best player. (And countless other examples.) It amazes me how some guys become Teflon (at least for awhile) and other guys get drawn and quartered no matter what actually happens on the field.

I feel like I should get a masters in anthropology trying to track and explain it...

Matt said...

I actually give JK a lot of credit. Everyone thinks the national team needs to change, JK seems to be the only one with the huevos to demand it of players. And he's betting his job on it.

How many of the victories under Bradley that we look back so fondly on are actually the US team pulling out games they HAD to win because they under-performed earlier?

Some will respond and stay with the team, some will not and be gone. Arena tour 2 showed the dangers of NOT instituting change. When was it going to be a GOOD time to drop Boca? Does anyone seriously believe he'll be a solid contributor in 18 months? Does anyone doubt Gonzalez/Cameron is (at least one of) our CB pairing(s) of the future? What do we wait for, the Gold Cup?

This team needs NEW leaders, and now is the perfect opportunity for one to step up (paging MB, Jozy, anyone?).

Every 4 years I am amazed at the gnashing of teeth that comes with the realization that, this time, qualification won't be easy...

Tony M said...

Matt: I agree with much of what you say about needing leaders and change.

That says nothing, however, about whether or not JK is achieving this or going about it the right way. If you read the article as players gripping, you miss the specifics about what the players (AND outside sources) are saying about communication, tactical confusion (which is putting it mildly) and communication, and you are missing that these complaints have surfaced before about him.

It's not benching Bocanegra. It's how it was handled. It's not about trying to bring change, it's that the team has looked worse. It's not that we need new leaders, it's that he has seemed petty and inept at handling the next potential generation of leaders.

The team looked better under Bradley, period. They looked like they knew what they were supposed to do and they all went out to do it. That said, yes, two cycles is too long and we need to evolve. But so far I see regression, confusion and a realistic chance that the wheels could fly off entirely.

And it is happening just as informed critics of JK said it would. And that is scary.

Unknown said...

Surprise Surprise. Honigstein has been documenting these traits for years. This is not about change.

M Vann said...

Did anyone catch the F U Klinsmann at the end of that uploaded clip?? Too funny. Was that you , Greg --- ha ha ha

Joos said...

@Matt - I don't Klinsi is doing that much more trying to actually change the program than Bradley was. He's certainly talking about it more. If we're looking for actual change on the field, Klinsi's games typically look much more like the ugly, grindy games under Arena and before than even Bradley's ultra conservative bucket.

As far as dropping players, it happens all the time and Klinsi certainly isn't alone here. Bradley dropped Hejduk. He dropped Ching right before the World Cup. He dropped Mastroeni without a word after Pablo had played in three straight qualifiers. He capped 90+ players. He gave a starting job to Michael Bradley despite everybody and their mother calling nepotism. It's not like he just sat back and was afraid to ruffle feathers.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ M Vann: I don't even see what you're talking about.

@ Joos: Bingo on your first paragraph. The change that had been starting to come disappeared not too long after the win in Italy.

M Vann said...

Gre - listen to the last 1-2 seconds of the OTL video you linked. Whoever uploaded the original video to YouTube added a little "F U Klinsmann" at the end. It's funny.

Greg Seltzer said...

Ohhhhhhhh. No, I did not catch that before. The first viewing, I shut it off just before that. The second, I had the sound down, thinking it was something visual.

Gregory S. Ibañez FAIA said...

Ugh...I guess the "positive" is that the USMNT is now getting the same microscopic scrutiny as other national teams.

But everyone, please take a deep breath. The message boards were awash in praise of the Klinsi hire. He has been dealt injuries and an aging core of veterans. We will qualify. He's learning on the job, just like Cameron et al. Player bitching is nothing new or unexpected. Look at Bradley and Clint- they got new managers at their clubs many times with different expectations, landed on the bench, and worked their asses off to get back in the lineup. Many USMNT players have been coddled in the past as "automatic selections". Klinsi is gambling heavily on blooding the newbies, which will pay off in Brazil if we make it. But give me a break- if we don't qualify he is toast and his reputation will be damaged. You don't think he wants to win? He's a smart guy, and to his credit he actually reads this stuff and responds to it. This is all part of stepping up...does anyone think Hiddick would be better? Yes tactically, but his lack of knowledge of the US set up would be a problem.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yes, I believe Hiddink would be the bet possible choice of all. But I am not calling for Klinsi's job, just for him to stop playing a narrow game and manage the squad better.

WilkersonMclaser said...

Greg, question re: Boca. The insightful Matt over at The Shin Guardian has casually put forward the notion that Racing Santander was Boca's best option when he left Glasgow. Is that actually true? My feeling when it happened was that he saw a dual opportunity for quality of life and club that was "good enough" to keep him in the USMNT mix. But was it really the best he could do?

I don't mean to ask to challenge TSG (one of your few equals) but to just clarify the situation. I seem to remember Matt making a similar claim about DeMerit having nowhere to go but MLS (which you said wasn't the case), so I was wondering if this wasn't a similar issue.

paul said...

Yes, to my memory, it all dwindled after Italy and Brazil.

There was a moment a year and change ago when I felt pretty good about things. I don't know if it was vs Slovenia (I think not actually), but it was within a couple of games either direction of that one. Bradley and Jones seemed to really be figuring each other out, with Beckerman (I think?) looking decent behind them. The midfield looked pretty damn snappy, like some of the possession-orientated, attack-minded catch phrases Klinsi had been using his entire tenure. I can't remember which game it was, but for me it really planted a seed crystal of hope in the team's direction.
(Does anyone remember what game this might have been?)

Next the Camp Cupcake youngster's + Jones generate a couple of enheartening wins.

Then, oddly, we deploy an ultra-defensive strategy vs Italy and Brazil. It was opposed to everything Klinsi had been doing and preaching. It was disappointing, but I forgave it; thinking maybe it's unrealistic that I expect us to entirely shed our bunker-n-counter roots so quickly.

But we’ve never recovered. Since then it’s been a non-stop series of experiments. In technical design you sometimes can make an intuitive leap to a solution, but Klinsi’s been deploying the other method, which is to test every possible permutation in the matrix. Again I initially forgave it. Its thorough; and if you don’t know enough about the pieces in play to make the intuitive leap you can still make progress collecting data. But his permutations aren’t showing any sign of funneling towards improvement.

Well… as I write this, I realize I haven’t seen Williams in a wing position for a little while… that’s nice. I’m not sure JK deserves the credit, but maybe I’ll take it as progress.

Pardon my lengthy mind dump, and use of the thread as a support group.

I guess I’ve been a little depressed about the situation, ever since we fell out of the Olympics.

dikranovich said...

this might just be the kick start needed.

there is a lot of talk about the accountability of the coach, but in reality, more falls on the players.

our players have been coddled and they have a history. it was only five six years ago, these players were ready to sit out early stages of world cup qualifying over financial issues.

to me, in the past, USA players were underrated by their teams, and now they are overrated by their agents.

i think back to the bradley era and we squeeked by. a golazo against mexico in the gold cup, an underrated performance in copa america, maybe an overrated performance in confederations cup.

think back to that first game of the hex, dos santos could have very easily scored in the first five minutes of that game and changed the whole complextion.

it was close nail biting stuff, all the way through, and that seems to be what it is going to be this time.

of course leave mexico with six points and we are in la la land come next wed. four points and same feeling. three points means we will probably be out of the basement.

two points would not be that bad, considering it would mean getting one point in azteca.

one or zero points and changes will be made. this buffer space between mexico and the june qualifiers gives the federation some wiggle room.

dikranovich said...

you know, i had to go back and read a brian straus article, and i think the best one to pick from is the feb 7th article which summerized the honduras game.

of course, in this feb 7th article there are no anonymous sources, but reading the article, it just seems odd how this reporter has handled this new story and now we have two players, in boca and howard who have come out with statements that to me, hit back at the article.

it seems straus has an ax to grind and reporting is one thing, but spinning some falsehoods, that is something else.

a quote from brian straus's feb 7th article, "this US team and its coach, who has proven he can press the right buttons as well, can do better"

maybe at the time straus wrote this statement he was unaware of the spoon in the heart incident, which he reported on through anonymously named source in his most recent article, but it sounds like just over a month ago, straus is giving credit to coach klinsmann for being able to push the right buttons, but now, the author of this smear job wants us to believe coach klinsmann is a buffoon.

i dont like the article one bit, and i think it is shoddy journalism. his response, the timing of the article could not be helped. ahh, yeah, right.

dikranovich said...

michael bradley is the boss!!!

good things are on the way.

Unknown said...

Brilliant closing comment!

dikranovich said...

its always good to re-evaluate a situation from a different angle, after letting a little time pass. the bottom line is tomorrow will be the tell tale sign of whats what.

the article was backhanded and at the same time maybe it increases awareness, which increases transparancy, which maybe helps to open up lines of communication, if they were not there before.

the article may help to galvinize the team, and with the leaders of this team speaking out over the last couple of days, it seems to be heading in that direction. again, the proof will be in the pudding, and the pudding is going to be at elevation tomorrow night, hopefully with a cherry on top.

so maybe a bravo will be in order to the sporting news afterall.

Greg Seltzer said...

There was no incorrect behavior on the part of either the writer or the editor. The problem here is in the team - not in letting you know what's really going behind the team's struggles.

Besides, if you are bothered by such things, don't read it.