Friday, October 17, 2014

Here We Go! - Part Deux: The Embarassening

Yeah, so I have had time to think about the Don Garber response to what I would consider Klinsi's fairly obvious remarks about the potential form issues that occur when a top USMNT player goes back to MLS (and other such matters). Calling a press conference to essentially launch a fit finished with a threat toward the national team coach looks extremely childish and actually may be damaging to the league rep he was trying to protect. Of course, Klinsmann has also occasionally done the same type of hyper-defensive thing when his kingdom has taken on criticism.

Long story short: A certain segment of our bubble really needs to stop being so hyper-sensitive about slights, perceived or otherwise, MLS or Nats. If one absolutely must be stirred over a single quote in this media treadmill we exist on, then light a quiet belly fire to rise up. Do not extend the life of the story by gathering everyone to watch a finger-wag. Fair or not, doing so just does not look good when aiming to be taken seriously.

- Greg Seltzer


dikranovich said...

Some pretty famous person did once say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

dikranovich said...

In this case, don is right, coach klinsmann is wrong. And it's ok to have the debate, but it has been proven that domestic league success leads to World Cup success. And I'm sorry to have to say this, but if you argue against this principle, then you are being an absolute jack ass

justinwkoehn said...

The fundamental flaw in your argument is that MLS's success fringes on USMNT's best players coming back from Europe in their prime to play in the league. I'd argue the this plays an insignificant role, and MLS would be better served investing in youth academies, strengthening domestic talent at a young age, and be a talent exporter. That would increase the overall competitive level of the domestic league, have more homegrown players going to Europe to continue to develop, and as a byproduct, would have more Americans playing in Europe make their way back to MLS (because you'd have a larger number in Europe to begin with).

WilkersonMclaser said...

I don't know what's going on in Don Garber's head, but my sense of annoyance towards Klinsi revolves around how utterly baffling and opaque program has been (despite managing to open his mouth an awful lot). I have a hard time understanding what, exactly, he has accomplished to act and speak with impunity. The World Cup run was disappointing -- in the manner by which we went out as much, if not more, than the fact that we dropped out in the Round of 16 -- and his much-vaunted Germerican reinforcements (as a whole) have had a lesser impact than our MLS contingent (apologies to Fabian and Junior).

The last two games were confusing as hell. It does not seem like we're taking a "lessons learned" approach from Brazil so much as blowing up the program and starting again. The games, in my mind, resembled very much the frenetic, sloppy play of Klinsi's first Costa Rica game in 2011. So what gives?

Garber may not have been politic to go on his rant, but I suspect there's some built up frustration that me, and many others, feel at Klinsi's erratic style and simultaneous air of entitlement. He can deflect blame onto MLS all he wants, but he wasn't hired to bitch about the pool, but to do something about it.

soccerpurist said...

Imagine Belgium's Lukaku, De Bruyne, Hazard, decided to return to Belgium's league rather than push themselves in more elite leagues. You can bet Belgium's coach would utter similar statements.

Klinsi didn't say the league was crap, didn't say it wasn't improving, didn't say it wasn't serving the USMNT in a significant and important way. He simply said that it wasn't good enough to push our top 3-5 players beyond their current abilities.

Anyone attempting to argue that point is naive and ignorant.

And as for Klinsi's supposed entitlement issues and lack of success beyond what he already achieved, I don't disagree. I wasn't thrilled with the WC performance, but that doesn't negate what he said.

It's just him being honest just like he said and I see no problem with that. Time we all grow up and learn to take a bit of criticism.

Everyone should read this article about how Hazard feel Mourinho's blunt and honest criticism is pushing him to be better. Same principle should apply here. Klinsi's criticism should push MLS, Garber, the owners, coaches and players to be better not go off on a rather pathetic tirade crying about it

Tony M said...

WilkersonMclaser, have to say you expressed my feelings as well. The sense that there were no lessons learned in these last games is worrisome. (And yet more "let's give guys new posiitons" nonsense.)

The irony is that JK is beneifting from the increasing quality of MLS and the rising tide of US soccer. It's also funny that many people defending JK point to his playing record. How often do great players make great coaches? Not often at all. If he did not have his playing resume, what about his coaching track record would make anyone enthusastic about him or let his arrogance go unchallanged? If Gulati wasn't star struck, JK would be on a short leash right now.

dallen said...

Garber's response was petty and doesn't help with MLS's perception problems as bush league by the uninitiated.

However, like everything with Jurgen, what he says, how he implements his methods and how he builds his system, I'm left thinking, "You know, he's right, but he definitely the wrong guy to say/do that."

I think he sees all of the deficiencies most people see in American soccer, I just don't think he's the architect we need to head the redesign.

Patrick said...

"but it has been proven that domestic league success leads to World Cup success"

Brazil and Argentina would have to disagree with you. England too, actually. I would argue that having a large number of players in the knock-out round of the Champions League is a better indicator than where the teams that are there are based.

Arcticrules said...

The difference between the us system and any other in the world is that the success of the USMNT is closely tied to the success of MLS and vice versa. That just isn't true of most other world powers as their players can and do play in a variety of leagues more easily du to geographic proximity. What Klinsmann doesn't appear to appreciate is that he does have a responsibility to help grow the league if he wants the US team to be successful. So it really is biting the hand that feeds him when he makes careless remarks IN PUBLIC, REPEATEDLY, that suggest that MLS is relatively poor quality. True or not, that's not smart.

Arcticrules said...

And Garber was very justified in making a public rebuke of Klinsmannns comments. He has spent over a decade building this league from practically nothing and has made great strides. To have your US technical director and internationally known, if not respected, coach tell all players that they shouldn't come to MLS if they want to develop goes against everything he and the team owners have been trying to accomplish. If Garber hadn't called a press conference, that would have been irresponsible. He's the freakin league commissioner for goodness sake. Of he didn't, then who?!

Dany Tzvi said...

don garber is a businessman. he does not know about soccer. his comments, and all his actions, are league-oriented. don garber has no investment in the success of American soccer.

jurgen klinsmann is one of the best players ever. i hated when we hired him, still not convinced he is the right man for the job, but he knows a thing or two about the game which is 1-2 things more than don garber.

mls is growing, which is good, but MLS's job isn't taking care of our best player, it's finding them.

to succeed at the highest level, US soccer has 2 huge obstacles to overcome
1) find the talent
we have a massive player pool that is under-exploited. with no promotion/relegation, the number of professional academies is too small. there are not enough realistic professional opportunities for players, which pushes them away from the game. we are losing our best players young.
this is a problem that is being addressed by the federation but not MLS. ussf is adding many more youth national teams and regional centers for development from u-9 and up.
2) defeat the anti-american bias
americans need to stick it out in europe and need to succeed in europe. brazil and argentina won world cups in the modern era by having european-based players carry them. in the 94 and 02 finals, brazil started 17 european based and 5 brazilian based players. Argentina's 1986 team was about half and half in the starting XI, but 12 of the 14 goals they scored that tournament were from european players.
we are never going to win the world cup with 11 mls players starting. the champions league is the premier football competition in the world. the trend of global economics away from the US makes it seriously unlikely that MLS will approach that level.
brazil won 5 world cups and is an emerging economic superpower. the entire country breathes soccer. lo and behold, their league is weak.

Freegle said...

ultimately, both men are right in what they said and both are wrong to have said it the forum they chose. But Klinsmann the USMNT coach has a different agenda than Garber the commissioner so its natural they would have some conflict because of those agendas.

The one concern I have (and Garber must as well) is that Klinsmann is the national team coach but he is also the technical director for USSF (of which MLS is a member). As technical director, his responsibility is to help grow the game at all level and demeaning our domestic league is counterproductive to that goal (even if he's right).

Dany Tzvi said...

MLS is not a part of USSF, they are "affiliates" but not in any way bent on each other.

garber's interests are solely related to the league. him saying it's bad for the league is right, but he can't say that it's bad for american soccer. he has no horse in american soccer.

likewise, klinsmann's job as technical director puts him in charge of the national team program at all levels, but he has no responsibility over non-USSF programs like MLS.

they were both right, but i think as fans we should be siding with Klinsmann. the national team's success comes before the MLS owners' bottom lines.

justinwkoehn said...

@Arcticrules I would agree the success of MLS is deeply tied to USMNT, but not vis versa.

Greg Seltzer said...

No politics. Period. End of story. You can re-post the rest if you like (as insistently delusional as it may be).

dikranovich said...

I don't need to jack ass

Greg Seltzer said...

No, but you do need to grow up. Cut the shit.

Greg Seltzer said...

Do you have brain damage? No slinging insults, no politics, no exceptions.

F. F. S.

dikranovich said...

It's also fair to say that bayern Munich players were well rested, having wrapped up the bundas league early, and that played a big part in Germany success this past summer, while at the same time, Spain sent two teams to the champions league finals, and they were maybe a little more tired, once brasil rolled around.

dikranovich said...

Isn't it amazing that pSv Eindhoven won the European continental club tournament, the only time they have been to the finals, the same year the Dutch won their European championship?

dikranovich said...

You're less surprised about Uruguayan success over the last four years, when you realize penerol played in a copa libertadores final in 2011, the first time this had happened in twenty five years.

justinwkoehn said...

So me strong, statistical analysis that demonstrates a strong correlation rather than these anecdotal examples, and then I'll listen.

dikranovich said...

Between 1970 and 1990 brasil won a total of three copa libertadores, Argentinian teams won ten. If you know your World Cup history, you know Argentina was in three finals, with two wins, and brasil was in one, which we all know to be the great winning team of 70.

Deny the truth at your own peril!!!

dikranovich said...

Not to beat a dead horse, but brasilian club teams played in six copa libertadores finals between 1992 and 2002, and this was a time period that saw Brazil national team play in three finals.

Baskin Robbins for everyone!!!

dikranovich said...

People, believe me, it's not a bad thing that the most important game in world football today is being played in Carson, California.

dikranovich said...

Sorry, but I want to correct something. Brazilian club teams WON six copa libertadores, between 92-02. They played in nine finals

dikranovich said...

I thought it was also pretty impressive that five different Brazilian club teams won those six copa libertadores. When you take pause, that really is pretty amazing.

dikranovich said...

Are you guys ready to hear Spain's stats for Europes second continental cup. Let's just say it is impressive to say the least. In the last ten years, three different teams have won six Europa league titles. Two more additional Spanish sides have participated in the finals.

dikranovich said...

2018 Russia
2022 Qatar

now, here is what the crystal ball says about the world cup beyond these years.

2026 USA
2030 Egypt
2034 Chile
2038 England
2042 China
2046 Mexico
2050 Ghana/Cameroon
2054 Argentina

as you can see, the next forty years will see the world cup being played on European soil, twice.

in the forty years between 1974 and 2014 the world cup was played on European soil five times.

dikranovich said...

the boyz2men anthem was not bad. of course, whitney is tops of most peoples list, but id put the dead up there as probably the best rendition ever of our national anthem, when they did a giants game.

Nicholas said...

when is greg going to dance? not fit? sad

Nicholas said...


Greg Seltzer said...

Greg dances daily and is fitter than most 20-year-olds, so chin up. And stay on topic, please.

dikranovich said...

In case someone was thinking I was referring to this most recent anthem rendition by Phil and bob, I wasn't. It's not the dead without jerry. But it was a 1993 giants baseball game. And it's jerry, bob, and Vince and it is something special.

dikranovich said...

Ok, so Michael Parkhurst has made some comments about the debate, and basically, as you would have guessed, considering the league is paying his salary, and you should not bite the hand that feeds you, he has come down on the right side of the debate, which of course, is building up MLS, and doing so as top priority.

Why is this such a difficult concept? It is so freaking weird. We can't discuss politics, but it is surely at work. The politics of USA fandom. It is real!!!

It's almost like the people who call the top division in England the BPL. Yeah, that's the name, don't wear it out. When you call it BPL, you have been programmed, and are now under deep thought control.

It's the same thing here with this debate.

Dany Tzvi said...

there wont be 2 out of 4 world cups in the arab world lol, north africa isnt getting a world cup for a long time except *maybe* morocco.

europe will go once every 3 times because europe.

Scott Peterson said...

Both Klinsi and Garber are right and both are wrong. If we want to contend for a WC title in the next decade or two, we have to have our players playing in the best leagues in the world at that time. MLS, although a solid league, is not one of those... yet. Perhaps in 10-20 years, MLS will be a top league. At that point, the US can take home grown players from MLS and contend. The grassroots vision is a generation away. We are still losing our top athletes to the more American sports like football and baseball. Both need to chill out and do their jobs and model collaboration.

dikranovich said...

Scott, I'm pretty sure you will agree, that in order to contend for a World Cup title, a country must first qualify. I mean, once you qualify for a World Cup, you are in contention. This point is much clearer, if you have been around when a country does not qualify for a World Cup, or for multiple cups in a row, which only come once every four years. Otherwise, it is very easy for this point to be lost, such an obvious point.

The debate is club or country, it's not someone else's countries club or country, I mean, it is almost comical. Grass roots my ass, this goes to the heart of what this sport and all sports for that matter are about. I'm just kidding though, it is a grass roots movement, or maybe it's more of a ground swell, and one day soccer will be like this big tsunami .

Where was MLS ten years ago? And where will it be in ten years? Ten years ago, we were close to MLS 2.0, probably like 1.7. Today we are MLS 3.0. MLS 4.0 is a top league in the whole of the world.

Carl Sagan described civilization in relation to energy consumption, and theorized that we are .7 on the scale. Type I civilizations have control over resources on their host planet. Type II civilizations have control over their host sun and are a power of ten greater, and type III, they have control over their galaxy and are greater again by a power of ten.

It's like if you want to make a wormhole you need to control your host galaxy.

futfan said...

The problem with Klinsmann - besides his huge fucking ego and pettiness - is that he is full of shit. That or just not very bright.

Sure, it's great if your players are actually good enough to 'push themselves' and have some success in top flight leagues but, as is the case with Altidore for instance, when a player is not actually good enough to succeed in a top league and when staying in that top league is actually a detriment to his confidence and form, then staying is stupid.

Altidore was a much better player when he was in Holland (a "lesser" league). He was a terror and his confidence was sky high. That translated into a record setting scoring run for him when on USMNT duty. Now, he is a shadow of that player. Staying in a top league just to say you are there and train with better players isn't enough and can actually be harmful. Especially for strikers who thrive on confidence.

In short, the idea that a player must play at the highest level possible in order to be the best that they can be is a completely overrated, if not erroneous, concept. Players need to play at the best level for them - where they can thrive and believe in themselves. If they aren't good enough for top flight play then they just aren't and everyone needs to accept that. Altidore is still probably the best striker we have. So, it's better that he be in great form and have great confidence in himself.

As for Klinsmann's attitude about the MLS - the douchebag took Wondo to the effin WC. Wondolowski - the absolute poster boy of an "MLS level" player. He was apparently good enough but now that Dempsey and Bradley have come back from better leagues they are no longer, or soon won't be, good enough?

And Klinsmann's bullshit mind-games with Guzan? Guzan - an exceptional keeper in a top league - has to "fight for his place" with an MLS level talent in Rimando? Please.

There is no one more full of shit than Klinsmann.

justinwkoehn said...

"We rejuvenated the team thanks to Joachim Loew and Jurgen Klinsmann in 2004," Schweinsteiger said. "And now we are reaping the rewards for the work they started."

"We've been together for 55 days," Loew said, "[but] we started this project 10 years ago and this is the result of that work, beginning with Jurgen Klinsmann. Though the years, we were able to increase our performances and make progress. We believed it."

Who else would you rather have leading the USMNT to transition to the next level? Seriously, the only thing Klinsmann is guilty of is being direct and not PC, which is a German trait.

Altidore's international form has not been an issue. He still gets top flight training, and how else are you going to find your ceiling if you don't keep pushing yourself? Hopefully he goes back to a top 3-7 league and gets starter minutes.

Your Wondo analysis (top scorer over last 5 years) is a perfect example why MLS isn't a top league, and why Bradley and Dempsey's form wont benefit from the move.

And what coach in his right mind will tell her starter that he is completely safe? All professional athletes know that there's someone right behind them wanting their place, and 20 other people behind that person.

Tony M said...

Justin, I see your Schweinsteiger and raise you a Phillip Lahm:

We practically only practiced fitness under Klinsmann," Lahm said, according to excerpts published in German newspaper Bild and translated into English by several outlets. "There was very little technical instruction and the players had to get together independently before the game to discuss how we wanted to play.”

Lahm, a 27-year-old defender who has played more than 80 times for his country, also wrote, “All the players knew after about eight weeks that it was not going to work out with Klinsmann. The remainder of that campaign was nothing but limiting the damage."

Tony M said...

And let me toss in a Jonathan Wilson:

Not wanting to settle for numbers, figures, and complex formulas, I called up Jonathan Wilson, author of the brilliant and comprehensive history of tactics Inverting the Pyramid to ask for his impressions about the American squad and the 2014 World Cup.

“They played pretty well against Germany,” he said. “They obviously should have beaten a Portugal team that was falling apart. But they should have been beaten by Ghana. And the game against Belgium, if it wasn’t for Tim Howard, it could have been 3 or 4 to nil. It was a performance of a small team fighting hard, rather than a team fighting Belgium at its level. And that was against a team that hadn’t played that well throughout the rest of the World Cup.”

Wilson continued: “In terms of just the World Cup, I didn’t see any great leap forward. In fact, in terms of the structure of the midfield and control of games, it might have been a little bit better in 2010.”

You ask what JK has been guilty of. I'd start with crappy tactics. This team looked more like 1994 than 2010 (and forget about 2002). He is also guilty of letting his personal feelings for a player damage the team. Add to it poor roster selection, shifting criteria demanded of players... the heck with it. If he was based only on his coaching record.. 2006 with Germany (which really was a disappointment considering they were hosting), failure with Bayren Muncih and our performance this summer, his job would be hanging by a thread. But too many people are dazzled by his playing career

justinwkoehn said...

It's obvious Lahm never bought in to JK's coaching style. That's fine. Even though Germany was hosting the WC, there were very little expectations of winning, especially if you understand that the '02 team overachieved, only to be exposed during Euro '04 meltdown. I speak regularly with my buddy from Germany that was a part of Eintract Frankfurt's youth academy before tearing his ACL and cutting his career short. He notes that most germans have a very positive opinion of JK as a coach, and wanted him to stay after the '06 run.

I'm not sure why we are bringing in Mr. Wilson, who covers Eastern European football...but I'll go along. I agree the tactics weren't great, and that was a result of the players available. Having no real backup for Jozy hurt us tremendously, and that's on JK's roster selection. You could also blame the overall player pool partially, but not having bringing Boyd was a big mistake, and that's not even opening up the can of worms that is the Wondo/Davis vs Landon discussion.

Lastly, JK's demise at Bayern wasn't based on performance. They were 3 points off the lead in 2nd place with 5 games to play in the Bundesliga. They also were in the QF's of the Champions League. It was purely a clash between ownership and the coach.

Given all of this, I can see how come people are still not convinced that JK is the right man for the job, but I am extremely perplexed that he's already been written off by so many US fans.

Dany Tzvi said...

klinsmann + loew = winning
klinsmann + .... = uhhhh
the fact that joachim löw has had success himself as the manager with a purely tactical approach is really telling: the tactics are what matters. motivation can only get you so far.

ive played at the highest youth club level and i coached at not quite the highest, and i have lectured club coaches on tactics.

klinsmann put in big league tactics for our not-quite big league players. when spain beat italy 4-0 in 2012. prandelli's attitude was "we're not going to have 2 shots and lose 0-1". they went for it and got killed, que lastima

against germany, we were ridiculously tired and exhausted from manaus and parked the bus. against ghana and belgium, we went for it and should have been killed in both those games, but were saved by ghana's final third incompetence and tim howard's heroics, respectively.

on that level, klinsmann's actions wtih the usmnt are a failure. they are. those tactics don't give us the best chance to win, given our current crop of players.

however, what he's doing as a technical director is exactly correct. outside of IMG, we didn't have a solid nationwide curriculum. a lot of 4-4-2. bad 4-4-2. diamonds in the back and in the midfield, and 2 out-and-out strikers.

thats where you get players who don't fit anywhere in the modern game. brek shea doesn't have the skill to be a winger, he doesn't defend well enough to be a fullback. he is an outside mid, but in the modern game there's no such thing as an outside mid.

the over-ambition that makes klinsmann a poor manager makes him a great technical director. 4-3-3 all across the land. when we host in 2022 we will have a bitchin 4-3-3 (which will probably be obsolete by then :p)

Tony M said...

"the over-ambition that makes klinsmann a poor manager makes him a great technical director."

I'm not sure if he would be great... but I could live with that. If he turns the coaching over to someone else and wants to head up the technical side of the federation, I'd be delighted and give him every benefit of the long as he lets his replacement do thejob and he gets some concensus about his successor rather than Berti Vogts...

Dany Tzvi said...

he already is the technical director #gulatilogic

Tom said...

"shifting criteria demanded of players..."


dikranovich said...

You guys must not know the famous quote from Jimmie Johnson. He would say, I treat all players the same, differently.

This all seems like a lot of nothing. Phillip lahms comments are clearly those of a company man. I love the last part of his quote, talking about limiting the damage. That sure sounds like a contrived comment.

Who the heck is Jonathan Wilson anyway?

justinwkoehn said...

@Dany Thanks for that. This is a very good discussion. Tactics are my biggest concern with JK, but he seems to be getting it from both sides. He's either too ambitious with the current crop of players that can execute his vision, or he's too defensive, playing within the roster's capabilities.

Bottom line for me, given the 2013 run, and escaping one of the groups of death in 2014, I'm willing to see what he can do this cycle (pending Gold Cup and Copa America Centenario performances). Current mood: moderately hopeful.

dikranovich said...

I like this Jonathan Wilson. He is a Britton, and he is a punter. But he talks about the decline of box to box midfielder, and the importance of the modern fullback, and get this, the defensive striker. Something else interesting, is that it looks like he might be a Sunderland fan, and if Sunderland value the defensive striker, it could explain fan reaction towards Jozy.

Dr.Jon said...

I'd like to think I actually get JK. I'm German. It is a mentality. He is very optimistic, but very demanding. I think he sees himself as coming from nothing, or at least a little humble beginning, and succeeding. He doesn't necessarily see himself as something unique or uniquely talented. I think he sees the US, in general, as producing tremendous athletes and to be a great soccer player it is first important to be a good athlete. I think he sees the US, and I agree, as very coddling to our top soccer talent. This of course is the antithesis of how soccer players (and largely every other youth athletes here in the US) are treated in Europe.
LD said when he got to Germany suddenly he went from being head and shoulders above his peers to one of maybe 10 very talented teen/young adult MF.
To Klinsmann if you are on a top team, they have identified you as having the talent to succeed. If you are not in the first team you must just not be trying hard enough. I largely agree, but that's a tough life. Anyway, that's always been my take.

Like has been echoed here, if you want to be the best you train and play with the best. Period - and right now that is Europe. We'll get there, but not overnight.

dikranovich said...

dr. jon I am in agreement with your first paragraph.

your second however, im not fully on board. I mean, just a real world example, but if one American goes and sits in the premiere league, and the other starts in the championship, and helps his team gain promotion, that experience should be far more valuable, than just training with superstars going through the paces.

our US history has shown that players working up through the ranks in Europe, have found more success than our players who have moved directly to higher competition.

3-5 players playing at the highest levels in Europe, that seems doable, but I sure hope this is not the answer to our prayers, nor do I think it is required for winning a world cup.

what, do we need as many players playing in Europe, as Croatia has playing in Europe? if we have this many players in Europe, it will make us more competitive? that seems to be the jest of it.

its almost certainly fair to say, the USA is more competitive with 100s of players in Europe, than it was when it was like ten. of course there was no MLS either, but whatever.

dikranovich said...

I guess when you know that US soccer and MLS were in the process of working on a pretty large deal with IMG, don barbers comments start to make a little more sense.

dikranovich said...

come on, some of you have to find it at least a little curious that with all the influx of brasilian and Argentinians into Europe, the last three world cup finals have included only one appearance between the top two south American teams.

in the six previous world cups, brasil and argentina represented five times in the finals.

once appearance in the last three, five times in six before that.... and thank god argentina got past the dutch this past summer.

justinwkoehn said...


dikranovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.