In an interview with MLSSoccer.com, Landon Donovan says Jurgen Klinsmann mismanaged the U.S. men’s national team from a strategic point of view at the World Cup.
The L.A. Galaxy star, who was cut by Klinsmann on the eve of the World Cup, says he was “disappointed” that the coach played a defensive-minded lineup and didn’t push him team to attack.
“I don’t think we were set up to succeed yesterday,” Donovan said of the Belgium loss.
From Donovan (via MLS):
“I think we’re all disappointed in what happened yesterday. I think the most disappointing is we didn’t seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint. I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don’t think we were set up to succeed yesterday, and that was tough to watch.”
“They were set up in a way that was opposite from what they have been the past couple years, which is opening up, passing, attacking — trying to do that. And the team’s been successful that way. Why they decided to switch that in the World Cup, none of us will know. From a playing standpoint, I think the guys will probably be disappointed in the way things went.”
He also said Klinsmann screwed up Michael Bradley by playing him in an advanced role instead of the defensive midfield role he has thrived in:
“Michael was put in the wrong position. He was put in a position that he’s not used to playing. He does a better job, as you saw with Julian Green’s goal, being in a deeper position. And having someone in a front of him, someone to help Clint also, makes him that much better because he’s got more opportunity to pick out different passes, more attacking options ahead of him. I think that was clearly an error.”
Donovan isn’t the only one questioning Klinsmann’s tactics. The U.S. ultimately exceeded expectations, so it’s hard to argue with the results. But it’s also fair to wonder what could have been.
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