On the eve of two huge World Cup qualifiers for the US men’s national team, Brian Strauss of Sporting News dropped a bombshell article about the team.
In the article, unnamed players questioned coach Jurgen Klinsmann, saying he’s a bad in-game coach who has left his team unprepared for big games over the last 19 months.
Players also went after assistant coach Martin Vasquez, who they described as “in over his head.”
In addition, the article describes a deep divide between the team’s American- and German-born players.
It paints an ugly picture, and it came at the worst possible time. The USMNT plays Costa Rica on Friday and Mexico next Tuesday in key World Cup qualifiers. The team — which is also decimated by injury — probably needs at least three points to prevent a full-on crisis.
Here are the most brutal quotes.
1. On the lack of preparation:
“One U.S. regular, when asked how frequently Klinsmann deploys a lineup or formation that wasn’t practiced before the game, answered ’70/30.'”
“So 30 per cent of the time, they take the field feeling confused. And that’s just the beginning of the players’ struggle to get the information they need.”
2. An unnamed player on the German-born players, part one:
“They stay to themselves. Jermaine [Jones] is the leader, and the rest of them follow him. I don’t know if they don’t care.”
3. An unnamed player on the German-born players, part two:
“It’s like they’re here and they enjoy it, but they don’t care as much as you should to play for the national team.”
4. An unnamed player what Klinsmann told his team at halftime of the Honduras game
“Didn’t really say that much. Just, ‘C’mon, we’ve got to win this game. They scored an unbelievable (tying) goal, and we can’t do anything about that. We’re going to win this game.’ It was never, ‘We need to do this. We need to change this.'”
5. An unnamed player Klinsmann’s focus on diet and conditioning:
“We do all this stuff. OK, it’s good for us and it’s scientifically proven. But in the end it’s a round ball. The Pelés and the Maradonas in the world weren’t doing all these things. I think we spend more time worrying about gyms and nutrition, and we don’t do enough of what we need to do on the field.”
6. On practice
“Another source said the players are ‘overtrained and undercoached.'”
7. An unnamed player on how Klinsmann wants them to play:
“They want us to play the beautiful game, but we’re not a technical team like the Germans. We’re not Spain or Brazil. What we’re good at is we work hard, we fight and we compete. We have great athletes and we’re a good counterattacking team. Maybe we need to go back to what we’re good at.”
8. On what these qualifiers mean:
“Things are boiling over. The feeling now is that this is (Klinsmann’s) last chance against Costa Rica.”
All of this could disappear with a two positive results in qualifying.
But it’s not looking good right now.
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