Will Klinsmann's Gamble Pay Off For US?

It takes a brave man to drop Landycakes and Tim Stannard - over in the United States - wonders if it will backfire for a nation ill at ease with reduced expectations...

Last Updated: 10/06/14 at 09:38 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Complete List Of Summer Transfers

28 comments

All the Premier League ins and outs in one place...

F365's Footballing Rons Quiz - The Answers

Post comment

We didn't even include your favourite Ron...

All Articles

Jurgen Klinsmann had a big choice to make, that all important conundrum of what will be needed in Brazil to get through the Ultimate Group of Super Death. Something had to go. There was only a finite amount of space. In the end, the USA coach went for the basic, no-nonsense choice - a couple of pairs of beige slacks and some blue ones for good measures along with polo shirts and trainers, too.

The decision was filmed in all its glory in ESPN's fine documentary 'March to Brazil', which captures the preparations of the US team ahead of the World Cup. The swift, practical choice of official outwear reflected the ruthless, perfunctory qualities of Klinsmann. The other telling moment was that just three outfits were chosen. With judicial washing, sadly, that may be all that is needed despite Brazil's current twin tendencies for sweatiness and torrential rain.

Despite being a country known for plucky optimism and a can-do spirit in the face of adversity, the US fans would not be at all surprised if the national side came home without a point and without a goal to the side's name. The Americans' group contains Ghana - a bogey team of the past two World Cups, Portugal and Germany.

Optimists look to a victory in the opening game against a Ghana team that might be overpowered by a side that runs about a lot, a point against a Ronaldo-less Portugal and a Germany team looking to preserve energy ahead of the next round. The glass-half empty brigade will simply note that the US may have to rely on Jozy Altidore up front for goals. Never a good situation at the best of times, never mind in the World Cup.

The alternatives are Clint Dempsey, who is not the same level as four years ago, Chris Wondolowski, an interesting MLS option, as well as Aaron Johannsson from AZ Alkmaar. Not exactly Cristiano Ronaldo, but by no means as depressing an option as Helder Postiga, to be fair.

One figure not on the list is Landon Donovan and boy, that got tongues a-wagging across the pond, not just because the LA Galaxy forward is the biggest household name to anyone who might dip into soccer Stateside. Landycakes - a term used to describe the striker's tendency to take it easy in MLS - was cut from the roster due to a combination of poor form and Klinsmann never really liking the 32-year-old. Some footballers were "just a little step ahead of Landon in certain areas", claimed Klinsmann with few believing the German trainer.

This dislike of all things Donovan began when the forward decided to take a sabbatical from club and international football at the end of 2012, claiming exhaustion, a feeling that sent him off to find himself in Cambodia. This did not wash with the former German striker, who has always wanted his footballers to be primed, motivated and ideally playing in top clubs in Europe, rather than taking on the calamitous defence of DC United for kicks.

Klinsmann's snub may have left an easier squad to manage, but it leaves the US without guile and firepower, at a time when it mosts needs it. The US national coach even admitted that his players are unlikely to win the tournament unless seven 'games-of-their-lives' are produced.

This caused gasps of those who expect a more positive attitude ahead of the World Cup for America's finest, balanced by those who know football and realise that Klinsmann was both talking sense and not saying anything too different to most other World Cup managers.

The game's standing in the US is sufficiently strong that a poor showing in the World Cup will not put a dent in the its support, but it will be a huge blow to Klinsmann, who is try to rebuild the US game from the grassroots level. That began by hacking down its biggest tree in Donovan, a heck of a gamble for a limited side.

Tim Stannard

As long as we get beat by "skill" and not "will", then US fans will be not too upset.
- dr soccer

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

FairyNuff
Shaw told to shape up

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Champions League: John Collins claims Celtic will have to be at best to get past Legia Warsaw

John Collins says Legia Warsaw pose a huge threat to his dream of Champions League football with Celtic this season.

Premier League: Daniel Sturridge confident Liverpool can shine without Luis Suarez

Daniel Sturridge believes Liverpool have the squad to handle Luis Suarez's exit and will challenge for top honours.

Transfer news: Simon Mignolet backs Liverpool target Divock Origi and welcomes Pepe Reina return

Liverpool are closing in on Divock Origi and the Belgium youngster has been tipped to shine in the Premier League.

Mail Box

Don't You Worry About Southampton...

We can't help but agree with one mailboxer who tries to calm the crisis-mongers gathering around Southampton, while we have mails on Man United's squad...

No Wonder Wenger Doesn't Buy British

That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property