[U.S. HISTORY] Jurgen Klinsmann, on the job for just over a month, has yet to celebrate his first win after a 1-1 tie with Mexico and 1-0
losses to Costa Rica and Belgium. Here's how his predecessors, from Bob Gansler to Bob Bradley, started off and how they ended up doing in the long term ...
Klinsmann’s five predecessors each tallied at least one win in their first three games. The next U.S. game is Oct. 8 vs. Honduras in Miami. Klinsmann’s squad does not face official competition until the USA’s quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup begins next summer. Only Bruce Arena, who took the USA to the Confederations Cup in Mexico nine months after his hiring, had as long of a friendly-games-only period as Klinsmann will have had to fine-tune a squad.
BOB BRADLEY (2007-2011)
USA 3, Denmark 1 (friendly, Carson, Calif., Jan. 20, 2007)
USA 2, Mexico 1 (friendly, Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 7, 2007)
USA 3, Ecuador 1 (friendly, Tampa, Fla., March 25, 2007)
Hired in December 2006 as interim coach after Arena's departure and following the breakdown of negotiations between U.S. Soccer and Klinsmann, Bradley enjoyed an 11-game unbeaten streak (10 wins), which included a Gold Cup title, to start his tenure. After the first four games and before the Gold Cup, Bradley had the interim tag removed. Shortly after beating Mexico in the Gold Cup final, Bradley took a second-string team to the 2007 Copa America and lost three straight. In 2009, the USA beat Spain at the Confederations Cup semifinals and finished runner-up after a 3-2 loss to Brazil in the final. Bradley qualified the USA for the 2010 World Cup, where it lost in the round of 16, 2-1, to Ghana. He was let go after the USA fell, 4-2, to Mexico in the final of the 2011 Gold Cup, in which it also suffered a 2-1 loss to Panama.
BRUCE ARENA (1998-2006)
USA 0 Australia 0 (friendly, San Jose, Calif., Nov. 6, 1998)
Bolivia 0 USA 0 (friendly, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Jan. 25, 1999)
USA 3, Germany 0 (friendly, Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 6, 1999)
After a pair of forgettable efforts, Arena's team celebrated an emphatic win over Germany in his third game. In four friendlies before the 1999 Confederations Cup in July, the USA beat Chile, Guatemala, Argentina and lost to Mexico. At the Confederations Cup in Mexico, the USA beat New Zealand (2-1), fell to Brazil (1-0) and beat Germany (2-0) to reach the final, where it lost, 1-0, to Mexico. Arena went on to become the first coach to qualify the USA for the World Cup twice. The USA had its best World Cup performance ever in 2002 in South Korea, where a 3-2 win over pre-tournament favorite Portugal and a tie with South Korea took it to the second round, where it beat Mexico, 2-0, before losing to Germany, 1-0, in the quarterfinals. Also in 2002, the USA won the Gold Cup. Arena’s contract was not renewed after the USA failed to reach the second round of the 2006 World Cup, where it lost to the Czech Republic (3-0), tied eventual champ Italy (1-1) and fell to Ghana (2-1).
STEVE SAMPSON (1995-1998)
Belgium 1 USA 0 (friendly, Brussels, April 22, 1995)
USA 1, Costa Rica 2 (friendly, Tampa, Fla., May 28, 1995)
USA 3, Nigeria 2 (US Cup, Foxborough, Mass., June 11, 1995)
Sampson, an assistant to Bora Milutinovic at the 1994 World Cup, was named interim coach in April 1995 and after a pair of losses went on a roll that earned him the job. At the U.S. Cup, he guided the USA to wins over Nigeria and Mexico (4-0), and a tie with Colombia (0-0). Shortly afterward, at the Copa America, wins over Chile (2-1), Argentina (3-0) and Mexico (on PKs after a scoreless tie) led to a fourth-place finish after a 1-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals. Sampson did not win a Gold Cup, but his team beat Brazil, 1-0, in the 1998 semifinals in the USA’s first and still only win over the South American power. A scoreless tie at Azteca Stadium during his successful qualifying run to the 1998 World Cup remains the only time Mexico has failed to beat the USA in Mexico. Sampson was let go after the USA exited the 1998 World Cup with three straight losses, to Germany (2-0), Iran (2-1) and Yugoslavia (1-0).
BORA MILUTINOVIC (1991-1995)
USA 1 Uruguay 0 (friendly, Denver, May 5, 1991)
USA 0 Argentina 1 (friendly, Palo Alto, Calif., May 19, 1991)
USA 1, Ireland 1 (friendly, Foxborough, Mass., June 1, 1991)
Having guided Costa Rica to the second round of the 1990 World Cup set up Serbian Bora Milutinovic, who coached Mexico at the 1986 World Cup, to be the USA’s coach for the World Cup it would host in 1994. In his second month on the job, Milutinovic guided the USA at the Gold Cup, where it beat Honduras in the final after downing Mexico in the semifinals. It was the first U.S. win over Mexico in more than two decades. His most impressive wins in the long preparation period for the 1994 World Cup came over Ireland (3-1) and Portugal (1-0) in 1992, and England (2-0) in 1993. At the World Cup, the USA advanced to the second round as a third-place team thanks to a tie with Switzerland and a win over Colombia. The Americans fell, 1-0, to eventual champ Brazil in the second round. Milutinovic was let go in March 1995.
BOB GANSLER (1989-91)
Costa Rica 1 USA 0 (World Cup qualifier, San Jose, Costa Rica, April 16, 1989)
USA 1 Costa Rica 0 (World Cup qualifier, St. Louis, April 20, 1989)
USA 1 Trinidad & Tobago 1 (World Cup qualifier, Torrance, May 13, 1989)
The first three games for Gansler were World Cup qualifiers for Italia ’90 for which it warmed up by playing Colombian clubs America de Cali (2-0 win) and Independiente Santa Fe (0-0) in the Marlboro Cup. Gansler successfully guided the USA to its first World Cup appearance in 40 years. The USA lost all three games in Italy -- Czechoslovakia (5-1), Italy (1-0) and Austria (2-1). Gansler coached eight friendly games after the World Cup, posting a 2-4-2 win-loss-tie record and was let go after a 1-0 loss to Bermuda. Interim coach John Kowalski coached the USA to a tie with Mexico (2-2) and a win over Canada (2-0) in Los Angeles in March 1991 before Milutinovic took over.