Klinsmann's 'nasty' comments spoil the moment

Just when I was about to heap praise upon Jurgen Klinsmann he has to go and utter the most repulsive words I've ever heard from a U.S. national team coach.

"Maybe we're still a little bit too naive, maybe we don't want to hurt people, but that's what you've got to do,” Klinsmann said after his team fell, 4-1, to Brazil.

And not for the first time, Klinsmann said his players must get “nastier.” When I heard him use that term last year, I figured that the German, although his command of languages is truly remarkable, must have been unaware of its definition, i.e. “filthy; indecent and obscene; highly unpleasant; vicious and spiteful.”

But now he talks about “hurting people”?

“We've got to step on their toes more and get them more frustrated," Klinsmann went on after the Brazil loss.

Well, Klinsmann has one player who knows all about stepping on toes -- the German-born and -raised Jermaine Jones, who tried to maim Neymar in the second half with a two-footed flying tackle while the Brazilian was near the sideline at midfield and not even in need of being tackled.

Jones, you may recall, was made captain by Klinsmann in January while serving an eight-week suspension from his German club Schalke 04 – for stomping on the toe of Marco Reus. Everybody knew Reus entered the game with a broken toe, and Jones went after it. (VIDEO)

Jones, after he returned from suspension, received eight yellow cards in 10 Bundesliga games. He got one on Wednesday, perhaps pleasing Klinsmann, with a foul that could have easily injured one of the world’s greatest young stars.

It’s unnecessary to explain why the U.S. national team coach should not be advocating “nasty” play and “hurting” people. Many great teams have succeeded without that attitude and it’s simply not the way we want the USA to play the game.

And besides Jones, it’s not the way the USA is playing -- while showing nice progress under Klinsmann, whose team beat Italy in Genoa last February without Jones.

Klinsmann’s USA entered the Brazil game on a five-game win streak. Within the last five days, it played two very entertaining games, Saturday’s wonderful 5-1 rout over Scotland and the loss against Brazil that, despite the scoreline, offered so much to be pleased about. Never has the USA created so many chances against Brazil. For sure, the defense can be criticized, but the Brazilian finishing was superb. And the USA stormed into the attack for most of the game trying to come back -- so of course the defense will be vulnerable.

I’d rather have a U.S. team fight for the comeback with such spirit and risk a rout than be satisfied with a narrow loss. It was why I was to praise Klinsmann. In a friendly game to prepare for World Cup qualifiers, his team played attack-minded soccer against a team that most others would set up a bunker. The performance -- if not the score -- bodes well going into Concacaf World Cup qualifying.

On Wednesday, Klinsmann's men went down a goal in the 12th minute on what surely wasn’t an intentional handball. They hit the post, were thwarted by great saves, and fell victim to some Brazilian brilliance.

They did not lose because they weren’t nasty enough. And it's not how they should try to win.

45 comments about "Klinsmann's 'nasty' comments spoil the moment".
  1. Carlos Thys, May 31, 2012 at 4:20 a.m.

    Well, we saw some of the nasty didn't we? Steve Cherundolo's tackle on Marcelo in the second half was a cheap shot; it was fully on purpose. The cynical kind of play to thwart an attack before it starts, Cherundolo had no play on the ball. [Now, Marcelo should be more than pro and experienced enough to just take that in stride and not descend to the level he did at that moment and several times later.] Cherundolo later put his arm and hand directly in Neymar's face, striking Neymar's face. That was not long after I thought Jermaine Jones had just taken out the world's most tantalizing player, Neymar (yes, I like Messi just fine, but Neymar is his equal and has a dynamism all his own). I was grimacing because this is the mental blackout Jones I have known for over eight years. [Remove Jones from the squad; he has no place in a U.S. side.] Clint Dempsey was hardly on the field and he elbowed Brazil's right back Danilo in the head completely needlessly. (That would be a red card offense.) The only reason we got the lone U.S. goal was that Bradley had some "extra time" on the ball due to Maurice Edu body checking to the ground a Brazilian after Edu totally flubbed a simple ball trap. Edu had no play on the ball, just body checked. A real ref would have blown the whistle and Bradley never would have been able to pass on to Johnson. Overall this was a horrid performance. (Did Landon Donovan even care? Torres' first half shot? A 16 year old could do better.) Sorry, this was a very junior and inexperienced Brazil with the exceptions of Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Hulk, and Pato. The average age difference -- over 6 years per player. Only a few good U.S. moments: Howard's left hand stop in the 18th minute. (Howard looked bad on the Marcelo goal and why didn't he move toward Marcelo?) Bradley's pass to Johnson, Johhson's play, and several Gomez moments. I saw a lot of little niggling cheap shots. Not sure if we'll see Brazil wishing a friendly match with us again any time soon. This really is beneath the level of play that a U.S. squad with this many caps needs to do, playing a very junior (experience AND age) Brazilian squad. And if Klinnsman said this, then, well he's not got the maturity to have this honor of being a U.S. team coach.

  2. Carlos Thys, May 31, 2012 at 4:33 a.m.

    It cannot be overstated: Jermaine Jones tackle was reckless, grotesque, and cheap. It was also pointless, as Mr. Woitalla points out above due to the location of the 'tackle' on the field. It was, more than anything, dangerous to Neymar. A memo to Jones: You really don't want to go down in the annals as the guy who put Neymar into several surgeries, on crutches, in multiple rehabs and clinics, and absent from the game for 8 - 9 months -- due to a 'tackle' in a "friendly" match. Unless the money is really good, don't look for a U.S chance to host Brazil again in the next 34-36 months. As stated above: I cannot emphasize it enough; the U.S. program should want nothing to do with Jermaine Jones (and that would hold true regardless of the last match we just witnessed). His national team days should be OVER.

  3. Chris S, May 31, 2012 at 7:39 a.m.

    I couldn't disagree more with you Carlos. Jones is a solid player for US. He is one of the few that didn't back down. While Jones tackle was rough, he did get all ball. Both sides were a bit chippy and I don't have a problem with that. There weren't a lot of flops and both teams played hard. Quite a few players were completely overwhelmed last night i.e. turnover the ball and panic on the ball (I don't need to point them out and embarrass them). Klinsman's comments are focused on the fact that are team wasn't mentally tough. It doesn't have to translate into stepping on toes but it is the spirit of not being afraid.

  4. C H, May 31, 2012 at 8:10 a.m.

    What are you talking about?!? The kaiser is dead on and couldn't be more correct. The USMNT DOES need to get nastier and anyone who has watched them for an extended period of time would agree with this assessment. They are constantly playing like they're afraid of their opponent, back down on challenges and generally let the other team dictate play and all other aspects on the field. By manning up and playing "nastier" you assert your style of play over technically superior opponents (and most opponents will be technically superior for the foreseeable future, it's reality). If you can make an opponent think twice before going in for a 50/50 ball, you've already won.

    This is not an endorsement of dirty play by any means and I am all for dishing out cards for late/bad challenges (see most tackles by JJ). You can, however, knock heads within the laws of the game.

  5. Gak Foodsource, May 31, 2012 at 8:19 a.m.

    Mike, this is a good article. The quote as stated is hard to argue with. We have a long way to go and lots to work on, but hurting people wasn't something I thought we had a need for. Im just going to hope Klinsi meant "tougher" , not nastier, and that he wants teams to be intimidated by the US ans their resolve, not scared we may break their legs. I have to agree with Carlos and Mike if Klinsi meant the latter - it isn't the way I want my national team to play.

  6. Andy Jansen, May 31, 2012 at 9:39 a.m.

    Obviously you're inferring meaning of the words "hurt" and "nasty" different from what JK means. I've always taken that message from him to mean the US MNT needs to get cold hearted and want to destroy (in play and score) the opponent. To evolve from an "orange slices at halftime" team to Manchester United not giving a rat's ass about the opponent. It's happening, too. Look at the difference between Donovan and Dempsey. Donovan has the "orange slices" mentality and Dempsey has that "nastiness" that JK is looking for.

  7. Oscar Alonso, May 31, 2012 at 10:36 a.m.

    This article tells us why the US will never obtain a world trophy of any kind in football/soccer.
    You don't have to play 'nasty' (funny how it's charming when the NBA's San Antonio Spurs coach uses it, but un-american when a German coach says it), if you want to languish as an ok team in the world. Sure, it was a friendly (in the books) but friendlies only exist now as charity matches, or old timers games.
    I was surprised to read a quote from Donovan on how Americans don't dive, it's not the American way. Yeah! Landon Donovan said that.
    Keep wanting the program to grow and eventually lift a World Cup trophy? Then the mentality MUST change. You don't have to publicly say that you're going to impose your will on them, no, not at all, but when the whistle blows you're defending your home with everything you have at your disposal. If that means you take a hard foul, then that's what you do. If you enter any game with schoolboy innocence, you're doomed.
    Brazil would play the US again tomorrow if it was offered, do you think they're afraid of the USMNT? I'll tell you who they don't want to play, they don't want to play the teams that will knock them around for real.
    You ever see Brazil when they're trailing? What do they do? You don't see the smiles, the jogo bonito. You see guys tackling hard and elbows flying!
    As long as this approach by Klinsmann remains offensive to Americans then just stop trying to achieve anything in world soccer. Do us a favor and stop now. Go back to bowling and baseball, shut the blinds and pretend America IS the sports world. Just stop wasting our time with what you want to achieve!

  8. Theodore Eison, May 31, 2012 at 11 a.m.

    First off, Jones did get all ball.
    Secondly, Brazil's cynical play far exceeded that of the USA last night.
    Third, there's nothing wrong with advocating a physical brand of play -- certainly, Brazil was more physical on defense than we were.
    It's funny how people are focusing on critiquing Jurgen's words and our boys playing hard on defense, and not paying attention to Marcelo's cynical play, which puts him in the same league as guys like Nigel de Jong.
    And there's no question of the play acting and asking for cards that the Brazilians got away with last night. I used to admire the Brazilians for not resorting to such actions, but things have changed, I guess.

  9. Douglas Wood, May 31, 2012 at 11:40 a.m.

    I have to think that Klinsmann really means that he wants his players not be afraid to play a physical game. I truly believe he is not advocating breaking legs. Now Jones' tackle was harsh but he did get the ball. It was the trailing leg that led to the foul and the card, I think. And while this might be a "junior" Brazil squad, a junior Brazil squad probably has far more experience than most other squads, given that most of the Brazilians have been playing since they were old enough to walk. And I bet the street ball they played as kids was plenty physical. All Klinsmann wants is for the U.S. to have a killer instinct, to never let up on the opponent, to always be looking for that goal-scoring opportunity. That's what wins games. That is the winning mentality. I was heartened to see the U.S. continuing to hustle even when down 3-1. I hope that continues.

  10. R. AARON WHITHAM, May 31, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.

    Mike, I've seen you write about JJones before. Did he steal your lunch money in elementary school? What is up? Yeah, he has been known to make a few rash challenges, but he's not going to be off the natl team for quite a while. If you're going to write about his conduct, then write about Marcelo's as well.

    In regards to Klinsy's comments, I felt he was pissed off that we came out showing too much respect to Brazil and look scared. He wants the "killer mentality" from his team. And stop getting caught up in semantics. That doesn't mean to kill everyone, and if you listen to the coaches full quote, he's referring to putting pressure on the other team's players and the referees. If we want to compete against the best in the world on the soccer pitch, we must have this mindset.

    We're making strides, as evident in Genoa last year and Scotland last week. We just need to have as much respect for our playing abilities as the other world powers. We'll get there.

  11. ricky ross, May 31, 2012 at 1:18 p.m.

    thats fcuking right MIKE just like the rest of the so-called media.......if Alex Ferguson said the that about his Team " he would be trying to "spark his team" however words like that coming from A US COACH" REPULSIVE" are you kidding me? its like these so call Commentators on Match Broadcasts, a Adu or anyother US Players for that matter beats a couple of Defenders (a few,megs,couple of stepovers...)they immediately brands or look down on it, but Neymar does it its " immediately put up in lights, point is its about time we start saying like it is suppose to said "FIRE FOR FIRE" GAMESMANSHIP FOR GAMESMANSHIP AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST IGNORE SO CALLED "MEDIA PEOPLE"

  12. Jack Niner, May 31, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.

    It should be quite obvious by now Klinsmann is NOT the great savior some thought he would be. Klinsmann should be repremanded. I would rather watch a USMNT attempt to play with the worlds best and lose than revert to dispicable play to try and gut out a cheap win. This is embarrassing for the USMNT.

  13. Scott O'Connor, May 31, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.

    What about Marcelo trying to spike Cherundolo in the head after a foul? Was that OK because Marcelo is Marcelo and he's great and he plays for Real Madrid and he scored a goal a little while later. So his bad behavior is OK cuz it's Marcelo being Marcelo. Double standard crap. That should have been a straight red card for Marcelo, yet he wasn't even cautioned for trying to kick Cherundolo in the head. Then that wasn't enough for the jackazs, he later had to slam a ball into Cherundolo while Steve was on the ground. Oh sure he made it look like he was continuing play but it was clear he was retaliating (the ref agreed and gave him a yellow for his troubles). Let's lose the self-righteousness. Our guys play like little pansies. Other teams stomp all over us. It's time to "Man up" a bit and start giving back a little.

  14. Brian Tucker, May 31, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.

    Good lord. It seems like half of the commenters have never been on a soccer team, much less even watch or follow high level clubs (ironic being on Soccer America, especially). Watch any professional English team and I guarantee that they will play "nasty," which means with tenacity and physically, not "let's go foul the crap out of the other team." "Step on their toes?" You've got to be kidding me. No manager means to actually go and step on their toes. If you're going to be a soccer columnist and analyst, you need to learn to read quotes in context, not literally. Klinsmann's whole point was that, like many comments before me stated, the U.S. came out slow, passive, and defensive. The only way our team will get better is to play with aggression and force our defense, one of our biggest holes save for Howard, to learn how to defend on their own. We didn't get squashed that game. Actually, as far as performance goes, that was one of the better games I've seen. We had lots of chances, but couldn't finish. I attribute that to Dempsey not being in, since it appears he is the only one capable of finishing against high level players.

    U.S. soccer has come a long way, but we really need to up the confidence level and stop giving other teams so much space and credit. That's how we get beat.

  15. Scott O'Connor, May 31, 2012 at 2:01 p.m.

    As for the foul on Neymar, Jones GOT ALL BALL. His back leg caught Neymar and flipped him. Don't give me this about Neymar being near the sideline and he shouldn't have been tackled. He was in play and was going to jet towards our goal if given a chance, so Jones tackled him, got the ball and took out the kid with his back leg. After whining and crying to try to draw a red, he was back running full speed a minute later. The point that could be made, given Jones' reputation, is whether Jones was trying to "get him" or not. I hope he wasn't trying to cause harm but I also don't mind him sending a message either.

  16. Carlos Thys, May 31, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.

    Mr. Klinsmann also used the expression "pissed off" in his official post match (sit down, at the microphone -- these were not off hand comment to an irritating reporter) Let me share with many here who may not know it: Joachim Loew or Joeggi Loew, the present German National Team coach and primary assistant to Klinsmann in the run up to the WC 2006, emphasizes regularly with the German National Team players: We will play without fouls. He even emphasizes never going to ground on a slide tackle. I just don't see how mostly very seasoned US players (only Johnson and Boyd are new) can get so rattled by Brazilian players that averaged in age 21.7 years old (due to Hulk at age 25 and Thiago Silva at age 27 as the "old man.") Most are only 20 or 21! Do watch the nearly four minute post match official commentary from Mr. Klinsmann. He looks huffy and comes across that way several times. Though this is AFTER the match and AFTER the halftime, he still does not know that the Gooch handball was a handball and the right call by this referee or any referee. (He has all kinds of USMNT people up in press box levels who can watch replays and inform him -- less than one year in the job and Klinsmann already wants to blame the referee?) He also wants to claim that Pato was 2 yards offside for the fourth Brazilian goal. A real coach might say, "I'm not certain about that final Brazilian goal, but at that point the woodwork and an excellent display by Brazil's goalkeeper Rafael were denying us, so a second goal for us, though it should have come, just did not seem to be in the cards." (That leaves is clear that you have doubts about the fourth goal, but you are not outright saying once more "the refs erred again!" In the space of just these four short minutes, Klinsmann speaks into the microphone at the sit down press conference (when one has had ample time to towel off, formulate lucent thoughts, calm down, be composed) immature wording multiple times. That is not what a seasoned and professional leader must do. That is not what I expect to see from our National Team Coach. (It must be pointed out, however, Mr. Klinsmann has learned the American way of inserting "you know" into every 20 seconds of verbal commentary.)

  17. Carlos Thys, May 31, 2012 at 2:45 p.m.

    Also listen to Mr. Klinsmann talk in this short video (just You Tube it or go on theorginalwinger dot com) when Klinsmann talks about FC Barcelona having a call go against them and 10 Barca players immediately in the match referee's face. "So many that the referee does not know which one to card." (I think I have his words pretty close to exact.) As the kids say: "Say What?" Mr. Klinsmann, I cannot speak for the FC Barcelona match strategies and practices prior to circa year 2000, but that comment is ludicrous in a national team press conference. It is a terribly immature comment and invalid because it is untruthful. And I would never want to see any team I am associated with have 10 players in the match referee's face.

  18. John Foust, May 31, 2012 at 3:22 p.m.

    Carlos Thys is promoting a loser mentality and Klinsmann is promoting a winning mentality. It's as simple as that. Watch the Barca and Spanish MNT defenders, and those of Germany (despite Loew's pandering words), England, and the Netherlands, and you will see hard play all the time, slide tackling all over the field, and a "don't back down for anyone" attitude. Klinsi is exactly right - "nasty" is an attitude of "not in my 'hood" and is needed before the US will ever advance to play like ... er, Brazil.

  19. Ramon Creager, May 31, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.

    I agree with Mr Woitalla almost 100% about the "nasty." I think it's worth pointing out that the US teams got a lot of reds last WC, so nastier may well be counterproductive. Where I disagree is that I'd much rather see a manager use his head and adapt tactically against a super team like Brazil. Only a very, very few teams are able to play an open, offensive style regardless of the opponent, and the US is certainly not in that elite group. That is why they got spanked. So, Mr. Klinsmann: cut the nasty crap and play a little more sensibly. There is no shame in playing more defensively against Brazil. You may get a result that way. You won't by getting your players sent off.

  20. Mario Araujo, May 31, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

    Does want the US to play the Ugly Game while Brazil played the beautiful game?

    This is the main reason we have to get new coaching blood in our youth system. We need to teach "Jogo Bonito" not the ugly old english style of soccer prevalent in the USSF soccer. If we want to get Soccer even more popular soccer, we need attractive soccer.

  21. C. Zee, May 31, 2012 at 3:53 p.m.

    Perhaps no one remembers that it was a Brazilian (Leonardo) who knocked USA's Tab Ramos out cold with an elbow in the 1994 World Cup.

    What most people around the world remember is that Brazil were World Cup Champions.

    The reason Brazil and most countries still do not fear playing the USA is they have no respect. That respect comes in many forms - scoring, winning and a take no prisoners attitude.

    I never saw Brazil Captain Dunga shy away from a tackle. and your Marcelo has no halo.

    Enough lecturing. More listening Mr. Woitalla. Mr. Klinsmann can teach even you a few things.

  22. Kent James, May 31, 2012 at 4:06 p.m.

    Great column, Mike, and I agree with your analysis. You've raised some great questions that have generated diametrically opposed views. The first is what does Klinsman mean by needing to be "nastier"? JK is a smart guy and fluent in English, and this is not the first time he's said it, so I think he means what he said, which disappoints me greatly. Some commenters have suggested that the US is not tough enough, that JK is really calling for aggressive play, playing with confidence in yourself and your teammates, not being awed by your opponents, never giving up, etc. I'm all for that. But that's not playing "nastier". Playing nastier is what Jermaine Jones did to Neymar (it would be good to ask JK if that is what he is advocating). By the way, a few people have suggested that because JJ "got the ball", it was okay. Wrong. Jones' tackle was a foul for two reasons (and a yellow card for 2 more). First, it was a classic example of "excessive force". Neymar is standing still on the sideline, JJ launches his body at full speed, studs up (on the ball; over the ball, it would be an automatic red). If Neymar's foot were fully planted, his leg could be broken (which is why it's a foul even if he gets the ball first). Luckily for Neymar, the foot on the ball was not planted, so he survived that foul, but then to make sure, Jones' trailing leg swept Neymar's other leg. Jones was not subtle. This was calculated to send a message. I would hope that is not the message JK wants the US to send to the world. We're better than that.

  23. Allan Lindh, May 31, 2012 at 4:08 p.m.

    I thought the second half was about the best I have seen the USMT play in years. Guts and love of the game, played with speed and verve. Of course we don't have a pair of WC center backs, and until we do, Brazil and their ilk will score a lot of goals -- that's life. At least we played like we weren't afraid. And much of that goes to the much maligned Jermaine Jones. (I have yet to see a tackle from him clearly designed to injure -- ala Nigel de Young or Marcello on Fabergais for instance.) He's just tough enough that now it's the other guys have a little fear in their eyes.
    Other thing I noticed was that we really need Hercules Gomez on the field. He seems to be the only one with the personality, language and culture to jolly-up the Central-American ref's, something we badly need during WC qualifying.
    Time to face the reality that Gooch and Carlos will not be our centerbacks come the next WC, so time to give Cameron and Parkhurst a run, and if that doesn't work, start searching through our plethora of midfielders to see who'd like to learn to play centerback. We might get through qualifying with this backline, but God help us if we try to go to Brazil with this bunch.

  24. Eric R., May 31, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.

    I find this article and much of the debates about a bit simplistic. The US has to do X to get Y. Lets turn this around a bit.

    Brazil is my second favorite National Team after the US. I went to the match yesterday expecting to see an attractive style of play from Brazil, and one that the US would try to keep up with. On that level, my expectation was met. What surprised me though was that Brazil played much more physically than I expected. Marcelo played well without having to take anyone down, so why was he constantly mugging US players? I saw several plays where US attackers got nailed (even in the box), and no call was made.

    To me, the referee let the game get as scrappy as it did because he refused to give out cards. He didn't think twice about changing the balance of the game in ... what the 12th minute ... to call a penalty kick, but he decided to be cautious with the cards?

    Anyway, the best teams in the world have good technique and toughness. I feel that we didn't match up physically yesterday. I take it for what it was. We take this to learn from and move forward.

  25. Kent James, May 31, 2012 at 4:22 p.m.

    Assuming JK meant what he said, that raises the 2nd question. Can the US team win at the highest levels without cheating? Many commenters think that's naive. They imply we need to grab shirts, shorts, throw elbows, take people whatever it takes to win. I think that's bunk. That's not what the game is about. Let's take this to the logical extreme; would we like to be the nation that wins the World Cup by cheating? Cheating didn't help France much at the last WC (and Henri's handling didn't even hurt anybody and was not a conscious strategy). That kind of stuff has a way of catching up to you (as it should). I think the US is better than that. We may not be the best team in the world, but we have the capability to play with the best (when we play well). And to those who think that playing by the rules is naive, I'd say Barcelona does pretty well. So I hope JK does not try to make the USMNT "nastier", but keeps trying to play attractive, attacking soccer without neglecting the mental toughness and 'never say die' attitude that most American athletes have.

  26. jon james, May 31, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.

    I am shocked at how naive the article and many commenters are. Have you watched top level national team soccer. I mean really watched? The US is not rough or dirty in comparison to other nations. We also do not dive to compensate for other's rough play. We can choose to play 'pure' a la arsenal or barcelona, but our players must ALL be technically better than the opposition to make it work. That is why those teams are so rare. The USA doesn't have those players and the current youth development system isn't going to develop them so the national team must make choices to be competitive.

    The difference in outcry over the term 'nasty' is also astonishing. One of the great basketball coaches is greg popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. He said "I need a little nasty" in a huddle and it has been embraced by fans of all ball teams and put on t-shirts. No one took it to mean go out and injure players. It was taken as JK meant it. To play with a tough aggressive mentality.

  27. Glenn Auve, May 31, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.

    Jones is a thug with little apparent talent. And he makes mental mistakes at the worst possible times. See the goal that made it 2-0. I have been mystified by his inclusion in this team. It's a shame Jurgen is so enamored of him.

  28. Kerry Ogden, May 31, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.

    Theodore, Scott, Brian and a few others, I definitely agree with you, I saw the physical thuggery play from the Brazilians team and the pacifist play from the USMNT in the first half and Klinsmann saw it too. I'm glad that in the second half they/USMNT stepped up their game and looked better.

  29. R K, May 31, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

    Tab Ramos? Brian McBride? Those incidents ring a bell for anyone (besides those who actually had their bells rung)?

    The US shouldn't dive or embellish. And we don't. Good for us; I like that.

    But playing with an edge and using our strength and physicality to our benefit? I have less than no problem with it; I endorse it.

    Can't disagree with this article enough. Ja, Klinsi!

  30. Pelusa Bastida, May 31, 2012 at 7:38 p.m.

    Es muy lamentable que este entrenador reconocido mundialmente, pierda la cabeza, y hable estupideces.
    Que interpretacion y ejemplo reciven los juveniles con conseptos como este???espero que este respetado ex-jugador y ahora buen entrenador, esplique y se disculpe, esas palabras son de gente que no puede, de jugadores y equipos limitados, frustrados, que especulan con lo anti-futbolisco, para valerse con triunfos ilusorios, que asi no significa nada. Queremos calidad y clase futbolistica “JUGAR BIEN PARA GANAR” (M. Bielsa) creo no es tarde, revizar conseptos y establecer un sistema digno, que nos ensene a jugar futbol con protagonismo con inteligencia, con calidad tecnica, con velocidad mental primero!, Y porsupuesto con furza fisica y pasion por lo que amamos: EL FUTBOL

  31. Bob Zalimas, May 31, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.

    An NFL team would rather play the Colts or Bills than the Ravens. Why? Bc they know the Ravens play smash-mouth football for all 4 quarters, i.e. it is gonna hurt. This is what JK is saying. It is not playing dirty, but rather playing with some intimidation. Our lack of intimidation is one reason why DeJong breaks Holden's leg with impunity. He knew he could get away with and essentially bragged about that fact after that game. I bet DeJong does not get within 50 yards of Holden if Jones was on the team at that time!

  32. James Froehlich, May 31, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.

    So much naivete in this article and in many of the responses that it's nearly impossible to know where to start. I love the Brazilian team, always have, but if anyone thinks these guys are just a bunch of delicate, exquisitely skilled players who would never, ever resort to "dirty" play I would remind them of Tab Ramos's near death experience! Both Dani Alves and Marcello are known to be highly skilled players but also each has a "bite". I am not advocating nor condoning challenges like Jones's because that was not only thuggish but also stupid. It just breeds responses and exposes the player to the obvious card. However, if you have ever watched the Brazilian team in a tight, important match you will see an assortment of trips, tugs, shirt pulls, ankle "bites", studs up near misses, etc --- all designed to intimidate and harass the other team. Barcelona is my favorite club team and those who think there is no such gamesmanship going on has never really watched Dani Alves, Busquets, Mascherano, Piquet. To pillory Klinsmann for his comments is to totally misunderstand his intentions and to completely misunderstand the intensity of professional sports, all sports. In every sport all the professional athletes seek to gain whatever advantage they can while dancing carefully on the line between a "foul" and incidental contact. Why would we expect soccer to be any different. This isn't cheating. It's being willing to play physical enough at the right times, even if it means a foul. I wonder if Mike W is as critical of the NFL and NBA teams and coaches that he follows??
    On a separate topic, someone criticized Klinsmann for not taking a more defensive posture against Brazil. That shows a complete failure to understand what JK is trying to do. He is trying to develop a team that is comfortable and confident in playing a passing game. If we deviate from that every time we play someone who is better than we are, what does that teach the team. If we want to move to the next level we need to leave bunker-ball behind --- certainly at the level of friendlies.

  33. James Froehlich, May 31, 2012 at 9:28 p.m.

    Ric -- read your comments after submitting mine -- if I had seen yours first I wouldn't have had to spend all that time writing. Your comments were dead on. The reference to AYSO was pitch perfect!!! We are dealing with grown men playing a highly competitive sport for their country and for their livelihoods --- not little kids. What other sport in this country has to put up with such naivete from its media and its fans???

  34. Chris S, May 31, 2012 at 10:58 p.m.

    I am surprised how reticent so many are about a hard tackle that got all ball and some good leg too. It is a "statement" tackle and shouldn't be criticized.

    I played agains the German U16 B team and we were fearful of them. They played rough and by fearing them, we didn't play our game and lost. I love the mentality that Jurgen is attempting to establish and it will reap many benefits.

    Carry on Klins!

  35. R2 Dad, May 31, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.

    JJ adds a necessary spine to the team. That said, his scissor tackle was cynical and unnecessary. He read the referee correctly, though, that his trailing leg was not going to draw the scrutiny that his leading leg (which got the ball, not that it matters) did. I couldn't believe that throughball came from the foot of Bradley--in the past he would have just blasted away from downrange or turned it over. Gooch now has more experience but still not enough--his back leg played Pato onside for that 4th goal.

  36. Dick Burns, June 1, 2012 at 12:10 a.m.

    We have had "nasty" players in the past who have ended up with yellow/red cards and they have done nothing more than hurt the team with dumb fouls

  37. John Lakers, June 1, 2012 at 1:39 a.m.

    This article is a complete joke! Jurgen Klinsmann is a BOSS who has been through everything a player can achieve at the highest level deal with it Mike!

  38. Karl Schreiber, June 1, 2012 at 10:41 a.m.

    There has been too much “ink” and time wasted on a quote that is taken out of the context of a – perhaps - emotionally charged post-game comment. Mike’s two articles were unnecessary and, yes, naive. They, as well as many comments after the first article, belong to the soccer corner conversations in the sports bar. You know?

  39. Carl Walther, June 1, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.

    Some of the people here who have commented that the US does need to play dirtier, and that Jones is a good player because he is a thug, really have some emotional problems. These are people who want to watch others comment acts of violence on the field because they inwardly desire to do so themselves. They would never attack another person, of course, unless they had lots of people behind them.
    And yes, I do have a PhD in psychology.

  40. Dr C, June 1, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.

    This is a poor article. Being nastier doesn't necessarily mean illegal. You tackle hard but fair, let the other team know you are there. If you have a striker that knows he is getting get clobbered hard when he gets the ball it completely affects his play. If he knows nothing is gonna happen then he is much more comfortable. A lot of teams have an 'enforcer'...Viera, Keane, De Jong, Mascherano...these guys hit hard, sometimes it was/is too hard.
    Look at the EPL, Arsenal traditionally does badly against the aggressive/nasty teams like Stoke. Arsenal are physically weak and a less skillful team is able to compete due to this. Klinsmann is just pointing this out but Americans nowadays are sensitive souls.

    BTW, the naive article is even worse. Your players are naive in general. Dempsey, Howard and maybe 1 or 2 others are the exception. Not surprising that your best player (Dempsey) is also your 'nastiest' player (exception of Jones)...he knows what it takes to compete at/near the top (as does Jones but he can go OTT just as Barton, etc, do). None of your other players compete at the same level for that long. Onyewu btw, never played for Milan in the league...even when he played for free his last year!! Besides, experience and tactical naivety are two different things.

  41. Mark Grody, June 1, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.

    No waisted ink at all. We're arguing about the soul of our national team. I like that our Nats play with more naive sportsmanship than most of the teams we face, even though it costs us sometimes. Yet, I also feel like we do need more of an edge as well. Time & place. One of my favorite moments in MNT history was the 1st time I saw Harkes play. 1st time I ever saw a MNT player make a retaliatory tackle. It was needed, wonderful, & effective. That & Caliguri's goal, were the signature moments for the MNT improvements over the few decades.

  42. Andres Yturralde, June 1, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.

    The US is getting better, I like it. They fell asleep a few times, yes, but they were also unlucky a few times. If you don't think so, go back and watch the game. It's easy to talk when you're not out there doing the actual work. Cracking that very special code called BRASIL is not as simple as it seems. Regarding the "nasty" and "naive" comments: Who cares? Only a couple of words expressed in the heat of the moment. On Jones fouling Neymar: It was stupid and bad, but Neymar knows how to sell, too. So please get a hold of yourself--get some perspective. Go watch Santos play the opposition in Brasil or in the Libertadores. See how much harsher Neymar gets fouled? See what a great actor he can be?

  43. rafael araujo, June 1, 2012 at 8:49 p.m.

    Carlos Thys, I am Brazilian and I say that no brazilian team plays friendly. Brazilian championship matches are wars. Neymar, Marcelo, Oscar and the others are used. You can see that the end of the game, the players exchanged friendly shirts (Neymar and Jones embraced without resentment). Brazil would play the US again. sorry my English.

  44. soccer know it all, June 2, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.

    I believe JK's pregame strategy and in game tactical adjustments are his biggest weakness; a blindspot that was at least partly negated by Joachim Loew along with higher qualilty and seasoned players when JK was coach of Germany.

    Brazil came out in a 4-2-4 formation with all forwards high pressing the US backline, this aggressive pressing defensive tactic deployed by the brazilians was extremely effective and exposed the US teams lack of skill on the ball, and thought process when challenged. Understand that Barcalona does the samething to opponents in la liga/champions league, and the best counter strategy is to employ in game defensive tactics the likes of Jose Mourinho's inter milan 2010 team and Chelsea's strategy this yr in CL. No team can apply this much defensive pressure for a whole 45 minutes, not even young energetic brazilians, it's to exhausting; but there strategy from the start of both halfs was to use this tactic to throw the US team off its game and score goals, which is exactly what they did. Once the brazilian pressure subsided we witnessed a US side that was able to apply there new found offensive abilities: teamwork, tactics and goalscoring chances effectively, which is JK's biggest accomplishment with the US team so far along with his intectious energy and enthusiasm . The brazil game can be viewed as a great learning tool for future world class opponents who will enter the game with superior players; skilled, and tactically aware of US teams weaknesses, and how to develop a counter strategy for US team to imploy when facing such opponents.

  45. James Froehlich, June 2, 2012 at 9:25 p.m.

    SKIA --- I won't disagree with your comments about JK's weaknesses but I am still reserving judgment. IMO, this game had nothing to do with strategy, tactics, or formations. It was all about attempting to play according to what JK has stated is the new US style (passing out of the back, midfield possession and a full offense attitude. If we are able to accomplish that 10% of the time against Brazil, we should be able to overwhelm our CONCACAF rivals. If this had been a meaningful game, the only strategy, given the comparable levels of team skills, would be fo us to play like the Dutch did against Spain and Chelsea did against Barca.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications