USA-Costa Rica: Klinsmann sends Johnson packing

The biggest loss in the tenure of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has not triggered any immediate change, other than a reshuffling of the U.S. roster to face Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, UniMas, UDN), after a 3-2 loss in overtime to Mexico.

And if you were wondering if right back Fabian Johnsonwould keep his starting spot, you can drop him from your projections. Johnson, who asked to be substituted in overtime because of an injury, has been released. His departure leaves 20 players to face Costa Rica.

“I had a very severe word with Fabian Johnson, and I sent him home today,” Klinsmann said on Monday. “He can rethink his approach about his team. He said he couldn't go anymore and I reacted to it and obviously and made the substitution. He just feared to possibly get an injury, but he was not injured in that moment. He got all stiffened up. It's a muscle issue. It's normal." 

Disagreements with prominent players have been normal since Klinsmann took the job in August of 2011, but never has he had to restore his team’s spirit and confidence following a defeat as that inflicted by Mexico in the Rose Bowl.

Though outplayed from the opening minutes of the second half, the Americans rallied twice from one-goal deficits with goals by Geoff Cameron and substitute Bobby Wood but were stunned by a spectacular Paul Aguilar strike in the 118th minute.

Thus did Mexico qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup and kick another dent in the reputation of Klinsmann, who hadn’t lost to Mexico in all six previous meetings (three wins, three ties) as U.S. head coach.

Playing Costa Rica seems to be the ultimate anticlimax to the Mexico match, and if the Americans are unable to shake off the fatigue and disappointment of a crushing defeat, they could easily lose again. With the Mexico loss in the rear-view mirror, Klinsmann can use the game to rev up for the first two 2018 World Cup qualifiers next month against St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

Though Costa Rica has been in a bit of a funk since its sensational quarterfinal appearance at the 2014 World Cup that ended in a penalty-kick loss to the Netherlands, there are 11 holdovers in the squad to face the USA. Like the USA, Costa Rica comes into the match off a loss: 1-0 at home to South Africa on Friday. Also like the Americans, the Ticos split a pair of friendlies in September: 1-0 loss to Brazil and a victory by the score against Uruguay.

Safe to say the Costa Ricans looked much better in losing to Brazil than did the Americans in a 4-1 embarrassment.

The Concacaf rivals haven’t met since their third meeting of 2013, a 3-1 Costa Rica Hexagonal victory. The Americans won the home Hexagonal match, 1-0, in a snowstorm in Commerce City, Colo., and also prevailed, 1-0, in 2013 Gold Cup group play on a goal by Brek Shea, who is one of the five players added from the Mexico game (eight players have been released).

Shea started the year at left back for Orlando City and the USA but has been predominantly a midfielder in MLS since recovering from sports-hernia surgery performed in June.  The prospect of Shea lining up on the left side is one of several intriguing possibilities for an otherwise ho-hum encounter.

New York City FC midfielder Mix Diskerud and Sandhausen forward Andrew Wooten – who was called for the Peru and Brazil friendlies last month but never got off the bench – are two players who could give the U.S. a very different look going forward. So could Alejandro Bedoya, who missed training sessions leading up to the Mexico game with an illness and was scratched, and another of the additions, Revs’ midfielder Lee Nguyen.

There’s ample cover for Johnson at right back, including Brad Evans, his sub against Mexico. Klinsmann can use up to six substitutions for the Costa Rica game, since it is a friendly, and he’s likely to use them all given all the changes and the question marks about the team going forward.

How much this game can affect the start of qualifying play next month won’t be known until then.

USA Roster:
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton/ENG).
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America/MEX), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City/ENG).
Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), Mix Diskerud (New York City), Jermaine Jones (New England), Lee Nguyen (New England), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Danny Williams (Reading/ENG), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland/ENG).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin/GER), Andrew Wooten (Sandhausen/GER), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy.

Costa Rica Roster:
Esteban Alvarado (Trabzonspor/TUR), Keylor Navas (Real Madrid/SPA), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense).
Defenders -- Jhonny Acosta (Alajuelense), Francisco Calvo (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Club Brugge/BEL), Cristian Gamboa (West Bromwich/ENG), Ronald Matarrita (Alajuelense), Dave Myrie (Herediano), Bryan Oviedo (Everton/ENG), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps).
Midfielders --
 Eloas Aguilar (Herediano), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna/SPA), Mauricio Castillo (Cartagines), Oscar Esteban Granados (Herediano), David Guzman (Saprissa), Deyver Vega (Saprissa), Johan Venegas (Montreal Impact).
Forwards -- Joel Campbell (Arsenal/ENG), Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Marco Urena (Midtjylland/DEN).

26 comments about "USA-Costa Rica: Klinsmann sends Johnson packing".
  1. Ginger Peeler, October 13, 2015 at 4:09 a.m.

    JK didn't just send him packing, he threw him under the bus. These are athletes...they are more aware of their bodies and when something is definitely not right. JK dismissed Johnson's concerns and then dismissed Johnson AND chose to let the press know of what he perceived as Johnson's failing. What a great way for a coach to encourage his players' trust in him...snark..."Congratulations, you, too, can be publicly humiliated by your coach!!!"

  2. Santiago 1314, October 13, 2015 at 8 a.m.

    Drip, Drip,, Drip,,, The water Torture Continues... Won't be long now...Lost the Game; Lost the Locker Room; After tonight, Will Hopefully "LOST" His Job...

  3. Terry Lynch, October 13, 2015 at 8:22 a.m.

    Sent him HOME . . .to Germany, presumably where his real loyalties lie. Can we please get Americans in this team? Win or lose, I'd like to have players who are fully invested in the team. Includes the coach too.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, October 13, 2015 at 9:28 a.m.

    Yeah, Does anyone see Now; What I have been Saying about Needing a USA Coach that was a Former USA National Team Player**(WITH PROFESSIONAL TEAM, TROPHY WINNING EXPERIENCE)**...How can a GERMAN PASSPORT *Non-American* Tell a person, who AT LEAST WENT TO THE PROCESS OF GETTING A USA PASSPORT...That HE(Johnson) needs to BLEED MORE(Tear Muscles) for The USA Team.???

  5. Joe Linzner, October 13, 2015 at 10:06 a.m.

    What we really need are Players. Every single player on Mexico's eleven is head and shoulders above every one of ours in every facet of the game. The vaunted physical condition superiority certainly wasn't present and the return to bunker ball is a direct result of lack of condition. That is not a coaching lack of tactics but a product of miserablt conditioning..... Instead of xenophobic posturing one needs to look at the players who are generally dilletantes and spoiled believers of the "I" generation of AYSO everyone get's a trophy even those who chase butterflies. Think about it... Oh Santiago...I forgot...hate is a powerful thing.....

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, October 13, 2015 at 4:52 p.m.

    Humm.!?!?...and Yet the Player who JK says..."Quit" never played AYSO...German raised and Bundesliga STARTER...

  7. Walt Pericciuoli, October 13, 2015 at 11:05 a.m.

    Yes we need better players. That is and always has been the problem.We still must put in place a system of player development that will produce world class players. It's the only way you can have a world class team, a team that is worthy of a top 10 ranking or a least a team that dominates CONCACAF. Which I assume is US Soccer objective.(I would be happy for just attractive soccer) From what I have seen, we have regressed in our player development.The system needs to change. First and foremost, someone must be placed in full charge of our youth development program.Perhaps this is where JK fits. There really hasn't been enough time to evaluate our youth development under JK, he's only been in charge since 2011. The current players were already in the pipeline when he came on board. With that said, he has to go as our head MNT manager. We need a coach/manager who can work with the current mix of players. No more mind games, just play your best.Someone who understands their mentality and can get more out of them than JK can. Probably Bruce or Bob should be called back (if they'll take it) to get us qualified.

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, October 13, 2015 at 4:59 p.m.

    You think Peter Vermes or Dom Kinnear doesn't understand USA Players and How to get the Most Out of them...Why Go Backward to Bruce and Bob, though they would be fine by me, if Peter or Dom wont do it

  9. Bret Newman, October 13, 2015 at 11:16 a.m.

    No need to exaggerate like that Joe. Mexico is not that superior to us, otherwise JK is a great coach. Mexico wish they had Wood, Yeldin, or goalkeeper Howard. Plus Mexico's defenders aren't that talented, they just play their position right, something the USA knew how to do before JK. Speaking of Howard, we need him back in net. Although Guzan is a good gk, he's probably are worse goalkeeper we had as our #1. He's definitely not as good as Howard, Keller, or Freidel.

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, October 13, 2015 at 5:09 p.m.

    Well said

  11. Joe Linzner, October 13, 2015 at 11:54 a.m.

    We also should ask who are the better players in the MLS? How many are American? How many are consitently the better players??? Right there one must ask why that is and let's face it. The players who are reaching their zenith right now have absolutely no connection to Klinsmann are not products of anything he is responsible for.... Xenophobia the name is Santiago....

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, October 13, 2015 at 5:25 p.m.

    Joe, Yo no Tengo "Xenophobia" I Married a "Foreigner" in a Foriegn Country...and went thru Hell to get the Necessary "LEGAL" Paperwork to get her into this Country...I have had to sit in lines in Embassies in 2 Different Countries filling out Paperwork...Mi Hijo tiene "Dual" Nacionalidad, so don't even try to pull the Racist Crap on me...I have been very clear... I don't care where you are Born or What Color you are or even your Sexuality (Robbie Rogers should be playing tonight at Left Back)... You have an American Passport and you are willing to Bleed RED, WHITE and BLUE then you can play for Me.!!!

  13. Joe Linzner, October 13, 2015 at 12:04 p.m.

    I have to disagree Brett, Mexico's players can hold the ball, dribble better and effectively. On any one on one dribble we lose the ball they do not. You just need to replay the game and see how the one on one confrontations work. Their passes, even when surrounded by two or three of ours find their marks while we can't quite often without presure, Their movement off the ball and their vision in seeing that movement is generations ahead. It is a denial of the facts right there for everyone to see. To blame JK for the bunkering is also a faulty set of reasoning. As far as playing their positions right before Klinsmann why did we generally concede goals befor Klinsmann. Convenient loss of memory or denial of facts, How many coaches have been undefeated against Mexico like JK. He has lost once in 7 meetings. How did Arena the gorilla or Bradley the general fare?? Think a bit less with prejudice and more based on facts

  14. Delroy Wallace, October 13, 2015 at 12:38 p.m.

    It is painful to see the lack of progress from players like Bradley, Dempson, Jones,Altidore, to name a few!these players with so much experience! It is apparent they are not up to snuff and never will be any better which is not good enough.Time to get rid of them! No pace, no vision, technically weak, no spirit! Klinsman has little talent on the pitch, and the had better start blooding the younger players. Whu is Bobby Wood second string to Altidore?

  15. beautiful game, October 13, 2015 at 1:14 p.m.

    Bret, chill out; biggest factor between the two squads is Soccer IQ, making things happen, and efficacy. These qualities are missing.

  16. Ginger Peeler, October 13, 2015 at 5 p.m.

    Turns out Johnson WAS injured and will not be playing for Gladbach due to a thigh injury. As I said, an athlete knows his own body. JK owes Johnson a public apology. Have we ever heard Klinsmann apologize for a mistake? Or does he ever make mistakes?

  17. Dan Phillips, October 13, 2015 at 5:02 p.m.

    Why didnt's he send Altidore packing? That is the one that needs to go home! Never should have been on team to begin with.

  18. Bret Newman, October 13, 2015 at 5:23 p.m.

    Joe, Mexico has always been better dribbling and keeping possession, that's nothing new. That's going to take years in the youth leagues, and quite frankly, I don't know if we have the right coaching for that. For now, we have to play our game, and our style of play to beat them. We're bigger and stronger, and superior in the air to Mexico, and that's what we have to win by for now. We are like a poor man's Italy. They like to play and win that way.

  19. Ric Fonseca, October 13, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.


  20. James Froehlich, October 13, 2015 at 6:17 p.m.

    Great comments Joe! However,one recommendation in the future. Do not engage with the pathologically disturbed! It accomplishes nothing other than validating their ramblings.

  21. James Froehlich, October 13, 2015 at 6:26 p.m.

    My guess is that Fabian will make a "miraculous" recovery and be in the lineup this weekend for Moenchengladbach. I'm curious to see what happens.

  22. Tim Brown, October 13, 2015 at 7:54 p.m.

    You guys all have your own opinion. Right. That's fair here. But the fact is the USA program is going nowhere and is worse off than the Arena years JOE.So when you call a coach that produced the greatest team in USA MNT history a gorilla, I don't have much respect for your opinions or assessments. I think it is time to get rid Of JK. He is not the complete problem as many including Joe have stated, however; the results and JK managing style leave a lot to be deserved. Just my opinion.

  23. Joe Linzner, October 13, 2015 at 10:17 p.m.

    Santiagp, I am a naturalized United States citizen. Atthe time I became a citizen there was no dual citizenship possible, matter of fact I had to renounce any affiliation to any other nation, title and swear to defend the US and on and on basically the same oath the military takes. However, soccer for me is as serious as religion. begiining at 4 I slept with a ball, went to school with a ball in the net, walked home with a ball in the net ever day from kinder garten until I left Austria. played, coached, refereed. Even if we ever play vs Austria I will wear red white and blue and never rot weiss rot. Rapid Vienna was the team with which I wa affilated and attended camps beginning in my tenth year. Alas, left for the US at 11. Played org. ball in cleveland at ethnic teams then the greater Los angeles league which at the time was as highas you could go in the US at my time... my youth that is. But who really gives a crap what I did or didn't do or how I arrive at my judgements. For me I see players who would never be selected to play on a team I would choose and I,speaking from experience at coaching from 5year olds to Highschool and club teams. I was told by a player in Highschool that he doesn't care to get into the finer points of soccer. All he wants to do is be on a team. This is the same player who in Highschool was unaware that the outside of the foot can be used with just as much power as the inside instep. All they ever wanted to do is place a crowd in front of the goal at one of the goals and have the keepers, Yes multiples and who ever scores gets to sit down. The first guy to sit down wins and the last guy loses. That was the most rediculous thing I have ever had to witness.. NO SOCCER WAS EVER LEARNED... A college coach thought that actually taught them soccer.....PS our team scimmaged UCLA, at the time a national soccer power. We had to borrow two UCLA players,yet we solidly beat them...5:2 could have scored about 5 more but took pity.. 3 of those were mine......Being Austrian ensures I am not a germanophile. matter of fact I judge them harsher than most but NO ONE can make silk purses out of pigs ears.

  24. Joe Linzner, October 13, 2015 at 10:19 p.m.

    Nuff for me... I am just one guy. Every time i even try to give some of my background I am called a braggart beating my own horn and I understand that the older we get the better we used to be.... In my case I am and always have been my own worst critic.

  25. James Froehlich, October 13, 2015 at 11:41 p.m.

    Joe - your story reminds me of my old neighbor who came to the US from Czechoslovakia. He started me on the path to my love of the beautiful game. Unfortunately the "beautiful game" has yet to make an appearance in the US. How can there be any beauty when no one teaches, learns, or executes good passing, shielding, trapping, etc. If by accident a player does make a great move, pass or trap, no one including the idiot media even notices! How many times have you heard an announcer or fan actually voice approval at a good trap, an effective shield of the ball, or a well executed succession of passes!! But, listen to a Spanish crowd break into applause when these things occur! Go to any level of US game and you will note that few people even pay attention until the ball reaches the penalty box. With that kind of environment, is it any wonder that our home-grown players never learn to execute well the very basics of the game. Everyone screams about shaking up the player development system, but the real problem is much bigger and more basic. To borrow a cliche from a very old comic strip, "WE HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY, AND IT'S US".

  26. Santiago 1314 replied, October 15, 2015 at 11:08 p.m.

    Figures you would Take one of America's Greatest Quotes(War of 1812) and Instead of using it in its Proper Way, you used the Enviromentalist quip from "Pogo" Cartoon in 1970... (of course at that time we were worried about Global COOLING){Time Magazine Cover 1977(How to Survive the coming ICE AGE)}...The Actual Quote IS; "WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS OURS"...Maybe that is JK's Problem, He gets advice from people that don't know their History(or Tactis) and is therefore DOOMED TO REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES...Like Jones at Left Midfield and Bedoya at Def Mid, and Dempsey at Hi-Forward and Jozy, again and Again AND AGAIN.!!!

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