T&T-USA Takeaways: Klinsmann shouldn't worry about job

No matter how you view the USA's 0-0 tie at Trinidad & Tobago -- better than recent end-of-year results or many recent results on the road in World Cup qualifying but not as good as the results for Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Guatemala, which all won on the road Tuesday in Concacaf play -- one thing is for sure. The result will unlikely force the ouster of U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, as had been suggested if the USA didn't sweep its opening two qualifiers.



1. Scoreless draw is a mixed result.

In comparison to any number of road games in World Cup qualifying over recent cycles, the 0-0 tie with Trinidad & Tobago was a good result. One can think of the 2-1 loss at Jamaica in the semifinal round in 2012 or the 1-0 loss to T&T in the semifinal round in 2008 (albeit after the USA had clinched its berth in the Hexagonal). The result in the final game of 2015 was also in sharp contrast to the last game of 2014, a 4-1 loss to an Ireland "B" team.

After struggling in the first half, the USA largely dominated the second half but will rue its missed chances to beat the Soca Warriors and join Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Guatemala, which all won on the road Tuesday in Concacaf play. Both Gyasi Zardes and Jermaine Jones hit the crossbar in the second half.

Mexico and Costa Rica are the reference points for the USA -- the two Concacaf teams that joined it in the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup -- and accomplished much better results on Tuesday night. Mexico beat Honduras, 2-0, in San Pedro Sula, where it had not won in 50 years, and Costa Rica won, 2-1, at Panama, which was coming off a 2-0 win at Jamaica.

2. Positives from Johnson, Yedlin and Altidore, but ...

Fabian Johnson didn't last long in Klinsmann's dog house. After being sent home after the 3-2 los to Mexico in the Concacaf Cup, the German-American was back with the USA for the opening World Cup matches but in a more advanced role at left midfield. Indeed, Johnson remains the best U.S. option, as he has for the last two years, at right back, left back and left midfield.

Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin gave the USA attacking options on the wings it has not had consistently in a long time. You can add to that Jozy Altidore, who had another strong game, setting up Zardes for his shot off the crossbar and providing attacking support all over the frontline.

Still, it wasn't enough to overcome deficiencies elsewhere, particularly the lack of attacking options from the two outside backs. Few could predicted that the USA, for all its troubles at right back and left back, would finish the year with Michael Orozco and Tim Ream (center backs for much of their careers) starting on the outside.

3. Still waiting for the new generation.

For the talk of the need to start breaking in a new generation of players, the USA remains quite an old team. The average age of the back five (goalkeeper and four defenders) and two central midfielders Klinsmann started against T&T was 30.4 years, and every one of them will be at least 30 by the time World Cup qualifying ends in October 2017.

Tuesday's only starter who broke into the U.S. starting lineup this year is the 24-year-old Zardes. With his appearance against T&T, he tied Claudio Reyna's record (set in 1994) for the most caps (19) in a player's debut year for the national team. Klinsmann praised Zardes as a special talent earlier in the year, but after some good moments earlier in the year, he has been disappointing this fall. He struggled in the Concacaf Cup against Mexico and on Tuesday night against T&T. To his credit, Zardes' versatility -- he started in midfield against St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Friday night and up front -- will keep him in the mix.
36 comments about "T&T-USA Takeaways: Klinsmann shouldn't worry about job".
  1. Andrew Kear, November 18, 2015 at 7:38 a.m.

    The U.S. will find a way to win despite Klinsmann.

  2. Scott Johnson replied, November 18, 2015 at 2:57 p.m.

    While there are many legit criticisms of JK, continually repeating the mantra of "if we lose, it's Klinsmann's fault; if we win (or tie on the road, which in this case seems an acceptable result) it was despite him", makes one look petty. If someone gets the blame when things go poorly, then he should get the credit when things go well, and vice versa.

  3. Richard Brown, November 18, 2015 at 8:19 a.m.

    I hate that we are not putting him under any pressure for results. But, he is loving it I am sure of that.

    Do any of you think he will actually coach in Germany ever again? Maybe ages 7 and 8. No men's teams for sure.

  4. R2 Dad replied, November 18, 2015 at 10:01 a.m.

    Your attitude demonstrates how far we have to go as a soccer nation. This isn't basketball or football, where any ninny can coach a youth team and the "good" coaches are at the top. We need some of our best coaches at U9, developing good habits in our youth players, prioritizing, building speed of thinking, quickness, leading. That's how it's done at the leading academies in europe. I would be thrilled if JK/Tab focused on the developmental side vs coaching the USMNT--their skills are much more needed at the youth level (as well as publicly shaming the dolts advocating kickball).

  5. David Mont replied, November 18, 2015 at 11:14 a.m.

    R2 Dad: I hate to disappoint you, but in Europe best coaches are coaching best teams. I don't see Sir Alex, Mourinho, Wenger, Guardiola, Klopp, van Gaal, del Bosque et al coaching children.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, November 18, 2015 at 12:08 p.m.

    This point is where US English fails us in not distinguishing between a soccer coach and a soccer manager. Some managers do both, but some coaches only coach, but will coach all ages at the club. It is a rare individual who actively participates in all of it.

  7. Scott Johnson replied, November 18, 2015 at 2:55 p.m.

    Maybe we should take a page from American football and hire "coordinators". :o

  8. Wooden Ships, November 18, 2015 at 9:15 a.m.

    I agree Andrew, that players can overcome coaching, as coaching is usually overrated to begin with. I have questioned this teams mental toughness and thin skin. US generational view IMO. I don't agree however that we will win and get to Russia with many of our current starters, namely our center mids and continuance with JA. Reiance upon restarts and fortuitous shots from Altidore has, I'm afraid run its course.

  9. Wooden Ships, November 18, 2015 at 9:17 a.m.

    Did I see the stats wrong? Did Jozy not get a shot off over the course of 90 minutes and stoppage?

  10. BJ Genovese, November 18, 2015 at 9:26 a.m.

    The BEin sports announcer even said himself that when he personally spoke to Klinsman two days prior, Klinsman stated he was not worried about losing his job. Did you all know that JK did not have to go thru the 6 month coaching course for his UEFA license in order to coach Germany? He was fast tracked on a 6 week course. Also I find it interesting that nobody has mentioned much about Darlington Nagbe. He is clearly the most skilled player on the field. He is no youngster either. He is 25 years old. When he plays he runs and moves the ball like any top skilled player I have seen in any top league. He turns and attacks as a first instict and has such skill with the ball he can keep it if hes in trouble and distribute. JJ days of coming in and pounding around should be over and poor Yedlin has no first touch. Clearly this inclusion of Nagbe has the other players on there toes. I can tell that Bradley is.

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, November 18, 2015 at 12:12 p.m.

    He is impressive but it is one thing to come on as a second half sub and another to start when opponents are fresh and pressing hard.

  12. Wooden Ships, November 18, 2015 at 9:36 a.m.

    That's encouraging BJ, abut Nagbe. Haven't been able to watch him much. Is this another example if JK not realizing quality. Would he and Feihaber be a dynamic duo?

  13. Scott Johnson replied, November 18, 2015 at 3:01 p.m.

    Nagbe has been a fixture with the Portland Timbers since the club moved to MLS, but only recently became a US citizen and eligible for USMNT play. Being a furriner, he was raised to play soccer properly. (At least he's not German). :)

  14. Winston Reyes, November 18, 2015 at 10:04 a.m.

    Sampaoli is in USA,sign him,Klinsman is finished

  15. Richard Brown, November 18, 2015 at 10:17 a.m.

    I always thought when coaches get older it would great if they did little kids.

    A player is like a house to build a good house it most have a good foundation. So I think experienced older coaches would really help our future players.

  16. Bob Ashpole, November 18, 2015 at 10:18 a.m.

    I thought the team was solid out of possession. Attacking in the final third was not so good, and the team failed to use Woods effectively when he came on for Zardes. Zardes had a bad day, failing to finish the easy header. It will be interesting to see if he continues to improve. Altidore, although he didn't score, showed significant improvement in his defensive play and in his combinations while attacking. Both areas that needed improvement. Zardes and Altidore could not ask for a better coach for them than JK. Obviously both teams were worried about losing and satisfied with a point to avoid letting the opponent move ahead in the standings. I only wish I could have seen more of the field during the broadcast.

  17. Joe Linzner, November 18, 2015 at 10:56 a.m.

    I agree Nagbe is a bright spot! Moves like a soccerplayer, handles the ball and keeps it, passes it effectively. I am excited by his inclusion. with talent like his in every position the US would be a REAL power. (stands to reason though with an international player as the father) It is time for Altidore to go... with 30 minutes to go he revertedto meandering back like a snail no defensive pressure at all and caught offside due his sloth. In any case decent result. I do have a question. Why should anyone worry about losing one's job? There are jobs everywhere and worrying about losing it is detrimental not only to oneself but to all those around you. It is a POSITIVE attribute. Not an arrogant one.... JK will always coach at a high level if he chooses to. If I were he, I would tell the USA to find a coach to their liking.. Just because the high percentage of US players have leaden feet it is entirely JK's fault he can't get them to SAMBA....

  18. Richard Brown, November 18, 2015 at 11:08 a.m.

    Why did his last German team fire him if he was so good.

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, November 18, 2015 at 11:56 a.m.

    Poor results.

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, November 18, 2015 at 12:04 p.m.

    Your implication that only poor coaches are fired for poor results is not true. At the professional level, most great coaches have been fired at least once. With some owners it doesn't matter how good you are if the team doesn't win.

  21. David Mont, November 18, 2015 at 11:16 a.m.

    It was a great result for Klinsmann. Bad result for US soccer.

  22. Richard Brown, November 18, 2015 at 12:18 p.m.

    One of the reasons he was let go was his players hated him.

  23. Kent James replied, November 18, 2015 at 2:27 p.m.

    I've always wondered how the US players feel about JK. To me, that's a crucial part of a coach (players don't have to like the coach, but they have to respect him).

  24. Kent James, November 18, 2015 at 2:32 p.m.

    To people who have suggested the great coaches should coach little kids because that is where the players learn the most, have you ever coached little kids? Completely different skill set is required. You need great coaches at that level, but they have to be great with 9 year olds, not adults. The emphasis on quality coaching at the young ages is appropriate (and most quality coaches prefer the prestige and more soccer oriented aspects of coaching older kids, so they have to be convinced of the importance of coaching younger ages), but they will not be the same coaches. At the professional level, I think the term manager is more appropriate. Professional coaches have to be great at spotting talent (preferably early and inexpensive talent), managing players, owners, fans and the press (and their egos), motivating players, reading the game and making tactical adjustments.

  25. Ric Fonseca, November 18, 2015 at 3:16 p.m.

    Re Zardes' miss-hitting the cross piece, holy smokes Batman, shades of WC 2014!!! As for Jones blast, reminded me also of WC 2014 when he blasted a goal from about the same distance. So what is they say, a tie is like kissing your sister, heck, we'll take it - that little peck on the cheek!
    Hey, let's cease with the nostalgia of years ago, of PLAY ON!!!

  26. Richard Brown, November 18, 2015 at 3:21 p.m.

    No Kent none of us have :) have you ever coached any team that did not have your own kids on it?

    Spoting talent is not that hard to do. Within ten minutes of watching a player play you know.

    Yes the term is manager we don't use that term in the US it confuses people.

    In England the better clubs steal talent from weaker clubs.

    This was a post from the manager of a weaker club in England made yrs ago. Town was Bury.

    "It really depends on the club.
    The only criteria that has changed is that they can only take on children under 16 from no more than 10 miles from the club.
    I saying that though, top prem clubs have now established 'Locality feeder clubs' which are either sponsored clubs already established or new club set-ups which incorporate a different area to the main club. From these 'clubs' the best players are taken for trials.

    This is one of the main reasons why top clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United now 'invite' young players for trials from other countries or indeed fund overseas feeder clubs in areas where there is no restriction on distance from a catchment point of view.

    As for the age at which players can be members of Schools of Excellence the clubs are bound by the new FA Child Protection Scheme sponsored by GOAL. I could easily say that its this or that age, but I know that even as young as 6 years old, there are instances of these 'talented' players playing for 'certain funded amateur clubs' which are the link to these Schools of Excellence.

    In my opinion, you can go to the FA Site and get the official line if you want, but that is only the superficial word - the actual way is far from that"

  27. Dan Phillips, November 18, 2015 at 6:33 p.m.

    Jozy Altidore sucked. Once again! 0 goals, as predicted. He cannot score against tougher competition.

  28. Vince Leone, November 18, 2015 at 7:18 p.m.

    I could be wrong, but I don't remember a U.S. team ever dominating in a CONCACAF WC qualifier. I remember victories from bunkering and countering. They did not dominate T&T this time, but they certainly bossed the game for significant stretches, and they definitely were not dominated. If Zardes could head, they would have won. Looked like incremental progress to me.

  29. Vince Leone, November 18, 2015 at 7:38 p.m.

    I meant "CONCACAF WC qualifier on the road."

  30. Dan Phillips, November 18, 2015 at 7:41 p.m.

    JK needs to give more playing time to better strikers than Altidore. Aron Johansson, Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, to just name a few. They need to play more and Jozy needs to sit. Too inconsistent. Only scores against weak opponents. Against tougher foes, he chokes under pressure! As evidenced in the last 2 games!

  31. Joe Linzner, November 18, 2015 at 9:09 p.m.

    His last german team fired him because he upset the old boys network at FC Hollywood. He was within a few games of first in the bundesliga. He revised their system too radically and it offended their German truculence. He also traveled back to California too often to suit Rummenigge und auch den Kaiser. Both Rummenigge and Beckenbauer are now under suspicion of criminality... They both brook no interference with their own infallibility.....

  32. Vince Leone replied, November 18, 2015 at 10:52 p.m.

    The same team that fired Jupp Heynckes when he only won the Champions League, Bundesliga title, a domestic cup, and a SuperCup (not sure if domestic or UEFA) in about 2 years.

  33. Vince Leone, November 18, 2015 at 10:42 p.m.

    Yup, JK is the problem. It has nothing to do with the players.

  34. Richard Brown, November 19, 2015 at 9:23 a.m.

    Remember when Altidore got hurt with Jurgens modern trading methods how did that happen? Who was his replacement who played in a similar way.

    Donovan could not have helped with our counter attack? wait we have no counter attack.

  35. Richard Brown, November 19, 2015 at 9:25 a.m.

    Was he at least acting optimistic in the last WC?

    How is he going to act in the next WC.

  36. Don Wilson, November 19, 2015 at 4:32 p.m.

    JK is doing exactly what he was hired to do, including ignoring the clamor that follows every game. Against a sadly overmatched team, he fielded mostly guys who may have good potential, may benefit from playing time, or may be useful in a new position. In 2018 we'll know if his vision and method has moved US Soccer toward perennial success, but not before.

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