Fifty-one year old former German national team player and coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, has been the manager of the United States national team since 2011.
During his tenure he has become the winning-est coach ever of the United States. The team has gained legitimacy with him at the helm, however, they have plateaued recently and now there are more questions than answers.
Klinsmann lead the United States out of the “Group of Death” in last year’s World Cup but, at the same time, he faced massive backlash for not adding Landon Donavan to the United States squad – a move that seemed personal at the time.
When striker Jozy Altidore went out in the first round leaving the team without a true attacking centre forward the snub proved to be a mistake.
This year’s loss to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semi-finals, despite being heavy favourites, had some fans calling for Klinsmann’s head.
Luckily for Klinsmann, Americans have short memories and victories in friendlies against European powerhouses Germany and the Netherlands may have put some critics back on the fence.
Now, Klinsmann and the U.S. national team, have a new challenge on the the horizon.
On October 10th the U.S. national team will play in a one-game play-off at the Rose Bowl against their bitter rivals, Mexico. The match will determine who will represent the region in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Will the United States national team be ready to face the crafty Mexican team?
Judging by their performance on Tuesday night at Gillette Stadium in a friendly against Brazil that would be a big “No!” The Brazilians’ man-handled the U.S team winning the match 4-1.
On the same night Mexico played number one ranked Argentina to a 2-2 draw. This alone would not be a big deal considering it was a friendly but the team is one month away from an important match up against the tough Mexican team and Klinsman is still experimenting with players and positions.
Klinsmann called in Michael Orozco and Ventura Alvarado from Liga MX to fill the centre back positions despite the fact that the two had never played together.
This line up experiment forced Tim Ream and Geoff Cameron to play out of position and it showed. The U.S. backline looked lost and the defence was torched all night.
In another curious move, Jurgen Klinsmann benched World Cup hero Tim Howard for Aston Villa Goal Keeper Brad Guzan.
To top it off, with Clint Dempsey unavailable due to a hamstring injury, Klinsmann called up Stanford University player Jordan Morris.
It was tall order for an amateur player to fill in for the 48 career national team goals of Dempsey. Granted, Jordan is the future of U.S. soccer, but the future is too far away to benefit this team by next month.
Klinsmann does not have a lot of time to get this team back on track. Another disappointing loss in a big game could pull him out of the frying pan and into the fire and with 2018 World Cup qualifiers starting in November it could be time for a change.
Will the United States win next month against Mexico?