Team USA looking beyond the US borders for its coach for the very first time five years ago, bringing in arguably the biggest name to ever stroll its sideline in Jürgen Klinsmann.
Klinsmann, a legend for West Germany back in the day, and guided the German national team to a third place finish at the 2006 World Cup finals. After that tournament Klinsmann became one of the most sought after coaches in the world. Thus is seemed a natural fit for him to manage Bayern Munich, Germany's biggest club and one he scored 31 goals for in the mid-90's.
However the union ended up being annulled the following year, and it seems Klinsmann's magic has disappeared since. Although even before his flameout in Munich, Klinsmann's relationship with his players and his methods were called into question. In particular when he was with Germany, it rubbed many people the wrong way when he would take the team to Orange County to train.
When Klinsmann tooks the reigns of Team USA the controversy followed him stateside as well. First order of business was the highly disputed exclusion of Landon Donovan from his roster for the 2014 World Cup. Luckily Donovan's absence was overshadowed by Tim Howard's performance, blocking the US' way into the Round of 16 before falling to the most talented squad Belgium has ever assembled. Still, we needed some help and luck just to qualify, although sometimes that is what you need when you're in the "Group of Death."
Even so, it's interesting to consider what that squad could have done if Donovan, the country's all-time leading scorer, were leading the attack as in years past.
Yesterday against Mexico was Klinsmann's latest failed experiment, fielding only three players along the back in defense. It came back to bite them as they dropped the three points thanks to a header from Rafa Marquez in the 89th minute to win it for Mexico. Now they have an uphill battle to climb for qualifiers, and face a tough Costa Rica side next.
Sure, the USA did better than expected in the Copa America. Although its a tournament that counted for nothing, and he again controversially left out a US star. Jordan Morris, one of the US' top young stars (even though he chose to stay in MLS), was left out for some strange reason. Morris' exclusion was unfortunate because the Copa would have been a great opportunity for the youngster to cut his teeth, especially since the tournament held no real ramifications.
Again though, Klinsmann showed he's not thinking straight out there on the sideline. Too many of his experiments and hunches have failed. Thus, to move forward we need to move on.
Photo: Flickr/Dan Farrimond