With the semi-surprise firing of Bob Bradley last week and hiring of the long sought after Jurgen Klinsmann, Team USA is embarking on a transition to a new identity and admitting to a flawed system that needs to be revamped. After last night’s 1-1 tie with Mexico, we are left up in the air as to predict what will happen the next few years for the USA team. Klinsmann went as far in a recorded interview during the game that the USA had no chance to win a world cup in the foreseeable future.
Cue the excitement for Brazil & Russia for fans.
Under the helm of Bradley, the team became predictable and easy to pick apart if you had a little patience. They never changed their strategy of play strong, bending but never break defense, systematic midfield and wait for the counter attack to score their goals. This left all fans to be able to predict what would happen before every match. The USA won every game they were suppose to win (except for the loss to Ghana in the World Cup) and lost whenever a team had the better athletes. Proponents of Bradley will point to his stellar record (43-25-12) but omitting his shocking victory against Spain in 2009, every win was against the cupcakes of CONCACAF. Their schedule basically resembled Notre Dame football playing and beating no name schools but always losing to the USCs and Stanfords.
But that is the past. No one will remember Bradley next year as USA begins qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. By being candid about the USA’s current potential, Klinsmann is doing two things: Creating super low expectations that everyone knows he will surpass and addressing his biggest problem and the current flaw in the USA soccer federation. His players are old. Really old in soccer terms. His pipeline of players is aging veterans that will have a hard time making any leap in the next few years to be competitive.
There are no current young players that make you sit up and take notice.
Very few players are getting invites to go play overseas.
Klinsmann is being handed a very empty closet of talent to work with. The US Soccer Federation needs to make a big change to get young players into a serious training program and begin advancing them at a young age.
Use friendly games like the one against Mexico to give young players time and confidence. It was very encouragingto see the goal and other stellar play from young guys like FC Dallas’ own 21-year-old Brek Shea, Robbie Roger, and 19-year-old Juan Agudelo. It is time for guys like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan to take a back seat and let the young guys have a chance the next few years. That might not be popular but needs to be done to enhance future potential.
All loyal Team USA fans have been calling for a major change for the last year or so. They got their wish with the hire of Klinsmann. Things will definitely be changing from top to bottom when it comes to USA soccer. The next few years will lots of new names and faces.
It is clear: Out with the old, In with new.
Lets hope that leads to big time results.