Klinsmann spoke to finding not just a great American player but also one that will stand across from the world’s best and believe he is better. One that doesn’t go into these games thinking about just surviving or rising to the challenge, but instead that he’ll impose himself on the other side.
The U.S. needs its alpha dog – a few of them, actually.
“It’s not only physically and technically but also mentally,” Klinsmann said. “It’s a completely different ball game [at this level] … we still give it a little bit too much respect in our end when it comes to the big stage. This is something they have to go through; no matter how many years it takes.”
Perhaps the most promising sign of this tournament came in the furious final 15 minutes here Tuesday. Trailing 2-0, Klinsmann inserted 19-year-old Julian Green for his World Cup debut. Rather than be intimidated by the moment, the German-American scored almost immediately, on a beautiful finish, to keep the outcome in doubt.
“Nice first touch for a World Cup,” said Bradley, whose chip set up Green.
That’s the level of skill that has to be the future for the U.S. to finally break through. That’s the presence. That’s the seizing of opportunity. Only they need a bunch of those guys.
It is Klinsmann’s chief task as he continues to oversee all of America’s soccer development.
Soccer has arrived in the United States. It’s here for good. Kids playing. Fans watching. The national team is an engaging and enjoyable group. There is no questioning the commitment of everyone involved.
Yet once again, the Americans trudged out of a World Cup bitterly disappointed, stuck on the Round of 16, with no viable answers.
They gave everything they had. It’s just once again they didn’t have enough players capable of playing with anyone on the planet.
Klinsmann has talked about this a lot. Too many top players spend four years in the NCAA rather than being sent to the elite clubs around the world. He also doesn’t have any control over the style of play that the top U.S. clubs or NCAA plays which means that he has to continually be teaching his style of play to new players. There is also the problem that MLS plays during the summer and not during the winter which means that the national team schedule interferes with club schedules.
I like Klinsmann a lot but he has a lot to overcome to make the USA into World Cup contenders that other national teams do not.