Thomas Rongen: Klinsmann Should Be Gone If U.S. Loses Saturday

The U.S. men’s soccer team authored a thorough beatdown in the Copa America on Tuesday, blanking Costa Rica, 4-0, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The Americans scored three first-half goals, with Clint Dempsey scoring in the ninth minute, Jermaine Jones scoring in the 37th minute and Bobby Wood scoring in the 42nd minute. Graham Zusi capped the scoring in the 87th minute, making it 4-0 on a left-footed boot from the center of the box.

It was complete domination. Indeed, the U.S. looked nothing like the team that lost 2-0 to Columbia last Friday night.

Now if only Jurgen Klinsmann could bottle this effort and unleash it going forward. Then again, Klinsmann – or anyone in U.S. soccer – might not know how.

“We’re a young soccer country. I don’t really think that we have identified a real style of play,” CBS Sports soccer analyst Thomas Rongen said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “That takes decades (to create). Players and coaches give you certain DNA. Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley (were) two American coaches that did well with those teams that were hard-working, which, the U.S. players are always hard-working. They’re very fit, they’re very athletic, they were mentally strong. But technically and tactically, (they were) always inferior to most high-level opponents. So we played low pressure, we tried to counter, we tried to be good on set pieces and tried to win games that way. Jurgen Klinsmann is trying to change that mentality to make us a better football nation. But I just don’t know right now if he understands that his players, with all due respect, aren’t good enough to execute the way he wants to play. It’s become a little bit of a technical chaos, I hate to say so, under his regime.”

As of now, Klinsmann needs a win this Saturday against Paraguay – or better yet, he can’t lose. If the Americans fail to advance past group play, Klinsmann could be out as head coach.

“If you want to make a change, you have to do it after this tournament,” Rongen said, looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “If you are convinced as a federation or as a president, Sunil Gulati, that that’s the way to go because the players are not responding to the instructions or the overall theme that Jurgen Klinsmann wants to do, (then you make a change). In all fairness, I’ve been fired several times in MLS. I’ve won a MLS cup as well. That’s the way it goes. He’s under pressure, he’s handled the pressure very gracefully right now, and I still think he’s a guy that eventually can stay on and do well. But you’re judged on results. At the end of the day, if they don’t make it out of group play, if they lose against Paraguay (on Saturday), I really think a change is inevitable and needs to be made.”

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