USMNT: A Statistical Analysis of the Jurgen Klinsmann Era

John D. HalloranContributor IIMarch 12, 2014

FILE - In this June 18, 2013 file photo, United States national soccer team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stands on the pitch before a World Cup qualifying soccer match against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. U.S. Soccer wasn't taking any chances of losing Klinsmann to another country or club. The federation broke with tradition and gave its coach a four-year extension before the World Cup in part because it feared other teams would pursue him after the tournament in Brazil next summer, USSF president Sunil Gulati said Friday, Dec. 13, 2013.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Although Jurgen Klinsmann has been at the helm of the United States men's national team for two-and-a-half years and 46 games, his reign as head coach can still be considered an enigma. While he has led the U.S. to a first-place finish in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the 2013 Gold Cup and impressive friendly wins over Italy, Mexico, Germany and Bosnia, questions still remain.

The team has had more than its share of lackluster performances under Klinsmann, competes in a region largely considered one of the weakest in the world and won the Gold Cup this summer over "B" and "C" sides. The coach has also been inconsistent in his demands of the players, insisting that they be in good club form for call-ups while clearly ignoring that principle for many players. He has also seemingly favored other players, regardless of repeated poor performances with the national team.

To try and take an unbiased look at the U.S.'s performance under Klinsmann, let's examine the statistics. While the old adage that "numbers don't lie" is, ironically, far from the truth, perhaps some deeper understanding can be gained by delving into the raw data (all statistics taken from U.S. Soccer and compiled in a spreadsheet here).


Minutes Played

Minutes played under Klinsmann
Tim Howard2,816
Clint Dempsey2,194
Jermaine Jones2,099
Michael Bradley1,942
Jozy Altidore1,892

There aren't many surprises when looking at the Americans among the leaders in minutes played with Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore at the top. Klinsmann recently named those exact five players as the "spine" of his team.

One surprise, however, is that cast-off and former captain Carlos Bocanegra is still 12th in minutes played and Steve Cherundolo, who has been missing from the team for over a year with injuries, is still 13th in minutes.


Goals Scored

Goals scored
Clint Dempsey14
Landon Donovan11
Jozy Altidore9
Chris Wondolowski8
Eddie Johnson7

Again, there aren't many surprises among the U.S.'s top goalscorers with Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Altidore, Chris Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson rounding out the leaders, in that order. Donovan and Dempsey have been the team's top attacking threats for years and have combined for 25 goals in the Klinsmann era. 

Wondolowski's total of eight goals is impressive, but contrarians would point out that all eight were scored against "B" sides.

One interesting stat from the goalscorers is that defender Michael Orozco is tied for seventh on the team in goals with three.



Landon Donovan10
Michael Bradley5
Fabian Johnson5
Clint Dempsey4
Jermaine Jones4
Alejandro Bedoya4

At the top of the assist chart is Donovan, followed by Bradley and Fabian Johnson in a tie for second and Dempsey, Jones and Alejandro Bedoya all tied for the fourth spot. The fact that Donovan has more than twice as many assists as Dempsey, especially considering Donovan has played 600 less minutes than Dempsey, is a compelling argument to play Donovan in the No. 10 role for the U.S.

Interestingly enough, World Cup hopeful Brad Davis, who many consider a long shot to make the team, is seventh in assists and has tallied three of the U.S. team's last five assists.



Landon Donovan32
Clint Dempsey32
Jozy Altidore21
Chris Wondolowski17
Eddie Johnson16

Using a two points for a goal, one point for an assist format, Donovan and Dempsey tie for the points lead with 32. Altidore comes in third at 21, followed by Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson, in that order.


Where Does That Leave Us?

It's certainly hard to come to any hard conclusions from the data gathered as is, other than that Klinsmann's most often used players have found the most success. But when looking at the data by points per 90 minutes, a couple of players—otherwise unnoticed—stand out. The points per 90 minutes leader (with a minimum of 180 minutes played) is Wondolowski, followed by Donovan, Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Altidore. But after that are several players that many U.S. fans have clamored to see more of.

Points per 90 minutes
Joe Corona0.827th place
Terrence Boyd0.818th place
Brad Davis0.809th place
Aron Johannsson0.7610th place

At the No. 7 position in points per minute is Joe Corona. He is followed by Terrence Boyd at No. 8, Brad Davis at No. 9 and Aron Johannsson at No. 10. Those are four players that the numbers say Klinsmann should be giving more of an opportunity to with the World Cup rapidly approaching.


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