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FIFA Ranking: 34 (Started in January at No. 18)
Tournament Performances: Runners-up at 2011 Gold Cup
Best Performance: 1-1 Tie vs Argentina in New Meadowlands, NJ
Worst Performance: 0-4 Loss to Spain in Foxborough, MA
The Phases of the Year:
The End of the Bob Bradley Era
Word to Describe Phase: "Inevitable"
When the USSF re-signed the controversial coach after the 2010 World Cup, it came as a bit of a surprise to most USMNT fans. History shows that the longer a coaching tenure goes, the poorer the results get, so commiting to a mediocre coach for another World Cup cycle seemed like the absolute wrong decision at the time.
And it still seemed like a bad call 10 months later when the USMNT was embarrassed by Spain, Panama and Mexico all at home in a one-month period that featured some of the worst play in US Soccer history. The US’ bad habits that plagued the team just a year before at the World Cup had gone unsolved, and to make matters worse, the team lacked the fire inside their bellies and failed to perform the dramatic late-game victories that we all know and love.
The team needed a change, and the 4-2-4 record (wins against Panama, Canada, Jamaica, Guadeloupe) showed that.
Experimental Stages of Klinsmann Era
Word to Describe Phase: "Experimental"
While the record may not show an improvement, USMNT fans shouldn’t be losing too much sleep over the opening struggles to the Klinsmann era.
Many of us fell victim to Jurgen’s resume and prestige and expected an immediate impact on the playing field. That was unfair of us, for this was simply an experimental period. A period where Klinsmann could get a feel for the player pool and figure out who he wanted to represent the USA three years from now at the next World Cup.
His foreign relationships and ability to steal multiple talented German-American prospects is unprecedented in US soccer history, and his prestige can attract a whole new level of mixed-breed Americans that would never have even thought about playing for the federation prior to his arrival.
Although Klinsmann’s candy tastes sour now, we will all be thankful for the experience when we are living sweet success in just a few years.