Remember the time that there was a mutiny at the World Cup? That time when everybody shot their mouths off, when some players were sent home and the national press had a field day?
Yeah, that wasn't the US. That was France. It was funny.
But thanks to some crack journalistic work by Brian Straus of The Sporting News, Yanks are all feeling a bit les bleus today. Or as the French would say, "I don't know what."
Shots have been fired in the US camp in a way they haven't been for 15 years. Players went rogue and groused about the coach's methods, tactics, and man management. All in the days before two crucial World Cup qualifiers.
Back in 1998, in the lead-up to the World Cup, the locker room's de-evolution into the final chapter of "Lord of the Flies" destroyed any chance that team had at success. Steve Sampson lost their trust and never got it back. Same thing happened to Raymond Domenech with France in 2010. Jurgen Klinsmann could be next if things hold their current course.
So it's imperative that things go right (duh), but it seems like the degree of difficulty was just ratcheted up a notch. Public complaints can really, at the point, only hurt the team.
Time for The Big Debate.
|The Argument||That's gonna leave a mark||Catalyst for change|
Well, let's see: The US have been a disjointed, uneven team that plays without chemistry or balance. They've blown four leads in four road qualifiers, have seen their goals per game plummet by almost 40 percent in the last two years, and have played 23 different lineups in 23 games under Klinsmann. For good measure, their loss to Honduras to start this round of qualifying was a carbon copy of their loss to Jamaica in the middle of the last round. So they don't adjust well. Or learn from their mistakes.
Add a sprinkling of distrust and internicine sniping to the bouillabaisse of disappointment, and you have... well, you have a team that badly needs at least three points from the next two games. And doesn't look much like one capable of getting them.
Jurgen Klinsmann may have been handed free rein by U.S. Soccer to carry out his mandate, but he certainly won't be getting it from the media. Now that he knows the players are unhappy – a fair amount of them if the numbers in Straus' article are accurate – he must now make adjustments or face even more scrutiny, especially if the US gets out of the next two qualifiers with fewer than three points.
So yes, morale may not be skyrocketing in the USMNT camp right now, but on the other hand, this might be the impetus Klinsmann and his staff need to make some changes. That, or he's been waiting until now all along and will make us and his opponents look like a bunch of fools.
Who do you agree with? Let us know in the comments below.