CHESTER, Pa. – This is not the time to panic. Nor is it the time to even consider any kind of organizational shakeup.
Those are the lines US Soccer president Sunil Gulati stuck when he met with reporters at PPL Park after the Americans crashed out of the Gold Cup with a penalty kick shootout loss to Panama in Saturday’s third-place game.
“Progress is not linear for anyone,” Gulati said. “There are bumps along the way. This is totally a bump. The team was certainly on a high in the spring. And today’s a low. But those are the norms for everyone.”
When asked if manager Jurgen Klinsmann could be in the same boat as former US coach Bob Bradley, who was fired after a defeat in the Gold Cup final four years ago, Gulati was quick to say “I don’t think that’s a reasonable assumption.”
He then again pointed to the Americans’ recently friendly wins over Germany and Netherlands – and the fact that the team has only lost once in its last 10 games – as a reason why.
“I said the last time we don’t make judgments based on the last game,” he said. “We don’t go in and renew a contract because we beat Germany and Holland away from home, and we don’t make a change here. So there are no parallels [to Bradley] at all.
Gulati certainly acknowledged not winning the Gold Cup is “a big disappointment.” But, at the same time, he’s excited for the “reprieve” of getting to face the winner of Sunday’s Gold Cup final between Mexico and Jamaica in a playoff to get to the next Confederations Cup.
If the USMNT loses that game, would Klinsmann be on the hot seat?
“Let’s get past today,” Gulati said. “I’m not going to speculate on stuff three or four months away when I’m not sure who we’re playing or where we’re playing.”
As for the logistics of that playoff game, which will be played in the United States on Oct. 9, Gulati said the decision of where it will be held is entirely up to CONCACAF.
He did have a suggestion, though.
“Columbus would be good,” he said with a laugh.