Klinsmann Gets Another Abysmal Grade After Loss
November 15, 2016
THIS IS A TOUGH ONE. How do you dole out player ratings in a meltdown? It’s hard. This was not just a loss. This was the sight of a team collapsing either from giving up or from shellshock. The United States lost 4-0 to Costa Rica and now sits dead last in the Hexagonal, and it was one of the worst losses in program history.
Anyway, I will give it my best shot.
Brad Guzan: He kept the U.S. in the game longer than it deserved with a pair of nice saves early (including one off his face). For that, he gets a respectable grade. Rating: 5
Matt Besler: Playing out of position, Besler wasn’t good but he wasn’t horrific either as the attack seemed to be focused down the other side of the field. Rating: 4.5
John Brooks: You would never know that Brooks is one of the fastest rising central defenders in the Bundesliga. He had an absolute nightmare and was beaten all game long by Costa Rican attackers. It was painful to watch. His confidence clearly took a beating after the Mexico game. Rating: 3
Omar Gonzalez: Gonzalez was probably better than Brooks but not by much. He has to be given a little bit of slack for covering for Chandler who was often pulled way, way up field. Still, Costa Rican players brutally attacked him with their pace and it was a rough game for the Pachuca mainstay. Rating: 4
Timothy Chandler: Chandler was terribly out of synch with the backline as he often got caught upfield and fell asleep defensively. The worst part is when he got into an attacking position, his crosses or final balls were often poor. Rating: 3.5
Christian Pulisic: The teenager gave it his best and actually created a few nice chances on a night the U.S. team was thoroughly outclassed. Rating: 5.5
Jermaine Jones: A horrible night for the Colorado Rapids central midfielder whose passing was off and his defensive presence in the midfield did nothing to stop Costa Rica: Rating: 3.5
Michael Bradley: The captain had another disappointing game and it just seems like he is not on the same page with Jones and Klinsmann. He did nothing to help a midfield that was overrun. Rating: 4
Fabian Johnson: The Monchengladbach man did not really stand out as either good or bad. That alone made him one of the best U.S. players. Rating: 5
Jozy Altidore: The Toronto FC forward tried to hold the ball up and get his teammates involved. With an overmatched midfield, it was mission impossible. Rating: 4.5
Bobby Wood: Wood actually had the best offensive moment of the game in the first half when he beat his defender and sent a cross that went inches across the goal line with no one to tap it home. Wood’s mobility was promising at times but it was all for nothing. Rating: 5
Lynden Gooch: The young American is now cap-tied in what was the highlight of the night for the U.S. team. Still, he did not do enough for an offical rating. Rating: NR
Sacha Kljestan: The New York Red Bull did not do enough for a rating. Rating: NR
Graham Zusi: Same here. Rating: NR
Jurgen Klinsmann: The coach must shoulder the blame here. He said he was optimistic heading into San Jose but instead presided over an absolutely horrific loss that will have many fans calling for his job. Yes, there were lessons that seem to go unlearned—like why do Bradley and Jones continue to start despite always playing below the sum of their parts? Why does Chandler continue to start for the team despite years of subpar play for the national team?
But there are two ugly takeaways from this game that must fall on the lap of Klinsmann—as both the coach and the technical director he simply must accept responsibility. First, almost every player on this team is playing worse for the U.S. national team than he does for his club. Where are those players that raise their games on the international stage? Second, why did this team just appear to give up? Where is the fight and the grit?
Klinsmann has been given an extraordinarily powerful role within U.S. Soccer—beyond what any of his predecessors received. With that comes responsibility and accountability. His low grade is earned. Rating: 2
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