The United States Menâ€™s National Team qualified for every World Cup since 1986 until their loss to Trinidad and Tobago eliminated their 2018 chances.
Everything had to go wrong Oct. 10 in order for the U.S. to not qualify for the upcoming World Cup. Honduras, who had not beaten Mexico in five years, defeated Mexico 3-2 to automatically qualify for the World Cup. Panama, who the U.S. defeated 4-0 four days prior, topped Costa Rica 2-1 to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in its nationâ€™s history.
The qualification spot was still in the hands of the USMNT. All they had to do was win or draw. Neither happened. Trinidad and Tobago broke the hearts of U.S. soccer fans everywhere when they defeated the USMNT 2-1.
The U.S. Menâ€™s National Team seemed to be in a state of progress in recent years, but now the team is searching for a new manager.
It is difficult to point to one game, or even a string of games, to pinpoint when U.S. soccer began its downfall because the truth is U.S. soccer has been in a state of uncertainty for years now. How is it fixed? Does the USMNT no to reset? Success begins with the manager.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bruce Arena, who was the USMNT manager until he resigned following the Trinidad and Tobago match, was supposed the â€œsaveâ€ the USMNT. He was a decorated manager at the MLS level for the Los Angeles Galaxy and enjoyed some success as the USMNT manager in the early 2000s.
Arenaâ€™s success over a decade ago should not have earned him a spot as the manager. Soccer changes, and Arenaâ€™s management style is archaic and mostly centered around midfield play, which is the weakest area of the USMNT. However, the United States Soccer Federation decided to give him a second chance.
JÃ¼rgen Klinsmann was the USMNT manager from 2011-16 before Arenaâ€™s most recent stint. He was developing a culture around the national team. The German-born manager took a USMNT, which had no place in making it out of their group, to the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup. He refused to be mediocre on a mediocre team.
In actuality, the USSF traded a manger that lost at home to Mexico for a manager that allows his team to lose twice to Costa Rica, once at Trinidad and Tobago and fail to qualify for the World Cup. Klinsmann created the framework for success and the USSF, with Arena, tore it apart.
Arena brought back older MLS players such as 35-year-old Demarcus Beasley, 31-year-old Graham Zusi, 32-year-old Benny Feilhaber and 33-year-old Brad Guzan. These players struggle at the club level due to their age, but Arena saw them as the best option for World Cup qualification.
Klinsmann began his tenure by capping more Americans that play abroad on his first team. Wonder kids Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood both play in Germany and received their first USMNT caps under Klinsmann.
The USMNT defensive unit of Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin also played valuable minutes for their European teams and were brought together by Klinsmann. The manager was a believer in bringing in more non-MLS soccer players and during his tenure, but fans did not take to this method.
The Seattle Sounders drafted Stanford standout Jordan Morris in 2016. German team Werder Bremen was keen on signing the young striker out of college, but Morris chose comfort over European experience.
Klinsmann left Morris and a number of other MLS talents out of his 2016 Copa America squad, which finished fourth. He was fired in November of that year for two straight losses and failing to win the favor of the USMNT fans.
Klinsmann had the right idea and was developing a model by bringing in experienced Americans that play at a much higher level than the MLS. The USSF needs to bring in a manger with a similar mindset. If the USMNT keeps filling up with mostly MLS players, then U.S. soccer will continue on its aimless path.
Jozy Altidore practices free kicks with teammates, DeMarcus Beasley and Julian Green. Altidore recorded four goals and three assists for the USMNT in 2017.