Earlier this year, a Jurgen Klinsmann biography called Soccer Without Borders was excreted into this atmosphere. Co-written by Klinsmann (or at least “with help,” whatever that means) and a man named Erik Kirschbaum, the book was ostensibly a pro-Klinsmann propaganda piece. He called the U.S. performance in Brazil “stylish,” quoted Klinsmann deriding the counter-break style that won the U.S. its biggest World Cup and Confed Cup games (“you can maybe win one game in 10,” which, no), justified Landon Donovan’s 2014 World Cup exclusion. So it went.
Anyway, it was Klinsmann as Klinsmann wanted to be known. It was him, but sheared free of all the inconvenient bits, his flaws ground down to the nub and presented only as a way to frame his perfections. Of which there are many, you must know.
Klinsmann’s job status ignited a firestorm of controversy after the U.S. tanked against Costa Rica and fell into the cellar of the Hex after two games. ESPN, Fox, Vice, Sports Illustrated, NBC, everyone (even your humble author) ran articles explaining how and why Klinsmann’s time was up. Sunil Gulati simply hasn’t done anything about it (that may change?). Oh and yes, they’ll qualify because CONCACAF has perhaps the most forgiving qualification format on the planet, not because the U.S. will engineer some stirring turnaround worthy of wider job security.