I know the easy thing to say is that U.S. has regressed ten years with the appointment of Bruce Arena as national team manager. Let’s look at the situation and why this isn’t the case.
Like it or not, Arena is the best suited replacement for Klinsmann for the job at hand. That job is to ensure qualification for the 2018 World Cup. I vehemently disagree with those who think that qualification is still a cakewalk. It’s not. There’s a reason only one team has qualified after earning zero points in their first two games, it’s not an easy task.
Yes, I know these were two of the toughest games the U.S. will face in the Hex. However, they still have to go to Mexico and host Costa Rica. They have a home and away with Panama, who is desperate to get to their first World Cup after being so close last time. Honduras has been to the last two World Cups and they know what it takes to get there. Trinidad and Tobago is the weakest of the six teams, but they are capable of winning their home games.
It is these reasons that made a change at the top a must, and they are why Bruce Arena is the best suited replacement. He is not being tasked with all of the big picture, transformative things that Klinsmann had under his purview. His mission is to get the team to Russia, period.
I liken it to a team in a relegation battle in England. That’s why certain managers keep getting hired, they know how to keep a team up. Style points go out the window at this stage, it’s strictly results that matter. Arena is more pragmatic than Klinsmann. He will have the team play in a way to get the best out of the group, rather than forcing guys into uncomfortable positions to challenge them. Arena is also a better man manager than Klinsmann. He has shown that with a collection of stars at the LA Galaxy.
I want to see U.S. hire someone separate to be the Technical Director. I agree with Taylor Twellman, no one can effectively do both jobs at the same time. Maybe that’s something for Arena after this job. I also want to see a new direction for the program after the 2018 World Cup cycle. I want to see managers like Oscar Pareja, Peter Vermes, and Miguel Herrera considered then.
But for now, we have to ensure we qualify for the next World Cup and Arena is the best suited replacement to accomplish that.
Montreal gave up two away goals, but still take a 3-2 lead to Toronto (Mount Royal Soccer)
You can’t make this up. The game was delayed because lines had to be repainted. (SBI Soccer)
Sounders carrying a lead to Colorado in the Western Conference finals (Sounder at Heart)
Why Bruce Arena is replacing Jurgen Klinsmann (SB Nation)
Bruce Arena is a look to the past for U.S. Soccer that raises questions about the future (Washington Post)
USSF spent upwards of $20 million on Klinsmann’s tenure (Stars and Stripes)
Dallas signs their 17th Homegrown Player, Bryan Reynolds (Big D Soccer)
Sean Davis’ battle for minutes with the Red Bulls (Once a Metro)
Tottenham crashes out of the Champions League (Cartilage Free Captain)
Cristiano Ronaldo is not as beloved in Portugal as you might think (FourFourTwo)