If not Klinsi, then who?

If the measure of someone’s intelligence is how much they agree with you then Jen Chang from Soccernet is a freaking genius. His piece about what the USSF should be looking for in a coach if Klinsmann doesn’t take the job is exactly what I’ve been thinking about, but much better put. To wit:

For the U.S. to progress on the world level, it requires a coach that has a stronger grasp of the tactical nuances of the elite international teams and international style of play. For all Arena’s impressive track record as coach and the admittedly excellent job he did in salvaging the U.S. national team after the ’98 World Cup debacle, he had two shortcomings that were exposed somewhat in the recent World Cup.

First, although a great player manager, Arena was never a strong X’s and O’s coach capable of making the necessary in-game tactical adjustments on the international level. Second, in terms of style, it’s time the U.S. started gravitating away from the direct ball philosophy of relying on set pieces and crosses from the flanks to score. This direct style, although effective against lower-tier teams, is a one-trick pony that often comes unstuck against teams of superior technical quality. For evidence, one need look no further than the way both England and the U.S. struggled to create quality scoring chances from open play during the World Cup.

Although the U.S. still lacks the abundance of technical players to play a short passing creative possession game along the lines of that of Spain or Portugal, the fact is the younger generation of U.S. talent — such as Clint Dempsey, Freddy Adu, Justin Mapp and Lee Nguyen, et al. — all show far more precocious on-the-ball ability than U.S. players (Tab Ramos excluded) typically have shown before. It’s time to embrace a more rhythmic style and move away from the drilled-down structured approach the U.S. has adopted in recent years. A domestic coach simply is not going to bring this outlook.

Couldn’t agree more, although I maintain that the USSF needs to bring in an American coach to get the hang of it.

Incidentally, the recommendations of Bruno Metsu and Eric Gerets are genuinely interesting. Well worth a read.

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