The disdain towards United States men's national team boss, Jurgen Klinsmann, from people around Major League Soccer has been no secret. There have always been rumblings about discontent between MLS commissioner, Don Garber, and Klinsmann with subtle and overt shots across the bow from time to time by each sides.
Those tempers have again been stirred by U.S. U-23 head coach and U.S. National Team assistant, Andi Herzog. He told a German publication that their goal is to bring as many players to Europe as possible. He later said that he had been misquoted, but the damage had been done. End of story, right? Not so fast says Portland Timbers Owner, Merrit Paulson.
He joined Stumptown Footy's podcast, Soccer Made in Portland, and made some really heated and candid comments about Herzog and particularly Jurgen Klinsmann regarding their anti-MLS bias.
"There's no doubt that Herzog was quoted correctly, because that's an accurate sentiment among the coaches for the U.S. National Team right now. That stems from the top and that stems from Jurgen."
"I don't think you're going to find a single MLS owner who's going to be an advocate for Jurgen Klinsmann. This is a guy who's got a clear agenda that's an anti-MLS agenda. He makes emotional decisions. Landon Donovan would be a case in point. There's very much an agenda to get people playing abroad and probably rewarding some people playing abroad who don't deserve to be playing. That's one opinion, that's my opinion."
"Obviously, Darlington Nagbe is on the team and I hope me expressing any sort of candid answer to you on that question doesn't have any impact there. We support Nagbe and we're thrilled that Jurgen rates him, but he's crapped all over MLS in many ways subtle and not subtle. For this sport to be successful in this country, for the national team to be successful, the national team and our domestic league need to be pointing in the same direction more often than not and that just hasn't been the case under Jurgen Klinsmann."
-Merritt Paulson; Source: Soccer Made in Portland
That's about as direct and candid of an insult as you'll ever see from an important person around a professional soccer league towards a national team manager. Perhaps some of the comments are justified. It's not really debatable that Jurgen and his staff want their players playing at the "top level" in Europe. It's unfortunate that this situation has evolved to this current state of public insults back and forth.
There doesn't seem to be any possible solution to the problem except the two sides dealing with each other until U.S. Soccer decides to make a change in regime at the top of the men's team.