Yesterday, Jurgen Klinsmann told the New York Times’ Sam Borden:
“I always made it clear to Sunil, if you really want to move up to the top 15 in the world, you need to have consistency in what you’re doing,” Klinsmann opined. “If you react emotionally, you will become a roller coaster.”
The roller coaster ride has begun as Sunil Gulati fired Jurgen Klinsmann today. In the press release that accompanied the decision, Gulati said:
While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction. With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth-consecutive World Cup.
It would be easy to say that the results are what pushed Gulati to make this decision, but he himself said that he would not rush to a decision in haste. Ahead of the Mexico game, Gulati told an assembled group of reporters:
“We've never changed coaches in the Hex,” he added. “And I expect that to be the case here.”
While he could not have seen these results coming, especially the 4-0 drubbing in Costa Rica, this was a quick reversal of course by Gulati. After that game, he said:
"We won't make any decisions right after games," Gulati said. "We'll think about what happened today and talk with Jurgen and look at the situation."
Did Klinsmann’s outspokenness in recent days have anything to do with the decision, or had it already been made by then? Attacking his critics, saying that they “don’t understand soccer,” must have been upsetting to Gulati and other key stakeholders at the U.S. Soccer Federation.
With neither side saying anything publicly since the decision was made public earlier this afternoon, it remains to be seen if anything other than the results led to the break-up of Gulati and Klinsmann.