In an interview with Amy Lawrence on After Hours, Thomas Rongen, former coach for several clubs in MLS and the USMNT U-20 squad, had some stiff words to say on Klinsmann (emphasis mine).
"If you are convinced as a federation or as a president, Sunil Gulati, that that's the way to go because the players are not responding to the instructions or the overall theme that Jurgen Klinsmann wants to do, (then you make a change). In all fairness, I've been fired several times in MLS. I've won a MLS cup as well. That's the wayit goes. He's under pressure, he's handled the pressure very gracefully right now, and I still think he's a guy that eventually canstay on and do well. But you're judged on results. At the end of the day, if they don't make it out of group play, if they lose against Paraguay (on Saturday), I really think a change is inevitable and needs to be made."
Rongen's words are perhaps a bit harsh considering the USMNT just thrashed CONCACAF rivals, Costa Rica, 4-0. However, he isn't wrong to say that Klinsmann should be held accountable if the team doesn't succeed. That said, I would be shocked if the USMNT didn't beat Paraguay. Paraguay haven't won a single match this calendar year. In 2015, they won a grand total of 3 games: against Bolivia, Venezuela, and Jamaica. They were able to hold off Brazil's (mediocre) squad in the quarterfinals of last year's Copa America until penalties, where they won. However, this isn't exactly an imposing team.
But that wasn't all that Rongen had to say. He also criticized the ability of the players in the pool(emphasis mine).
"Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley (were) two American coaches that did well with those teams that were hard-working, which, the U.S. players are always hard-working. They're very fit, they're very athletic, they were mentally strong. But technically and tactically, (they were) always inferior to most high-level opponents. So we played low pressure, we tried to counter, we tried to be good on set pieces and tried to win games that way. Jurgen Klinsmann is trying to change that mentality to make us a better football nation. But I just don't know right now if he understands that his players, with all due respect, aren't good enough to execute the way he wants to play. It's become a little bit of a technical chaos, I hate to say so, under his regime."
I don't think Rongen has a good point here at all. No, the players of the United States are not the most technically or tactically apt lot. However, that is in comparison to the likes of Argentina, Italy, Spain, and Germany. If you want, we can add Mexico to that list. They are more technical than us. However, that doesn't mean that the team isn't skilled enough to execute a plan. That feels like a bias for traditional powers. And let's actually look at a team that's normally considered a traditional power. I really don't think that the USMNT are much different in technical or tactical ability than England. Would anyone say that the English players are not good enough to execute a plan?
No, the storyline is always that England underperform. Of course, these comments come before the team plays an important game against lowly Paraguay. If the team don't win on Saturday, Klinsmann should be held accountable and axed. But don't say it wasn't because the players weren't good enough to execute the plan.