Remember back in March when the United States got embarrassed by Guatemala in World Cup qualifying, 2-0, away from home? Jurgen Klinsmann was supposedly on the "hot seat" after that match, so we decided to make a list of managers who "could" replace him if he was fired. Admittedly, that list was half-hearted at best. I never truly believed Klinsmann was in danger of losing his job, but ya know, stay topical and all that!
Fast forward to the present and now there's more talk about Klinsmann not being the USMNT manager anymore. His seat has cooled considerably thanks to a successful Copa America run. Now the threat of him leaving apparently comes from England and their vacant national team manager position. I'd still bet a heavy sum of money that Jurgen isn't going anywhere and that these rumors are your typical English tabloid nonsense, but until either party denies it, we have to treat it as a possibility.
Let's imagine a scenario in which Klinsmann does in fact take the England job. What happens to the USMNT? CONCACAF World Cup qualifying resumes in 53 days with no friendlies in between. Sunil Gulati and the rest of the USSF board would need to find a replacement who could adapt to the team quickly and get them ready for their two important matches. Familiarity and logistics would be key and the role would likely be an interim one for the time being. Here are five managers that make sense:
When you look at resume, familiarity, and availability, no manager makes more sense than Jason Kreis. The former Real Salt Lake and New York City FC manager was last seen by Klinsmann's side helping him during training sessions and scouting future opponents for the Copa America. While we don't know the extent of Kreis's role within the Klinsmann setup, he was certainly there and knows the player pool.
He's currently unattached and available to fill-in. Aside from his one season with NYCFC, Kreis has a great track record of success as a manager. His appointment would be relatively seamless with the players likely already familiar with him. He checks all the boxes and would seem the most obvious candidate at this point.
Imaginary SSFC Bookie Odds: 3/2
Cohesiveness within the federation is one thing Klinsmann has preached from day one. He's always been a proponent of each level of the the system -- from the senior team all the way to the youngest youth levels -- being on the same page. Looking at in-house candidates within the USSF, the most logical promotion would be current U-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
While Andi Herzog is the U-23 manager and Klinsmann's assistant, he is a Klinsmann guy through and through. It's hard to imagine him staying around without Jurgen staying. That leaves Ramos as the next guy on the depth chart. He guided the last crop of U-20's to the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals and would likely be familiar with the senior team along with the rest of the player pool.
Imaginary SSFC Bookie Odds: 4/1
So, your national team is in a pinch and needs a reliable manager to come in and save the day? There's an app for that. That app would be called Guus Hiddink: International Manager Savior -- The Dutch legend has managed several national teams in their time of need. Most notably, he led the South Korean team to a fourth-place finish at the 2002 World Cup. Four years later he took over Australia and got them to the knockout rounds for the first time ever. He is a international specialist that can adapt to any situation at any time.
It wouldn't be the ideal scenario, but there's no doubt that Hiddink could come in on short notice and do the job. He's been out of work since leaving Chelsea at the end of last season and is just waiting by for the Guus signal to be flashed so he can come to the rescue once again.
Imaginary SSFC Bookie Odds: 8/1
Ever since doing some analyst work for ESPN during the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, Roberto Martinez has been a fan favorite among American soccer supporters. Well, now seems like the perfect chance for the fans to get their man assuming Klinsmann leaves. Martinez was just fired from Everton at the end of last season and is currently waiting for the next opportunity to arise. If the USSF don't want to wait to make a splash, you can't go much bigger than Martinez.
While familiarity is thrown out of the window with this choice, it would likely please the majority of the fans and you'd have a long-term replacement while keeping that global recognition factor that came with Klinsmann. Is it the most logical move? No. But if Martinez to the USMNT is ever going to happen, it would seem this would be the best chance.
Imaginary SSFC Bookie Odds: 10/1
Let's say the USSF get desperate and need to try and poach a manager from their current team today. The Seattle Sounders seem to be the team in most need of a change at the top. Things just aren't going well for them this season and talk around the league is that Sigi Schmid is on the hot seat. The USMNT could use a veteran with his track record of success to take over to at least get them to the new year. It's hard to see Seattle putting up much of a fight in their current circumstances if the USSF came calling.
Imaginary SSFC Bookie Odds: 15/1
While we're putting odds on events likely to happen, it's probably at 10,000/1 that anything actually materializes between Klinsmann and England. However, this is our Top 5 most logical short-term replacements for him if it does. Does our list make sense? Who would you add to the list?