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Captain Carlos Bocanegra preaches calm, backs Jurgen Klinsmann

Carlos Bocanegra acts like a captain, even when he's not on the team.

Stuart Franklin

Brian Straus' excellent article this morning raised a lot of questions about the United States and Jurgen Klinsmann. Was it all coming apart? Is this team in crisis? Are they doomed?


There is no doubt that all is not well in the U.S. camp, as Straus' article makes clear, but everything is not going to come crashing down on the U.S. -- at least not right now. They have their issues, but are hardly broken.

It is the easy guy to point the finger at Klinsmann, but a similar skeptical eye should be turned to the players. They come across just as stubborn and unwilling to bend to their manager's wishes as Klinsmann is single-minded about imposing his will on the team. For lack of a better phrase, it takes two to tango.

Many of the issues with Klinsmann seemed to come to a head when Carlos Bocanegra was dropped from the starting XI the morning of the Honduras qualifier last month. Now, he's been left off the squad for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers as he struggles for playing time with Racing Santander.

Bocanegra could have pitched a fit, but he didn't. Instead, he went to Facebook to preach peace and harmony.

During the last 18 months Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program. Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front with players about where they stand and where he sees them going. Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup.

This is pretty generic stuff to put out the fire, but Bocanegra didn't have to do it. He could have remained quiet, but he spoke up and tried to put out the fire, even if just among the fans. Quite the captain, even if he's not on the team.