In the wake of yet another United States loss, people have begun wondering what direction Jurgen Klinsmann's team is going in. And one of the biggest concerns is the team's lack of a identity.
Klinsmann wanted a proactive, skillful team. It's what he laid out as his goal when he took over the team in 2011, but three-and-a-half years later, we have't seen that. And in the loss to Denmark -- as has been the case too often lately -- the team was at its best playing direct over the top.
So what is the Americans' identity? The lack of one is one of their biggest problems, New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch believes.
"I think that the tricky part with entering a new cycle is trying to look at new players, but also still maintain the identity that you want to be," Marsch told reporters on Thursday. "I appreciate that they’ve looked at a lot of new players, but I’m not sure what the identity is of what they’re trying to build there. That would be my main question mark. It looks to me too much like a bunch of guys kind of thrown on the field."
Prior to managing the Red Bulls and Montreal Impact, Marsch was an assistant coach on Bob Bradley's U.S. staff, so he's not unfamiliar with the American team and coaching internationally. He knows it's hard, but that's the task of the national team manager.
"No matter when you bring in new personnel, there still needs to be an identity to what the team is, and that’s not easy. I know, because you get guys coming from all these different areas and you have a few days to put the team together, but somehow there’s got to be a consistent message and way to play no matter who’s involved."
With the Gold Cup just four months away and the Americans struggling, the criticisms of Klinsmann are sure to continue. We'll see if this is a necessary step in Klinsmann's building and identity, or if he's just failing to establish the type of team he promised.