The USMNT’s emphatic win against Costa Rica is still fresh in our minds as we go into the final group stage match against Paraguay. Only needing a point to progress, the odds are in the USMNT’s favor, despite starting the group stage off horrendously against Colombia.
That will mean that the USMNT progresses as the second place team in Group A, again, assuming everything goes according to plan, which isn’t always the case.
The first question we must ask ourselves is as the title suggests, would that be enough? Klinsmann is already on the hot seat for the disappointing state of the USMNT following a promising 2014 World Cup. There has been drama on and off the field and following an incredibly disappointing Gold Cup and some nearly disastrous World Cup qualifiers, we have to wonder when Klinsmann’s time has run its course.
There was plenty of talk that if he bowed out of the group stages, that would be it. The USMNT would be searching for a replacement. However, Klinsmann answered that with a stomping of Costa Rica. Still though, that game hinged on the early penalty. Without the confidence boost that accompanied the penalty, I’m not sure the USMNT puts four up.
Confidence problems have to fall on the coach. I have no doubt that Klinsmann is a brilliant mind and knows what he is doing, but sometimes a team just need a change of face.
The USMNT will most likely have to face Brazil in the quarter-finals, should everything go according to plan. Even without Neymar, that is a stacked squad and one that could overwhelm a very aged, slow USMNT side. The old guard has admirable qualities, but speed and endurance are not among them.
With the new guard on the brink of coming in, the second question we have to ask is whether or not Klinsmann is worth keeping around for the new generation, or if they would rather just start things fresh with a new manager.
I don’t think that the answer to either question is in Klinsmann’s favor. Qualifying from the group would be quite the feat in and of itself, but Klinsmann needs a complete turnaround if he wants to maintain that he is the best man for the job and I don’t think his current schematic has what it takes to accomplish that. I do think that the ‘outlaw’ spirit is alive and well in these old dogs and in Klinsmann himself, but with a new wave of talent coming, the USMNT needs more than an underdog’s mentality. They need a confident, winner’s mentality.