Football

USA flourishing under Klinsmann

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USA have already qualified for the 2014 World Cup (©GettyImages)
USA have already qualified for the 2014 World Cup (©GettyImages).

The signs of good things to come are hard to deny with the USA national team sitting top of their World Cup qualifying table.

Things haven't always been pretty during qualifying, but the United States have Jurgen Klinsmann to thank for much of their success.

ESPN goes as far to pose the question: "Are the U.S. simply playing well, or has Jurgen Klinsmann transformed American soccer?"

This is a great question because since his tenure has begun he has had both ups and downs as the man in charge of the USMNT.

When he was named coach in August 2011, Klinsmann shared some of his insights and aspirations for American soccer while preaching a bold vision, promising to "define how a U.S. team should represent its country."

At a media briefing in Washington in April this year, he talked expansively and added depth to that statement when he spoke on some of the style and tactics he wanted to introduce that have resulted in forward-looking and attack-minded football.

Klinsmann harped on ideas of "possession with purpose, movement, possession, front to back, and confidence in one-on-one situations, deadly at set pieces, with mentally strong players courageous enough to move out of their comfort zone." The introduction of these thoughts on style and tactical outlook have started to come through over the last few months.

For "style" to be a focus, one would want to see how the U.S. is winning games rather than if they are winning. The U.S. have started to play a much more beautiful, and attack-minded game that has caught many teams by surprise. Prior to Klinsmann, the U.S. focused on putting solid athletes on the field that could keep up with the pace of play, and were committed to defending for a large majority of the game.

As this transition continues, and Klinsmann has placed his mark on the team more and more, it is evident that the team has started moving the ball in a much more fluid manner through the field with more ability and skill than ever before to attack and take players on from winged positions.

This benefits certain forwards such as Eddie Johnson and Jozy Altidore who have fully embraced the Klinsmann message and claims he sees a big difference.

Altidore was asked about the influence of Klinsmann and quickly replied: "We have grown. A new coach has come in with new ideas. We have bought into them and jelled around them."

Both Altidore and Johnson have been finding the net at alarming rates due to the new pace of play, and style that opens up wingers to whip balls in to the in-form strikers. This is all great news for a team that has already booked their tickets to the Brazil 2014 with one qualification match remaining.


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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Jurgen Klinsmann
Internationals
Jozy Altidore
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