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The pressure is on for the U.S. Men’s National Team as they prepare for the CONCACAF Cup playoff against Mexico on Saturday.
According to Landon Donovan, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann should be feeling the pressure, too, as the team fights to represent the conference at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017.
After losing four of its last six matches, including a poor showing against Brazil in a 4-1 September loss, Donovan told ESPN that Klinsmann should hold himself to the same standard he holds players.
“Around the world, if a player plays poorly and a player has a bad string of results, they get dropped from the team,” Donovan told ESPN. “Jurgen said many times he wants our players to feel pressure — so if they lose a game they can’t go to the grocery store the next day. If they lose a game, they are getting hammered in the press. Well, the same holds true for the coach….”
Donovan noted that the loss to Brazil was “probably the worst game” he’s seen the team play under Klinsmann.
“The reality is that now, anywhere else in the world, if this coach had those results, and they lose this game against Mexico, they’d be fired. I think if Jurgen wants to hold all the players to that standard, then he has to be held to that standard too.”
While Jurgen has been on the hot seat in recent months, the heat just got turned up a bit, given the influence of Donovan in American men’s soccer.
It should be noted that Jurgen and Donovan have a bit of a history. Jurgen left Donovan off the men’s roster for the 2014 World Cup, and Donovan announced he would retire shortly after. During the 2015 Women’s World Cup, some people felt that Donovan’s praise for veteran striker Abby Wambach, who didn’t play much but remained positive on the bench, was a shot at Jurgen for leaving a veteran like himself off the team.
While Klinsmann might have been on shaky grounds anyway if the U.S. loses to Mexico, Donovan might have just turned up the pressure on him.