Earthquakes

US soccer's issues go way beyond finding the right coach

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USATSI

US soccer's issues go way beyond finding the right coach

Jurgen Klinsmann’s long national nightmare is finally over. The United States Men’s National Soccer Team’s, on the other hand, remains.
 
Nothing, and I mean nothing, feels better to a soccer fan than to have his or her team win a championship, but firing the coach is always a photo-finish second. Since the USMNT has never really won enough to be an arm-waving factor on the international stage, firing the coach is really the optimal outcome any fan can envision.
 
And Klinsmann, the German who was going to revolutionize the development and cultivation of the sport in America (a job that frankly has already been done by all the ready access to the best soccer in the world on a daily basis) won too infrequently to be as dismissive of the established order as he was. So, he served the soccer establishment by becoming the new severed head.
 
Yay decapitation!
 
But here’s where the firing (for which we have no opinion one way or another, since it is like arguing against evolution to an anthropologist, or opposing yeast to a baker) misses the point: The name most often linked to the job is Bruce Arena, a guy who already had it and was fired for the same reason that Klinsmann got whacked – because he couldn’t jump the United States ahead of the line in the established national order of football powers, that’s why.
 
The U.S. isn’t in the place it’s in internationally because the players aren’t sufficiently “coached up,” but because the structural issues with U.S. soccer (as well as U.S. Soccer, the suit-and-snoot component of the sport) are well beyond anyone’s ability to fix comprehensively, and especially not quickly. The game is more profitable than ever, but butts in seats doesn’t mean the same as goals in nets.
 
There is this ongoing and very fanciful notion that the United States should be far higher on the list of global soccer powers, which is fine except for the fact that nobody can ever explain where they should be ranked. First? Fourth? Sixth? Thirteenth? Ahead of Germany? Ahead of France? Ahead of Scotland? Ahead of Narnia?
 
Nobody knows, which is why the answer that is most often expressed by the most passionate U.S. soccer fans when asked “Where should they be?” is “better than they are,” a properly amorphous standard for always firing whoever the coach is at any given time.
 
If there is a problem with the product on the field, it is largely that the available American talent is in a fallow period right now, a phenomenon that happens to all but the most elite soccer-playing countries. The U.S. is not deep with impact players right now (though Christian Pulisic might be the realest deal in recent history), and it has never been deep with inventive ones.
 
But Klinsmann allowed people to think he could fix that while he got up to speed with in-game tactical developments – in layman’s terms, the X’s and O’s. He did neither, in the one case because the U.S. still hasn’t figured out how to identify, harness, grow and inspire its supply of potential players (it is still too heavily dependent on children of affluent parents and a coaching structure that has not found, taught or nurtured genius), and in the other because he has never been a tactical wizard – or even a tactical pixie, as far as that goes.
 
In any event, Klinsmann’s firing changes little of real substance, but as a temporary feel-good measure, it works wonders, as all firings do. Unless the U.S. is suddenly going to hire Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti or Diego Simeone at the height of their transformative powers, it is hard to see how Klinsmann’s absence will make the product look any different than his presence did. This is just new coasters on old deck chairs.
 
Now if they want to find a way to clone Pulisic and send the formula down the food chain to find more like him, now that would be worth your enthusiastic response. But we don’t want to ruin your fun, so go with “Jurgen Klinsmann is out, so drink up everyone” if you must.  
 
The hangover will come later, like it always does.

Earthquakes shut out by Los Angeles FC, fall to 0-4 on season

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USATSI

Earthquakes shut out by Los Angeles FC, fall to 0-4 on season

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Carlos Vela capped his first career MLS hat trick with a curling shot from distance and Los Angeles FC beat the San Jose Earthquakes 5-0 on Saturday.

Vela has six goals and three assists in five games this season.

LAFC (4-0-1) opened the scoring in the eighth minute by capitalizing on a goalkeeper mistake as Daniel Vega whiffed on a clearance attempt and Vela walked it into the back of the net in the eighth minute. Vela added a goal in first-half stoppage time by redirecting home a cross if front of the goal, and he had the goal of the match in the 66th.

Former San Jose defender Steven Beitashour got past the defense for a through ball in the 26th and poked it inside the far post for a 2-0 lead. Diego Rossi scored a relatively easy goal to cap the scoring in the 68th, and Tyler Miller kept his first clean sheet of the season against San Jose (0-4-0).

Cristian Espinoza scores first MLS goal in Quakes' loss to Red Bulls

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USATSI

Cristian Espinoza scores first MLS goal in Quakes' loss to Red Bulls

BOX SCORE

HARRISON, N.J. -- Alex Muyl scored a pair of second-half goals on Saturday and the New York Red Bulls rallied after an early deficit for a 4-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Muyl tied it for the Red Bulls (1-0-1) on a close-range shot in the 51st minute and made it 2-1 with a volley off a defensive deflection in the 71st minute.

Bradley Wright-Phillips added a third goal for New York in the 85th minute and Daniel Royer capped the scoring in the 89th.

Cristian Espinoza opened the scoring in the fifth minute for San Jose (0-3-0) with his first MLS goal.

Matias Almeyda, who joined San Jose in the offseason after leading C.D. Guadalajara to a CONCACAF Champions League title in 2018, is still looking for his first point as coach of the Earthquakes.