The U.S. Men's National Team had a forgettable week last week to open the final round of World Cup qualifying and it cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job.
Klinsmann was removed as coach and technical director, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday.
The U.S. opened the final round of CONCACAF's qualifying with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico. That was the first home loss in a qualifier for the U.S. since 2001. They followed up with a 4-0 road loss at Costa on Tuesday.
Mexico is probably the most talented team in CONCACAF and the U.S. has never won in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose (0-9-1), but Klinsmann was criticized for his lineup selection to start the Mexico game and the nature of the 4-0 loss at Costa Rica was more troubling than the loss itself.
The good news is that the 0-2 hole is not a major one to climb out of. The nature of CONCACAF qualifying means there is, or at least was, plenty of room for error. The top three teams of the six remaining qualify for the World Cup and the fourth-place finisher heads to a playoff. That means the U.S. doesn't need to finish ahead of Mexico or Costa Rica, which have become the other two powers in the region.
Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley, now coaching Swansea in the English Premier League, in 2011 and coached the U.S. out of the group phase of the 2014 World Cup.
U.S. Soccer enters somewhat uncharted territory now. This is the first time the men's coach has been fired during qualifying since 1989.
The timing does give U.S. Soccer a chance to hire a replacement and have them settle in a bit. The next qualifier is on March 24 and the team typically has a camp in January/February during the Major League Soccer offseason.
Rumors have already popped up that LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is in line to take over. Arena coached the national team to its best World Cup of the modern era by making the quarterfinals in 2002 in Japan and South Korea. He also led the team through the 2006 World Cup, which is the only time this century that the U.S. failed to advance out of group play.
Hearing Bruce Arena is indeed Klinsmann's replacement. https://t.co/oZD46Ex3nX— Doug McIntyre (@ByDougMcIntyre) November 21, 2016
I'm told that negotiations are ongoing with Klinsmann's successor. All signs pointing to Arena. #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) November 21, 2016
Klinsmann fired. Source: Bruce Arena set to take over. Could be announced as soon as tomorrow.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2016
Bruce Arena will be named as the new head coach of the #USMNT as soon as tomorrow, per three sources - following Klinsmann's firing today— Martin Rogers (@RogersJourno) November 21, 2016