Criticism Surrounding USA's Gold CupL loss Really Reflects Growth of National Team? Get Real!

Criticism Surrounding USA's Gold CupL loss Really Reflects Growth of National Team? Get Real!
Posted on July 26, 2015 by Tim

For now, most of the ire is being directed toward the coach, not the players. Although many point to mistakes made by young central defenders Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks during the Gold Cup group stage and then Wednesday’s semifinal, the blame has been laid at Klinsmann’s feet for starting them over the likes of Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler or Tim Ream—not at those of the 22-year-old backs.

“The game is growing here so fast. The attention that the game enjoys now is completely different than a couple of years ago,” he said here at PPL Park, where the U.S. is preparing for Saturday’s third-place game against Panama. “The players are getting far more appreciation, but also here and there maybe a little bit of criticism when things don’t work out the right way. It just shows and proves the growth of the United States. It’s going to be only bigger and bigger. If there’s a negative moment, like there’s a negative moment with the Jamaica result—not the game, but the result—then it’s fine if people criticize.”

From sports media to social media, Klinsmann's team has been slammed for losing to Jamaica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Wednesday night in Atlanta. More than a few prominent voices have called the 2-1 defeat - America's first on home soil to a Caribbean nation since 1969 - the biggest upset loss in the team's entire history.

Much of the criticism has been directed at Klinsmann himself, especially over his lineup selections. After insisting before the Gold Cup started that the U.S. put a huge priority on winning it, Klinsmann benched veteran defenders Omar González and Tim Ream, and didn't even include stalwarts Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron on the tournament roster.

Instead, Klinsmann started 22-year-olds Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks in the must-win game against Jamaica.

Yes, Brooks was the hero of last summer's World Cup, but, on Wednesday night, he got beaten one-on-one for Jamaica's firs tgoal.

“Obviously the team is disappointed, the fans are disappointed because you wanted to play the big final on Sunday in Philadelphia. It was a very, very good performance. I really told them at halftime as well, ‘Just keep playing like that, you’re going to get opportunities and sooner or later you’re going to put them in the net and we’re going to turn this game around.’ We lost this game with two set pieces that we conceded. It’s as simple as that. We had enough chances to put three, four, five in there. We didn’t do that, and that’s why at the end of the day we lost it. That’s unfortunate, but it’s reality. Congratulations to Jamaica being in the final, and we have to swallow that pill.”