Friday 20th October 2017
Mario Georgiou – Third year student UCFB, Wembley
After last week’s fallout from USA national football team failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years, does the MLS have to take the blame for this and will this have a negative impact on football in America?
After being in an easy World Cup qualifying group USA were favourites to reach Russia in next summer tournament. But after losing against Trinidad & Tobago this was a failure years in the making. With the USA picking up only 12 points out of their first nine of 10 qualifiers. The USA only needed a point to secure a playoff spot to Russia 2018 to a 99th-ranked team. However the catastrophic 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, coupled with Panama’s dramatic win over Costa Rica leaves USA failing to qualify and trying to figure out how this happened?
With the sacking of Jurgen Klinsmann in November 2016 who was trying to bring a different style of play to USA, after losing 2-1 to Mexico at home and then 4-0 away to Costa Rica in their opening two qualifying matches for the World Cup, this left USA being bottom of their six-country qualifying group and pointless. USA decided to go back to the “America Way” and hire Bruce Arena who is a former US coach 1998 – 2006. Jurgen Klinsmann wasn’t to blame for USA not qualifying, the USA fans expected him to come in and play the same sort of attacking free flowing football his Germany side played. But the USA were not graced with the same sort of player the Germany squad had back in 2006. Klinsmann wanted to play a sort of type of football which was the long-term plan of the USA, which worked in the last world cup with them finishing above Portugal in their group. With the players failing to adapt and play the way Klinsmann wanted to play this caused tension within the camp which created a little bit of conflict between the Germany- American players that Jurgen had brought in to the more known and traditional American players like Clint Dempsey.
With the rise and the money that has being pumped into Major League Soccer in America there are question’s being pointed at the level of football being played in the league and weather this is helping to improve home-grown America players or where this is having a negative effect. An example of this is Borussia Dortmund wonder kid Christian Pulisic, who was playing college state soccer for Michigan Rush before being scouted and signing for Dortmund age 16. The exposure of playing regularly in the youth team for Dortmund and scoring 10 goals in 15 games, he was then called up to the first team after the winter break. After representing USA at youth levels Pulisic was called up to the senior squad in March 2016, ever since then Pulisic has been and will be a vital part in the USA national team in the future. But the question is would he have been at this level if he played in the MLS, that’s the question that USA need to deal with if they want to improve the level of football within the league and also the level of football being produced by their national team. They need to therefore have the structure and plan put in place to try and improve the quality being produced in America.
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