Klinsmann wants USMNT players nastier, less naive

JonesNeymar (Getty Images)



LANDOVER, Md. — U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat at the table in the press conference room at FedEx Field on Saturday night without his usual cheerful smirk. Instead, he sported a stern look as he prepared to speak to the several dozens of reporters that filled the room for his postgame talk.

The typically optimistic Klinsmann had just witnessed his side suffer a 4-1 defeat to Brazil. And while there were positives to build on just as there had been four days prior following a rout of Scotland, the U.S. head coach was not pleased with how the game was officiated, leaving him to utter the words that are already causing a stir in some U.S. soccer circles.

"We've got to move on, but we need to get an edge more nastier," said Klinsmann. "Maybe we're a little bit still too naive, maybe we don't want to hurt people, but that's what you got to do. You've got to do that at the end of the day, so we've got to step on their toes more and get them more frustrated and make a case with the referee maybe as well for us, not only the opponents."

While some will focus on Klinsmann's choice of words, the overall meaning of what he said was, or at least should have been, well understood. The U.S. team had given too much respect to Brazil, especially at the start of the game, and the Americans lacked a bit of the necessary toughness that is required when taking on a world power like Brazil.

Some of the American players even said so.

"I agree with what he's saying," said goalkeeper Tim Howard. "He's probably talking about more from the opening whistle stamping that authority, ruffling their feathers, letting them know that they're going to be in for a tough game, not just towards the end or when the chips get down."

Added forward Herculez Gomez, who scored the lone U.S. goal: "I think that's a fair assessment. I think at times we came in with too much respect for them, because they were Brazil. Like I said, they bleed the same, they sweat the same, and when we imposed our game on them for certain stretches that second half, you were seeing them being the ones on their heels, tracking back, trying to hit us, trying to play a little dirty."

It is not as if Klinsmann's postgame comments following the Brazil match were the first time he had used the word 'nasty' or tried to talk about the Americans needing more of that type of attitude. He said it in the fall of 2011 when describing the play of German-American midfielder Danny Williams.

Klinsmann was asked to further elaborate on the topic of his team being too naive and not nasty enough later during the press conference, and he responded by saying the players need to be more forceful in terms of making things happen in the game and with the match official.

"It's just in the nature, still, of our game," said Klinsmann. "When you play these type of teams and you play it kind of at a higher emotional level against the Marcelos of the world, the Neymars, or whatever, and things are getting provoked, you also may have to make your case.

"If you watch big teams in the world when there's a call going against them, Barcelona is one of them, they come with 10 guys towards the referee, the referee is confused, he doesn't even know who to show a yellow card to. And I think we just need to be stronger to make our case, to tell clearly that this is not all right and to be more confident in certain moments."

The Americans may not have been as confident as Klinsmann would have liked in specific scenarios, but most pundits and fans would acknowledge there were signs of progress. Unlike in recent meetings against the Selecao, the United States tried to impose themselves by keeping possession and creating chances. The hosts did that well for stretches, but missing those chances and having some subpar moments in defense resulted in the lopsided loss.

Those aspects need to be further fine-tuned and improved before World Cup qualifying begins next week, as does the team's ability to play with the requisite toughness Klinsmann is seeking. But therein lies the problem.

Fixing the defense and correcting poor finishing are coachable, while Klinsmann is unsure if adding that toughness is.

"I don't know," said Klinsmann. "It's something that you certainly discuss, it's something that comes also out of their personalities and we have to develop it a little bit and mention it here and there. But obviously you don't want to change the characters.

"But I think it has a lot to do also with belief, believe in your capabilities and if you start to believe that, we can build something special towards 2014. Also with these games against Italy, against France, against Brazil, we get those experiences how to deal with them. In August with Mexico and later on in the year we play Russia in Russia. Those are the benchmarks. … It needs to be developed. How, I don't know yet."

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182 Responses to Klinsmann wants USMNT players nastier, less naive

  1. James says:

    This is why I like Klinnsman. He provides a viewpoint that a coach like Bradley simply cannot. I never hated Bradley (ok … I did), but honestly there is only so far a career American coach can take us in the international game.
    Klinnsman is not going to be a miracle worker but for our players to hear and see what it takes to succeed at the highest level, from a coach who has been there and done that, is very valuable.
    And once our youth program catches up and starts to produce great talent (another change implemented by Klinnsman) this new mindset will already be in place.

  2. BSU SC says:

    Eye of the Tiger

  3. ACC says:

    So, he wants more nasty tackles and more complaining to the referee?

  4. JRP says:

    Jones was nasty enough. That tackle on Neymar was wrong, dangerous and stupid. If that is what he means, I disagree completely. The US was not out hustled. We were out skilled. How about Klinnsman does his job and finds a CB and let the game be decided with quality play. If Klinnsman wants to field a team of dickheads, Mastroni is almost back to health.
    That is not the direction I think the team should be going. How about playing defense? That is a novel thought.

  5. J Dog says:

    I am sorry, but I don’t want a “nastier” us team. I mean there were so many cheap shots last night. Cherundolo, Jones, Dempsey all had moments of disgrace. We are Americans and we are not a nasty people (despite what the europeans may believe).

    This is the first major blemish on Klinnsman and he really should issue a “clarification.”

  6. charles says:

    I agree that we need to adapt. Brazil made a couple of well-timed innocuous fouls that ruined a couple of moves forward for us. And it disrupted our rhythm. That wasn’t dirty. It was prudent. We would be well-served to think of fouling strategically. It’s noble that we are not a flopping country but we can’t shy away from defensive or ‘cynical’ football all the time.

    Also, I don’t get any uproar about Jermaine Jones’ tackle on Neymar. Jones got the ball TWICE. It was aggressive and hard but the fact that he got the ball really negates any criticism of it.

  7. JRP says:

    I predict his statement will lead to card trouble for the team over the next couple of games. What a stupid thing to say publicly. Maybe in the locker room but not to the press.

  8. Yellow Submarine says:

    I’m not a huge fan of the “complaining to the referee” portion. Why? Because I’m American.

    I am a huge fan of the “nastier” side of soccer becoming more common. Why? Because I’m American.

    For those of us that have only started watching soccer within the last 10 years or so, my main frustration, is the passive and downright non-aggressive nature of soccer players and specifically far too many of our American players.

    Dempsey is a great example of playing with an edge without being at risk of getting a red card. Not his skill set, his attitude.

    Too many Donovan’s, not enough Dempsey’s…and I love Landon.

  9. Hincha Tim says:

    I agree with your assessment. I thought that Bradley Sr. did a good job as coach, but that his ability to move the USMNT to the next level was limited and that his usefulness had run it course. In order to go to the next level the USMNT needed a coach with impeccable international credentials and ALSO had some understanding of American soccer and athletic culture. I have always thought that Klinnsman fit that bill better than anyone. I believe he is moving the team in the right direction and that long term US Soccer is better off for having Klinnsman in charge.

  10. James says:

    The “complaining to the ref” stuff is so overblown by Americans who want to find a reason to hate soccer. Look at the NBA. What do players like Lebron and Kobe and Wade do after every drive? Look to the ref and expect a call. If they dont get it, they whine and/or complain and/or pout.

  11. JRP says:

    You must not have seen the same thing I did. He got the ball with his right foot and his left leg swept Neymar off the ground. He could have avoided the second swipe. It was intentional and stupid. His reaction seemed to admit it was a cheap shot.

  12. DCUPedro says:

    This is nonsensical. If there’s one thing that this side had under Bradley it was grit and toughness, particularly mental toughness. This may be the first time Klinsy has noticed that the program has gotten soft under his ‘change of style’, but a lot of folks have noticed it a long time ago.

    You mention that Klinnsman has brought success to the youth program, which simply doesn’t square with the facts. In reality, this is where the lack of nastiness has been most evident.

    I’m not hating in Juergen. It’s just ironic to hear people praising him for recognizing that we’ve lost our edge under his leadership.

  13. BSU SC says:

    I think you guys aren’t understanding what Klinsmann is saying. It’s not that he wants the team to play dirty, but he does want them to be tougher. Whether it’s against Brazil or Antigua & Barbuda, whatever team is playing against the United States needs to know that they’re in for a tough match. The Americans came out a bit slow and soft against Brazil last night. And there were certain stretches during the game when Brazil was in complete control. Klinsmann is saying that any team competing against the United States should expect 90 minutes of hell. Despite a respectable showing, that did not happen last night.

  14. Robinswood says:

    Anyone who has issues with what JK said is, in fact, naive. As a player at the HS and college level, every athlete learns this early in their playing career. If the other team is starting to swagger, it’s time to put a big time hit on them. Turned to my buddy last night and said the same thing 20 minutes into the game. It’s what has made Brazil a far better team in the last four years–the ability to understand that sometimes it takes something different to stop a team’s run. No one wants to see someone hurt (which is where people might have had issues with JK), but injury often does occur in these situations. That’s kind of the point. It’s basically telling the other team that you’re willing to bleed to get a result. We definitely were not willing to bleed last night.

  15. Don Pelayo says:

    I think many people are misinterpreting what Klinsmann has said, and I believe he offers a good explanation of what he means by playing “nasty” in the excerpts above. I believe he wants the US to play with a chip on its shoulder and to not back down from the elite teams. I do not think he means that we should have more reckless and dirty plays, but rather that the entire squad should play like Clint Dempsey.

  16. ptk says:

    If JK continues to use the same CB’s this go around, why hasn’t he called in Jay DeMerit? He’s a year younger than Boca, having a great year with the defense in Vancouver, and is the only player left over from the WC that has yet to be called in by JK. With all the problems at CB, could it really hurt? I don’t recall him having too many bad games against Brazil, or Spain, or Italy…maybe just Ghana, but didn’t they all? Everyone is crying for youth when there’s a vet waiting in the wings still. Plus he pairs better with Boca in the back. This really confuses me as to his exclusion.

  17. Rigazzi's on the Hill says:

    Toughness can be contagious, coming from a leader.

    Dempsey is that guy.

    He is the only field player who, I believe, does not give a sh*t about Brazil: 100%. I see chinks in the armor of the others to varing degrees (Jones, Johnson, ‘Dolo, Herc, Bradley in the 90 percentile).

    Brazil would still have won had Dempsey started the game but the team, overall, would have benefitted from his leadership by example.

  18. maka says:

    Someone should have fouled a Brazilian hard after that first goal celebration.

    Send a message. Good job, Klinnsman. Sick of getting run over mentally and physically. Time to start being the bullies.

  19. Robinswood says:

    Cheap shot or not, it was well within the rules of the game. Tackles such as these are the norm in the EPL. He got the ball first. He did not come in with his studs up. He took the player out after tapping the ball away. How is that a foul? The entire intent of a slide tackle is to (1) get the ball and, (2) take the man down. It’s how every player on every K-1 team learned how to do it in the State of Washington and still do.

  20. no says:


  21. Mike says:

    He’s right.

    He really called out Donovan with the Marcelo comments. Ouch. Basically, “go find some balls because I don’t think you’ve got them.” Rightfully so, he disappeared. Again.

    We could have beaten Brazil last night. In the first half the US played like they didn’t think they could beat Brazil. In the second half, they played as if they thought they could.

    Difference was night and day. Bring that from the beginning.

  22. Steve C says:

    You know my first name ain’t “Baby.” It’s Janet. Miss Jackson if yo nasty.

  23. ted says:

    However nice a smile he puts on Klinsmann was and always has been a penultimate German competitor and Germany is and always has been a Nietzsche-ethos sort of country where when it’s time to fight, you rip the other guy’s heart out and eat it and you do it with a cold hard stare without ever changing expression. There is an utter calculated ruthlessness to German soccer that honestly you don’t even see in the EPL.

    I really really like Klinsmann, but anybody who thought he was some happy-trippy New Age guy kind of got fooled by the smile on the face of the tiger. Klinsmann is not a nice guy. And we are fortunate to have him. These guys are already playing such vastly more positive aggressive soccer than Bob Bradley it’s difficult to believe a lot of these guys are the same players.

  24. chris says:

    The problem is our defense is too old and clumsy. Johnson outclassed our whole defense and basically shutdown Hulk. Cherundolo is getting long in the tooth and
    suprisingly bad in the attack would have loved to see Lichaj vs Canada

  25. RNG says:

    Disagree with J Dog and JRP that Jones’ tackle was a moment of disgrace. It was a hard tackle to send a message. And he clearly got the ball first. In the old days in the Premiership, that wasn’t even a foul. Of course, in some Concacaf settings that could be a red card. But that was no leg breaker like a De Jong tackle.

    As long as we are playing under control, there is nothing wrong with playing tough

  26. I think his definition of nasty is being misinterpreted.

    To compete against these teams, we can’t give them so much respect at the beginning of the game. I think he is referring to the head games used to influence referees to keep them honest.

    What he is saying makes sense from the point of how global teams play and influence a game.

    If you want to be elite, we need to impose ourselves more and quit acting like we are underdogs all the time.

  27. T says:

    I think you interpreted Klinsmann’s message well enough, he just wants them to fight hard all game to get opportunities to score. We can’t respect our opponents so much, we have to go out and sort of “seize” the game.

  28. CA says:

    stop trolling

  29. Mig22 says:

    No, gotta disagree. It was clearly not within the rules of the game. In today’s game, players are ROUTINELY carded for hard, dangerous, and/or dirty plays even if they get the ball. The trailing sweeper leg is what made it a yellow card.

  30. ko'd says:

    From what I can tell, JK is asking for the players to be more intense, to be constantly focused on competing. He wants them to play physical and go toe-to-toe with great teams.

    I know Gomez had a good game, but he shared a chuckle with the Brazilian defense a couple too many times for my liking. You have to play with intensity, even in a friendly. I thought some of the guys did that, but I agree with JK that something was missing.

    The Jones tackle was a clear yellow card. I am glad Neymar did not get hurt. I am glad that Jones made the tackle. Particularly given Marcelo’s antics, the U.S. needed an infusion of bite.

  31. Jonathan S. says:

    The guys looked a lot like Arsenal yesterday. Good going forward sometimes but shaky central defense.

  32. jon says:

    Wow, I have never heard a coach say at a press conference that his team needs to complain to the refs more. I undsertand why you would say that behind closed doors, but cannot fathom why anyone would say that to the press. You can be sure, at our next game, the refs will be fully aware that the yanks have been instructed to complain to them about calls. we’ll see how that goes.

  33. T says:

    Hey, I’ve seen him rip into the German players for not being disciplined and clinical enough. Bob Bradley rarely looked to set his players straight or embarrass them, but Jurgen likes his players to be less conservative more aggressive. I see in the US players that conservative mentality, mainly because of being under BB for so long.

  34. pancholama says:

    The only player I saw bloodied last night was a Brazilian guy. Sitting on the turf, with little canaries dancing around his head.
    I think he attacked a US player’s elbow with his nose.
    Gritty fellow.

    In all seriousness though – what JK said last night is oh so true. My Spanish/Mexican cousins and uncles have been offering up that criticism of the US style of play for years on end.

    It is like the fallacy that sinks the democrats time and time again – somehow the higher moral and ethical nature, the logic of our noble approach to the game will win you points with the opposition, or the ref, or the voters, or whatever –
    ………….you got to cut the lumber, chop some firewood, rattle some cages, and make the ref believe all the time that you are right, that you are the one being abused, etc.

    I am not a fan of the flopping Italianate style, or of the cynical clock wasting that so many So American teams indulge in routinely. I would rather we play a beautiful passing game like the Spanish of today, or like Brazil ’70, or Holland 74-78 and let the goals do the talking. But, the game is played with these tactics and subterfuge – you ignore the value of such tactics at your own peril.

    There was a moment during the Scotland game when Kenny Miller dispossessed Boca of the ball, and then tried to make a run around him. Boca basically made an open field football tackle, without the arms. Droppped his shoulder into Miller’s chest and floored him. Cleaned his clock. Took a strategic yellow. But, basically said to Miller – “yo….this is MY side of the field – back off!” I think that is one aspect of what Klinsman was referring to.

  35. biff says:

    The wimpy (un-nasty?) defense last night was a total shock. Up to the Brazil match, Klinsmann’s teams have been exceptional on defense. Definitely a wake-up call to go back to the drawing board. The central defense did not look good, especially gooch. I don’t understand why Klinsmann did not start Geoff Cameronl. Cameron was excellent as a distributor against Scotland and mostly solid on defense. We needed his distribution against Brazil.

    The other weak defensive point, I thought, was Michael Bradley slotted in for the first time under Klinsmann as the lone holding midfielder. Before the MB Fan Club goes rabid, I thought that MB was solid offensively. His pass to Johnson to set up the Gomez goal was stunning. But Edu was better as the lone Number Six against Scotland, and Beckerman has done better work as ht lone holding midfielder sevral times under Klinsmann.

    Bradley was the culprit in allowing Brazil’s third goal, which basically destroyed any chance the USMNT had in tying or winning the match. If you look at the highlights, MB was responsible for the center, but moved away toward Neymar on the wing leaving Marcelo wide open for the goal. We will never know, but I think Brazil does not score that goal with Beckerman or Edu in the Number Six position.

    In the past, I always thought MB was a better defender than attacker. But I think that is no longer the case. He has worked on his offensive skills. The team came to life when Klinsmann inserted Beckerman in the Number Six slot and moved MB into an offensive position, plus adding Dempsey to the lineup and Boyd sent on to pair up with Gomez. That was some excellent attacking soccer and I would like to see Klinsmann try that combination again. I am now a true believer in Gomez. I see him as winger, leaving the forward spot free for Jozy or Boyd or whoever. I don’t understand why Klinsmann is forcing Torres to player as a winger. Torres needs to play centrally, I think.

  36. James says:

    1) I wouldn’t call the toughness Klinsman is trying to implement the same as Bradleys 11-behind-the-ball and slow-the-game-down tactical “toughness” to the game. I look at teams like Germany – capable of beautiful football but also capable of imposing their will physically.
    2) I didn’t claim that he brought success, I said “once our youth program catches up and starts to produce great talent.” The phrases “once” and “catches up” indicates a future tense. One day the youth program will pay off.

  37. biff says:

    When Jones did the tackle, I did cringe and thought, oh man! Now he’s done it. But Neymar was not hurt by it. I read a quote in one news story where Bocanegra complimented Jones for the tackle, but I can’t find the quote now. Did anyone else see the quote?

  38. Matt says:

    What I hear Klinsy saying is that we need to play assertively, and not let other teams turn us into their b*tch (pardon the language). Playing “naively” might make one feel like they have the moral high ground, but it doesn’t engender respect. What I think Klinsy is getting at seems pretty American to me.

    “Don’t tread on me!”

  39. Frank says:

    It’s Klinsmann–not Klinnsman, Klinnsmann or Klinsman.

  40. elgringorico says:

    I do often wonder why DeMerit just dropped off the face of the earth (as far as USMNT is concerned).

  41. sasha says:

    It looks like you should play baseball my friend not soccer because you an Americanos LOL!

  42. mcm says:

    I think he wants the systematic fouling that teams like ManU and Chelsea do when they play teams like Arsenal and Barcelona. So everyone keeps fouling the best players until there are a couple of yellows shown. Not vicious fouls, but maybe borderline and definitely persistent.

    Yes more complaining to the ref. Refs are afraid to make calls vs mexico because they will get in their face. Creates a very unfair advantage.

    Not saying I agree with the tactic, but I see where he is coming from.

  43. XPK says:

    Agreed…if he had left the back (left?) leg tucked in that was not a yellow card. The fact that he swept his leg forward to catch the player after already winning the ball is what made it a yellow card foul. Neymar’s first several games in Europe are going to be much nastier than anything he experienced against us last night so if he is planning to go overseas he better buck up a little bit.

  44. Big Dave says:


  45. Conrad says:

    This side had mental toughness under Bradley? The side of allowing goals in the first 5 minutes of every WC game and the side of blowing a 2-0 lead against Brazil at the half? That’s something you just made up. That is absolutely unmoored from reality. Wrong, sir.

  46. TC says:

    Wow, watch the highlights on the previous post again and you can see just how favorable the officiating was.

    Brazil Goal #1: Questionable handball.
    Brazil Goal #3: Clear foul in the midfield to start the break. Then, clear offsides by whoever gave the assist… he was a good half-meter or more offsides when the ball was played to him.
    Brazil Goal #4: Could have easily been called offsides… replay shows it likely was by a bit (but it was very close).

    Plus the Gomez takedown in the box, which wasn’t called.

    If the official had called the game fairly or if the US’ hadn’t been so unlucky on their chances, that would have been a win for the USMNT.

  47. Vic says:

    This is fairly simple and I give credit to Klinnsmann. Many American players come from middle to upper middle class families. In other countries many players come from poorer families (Africa, Latin America) and learn their soccer on the streets. In Europe players are in an Academy system at a very young age and they’re constantly fighting for a spot. Either way these systems take away “niceness” that American players have. I agree with Klinnsmann, the American players need to toughen up and stop being so nice.

  48. ACC says:

    My friend kept complaining about Marcelo’s antics last night. The thing is: after he got tackled from behind he went on a rampage and ended up with a yellow card and a goal.
    I want to believe this is what Klins wants from his players. Earn respect by any means necessary. Show the other team you are willing to go toe-to-toe with them under any circumstances like Marcelo did. The US lacks this type of players.

  49. ptk says:

    no idea… he looks like Oliver Kahn, so you would think JK would want him!?!?!? hahahah… in the meantime Vancouver is having the biggest turn around season

  50. dgoshilla says:

    “mental toughness” are you out of your mind? Under Bradley the US would give up early goal after early goal after early goal. The team would disappear from the field for 70 minutes at a time.

  51. UMN says:

    It was a foul but i don’t think it would have looked as bad without Neymar’s play acting and faking an injury. No reason not to foul hard in the middle of the field as long as there is no studs showing. It really sounds like people on this forum want soccer to be a non-contact sport.

  52. MLStoRaleigh says:

    We had the same slow early goal start as before.

  53. Mike says:

    Marcelo punked Donovan. Hard.

    And Donovan withered. He suffers from ‘big fish in a little pond’ syndrome. He’s confident when he’s running at perceived lesser teams/players, but when it comes to going up against a class player he just disappears.

  54. jon says:

    Uhh, that sounds inspiring and all but that’s not what klinsy said. he didn’t say, “we need to play assertively”, he said we need to hurt people (“maybe we don’t want to hurt people, but that’s what you got to do”) and state our case (i.e. complain) to the refs more.

    Both really stupid things to say at a press conference. He’s now given opposing coaches amazing bulletin board material. If I’m coaching a team playing the nats, I subtly drop in the pre-game press conference “we know the US are coached to complain to the refs and hurt people…”

  55. 2tone says:

    Shelve Edu.
    Shelve Onyewu
    Also not impressed with Boca. Against good opposition he reverts back to his not confidant self. Was caught in possession to often.

    Donovan was awful. Still can’t beat good fullbacks one on one. Looked slow against Marcelo. Marcelo has some pace, but he is not extremely pacey.

    Team was much better with Dempsey on the field. If you want toughness and bite well Clint is your man.

    For christ sake stop putting Torres in an attacking Midfielder role. He does not have the attacking wherewithall to play at LAM. He is a deep lying distributor. Needs to replace Maurice Edu.

    Jones much better as a DCM then he is as a box to box middie.

    Team is still one to three creative attacking players away from being able to compete with the likes of Brasil for an entire game. Calling Freddy Adu, Josh Gatt, and Chris Pontius.

    Players that were not fazed by the yellow jersey’s and showed their class: Bradley, Johnson, Gomez. Really impressedd with these three players.

    Here is my starting 11 agaianst Canada.


    Rest Donovan
    Subs: Howard, Boca, Castillo, Corona, Edu, Wondo, Boyd

  56. Vic says:

    Do you have cable? Did you see any of Donovan’s games in the EPL?

  57. Travis says:

    I agree. It was a hard tackle that resulted in a foul. I think even the Brasilians respected it once they saw Neymar was ok. Jones came from the side/back shoulder & went through the ball. I didn’t think the studs were up, nor a high trailing leg, or anything else that would deem is dirty.

    I loved it.

  58. matt says:

    Marcelo is a brilliant player. You can hate his antics all you want but he is firey and worked harder than any player on the pitch last night.

  59. chris says:

    I’m not sure if you’re saying the US dives and wastes time but that isn’t the case at all. Don’t think you should listen to your cousins then since mexico is filled with soft players. Chicharito is the biggest p*ssy in the game

  60. pancholama says:

    Torres as our Xavi, in the middle, or as an Iniesta on the wing – drifting inside when the field offers that – either is OK with me.
    He is young, very talented, and will continue to mature as a play making dynamo.

  61. 2tone says:

    Rest Donovan and Dolo

  62. gregg says:

    What JK is saying is simply that the USMNT needs to play with a chip on it’s shoulder. Not dirty, but get a little meaner. The irony for me in this debate is that, for the first time in my life, I actually thought that in the 2nd half, the US was no longer afraid of Brazil. In the first half, yes. This change was evident in the way the US attacked and the chances created. It was also evident in the way Brazil got chippy. I put that down to Klinsmann’s half time talk and adjustments made during the second half in bringing on Dempsey.

  63. pancholama says:

    I agree – his confidence level wilts when he is confronted with world class marking. Marcello owned him.

  64. Mig22 says:

    Well, I think you misunderstand what JRP, XPK, and I are saying. Even without making a value judgement about contact in soccer, I am merely saying that in today’s game, Jones’ foul is going to be carded nearly every time.


  65. adrianfromtexas says:

    Soccer, just like any sport is a battle my friends. You don’t out there JUST to play, you go out there to WIN. This is what coach K is talking about! When you are pushed up against the wall, F playing nice, you need to to go out there and get what you want, and that should always be, to get a WIN. The USMNT has always had this problem against bigger opponents, where they sort of feel inferior from the get go. I have seen it every time, and it makes me go nuts. I am glad coach K pointed this out! We need to go out there with some cojones and tell them, you ain’t treating me like a blow up doll in my own home!

  66. Travis says:

    there were also a few great saves by the Brasilian keeper and a crossbar hit.

    And the goals against? Poor marking on pretty much all but the PK.

    Don’t blame the referees for the loss, blame lack of execution & focus.

    I’m not saying the official was good, but there are so many other factors in a 90+ minute game.

  67. Vic says:

    Do you judge him by one game? Donovan had a great world cup. Had top ratings against top teams in both loan spells with Everton. Had a great Confederations Cup against top teams two years ago. Last night, everytime Donovan got the ball there were two players on him. There is no one in the world that plays well every game(including Messi and Ronaldo).

  68. Slowreno says:

    glad I didn’t have to say it!!!

  69. Mike says:

    You need to stop being a homer for a moment. Donovan rarely had 2 players on him. Marcelo at 50% would have been enough to stop him last night.

  70. Tweaked says:

    Completely right. Late in the second half the camera caught Dempsey going in hard, throw an elbow, and when the Brazilian started complaining Clint gave him an insolent look and told him to Shut the Fvck Up.

    Donovan on the other hand always seems to be whining.

    Often times when Germany plays they play hard nosed physical AND mental soccer. They just wear down the opponent. USMNT needs to develop that attitude and what Klinsmann is getting at.

  71. ptk says:


  72. bryan says:

    didnt see Boca saying that, but Howard said the same thing.

  73. Vic says:

    Listen fool! You want to say he had a bad game thats fine(everyone has bad games). However, don’t say he ALWAYS plays poorly against top competition without EVIDENCE.

  74. hogatroge says:


    Herc was one of the only players getting in Brazil’s and the ref’s faces after every questionable call or foul.

    Numerous times he tracked back to make important defensive plays.

    Did he share a chuckle with the Brazilian backline after he was called for a clear offsides? Yes… big deal.

  75. Adrianfromtexas says:

    BTW, for any spurs fans out there, this is exactly what coach pop told the spurs on nationally televised TV. It was such a big hit that all of the spurs fans had shirts of the saying ” We need to get more nasty” (somethng like that) in the game on Tuesday. Regardless, what i am trying to say is usuing the word NASTY in sports is not bad. It’s like coach pop said to the spurs “This is a big boy game, we need to play like big boys, it doesnt get easier only harder from here on out”. THATS the attitude one needs to be a BIG BOY.

  76. hogatroge says:

    I want to make excuses too, but…

    Goal #1: Completely reasonable handball call by the rules of the game, though in a friendly the ref should have let it go, especially since play continued seamlessly.

    Goal #3: I agree, but do you really think every foul is going to be called in CONCACAF play?

    Goal #4: Pato was onside. Onyewu failed to step up. I will admit, though, that 75% of the time that would have been incorrectly called offside.

  77. Dennis says:

    Klinsmann as he is wont to do said what was on his mind. Bradley kept those kind of thoughts to himself. I’m not sure you can fault Bradley for what he did not say. Klinsmann admitted he did not know how to change players to be “tougher”. He can organize the defense better and he should. I am not so confident he can improve scoring efficiency of the forwards since that is a long term issue and one that in reality will be addressed, or not, by training with their club teams.

    In brief, Klinsmann identified 3 major things he did not like, defensive organization which he can do something about, scoring efficiency which he can encourage, but will actually happen or not when the players are away from the USMNT camp and adding toughness which he admits he does not so sure how to change.

    The scoring efficiency and toughness issues are something Wilmer Cabrera complained about when U-17s lost in the 2nd round of the 2011 U-17 WC. Cabrera rejected the short term contract he was offered after that, and USSoccer and he parted ways.

    It is not a new issue for US.

  78. hogatroge says:

    I agree, though he should have gotten a yellow for the karate kicks on Cherundolo and been sent off when he got that 2nd.

  79. James says:

    I agree with klinnsman. You need to enforce your will on an opponent and make the likes hulk, for example, second taking you on. I don thinking he is referring to actually taking a player out of the game. I mean, English isn’t his first language so let’s give the guy a break.

    Also, Gooch is terrible. He was responsible for the first two goals. The handball was preventable. If you watch the replay he turned towards his arm side when he could have threw his body more in front of it. The second goal, he left his man unmarked. Plus, man of the defensive mistakes came from him.

    Finally, I like what Dempsey brought to the field and I think that is what klinnsman is talking about. Oh, one more thing. That tackle on neymar is fine. If you watch the replay jones got ball. A foul maybe, but not a card. Neymar is a good actor

  80. bryan says:

    i think you misunderstood his comment if you think that is what he is saying. he said his Spanish/Mexican cousins and uncles have been saying for years what JK said.

  81. Skywardo says:

    True, except for DWade. He doesn’t complain to refs

  82. bryan says:

    um, no, JK did NOT say we should hurt people. what are you smoking? JK absolutely meant playing assertively and not being timid against the best teams. his word choice, not great, but English is his second language. yes, he’s been here awhile, but you can still tell he says things funny sometimes.

  83. Dennis says:

    I am not so sure much whithered as lacked any fresh ideas when what he does best (running at defenders) did not work. He and Dolo persisted in pushing straight up the right touchline into 3 or 4 Brazilian defenders and, out-numbered and not having the quickest feet repeatedly lost possession. Seldom to never did they either cut inside, pass back or across to avoid the defensive trap set for them. I was surprised that the coaches did not fix that, but in the second half they did much of the same.
    Players must be clever enough to try something new when what they prefer is not working, sadly that cleverness was lacking.

  84. adrianfromtexas says:


    In every sport you need to get in their face after something like that. It’s the unspoken rule. It’s something I am sure most people that have played a sport around here know.

  85. Skywardo says:

    If you consider Gomez’s play and attitude, it is similar to the Brazilians. He’s a fighter, and during play will prove that; between and after plays he’s able to be human. Gomez is up there with Dempsey, have no doubt

  86. bryan says:

    yeah because he can magically get called up for the next few games………

  87. adrianfromtexas says:

    Chris, I don’t think you understood what pancho is saying. And btw, I hate Mexico, but even I believe Mexico will do better against Brazil at this point, and that pisses me off. You might call them soft, but they aint losing this bad I bet.

  88. JCC says:

    I don’t think “nasty” is being misinterpreted here. Remember, Klinsmann was a notorious diver when he was player. He’s basically saying it as it is, “American ethics” won’t work in soccer because no one else plays that way.

    Everyone else finds way of gaining an edge, whether it’s complaining to the ref in numbers, diving, or dirty fouls, it’s part of the world game and it puts the US at a disadvantage when the players refuse to use these tactics in return, that’s what he’s trying to say. That’s why he uses the Barcelona example. He’s saying that while Barcelona has skill, they still use tactics that most Americans would turn their nose up to in disgust and Americans just have to get over it.

    I know this bothers a lot of US fans to think they might start seeing American players rolling around the ground to time-waste and what not, but like it or not, it’s the nature of the game, and it’s not going to change anytime soon if ever. The team either has to adapt some of these tactics and win or pretend they are on some moral high ground and continue to be mediocre.

  89. Tom says:

    Klinsmann is 100% right on this. When someone is dancing through your defense, they need to be fouled and hard, so they think about it a little bit when they try to do it the next time. I have had this argument with some of my teammates in the past who don’t believe “professional fouls” should be part of the game. I think of them more as “psychological fouls”. You don’t want someone thinking they can do whatever they want, without consequences. Get in their heads.

  90. Dennis says:

    Yes, you are a Bradley hater from way back! Get over it he was one of the best 2 or 3 players for the USA last night.

  91. bryan says:

    no, gooch is NOT terrible. he had a bad game and what you were experiencing was the irresistible urge for a knee jerk reaction. and no, he was not at fault for the 2nd goal. jones was marking silva, it’s clear as day in the highlights. gooch was certainly at fault for the 4th goal though by not stepping up with the rest of the defense for the offside trap.

    again, he had a bad game. it was a stinker. but he is not terrible.

  92. DCUPedro says:

    Please, Bradley did not play “11 behind the ball.” What he did do is insist on defensive concentration and focus, and smart, tactically proficient defending. If its good enough for Chelsea and Inter Milan in Champions League play, its good enough for the USA against Brazil.

    Second, JK did not invent the USMNT youth program.

    Finally, JK has never been through a qualifying campaign, and I wonder if he knows what will be in store for us when we try and play Jogo Bonito in a hostile crowd with a defense that is pressing us high. The time is going to come really soon when this guy is going to have to start worrying about results and not this “change the culture/stlye” B***S***. I hope we are ready.

  93. adrianfromtexas says:

    Jon here either has never played a sport or has no balls. Sure JK could have NOT said that, but alteast now we know that he feels like alot of us in here feel, as shown by today’s messages, that the US needs more BALLS from EVERYONE who is on the field. Sure one can say he snapped, but hey, sometimes those things need to be done to send the players a message. I am sure no player wants thier coach to call them soft public. Thats a blow to the ego, and only men will come out and try to prove him wrong. The other guys that feel bad about these comments should just go home and rub lotion on their….soft spots.

  94. bryan says:

    i’m fine with what he said in regards to being nasty and less naive. we were way too soft on them in the first half. he is not saying play dirty, he is saying play more tough.

    i dont like the comment about surrounding the ref though. i cannot stand when barca do that.

  95. jon says:

    Do people suddenly not know how to read? JK said (as I quoted above) “maybe we don’t want to hurt people, but that’s what you got to do.” Meaning, “what you got to do” is “hurt people.” So he said it.

    If your point is that he didn’t mean what he said, because his english is bad, that’s an entirely different point. I for one, really hope he didn’t mean it, and hope he never “miss-speaks” like that again. Words are all a coach has. What he actually specifically says, matters.

    In any event, he clearly meant the ridiculous comments about complaining more to the refs.

  96. Marcello says:

    Telling your players to play “tougher” or “more nastier” or with more “edge” does NOT mean play dirty. It simply means standing your ground assert yourself and keep your opponents on their heels constantly. You have to want to determine the outcome before the whistle is blown and not just chase and react. Teams like Brazil can’t have the luxury of playing uninhibited soccer for 90 minutes. All the great teams in the world understand this, and that’s why you see an amazing team like Brazil get knocked out of the World Cup by a less technically gifted but more determined side. Klinsman knows from learning in Europe that it’s this quality that is the difference between a mediocre team and a great team.
    Wanna see a perfect example? Look at Juventus from this year (undefeated champions) as opposed to last year (7th place). Pretty much the same set of players except 3 impact players. The main difference being that they played like champions from day 1. In Italy this is called “La Grinta”. It’s a bite. :-)

  97. Brain Guy says:

    Klinsmann didn’t say anything that’s going to cost the US any trouble with officials. He’s just calling out his team — and putting the world on notice — that there’s an element of top-level football that involves guts, grit, and gamesmanship. I’m not talking about diving or reckless challenges — I’m talking about the little bump, the little shove, the look and the talk that remind the other team that you’re not going to concede anything. Even the purveyors of Jogo Bonita know when to get in your grill. Dempsey knows too.

  98. TT says:

    Bad tackles will happen and occasionally a bit of red mist will fall with frustration but that should not be a common element of our game. I was a bit disturbed with the lack of discipline last night in general and JK needs to sort that out, not encourage it. There are a few habits (moaning, cheating and negativity) that really grate me about some European teams. That’s not really part of our culture IMO.

  99. DCUPedro says:

    Its also the side that pulled out a gritty win when every break was falling against them against Algeria. Its also the side that nabbed a late goal against CR to win qualifying. Its also the side that beat Spain through rigorous and discipline defending in a FIFA tournament.

    You can complain about his Confed cup loss to Brazil (as if we didn’t just get waxed by them last night) all you want, but Bob Bradley got results from this side when he was in charge. I am not hating on JK, but I am very worried that we don’t have the edge that its going to take to get the job done on the road (and even at home) during qualifying. If you think that Honduras or Panama are going to roll over in awe because we beautifully passed the ball out of the back against Scotland you’re dead wrong. We need to play a smart, tactical game like we did against Italy, and like we should have done last night.

  100. Djchubakka says:

    You’re sounding naive. Refs understand the game just as well as most coaches. The refs did a good job of NOT throwing yellows last night when Neymar would dive. They’re also used to really tough physical matches. Nothing JK said will raise any eyebrows other than that of naive American soccer fans.

  101. Angel of Los Angeles says:

    First of all have you ever play Football Soccer in the street, or Maybe Basketball or American Football you play strong and Nasty to to hurt someone but to show that you playing in my backyard, my home place. Klismann all he want is for American to forget about how you been thought in the school or little league that everything is ok, just play and be fair. Yeah I believe in fair play but sometime you have to be aggressive, tough, and nasty. And we have a two guys who plays like that Dempsey and Jones. We have to the likes of Busquet, Alvez, Marcelo, even Marquez they play tough and nasty but the put fear on other players, That is what the USA is lacking off and that is what Klismann want from them. NOT TO GO OUT THERE AND BREAK SOMEONE LEGS BUT TO BE ENFORCER that is it and to let the world know that we don’t play you with Respect.

  102. Djchubakka says:

    They completely changed their tactics and attitude after the half. The offensive play was 100x better. The defense looked bad most of the game. Slow and confused.

  103. Tyler says:

    Ok, Gooch had a terrible game, but the real problem with the back line is Bocanegra. He makes mistakes that lead to at least chances every game. If you pay attention to the occasions that he recieves the ball in the game, almost every time he cleared or attempted to pass it, it would go straight to a Brazilian. I don’t know what any of the US coaches have seen in him.

    Oh, and Neymar is a good actor, like most Brazilians. Unless its Marcelo. He doesn’t have to act. He can be a complete d-bag right in front of the ref and get away with it.

  104. ptk says:

    just saying, after this go-round he should be in the pool again

  105. fortunate only says:

    There’s something to be said for being naive and nationalistic.

    If you really believe US players don’t dive then you haven’t been watching long enough.

    Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore and even Gooch, amongst others, have milked contact repeatedly to earn set pieces or PKs.

  106. adrianfromtexas says:


    You sir, are correct. Any person that plays sports and plays to win, not to play by the “rules”, knows this is an unspoken rule.

  107. kevdflb says:

    I agree.
    It was a hard tackle, but not dirty. But because Jones made that tackle, everyone will see it as dirty.
    And in the old “ball first” British mentality is isn’t even a foul (not that I agree with that logic).

  108. Nate says:

    Come on, he’s not a Bradley hater, his criticism was more of JK’s positioning of Bradley than of Bradley himself! I agree for the most part, although I love the hustle Bradley shows in covering the length of the field to participate at both ends. With the touch he’s shown on through balls lately he’s definitely more dangerous at the pointy end.

  109. Tyler says:

    Yeah, Marcelo is a beast of a player. However, I would not want him on my team if he were to be a liability due to his fouls. A perfect example would be what he did to Fabregas in one of the Clasicos. Or you could look at what he does to Messi every Clasico.

  110. Jamie Z. says:

    And it’s J├╝rgen or Juergen, not Jurgen!

  111. sandtrout says:

    Jones will cost us more than he gives us with tackles like the one on Neymar. He had the ball with his first leg, but he followed through unnecessarily with his left leg, which could easily have been a red card, especially in Concacaf. While he has good qualities, I suspect Jones will end up being more of a liability because of plays like that.

  112. wides says:

    Please let’s not start emulating Barcelona in this respect. They are absolutely ridiculous in their complaining to the ref.

  113. MiamiFCforever says:

    it worked for the spurs “i want some nasty” g.p

  114. crocajun1003 says:

    2 Things:

    1. You can be nasty without being a dirty player.

    Rooney = Nasty. Yaya Toure = Nasty. Carrick = Nasty. Ramires = Nasty.

    Nasty means you get after it for 90 minutes and you don’t give your opponent and inch.

    2. I felt like Jones’ tackle was a turning point in the game. It seemed like the team really responded after and played harder, almost like a momentum changing fight in a hockey game.

  115. Vic says:

    Also, when a Brazilian players suffers a tough foul, 8 or 9 players run over to confront an American and only a few Americans run over to defend him. When this happens to an American 1 or 2 run over to confront the Brazilian and everyone is there to defend him.

  116. jon says:

    I play sports, but will let you continue to speculate about my testicles. So, just to be clear, I have no problem with the we need to be nasty, phsyical and tough minded part of Klinsy’s comments. I do have a problem with the comment about hurting people and the public comments that players need to complain to the refs more. Both players and coaches need to be tough, but also have to be smart and avoid losing their cool. Klinsy’s comments were not smart or helpful.

  117. thegazelle says:

    Hopefully someone got DNA samples off of Marcelo so we can clone him; if we can’t steal more angry Germericans maybe in 20 years we too can have a rampaging player like him. At least Jones stuck a boot in on someone. Like someone said, too many Donovans not enough Dempseys.

  118. ACW3 says:

    My interpretation of Herr Klinsmann’s call for more nasty is that when you take the pitch, you MUST ASSUME that you are going to dominate your opponent like we did Scotland, and you must have confidence in your abilities to do exactly that, no matter who the opponent is. There were MANY times in the Brazil match when USA players had chances to be aggressive and do something with a calculated riskiness — for example, taking an opponent 1-on-1 — but instead seemed to look at the canary yellow jersey coming at them and say, “Oh, it’s Brazil…I can’t do that,” and play the ball safely backward. Against Scotland, in that same situation, that USA player would have gone for it and made the more aggressive play. I’m aware of the skill difference between Scotland and Brazil, but I also submit that you’re not going to beat a Brazil without taking risks. But I think THAT’S some of what JK is talking about with both the nastiness comments AND him saying we gave Brazil too much respect. It shouldn’t matter if you’re playing Spain or Brazil or San Marino — DON’T be afraid. DON’T be passive because your opponent is supposedly better than you. That should motivate you even more to beat them.

    While I don’t think that JK is advocating for more fouls like Jones’ tackle on Neymar, there’s no question he wants his fellows to be more physically intimidating. You don’t have to accumulate yellows to do this. We’ve all watched soccer/football for a long time, and we all know that most players know how to be physically imposing without getting carded or sometimes even called for a foul. A good example of the proper level of this, I think, is when Dempsey went up for a ball last night at one point and his elbow came up a little. Wasn’t a cheap shot, but the Brazilian didn’t like it, and when he complained to Dempsey about it, the latter let him know he was doing a lot of talking (with accompanying hand motion) and that the Brazilian would receive another blow if he didn’t shut up. I think the spirit of JK’s request is to let your opponent know you’re there, so to speak, certainly more than they showed last night. You can shake hands and be nice after the match.

    This sort of thing should have been ramped up a bit after the Brazilian post-goal dance. I’m amazed how much this behavior has been tolerated over the years. Score a goal? Congrats, you have the right to celebrate. Make a spectacle of it and show up my team in the process? Nope. No way. Every player who participated in their little line dance would have, at minimum, received a shot like the Dempsey one I described above. Even if I’d have had to take a so-called strategic yellow, as I got up off the ground I would have told my opponent, “That was for the line dance,” even if I would have had to have learned the phrase in Portuguese at halftime. It’s like in baseball after a player hits a home run. If I’m the pitcher, I say fine, you hit one off me, you have the right to celebrate and enjoy your trot around the bases. But wait…if you stand and POSE at the plate and admire your home run, showing me up in that fashion, well…the next time you’re at the plate, I wouldn’t dig in the batter’s box, if I were you, because I’m probably putting one in your ribs. This is one of the so-called unwritten rules of baseball. Soccer has its unwritten rules, too, I’m sure. I think Klinsmann is merely asking his team to get tougher and enforce them. Let your opponent know that all 22+ of us are going to leave this match with a whole new set of aches, scratches, and bruises. Let him know that you can take it…but can he? Remind him as well that this is a FRIENDLY, and just think what it’ll be like when it’s NOT a friendly. Next thing you know, HE’S the one who balks, HE’S the one who hesitates when it’s time to assert himself during play. For the most part, footballers are pretty shrewd guys, and they know who to accomplish this sort of thing without always getting carded, called for a foul, or sometimes even noticed. I think Klinsmann wants to see more of it from his team, and I think he’s within reason to ask it. Not so much that his side loses something in quality of play or puts the team in trouble, but enough to where the opponent is aware that we’re willing, as someone wrote above, to bleed to win this, and we can take what we dish out, so serve it up right back at us if you want. And don’t even CONSIDER showing us up with any goal celebrations.

    Finally, regarding the matter of complaining to refs, I believe what Klinsmann wants is for his players to, shall we say, at least try to influence them. Everyone knows this happens in soccer, and that any referee is biased at least a little even before he steps onto the pitch. He knows which team is superior on paper and knows that on 50/50 calls, it’s probably correct to give the “better” team the benefit of the doubt and make the call in their favor, because they’re more skilled. How do you overcome this? One way is to let the referee(s) know that you know it’s happening. Remind him of it as loudly and vociferously as you want without getting carded. Even in situations where you know you’re wrong, make a case, let the ref know you’re unhappy, and get out. You might get the next call. Did you have a questionable penalty awarded agaisnt you on your home turf? Go nuts. Refs like to even these things out, so you might get the same call in your favor later if you voice your displeasure. Like it or not, this has been proven effective in ALL sports, especially ones in which there is a single official with so much power. Use it to your advantage. Soccer players don’t do this because they think they’re going to get a current call changed. They’re doing it for the NEXT call. There were too many times last night when American players seemed to accept their fate, as if they were saying, “Oh, well. It’s Brazil, and such things just happen when you play them, because they’re so good. I sure hope it doesn’t happen again.”

    Unfortunately, that was the prevailing mindset on the USA side for the 90+ minutes, and even though I (like most everyone who watched it) feel the final score was harsh compared to what really happened out there, that lack of physical fire (save for Jones) and evident passion had a hand in the 4-1 loss. I don’t think Klinsmann wants his players to critically injure opponents and/or become whiners. I just think that when it comes to those matters, he’d like to see a little less general malaise, and a little more General Patton.

  119. Stephen says:

    As much as I hate to agree with you, I think you are spot on.

  120. Modibo says:

    Nasty = professional = John Terry

    This all goes back to the development of most American players – ie the college route. The same criticism has been valid for years. When I was in Italy to see the US team play in WC ’90, it was rapidly evident that they were not “nasty” enough, but that did not necessarily mean playing “dirty” (though that might have been in order sometimes as well).

    “Nasty” may be a poor choice of terms. “Assertive” “clinical” “strategic” may be better.

  121. pancholama says:

    Yeah – and he holds down the left back position for a team that has a certain reputation, has one a few big games…..maybe you’ve heard of them….they play in a stadium called el Santiago Bernabeu, in Madrid I think……

  122. pancholama says:

    + 1

  123. pancholama says:

    Or look at the game between France and Brazil, I think it was the world cup semi-final back in 2006.
    Kaka was at the time considered to be one of the best players in the world. But, the French backs and mids muscled him out of the game, they marked him close and hard and he looked like a scared punk a** white boy. (basically what Marcello did to Donovan)
    Also the French had Zidane……..anyways the French played the Brazilians up close and personal, very physical and won.
    End of story.
    They sweat and bleed just like us – they are not invincible.

  124. biff says:

    your right. now i see, it was Tim Howard and it was in the first game report story on SBI. he called it a “great tackle.” I do think after that tackle Brazil eased up a bit, although I gotta hand it to Neymar, he did not back down and was calling for the ball afterwards. tough guy.

  125. adrianfromtexas says:

    I think Klinsy’s comments are not meant say “let go hurt people!”, but rather, hey we need play tough and if people get hurt, let it be. I dont know of anyone that plays sports and anticipates NOT to get hurt. Its just one of those things you have to accpet going into any type of sport which involves contact, the contact can and likely will hurt you at some point, without it having the intention to really hurt a person. I will give you this though, perhaps Klinsy did lose his cool a bit and let that slip, but atleast it shows he has some passion for what he is trying to do, and letting it out once in a while is at times good I say. Also the think about complaining to the ref, I believe he is aluding more to the confidence it takes to feel that what you did was not something bad. I mean if you look at great M. Jordan, or even today Lebron, Kobe, etc, the all sort of impose thier will on the game by looking at the ref everysingle time they feel they were fouled. I honestly beleive this is what Klinsy means, to play hard, and if someone does something that could be a foul, have the confidence to tell the ref, ” Hey wants going on? Do you need glasses!” (haha). The problem her here is that you NEED to feel entitled to be able to say these things. And some of the USNATS dont feel entitled becuase they feel that anything that is called is probably right as its Brazil, and well we are not. So that already demonstrates a mindset of a loser really. I never see them be that passive when a player from el tri fouls then, and that is because the USMNT THINKS they are better.

  126. pancholama says:

    Are you done……..?

  127. MattG says:

    Hahs you better be a troll

  128. pancholama says:

    F* Marcello – we have Fabian Johnson.

  129. George3000 says:

    You fight great but I’m a great fighter.

  130. biff says:

    what is your problem, man? get a grip on it. I would really be interested in knowing exactly what I said that has you so fired up. Are you willing to share this?

  131. Jdavids says:

    Thanks Conrad. I was about to say the same.

  132. George3000 says:

    I agree with this interpretation the most. In any sport, if you are reacting instead of initiating the play, you are never going to win. We need to be pressuring high and suffocating any player with the ball – taking a foul if need be to prove a point.

  133. George3000 says:

    I think “nastier” just means being the aggressor in all situations instead of trying to react to what the other team is doing. It’s kind of like the guy in a pick up game who is taking the game way more seriously than you (denying you the ball, aggressive/physical defense, shouting a lot, etc). It throws you off your game.

  134. M-O-O-N spell Jim says:

    Speaking of not playing scared –

    Klinsmann out coached himself by monkeying around with the layout of the midfield. Jones / Bradley much more effective than Jones / Edu because Edu lacks the touch to be up top.

    Why alter the most effective element of the previous match?

    He should have switched that back around before the 10th minute, would have enhanced Jones, allowed more composure in the middle and US wins 3-2.

  135. Rlw2020 says:

    I love this article and klinsmans words. Especially when we go up vs central american teams we need to be Nasty but not dirty like them. Really looking forward to seeing this evolve!

  136. LiquidYogi says:

    The US National Team get’s be by Brazil’s U23 team…whines about the ref and makes plans for more whining.

  137. Rlw2020 says:

    Is this not what we have Jones for or what?

  138. Old School says:

    If he read his mouth too, he said, “Keep talking.”

    The Brazilian put up his hand in apology.

    That’s Dempsey.

  139. Bob says:

    I still remember when DeJong took out Holden. What did our guys do in response? NOTHING!! We needed someone like Jones out there to send a message to DeJong after that.

    And who knocked Brazil out of the last WC? The Netherlands who received 4 yellow cards (including one for DeJong) in a “nasty” game that saw Melo sent off with a straight red. Just sayin’…

  140. LoS says:

    he must have watched the Spurs vs OKC… get nasty.. finally.

  141. marco says:

    Since Klinsmann said he was playing to win all 5 games, his rating for this game was a 4, along with Donovan, Gooch and Edu. Now if he was just trying things out than he gets a 6.

    He got his formation and players selections wrong, and never made all the appropriate corrections. I disagree if he feels the officials were bad. There are much worse to come in CONCACAF. Examples: On Gooch’s handball during qualifying there might be a red card added on. The two footed tackle on Neymar, would certainly be red, and Marcelo’s drive into Dolo would have been play- on.

    Klinsi, that was the best CONCACAF officiating you’re ever going to see, wake up dude.

  142. ThaDeuce says:

    Completely sdisagree with everything you said. however, while we are on the subject of bradley vs klinsi, i would like to weigh in. bradley was a great coach, but as a fan, u never knew what he was thinking and his interviews were boring. I love klinsi telling it like it is. as a fan, u almost feel like u are in the locker room.

  143. marco says:

    Perhaps Klinsmann is still upset that the U23’s players and staff, allowed the Mexican ref to signal play on after Boyd got belted in the nose.

  144. ThaDeuce says:


  145. JRP says:

    Agreed. And it should be. That does not belong in the sport.

  146. JRP says:

    Yes, I have. The problem is with the world nasty. Nasty has only negative connotations in English. Like your Mama is nasty, that diaper is nasty and that team played nasty. It is not a positive term in any way. If what he means is the US needs to step it up, that is fine. That is not what he said. He said play nastier. I don’t want the national team to play nastier. I want them to play better. That may mean a more physical game but the word nasty only conjures negativity.

  147. Dane96 says:

    This is comical. My guess, whatever sport you played in you sat at the end of the bench and whined about why everyone needs a fair shake.

    EVERY AMERICAN LEAGUE SPORT (Football, Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, etc.) HAS TOUGHNESS. You bean our guy..we aren’t respecting you we are beaning you back. You are DUKE? We are the Cindarella Lehigh Mountain Hawks…SUCK IT…we will win.

    That’s…what Klinsman (and Howard) mean. If you look at Jones tackle in slow mo…nasty…but he actually doesn’t slam into Neymar hard…neighbor jumps (correctly) and landed hard. That tackle says…”listen…enough is enough.”

    I have never played a sport that doesn’t have that kind of attitude. Man up.

  148. Dane96 says:

    SORRY for the autocorrect. I meant Neymar…not neighbor.

  149. danny says:

    I like that Klinsman is saying stuff publicly that might sound a little controversial but it has truth in it. It is a way to motivate the players and educate American fans. I find it interesting that he said: “Its just in the nature, still, of our game”. I have observed this by years of playing pick up soccer with mostly international players. Young and strong American players who join in often don’t know how to respond to other players messing with them and they are often taken advantage of. Of course this is generalization, but I think Marcelo provides an example. After he tried to kick Cherundolo in the face- somebody should have sent Marcelo a message. Instead he looked like a super star all game. JJones gets it and thats why he fouled Neymar, but note that he wasn’t specifically trying to injury him and he went straight for the ball with his studs. Dempsey also gets it, probably because of the way he grew up playing soccer. I believe Klinsman is right that there is a mental aspect to the game that we need to develop more in order to achieve better results.

  150. TerkyJerky says:

    It’s like in basketball when you grab a defensive rebound inside and swing your elbows around. You’re not trying to hurt anyone just trying to tell people this is my space don’t come in. I’m thinking that was what JK was trying to get across.

  151. danny says:

    Jones Tackle was not dirty or wrong. He was in control and cleanly got that ball with his studs. It was a foul because his body simultaneously went through Neymar’s legs, but all his force was directed toward the ball.

  152. ComoPark says:

    +1 on refs reluctance to make calls when confronted. I can only think of a handful of officials internationally that don’t cave, and maybe one in CONCACAF. It infuriates me that the refs aren’t more assertive, but if they aren’t then non-aggressive team is likely to suffer.

  153. danny says:

    Agreed. Jay Demerit was our best center back during the WC and probably for the year around it. He was injured for awhile though. He’s basically a smarter version of Onyewu with slightly better ball skills and passing.

  154. rrrr says:

    I am with those who believe BB did a good job, but….I don’t think the toughness of fighting back against Algeria and CR is quite the same thing that JK is talking about. The USMNT has been a plucky group who will fight hard and never, ever, quit. Witness those comebacks. However, I do think there is *still* a naivety in approach to think that just by trying hard enough we will eventually get results, or worse, that it is okay to try hard and fall short. That is not the same as coming right out toe-to-toe with the established powers ans saying that we’ve arrived, that we want what they have, and we are going to take it from them. Nope, not there yet.

  155. Mwing09 says:

    Cant agree more, I hate when Barca does that. While we’re at complaining to the refs, why dont we also just start getting “injured” as soon as the clock hits 65 and we’re up? Why dont we start flopping whenever we’re touched inside the box?

    Just because other teams do it to try and gain an advantage, doesnt mean we need to. We win without using BS tactics like this, thats what I like about US soccer.

  156. MiamiAl says:

    Enter Ricardo Clark…

  157. JRP says:

    If he would have slid in one leg back and one forward it would have been avoided. Simple as that.

  158. thegazelle says:

    haha – cello shredded US, with a chip on his shoulder too. Of course we need someone like that. And yes F Johnson is a great addition too.

  159. hush says:

    I disagree. In Urban areas “Nasty” is used to describe someone tough, or something beautiful. Jordan & Pippen were NASTY during the 90’s! Rodman was NAAAASTY!

    I completely understand what JK means by Nasty. I think some of you are trying to hard.

  160. hush says:

    McGuire and the Patriots would disagree with you.

  161. Conrad says:

    When you refer to the “old days in the Premiership,” what, are you think the wilderness of, like, 1998? The Premiership didn’t exist till 1992.

  162. Conrad says:

    That was snotty and uncalled for. Sorry.

  163. rajiv says:

    Hmmm…I hope klinsy is not talking about turning the us team into a buncha hatchet men. Klinsmann was the biggest flopper/diver ever during his playing days so I think the USMNT should tell him to be careful about what he says publicly. Besides the usa were plenty aggressive against a bunch of under 23 kids. Hitting neymar with dirty tackles is not the answer, this is not NFL nor rugby and it wont wash in europe and certainoly not at a world cup. Lets see if they can back it up when playing mexico at mexico city and try this kind of approach and not start a riot. Not a good statement by kins at all. What the USA need to do is learn to PLAY BETTER. Brazil with mostly kids played in second gear for 90 mins. If the americans had the skill or physicality to step it up you think brazil wont have? Unfortunately this current usa team is beginning to sound more and more like england in the 1980s, arrogant without being able to back it up. Lets see some genuine wins before the talk begins.

  164. andrew says:

    So this german dufus wants to turn the USA into a snarling, scowling nasty team? I sure as hell hope not…As Ive said many many times, were are using all the wrong role models to advance our cause. Copying germany, england – this is not the asnwer. Lets copy the kids who thrashed us instead, BRAZIL. Then finally maybe we get to see some progress of the right kind. Besides, all these tricks and gamesmanship jurgen is going on about has been tried before against brazil, wont work boys. First you need to match their quality theres no other easy way and you wont unruffle them with hard tackles. European teams such as england, scotland, ireland all tried it time and again during the 70s 80s and apart from a few wins here and there it never worked in crunch games. Brazil know how ti mix up their pretty soccer with dirty stuff if needed. Like i said , we are going in the wrong direction if this is juregens response to the defeat.

  165. Jimi Hendrix says:

    I dont know what JK is saying but its not good. He was part of a german team 1990 that was excellent but also very dirty. They knew all the tricks in the book, how to provoke opponents, and how to get players sent off. This is not a good road to travel, even to win. Even in england (who for some reason in soccer the usa seems to hold in high regard unlike in any other sport). they frown on this kind of behavior. Play hard by all means, dont be naive, but dont be dirty unless your opponents start to introduce it and quite frankly there was NOTHING dirty about the brazil olympic team. Anyone who says they were are just talking out of their backsides or are smoking something. I was impressed by neymar. Folks call him weak, blah blah, but he casme through the game didnt he and he came through the only dirty tackle in the game. That was a red csard for the us player. I think we have to realise physicality will only bring us so much. Brazil can be physical no problem, its a myth that they cant mix it up. So we need to match their skills, and with these musclebound jokers passing themselves off as US soccer players, I dont know that we can right now.

  166. paul says:

    Nothing funny about the cheap shot though mate.

  167. ben says:

    It was a disgraceful tackle. PERIOD. Its a sad state of US soccer when fans are defending this kind of behavior. Next you will say luis suarez is not a racist! haha.

  168. chuffed says:

    So the yanks are defending horror tackles and dirty play now? Pele was quite literally kicked out of the 1966 world cup, wouldnt want to see a team with good potential like the yanks to end up being like argentina or uruguay. Not sure this german chap is the right way forward lads!

  169. soccerboy says:

    I loved the fact that neymar suckered jones into the tackle and the us player fell for it hook like and stinker.Great to watch.

  170. brazil says:

    Neymar is kicked punched and two-footed all the time throughout brazil and south america by fans and players who are jelous of skills and talent and want “to stamp their authority on him and the game” mpfhahahahahah. Jones tackle was like his little sister hitting him. All of you must not watch alot of FOOTBALL if you think that was hard for neymar hahahaha.

  171. ben in el cajon says:

    The problem is the word ‘that.’ You think it meant ‘hurt people,’ but Klinsmann was referring to ‘play nasty,’ the referent from his previous sentence. In other words, we need to risk hurting people. That’s different than saying ‘we need to hurt people.’

    Clint threw a mild elbow. Jones took out Neymar’s legs without a studs-up challenge. That’s nasty; that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

  172. tim says:

    Actually the brazilian KID told old man dempsey to shut it and then calm down. Sign language.

  173. Sao paulo says:

    johnson who?

  174. Dw says:

    I like the coaching style of Klinsmann

  175. joejoe says:

    The tackle by Jones on Neymar was criminal. I’m surprised a leg wasn’t broken. It was late in the game, there was no need for that. Jones should have been given a red card.

  176. bryan says:

    ok, well, that wasnt exactly easy to tell given you responded to a comment with a lineup for the game against Canada. but yes, he should get another look.

  177. Boston Brad says:

    Completely agree.

  178. Sams Army says:

    What was really appalling to see was the member of the usa coaching staff actually applauding such a vicious tackle. If this is the “new” team usa i want no part of it.

  179. Nastier … I think it was 1998 World Cup? Germany vs USA, Reyna gets a knee to the back within the first few minutes, was never effective the entire game, USA lose.

    If this was an actual World Cup match, JK would have changed tactics and played more defensively. But the difference is that we would be able to actually possess and take it to the other team when we have the ball and not just counter quickly, lose the ball, and defend again.

  180. nic d "the TEXAS 2 stepper" says:

    ^ T H IS ^

  181. nikeshoes says:

    Like dempsey? the guy is a loose cannon, a firebrand you cannot rely on. What if he gets himself sent off for acting like a goat? Who wins then?

  182. EndangeredMD says:

    Any player rolling on the field should be OFF for one minute. If he gets up quickly after the foul he should get a yellow. Americans are known as being assertive and yeah a little ‘nasty’, so the American way to play soccer should be the same. If you aren’t dead after being fouled, get up and start playing. Do not take crap from anyone. Plus, anyone who touches a ref should get a yellow. Anyone arguing with the ref needs a yellow. The South American players, and some of the Europeans (if I had to watch Ribery cry again I was going to get sick – Chelsea finally really took him out and gave him something to cry about) look like a buch of wusses when they roll on the ground screaming. Can you imagine football, basketball or hockey with such theatrics????? We need to keep pressure on the offensive side of the field. [3-2-3-2-Goalie] is the way to go. Go USA!