USA vs. Brazil: Klinsmann’s Post-Game Reaction

A special review coming from TSG commenter DTH who was at the match.

Here, Jurgen Klinsmann on the officiating and the US’s “field tone” in the 4-1.

48 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/31 at 5:38 AM

    For my money, willing to bet that Klinsmann is predominantly speaking about Donovan and Torres in his “nasty” comments.


    • Someone (Klinny) has been watching some San Antonio Spurs basketball. “I want some nasty!”


    • Posted by Chazcar on 2012/05/31 at 1:40 PM

      Its a fine line with the “nasty” and “hurt” comments. I think he is talking about the idea of playing with confidence, and not deffering to them. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings because they are superstars. “Step on their toes” ie get in their face, don’t act like they are better.

      Klinsmann was known as a bit of a diver. He understands the “nastier” parts of the game. I think he is basically saying to be more cynical in our approach and not let the opponent have their way.

      I am not a fan of being bullies and divers. But his point is taken. Get out there and get in their face. Keep your cool, but don’t be pushovers. Be Luke Skywalker, not Anakin. Use your emotions, but don’t be controlled by them. (Yeah, soccer and Star Wars)


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/31 at 5:40 AM

    Secondly, the US at least “measured” themselves against top competition as oppose to bunkering and withstanding attacking looking for a result. That’s a positive.

    The mental focus however….improvement needed.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/31 at 8:03 AM

      Under Bob I screamed that we should just try and see where we were at. Lets say 5-3 or 4-2 is where we are fairly at versus Brazil. They had a bogus handball call in their favor but had a lot of opportunities to score that they didn’t cash in on.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/31 at 8:19 AM

      Definitely was a different approach to what we’re used to with the USMNT against the best. I think we’ve seen that we can create chances against anybody which will be a good thing going forward. We also can safely say that the left back problem is solved for as long as Fabian Johnson stays healthy. If Chandler chooses Germany we still end up winning as Johnson is clearly the better of the two.

      The mental focus was awful. Lots of poor marking and terrible defensive positioning (especially by Gooch).


  3. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/31 at 5:56 AM

    The complaining about the officiating is unbecoming, but if you’re going to do it, at least get the facts straight. The ball clearly hit Gooch’s elbow in the box. Gooch was clearly keeping Pato onside on the fourth goal. The officiating is going to get a lot worse when we have to play qualifiers in Central America and Mexico. Get used to it.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/31 at 6:05 AM

      Agree completely on the Gooch call. I think it was a penalty. But I do think Klinsmann should complain about it.


      • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 6:52 AM

        I disagree about the PK. It’s a judgment call and a good ref should balance relative damage and consequences. It was an unintentional handball in traffic at the top of the box, though Gooch’s arms were wide (and moving). No big advantage gained or damage done, so the PK was grossly disproportionate.

        Klinsmann is laying down a marker here, I think. In the same way he wants the players to get into opponent’s head he is going to do his part, and he has the creds. He’s not just going to sit back and put up the the CONCACAF bs.


        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/31 at 8:04 AM

          It was a judgement call. It was harsh but I could see it going as a handball. The thing that got me was that the call seemed very delayed.


          • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 8:24 AM

            Indeed. Even the players were surprised, which tells you something. The Brazilians seemed not to believe their good fortune. I took a second look and Gooch looks like he is actually trying to, a bit awkwardly, twist away from the rising ball. I agree the motion/intent is hard to read but that’s the point. Why award the biggest gift you can give under those circumstances? Keep the whistle in your pocket and play on. He even could have given a direct just outside the box and no one would have complained if he sold it hard enough.


            • Exactly… let’s not pretend that referees don’t make calls differently inside the box versus outside the box. It happens all the time, and even happened later in this game. There was a foul on one of our guys in the opposing box that went uncalled, and rightfully so because it was a pretty weak foul. The refs priority should be to keep himself out of the game as much as possible and affect the outcome of the game as little as possible. It would have been easier and made more sense from a reffing standpoint to let the unintentional handball go. In the end the US probably still loses, but I just don’t like foul calls that seem to be made because the referee thinks he should favor the superpower team.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/05/31 at 10:39 AM

              It was a harsh decision but the correct one. The referee had no choice if you refer to Law 12.

              Whether it was intentional or acidental is a moot point. Onyewu’s arms were not tucked in and the *goalbound* ball struck it. By definition it is penalty.

            • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 11:11 AM

              I respectfully disagree, George, and there is a lot of confusion between the rules and common sense. Intent is the key. Law 12 says a direct kick is awarded if player: “handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area).” When the offense occurs in the PA, it’s a PK.

              The word “deliberate” is operative, and here are the FIFA guidelines regarding interpretation of Law 12:

              “Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:
              • the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
              • the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
              • the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement
              • touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) counts as an infringement
              • hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) counts as an infringement”

              It is totally a judgment call for the ref with regard to intent using the above parameters as guides. Arm position is not decisive by itself, goal bound ball is not considered. If you want to say it was clearly deliberate, then, yes, the ref had no choice, but obviously there is disagreement on that point.

              Personally, I think Law 12 stinks. Gooch gives a PK on a [poor] judgement call, and a defender who plays smart and “makes himself large” on the goal line with non-moving arms a bit out from the torso saves a goal with no consequences, but that’s what it is, at least for now.

            • Yeah, have to disagree with you as well George and excellent reply seamus. Intent is consistently read into inside the box handball decisions. If we interpreted the law as you do George, penalties from handballs would be absurdly commonplace.

              Also, and I would have to look at this again, but the call also appeared to be very delayed and seemingly came as the Brazilian players appealed to the ref—which is also why I think Jurgen made some of the comments that he did. I think he felt like the ref got worked over on that play.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/05/31 at 12:55 PM

              How do you interpret the 3rd bullet point, Sir?
              Wouldn’t it be implied that it was ‘deliberate’ because his arms were out and not by his side, in front or behind; ie made a obvious attempt to hide them?

              Great debate, BTW. Useful exercise IMO as there is so much talk about these decisions

            • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 1:21 PM

              No, personally, I would not, at least here. That bullet seems to indicate that movement should be considered over position re: deliberateness. But I agree with your general point that it’s foggy, and I can see circumstances where it would count (standing like a scarecrow in front of the goal). That’s the problem I guess when you need to cover a lot of possible situations with few words. And yes, a good debate and I guess we should thank FIFA for keeping the conversation lively. What fun would it be if we could agree on the rules?

            • George,
              The issue for me is not that his arms were out—because really, in the course of play a defenders arms or any players arms are going to be “out” in some manner—but rather the motion he made to bring them back into his body when the shot was made. That to me signifies whether or not the hand-ball was deliberate. Is the player making a motion or maintaining a position that will obstruct the path of the ball? In my mind, Gooch was bringing his arms in, in order to avoid contact, as the ball struck and so the contact was not a deliberate act.

              Sure, that’s tough to read and intentions are always slippery. However, there are occasions where handballs are egregiously intentional and refs normally do a decent job of make the right call.

              A similar situation occurs in baseball with a hit batsman. The umpire is charged with determining whether or not the player made an adequate effort to avoid getting hit. Incredibly, I think they typically do a good job in making the determination, despite the many grey areas that exist. This is one of those “I know it is when I see it” kind of things. Or if you want to get all philosophical, its a case where the truth of the matter transcends our current epistemic methods of confirming it as true. You may not be able to explain it, and this is particularly problematic when trying to codify into the laws of the game. To borrow a bit from Oliver Wendell Holmes judicial philosophy, laws aren’t made in the rulebooks, they are made out on the field by the gentleman who act as judges of the game.

            • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 7:00 PM

              Did you say “epistemic”? Props. I was thinking along a similar (but far more pedestrian) path. And to continue the Supreme Court references, “I know it when I see it” is Potter Stewart.

    • Posted by Chazcar on 2012/05/31 at 1:29 PM

      I see Fergie at Man U do this all the time. Its about rallying your players for the next game. Showing that you support and believe in them.


  4. Posted by narkid on 2012/05/31 at 6:01 AM

    comments from fed ex. the traffic was a nightmare for the fans. marcelo and neymar were nightmares for lil stevie and ld.


  5. Posted by Bode on 2012/05/31 at 6:06 AM

    Here’s a thought I had during the game:

    In “ball to hand” situations like the Gooch incident, a penalty seems like an unfairly harsh punishment for the infraction. Maybe a better remedy would be giving the shooting team a free kick from where the shot was taken? I guess it would be difficult to implement, given that the referee has so many judgment calls to make.


    • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 7:15 AM

      If it’s ball to hand, it’s no call. Think “Torsten Frings on goal line in WC quarterfinal.” If there’s a provision added, I’d like it to be for plays like that where there may not be explicit intent but a clear goal is “unfairly” stopped. Frankly, I think the ref should be able to award the goal, even though that’s kind of sacrilege. Look what happened with Suarez and Ghana in 2010 (and Suarez was deliberate).


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 10:14 AM

        With all due respect, sir, Frings clear hand ball that prevented a goal was not an interpretation it was a willful swallowing of the whistle. No other explanation.
        But I do agree that rules changes are well over due:
        -Award indirect or direct kicks for non goal scoring fouls in the box ie running away from goal inside the box/unintentional hand balls etc
        -Stop the freaking clock like in every other major sport and stop with the “injury time” nonsense. The only purpose injury time serves is to allow for match fixing by refs
        -Add additional ref. Game moves too fast and too much embellishing goes on.


        • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2012/05/31 at 11:18 AM

          Well, with all due respect,sir, my memory is different! See my comment to GeorgeCross above, but Law 12 is all about intent, and in my recollection, Frings is on the line with arms slightly out and does not move, so the handball wasn’t deliberate per FIFA. Smart but not illegal. And not to say the whistle would not have been swallowed anyway. Maybe the rule was different in 2002?


  6. Posted by Chris on 2012/05/31 at 6:21 AM

    Yeah. I’m not sure what the point is of saying he’s pissed off about it. It was a call that could’ve gone either way IMO. The ball did hit his arm and he was well inside the box. Klinsman has to know that by the time the interview takes place. And anyone with a decent television and watching the ESPN feed will know Gooch kept Pato onside.

    The only reason I can come up with for JK making these points is protecting the confidence of his player (Gooch), who was off the pace of the game (mostly mentally) for much of the game.

    I’m a Onyewu fan. He’s a good CB. Having said that, the words “tailor made” aren’t the first to come to mind when thinking of Gooch and JK’s preferred style. I think his days as an unquestioned starter are close to over. He’s going to have serious competition this cycle, I believe.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/31 at 7:24 AM

      His days as an unquestioned starter are long over. He hasn’t been an unquestioned starter since the Costa Rica injury.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/31 at 8:15 AM

      Gooch WAS a good CB. Those days are gone. He hasn’t progressed enough mentally to make up for what he lost physically.


    • Posted by JGD on 2012/05/31 at 8:17 AM

      Both Onyewu and Bocanegra are above-average quality center-backs. Neither of them truly fits what Klinsmann wants out of his center-backs unfortunately. Gooch more so than Boca.


      • And playing them together in just about any system has become an incredibly risky proposition.


        • Posted by JGD on 2012/05/31 at 9:08 AM

          Agreed. I think they’re just too similar. Neither offer distribution or quickness but both are great in the air and on set-pieces. If Bocanegra is John Terry (bear with me through this terrible analogy), the other CB needs to be Gary Cahill. I think Cameron is probably best suited for that role.


  7. Posted by VDub on 2012/05/31 at 8:12 AM

    It was a hand ball regardless. A good defender puts his arms behind his back. Gooch is NOT a starter. Dude was so slow and lost out there.
    I do think the US were very attack minded and loved all the opportunities they created. Could have been a very different scoreline on another night, however Brasil’s finishing was clinical.


  8. Posted by JGD on 2012/05/31 at 8:15 AM

    We can debate the penalty for weeks but truth is, it’s irrelevant to the outcome of the game. Brazil scored 3 (almost 4 with Pato’s tip off the post) genuine goals.

    There’s no excuse losing 1-4 at home regardless of the opponent. Yes, we may’ve had 2 or 3 goals that should’ve gone in. But if we’re not going to allow excuses for the 1-0 Italy win (more than a few bogus offsides calls went in our favor), then we can’t allow any for a 1-4 loss.


    • I asked this on the commentary page but I am really curious as to why Edu doesn’t moved to CB. I know they used him there in the past at the Oympics or something. But it seems to me this would solve two issues. He will pass better than most of our cb’s now, and have the speed to run with most strikers. I don’t know the game like most of you but I would love to learn from you all


      • Posted by Wook #14 on 2012/05/31 at 8:53 AM

        I like the idea of experimenting with Edu at CB. I’ve wanted to see it for awhile.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/31 at 8:54 AM

        Edu played there in the Olympics and even when we were desparate for a goal in the WC. My two cents is that anyone playing out of the position/role he plays with his club team is a disaster waiting to happen. If you can’t play CB for Rangers I don’t see how you can just show up and play CB against Brazil.


        • Posted by JGD on 2012/05/31 at 9:04 AM

          I tend to agree with Bernie on this one. Unless Edu starts playing CB for his club I’d hesitate moving him there for the national team, especially at such a contentious position. Edu’s best role is as the defensive destroyer sitting just in front of the defense and behind Jones and Bradley. Not sure I understand Klinsmann’s decision to play him further up the pitch against Brazil.

          I’d definitely like to see more of Geoff Cameron. I think he’s the best on-the-ball central defender we have and as a former CM, he’s got an instinct to push up the field (which is also his achilles heel, as it leaves space in behind). Still needs work defensively but WC qualifying would be a great opportunity for him to grow into the role. I’d bet Clarence Goodson starts in place of Onyewu against Canada though.


        • That’s especially true for a position like CB – the catastrophic failures there tend to directly result in your goalie picking the ball out of the net.


  9. Posted by wixson on 2012/05/31 at 10:19 AM

    – It was a handball, it wasn’t offsides.
    – no one said we were better than Brazil, the play and scored showed that we are a tier below, this isn’t a shocker.
    – our style of play was much much better than bunker/counter. Results may be the same but it’s so much more enjoyable to watch and support.
    – style of play is credited to not just Klinsman, but also to getting better quality players. (these players are all better than their counterparts from 3 years ago: demps, mb, johnson, gomez, jones, torres)
    – i have no problem with style and result last night. US team will always have heart and play the full 90, so that’s ingrained. it’s having the skilled players that can really compete at the top tier.

    – Donovan played bad, touch was bad, didn’t make any plays. he was forced to deal with neymar/marcelo, tough gig but he wasn’t good on the ball.
    – agree that the Edu/bradley switch was odd, edu gave the ball away a ton and didn’t contribute the way we needed moving forward.
    – Gomez makes great runs, works hard, you see him track back to the box 80 minutes into the game. unbelievable. But he has soccer smarts/skills in additional to work rate.
    – Johnson of course is playing great back there, that’s his spot for us.
    – Gooch/Boca can’t cut it vs Spain/Brazil/Argentina. Too fast/quick for them. Other teams i won’t have a problem with those guys back there, but Gooch is our holdover from the old days, big guy, kick hard, jump high. no skill, though i’m ok with an enforce back there. Brazil wasn’t the spot for him, bad call on klinsy’s part.
    – MB solid

    my 2 cents.


  10. Posted by mrmilanp on 2012/05/31 at 12:19 PM

    Everyone likes to watch this style more, but are the results really the same? We almost beat Brazil playing bunker and counter, and did beat Spain. More importantly, if we face Brazil in the quarterfinals in 2 years, would you really want us to play this style? In the long run I think this is better for the American soccer psyche, to play positive soccer and assert ourselves in the region. But in the short term we will lose more games against elite teams, including Mexico.


    • Posted by Chazcar on 2012/05/31 at 1:28 PM

      In a friendly its important to play for more than a result. I would rather lose 10-0 in a friendly while actually trying to play, then win 1-0 while just defending the whole game…..In a FRIENDLY anyway. When it comes to games that count, get the result. But playing friendlies while trying to use complicated soccer skills increases long term development of players.

      Defend and counter is a crapshoot. Its admitting that you can’t beat the team without a good helping of luck. Which is fine when its true. Chelsea just proved it. They knew they weren’t as good as Barcelona or Bayren. They rode their luck and a strong defensive performance to wins. (Anyone who says they weren’t lucky is out of their mind)


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/05/31 at 2:21 PM

      To be fair, you progressed in the Confederation’s Cup by the skin of your teeth – remember the first two group games?Bradley was a very cautious and pragmatic coach, and he did what he felt was right. Klinsmann is attempting to play a high tempo game, and the performance against Scotand and Brazil were miles apart. Scotland sat off you and gave you all the time in the world on the ball. Whereas, Brazil pressed you very well and many players couldn’t handle the quicker pace, whether it was technique based or decision making based that forced many errors. Initiating this sort of change is going to take a long time, maybe Klinsmann won’t even be the manager. But i think he was correct to plant the seed of change rather than maintain the status quo.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/31 at 2:22 PM

      I am not sure I agree with your conclusion. In my mind style discussion comes down to the following…

      What are your odds against the minnows?
      Can a team that doesn’t normally bunker choose to bunker in a game?

      Now the Bradley system created a lot of close 0-0, 1-0 games against inferior teams. The hope is that they system gives us a 4-1 win over Guatemala in WCQ rather than sweating out a 1-0 win or gasp a 0-0 draw. If we see Scotland versus Guatemala then we have clearly improved our team. That is what this style is designed to accomplish. This increases our odds of going to a WC, potentially getting a seed, etc.

      That brings us to the second question. Do we need to bunker and not get forward against Guatemala as practice for our efforts against Brazil in the QF of the WC? IMO we can bunker, see Italy, without bunkering every game. By being able to play with Brazil we may not win a single game but our odds go up maybe say 10% if we can play with them for 30 minutes and bunker for 60.

      At this point it is not about can we win the World Cup? Its possible (not probable). The strategy is all about increasing the odds. That doesn’t mean increasing the odds of beating Spain/Brazil/Germany we aren’t there yet. Its about increasing the odds at this point is making sure we get out of the group and beat the Ghana’s of the world so we can roll the dice with the Spain and Brazil’s.


  11. Posted by Justsoccer on 2012/05/31 at 4:59 PM

    Klinsman says, “We must be stronger”. In fact, he means “we must play the rugby way instead of the fair soccer way the US has always played” He is wrong. Soccer is just soccer and violence is stupid. If you want to win get better and play just…soccer. Brazil is good and being so just plays soccer, unless its players become victims to .. stupid, talentless bullfighters.. Let´s presume the US jersey does not have anything to do with the Beagle boys ever. . .


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