Jurgen Klinsmann's firing based on more than two U.S. losses - Sunil Gulati
U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said the decision to fire Jurgen Klinsmann was based on results over an extended period of time, and not just the two recent World Cup qualifying defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica.
Gulati, along with U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, broke the news to Klinsmann on Monday morning in Los Angeles. The president then flew back to New York, leaving Flynn to hammer out the details of replacing Klinsmann with LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena. The USSF announced Arena's hiring later on Tuesday.
It was just 10 days ago that Gulati said during a roundtable with reporters that he expected Klinsmann to be the coach for the entirety of World Cup qualifying.
The two losses this month changed all that, but Gulati stressed they were not the only factor that led to Klinsmann's firing.
"None of us expected two results we got -- that doesn't mean a single loss or a single goal -- but overall those two games as well as the history we took into account," Gulati said during a conference call with reporters.
"And so it's never based on a single game. But you weigh up individual games. In this case, those two games, combined with everything else we had, and we felt that we needed to go in a different direction in order to maximize the chances for success on the field, both in March in qualifying, at the Gold Cup, and then subsequently at the World Cup itself."
Gulati also said that the defiant tone Klinsmann had struck in recent days -- in which he told the New York Times that he didn't deserve the criticism he had received and questioned his critics' knowledge of the sport -- played no factor in the decision.
Instead, Gulati ran through the list of disappointments that the U.S. men have suffered through over the last 18 months.
"Really starting at the Gold Cup, we've had some very up-and-down results," Gulati said of the fourth-place finish in 2015. "The Gold Cup was a big disappointment for everyone; for Jurgen, for the players, for our fans.
"We had a chance for reprieve against Mexico [in the Confederations Cup playoff last October]. We didn't get that done in Los Angeles."
The U.S. endured a disheartening defeat in World Cup qualifying against Guatemala, but rebounded to claim the return fixture. The U.S. then enjoyed a revival of sorts at the Copa America Centenario -- which coincided with public comments by Gulati expressing dissatisfaction with recent results -- winning three straight games to secure a place in the semifinals, where it was soundly beaten by Argentina 4-0.
But danger never seemed far away for Klinsmann, and the recent results were what sealed his fate.
"It's all of those things that are part of the evaluation. It's not just those," Gulati said. "It's the most recent results, it's talking with people in and around the team, which we do on a pretty regular basis. It's all of those things combined that led to the decision."