The U.S. Men’s National Team may have lost 3-1 to Costa Rica in a disappointing World Cup Qualifier, but the United States is all but assured a position in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The loss was seen as a shock after the USMNT’s 12-game winning streak, but a loss like this was bound to happen sometime soon because of the situation that the team is in.
The USMNT is going through growing pains. The older stars – such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones – are most likely going to be the featured players in their final World Cup. The younger stars – such as Aron Joannsson, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud and Graham Zusi – are all fighting for international experience.
USMNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has a very difficult situation in front of him. He can bench some of the stars to get some of the younger players experience, but he risks not only losing games, but causing the veterans on the team to become bitter from lack of playing time. Klinsmann has to find ways to balance out the team, keep the veterans happy, expand the American fan base, develop the young talent and continue to win games.
However, this difficult decision is exactly the type of choice that the USMNT wants to have. The talent pool is continuously growing larger in the United States. The MLS is getting better, and more American born talent is shining overseas. The USMNT is headed in the right direction, although it’s not one it’s been in before.
The U.S. and Klinsmann are finally in a position that all of the major soccer playing countries have to face on a regular basis and have to start asking the hardest question of all — do we play the young potential talent or the aging stars?