ARENA HAS TOUGH JOB AHEAD AS US COACH
Now the whole euphoria about being appointed manager of the United States men’s national team should be over for recently appointed man Bruce Arena.
The coach’s managerial gift and hands-on experience definitely tipped the scale in his favour as US Soccer sought for a replacement for former coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The urgency in the situation did not help.
Whilst Klinsmann had a good record of identifying young talents early and giving them playing time, Arena has to face issues like picking the best players for each game – crucial in the race against time to qualify for Russia 2018 – and picking the most suited positions. The confidence is still in the squad; however, a reawakening is imminent.
The United States want consistency in the team and it is not too much to ask for a side that has reached certain heights in world football. Arena has to figure out fast how best to use Michael Bradley and Johnson Cameron as a pairing of both players in the middle looks good on paper. The idea of playing anyone at the back by the former manager might need to be addressed.
Some players were left aside by Klinsmann. A revisit of all castoffs like Lichaj, Matt Hedges, Benny Feilhaber, Jonathan Bornstein et al is advisable so the manager can build a strong first 11 that are the best for each role. There are other players that can play for the country that Arena would have to win over to enlarge the pool available for selection.
There are undiscovered stars that play in the MLS that Arena’s experience can help pick out even if others do not see their potential. Make no mistake, the US have a very tough job if they are to climb out of their current hole and play in Russia. There are ‘enemies’ all around that would be happy to celebrate. The 2-1 loss to Mexico in arguably the most political game this year is a recent example.