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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Gorgias says:

    I’m not sure that I agree that his adaptations have been hi strong suit. I haven’t been following the USMNT as closely as some, but insisting on starting Findley, who should be a substitute at best, when Charlie Davies went down wasn’t the best example of adaptation. Nor was deviating from the standard lineup to start Clark in the Ghana game, whose mistake led to Ghana’s goal in regulation.

    I’m still glad he’s coming back, though. We played to expectations in South Africa and made some real noise in the Confederation’s Cup. I would be more stoked about Klinsman, but if it didn’t work 4 years ago, it’s probably not going to work now. And if not the two of them, then who?Report

  2. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Totally agree with the substance of your reservations, but i’m still somehow nearly unreservedly happy about the development (which I only heard about by coming here; thanks for the reporting). I think the team’s performance this year was incomplete and not up to their ability, and at the same time in some ways the most magnetic of the tournament (I couldn’t possibly be biased at all…). I don’t blame the national body for wanting to try to extend some of that public excitement into the next cycle. At the same time, it *is* very reminiscent of the 2002-2006 turnaround. What distinguishes it, though, is that the team far outperformed its level in 2002, leaving a question mark about what the appropriate goals for ’06 were (or at least that’s a theory that fits the facts), while this year’s team, as mentioned, underperformed while still forming a bond with and expanding the American fan base. (It helped that they were not outperformed bby anyone in their group, including ostensibly world-class England.) They were also a pretty young team. All of this sets up a narrative that is pretty tough to resist carrying into the next cycle. Whether he has a technical chops to make the story come out right (and what that would entail exactly), I can’t comment on. But I agree that flexibility is not a trait he has failed to display. The Clark start may have been the wrong decision, but it was perhaps wrong for being too flexible, not the opposite.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      @Michael Drew, One other thought: if the team wants to ensure the best decision-making, it’s probably the better to approach to make sure the manager has the best staff of assistants possible, rather than obsess over top leadership, as any one man’s decisions will in every instance carry some guaranteed level of idiosyncracy. As a leader, I think Bradley was unparalleled in that tournament, and numerous other managers demonstrated the value of that skill by their utter failure to demonstrate any (Capello and Domenech most outstandingly).Report

  3. Avatar Jamie says:

    It’s true that second-term NT coaches have a bad track record, but let’s think about how that statistic is compiled.

    Unsuccessful coaches don’t get re-hired after a bad World Cup. So the entire pool of “two termers” is comprised of guys who did well. But did they do well because of their managerial genius or because the rode the wave of a golden age of talent to the quarterfinals (or whatever)?

    Naturally, I think a lot of those two-termers were re-hired in a moment of irrational exuberance and then, when the talent petered out and the country’s player pool returned to normal, were deemed failures the second time around in a moment of irrational disappointment.

    I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions to this trajectory. The good news is that the US isn’t poised to lose a ton of talent — the worst case scenario is that our strengths and weaknesses shift around a little bit.

    I do wonder, though, if there isn’t a heavy bias in the “two termer” statistic. You have to consider the conditions that led these managers to be re-hired.Report