Hungover? Whatever. Hello, folks. Instead of doing my job last night I had some alcohol and devised a series of mostly-humane traps that can be used against Sunil Gulati and everyone else associated with US Soccer. I plan on 3-D printing these traps and leaving them wherever incompetent executives gather: airline lounges, Sur La Table, the White House, Toys R Us, Starbucks, that kind of thing.
If you will permit me a moment: US soccer is the only sporting thing outside of Michigan I care about these days and it's right up there. Many of my friends I know because of it. A World Cup every four years is a cornerstone of the sporting experience for me, and now it's gone. I expect someone will yell at me for not having an MSU UFR today, and I would like to pre-emptively tell this person to go to hell. Go to hell, jerk. Your silver lining is that I won't be writing about soccer for a month next summer. Instead I will be telling myself that strong men also cry.
Anyway. Defeat has a thousand mothers and everyone is flogging their pet theory. I accept all persons as targets of blame. Yes, Arena. Yes, Klinsmann. Yes, Gulati. Gulati, finally and most of all.
Have we stopped to ask why president of US Soccer, an enterprise that has a nine-digit pile of cash it's sitting on, is a side hustle for an economics professor who looks like a melted pez dispenser?
Or why that guy hasn't been challenged in the last two elections? The most recent came well after it was clear Klinsmann was a bit of a dunce, and nobody even stepped up to the plate. Like all national federations, US Soccer is insulated from consequences and mostly set up to gather cash and dispense it to Chuck Blazer's cats.
Any self-respecting melted pez dispenser would have a wakizashi in his chest this morning, but this guy is talking about "two inches" like not even making the playoff over ten games in a group featuring Honduras, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama was a matter of some rotten luck.
It's not. Obviously. In addition to failing to make the World Cup, Gulati's ham-handed management has seen US soccer sued by its own players. Stadium selection has been focused exclusively on cash, with many many matches played on substandard turf. The women refused to play one match in Hawaii because it was so dangerous. The US has missed three of the last four Olympics, and hired a very special boy in Klinsmann. That dumbass left Landon Donovan, the all-time USA GOAT, off a World Cup roster in the same year he was MLS MVP in favor of a kid who can't get on the field in the Bundesliga 2 and an insurance salesman named Brad.
Klinsmann got dominated in three out of four matches, got out of the group because Portugal blew it, was saved the embarrassment of a 10-0 game against Belgium by Tim Howard, and kept his damn job. The US got outshot 15-6 by Haiti in a Gold Cup in which they got badly outplayed by everyone except Cuba, and Klinsmann kept his damn job. Only after Klinsmann had started the US down the path to destruction did Gulati pull the trigger on his very special boy. Klinsmann remains unemployed. It is unlikely he will ever manage another soccer team.
On its face replacing him with Arena was fine, but you can't make a soccer team or an offensive line in one year, and then Arena made a stunningly insane tactical decision to play the same 11 last night. That may be the only thing Gulati can't be blamed for. Finally, a thing Gulati didn't do wrong.
Unfortunately Gulati is accountable to almost nobody, as is usual. The only thing that will get him out is a decrease in the bottom line, and so I beg anyone inclined to go to a US game or buy merch to not do so until a total housecleaning takes place.
I guess now I get to go finish reviewing the MSU game. This week is fun!