It’s been a long week for embattled U.S. men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Last Saturday at the Rose Bowl, the USMNT lost the CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff to rival Mexico in extra time by a 3-2 scoreline that probably even flattered the United States. A few nights later at Red Bull Arena, the U.S. fell 1-0 to Costa Rica — in a friendly, yes, but one that marked the team’s first three-match home losing streak since the late 1990s.
Yet Klinsmann’s final word to his charges, relayed Friday by Sounders captain and USMNT defender Brad Evans, was delivered with head held high.
“His message was ‘I’m not leaving when things aren’t going well,'” Evans said. “‘I’m not going to leave this team just because things aren’t going our way or going my way.’ That’ll be a decision that’s made up above him, so that was the last message he left with the group. He’s going to continue to fight. He’s going to continue to push with us. It was a positive message going forward, that last little speech. I think that resonated with the guys, knowing that he’s got our full backing even though results didn’t go this way. I think, moving forward, we’re going to find another peak.”
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Evans also weighed in on his inadvertent place in the Fabian Johnson controversy. Evans was Johnson’s 111th-minute substitute, a sub Klinsmann later accused Johnson of blowing by embellishing an injury and used an excuse to boot the well-established veteran out of camp before the Costa Rica match.
“I was warming up from minute 70, whether that was for Fabian or for whoever that was,” Evans said. “I was ready to go in if needed. You guys have read it in the press – we know as much as you know. We didn’t even get a chance to talk to Fabian, really, since he was gone by the time we got to New York for practice. Not the ideal situation, but it is what it is at this point.”