Alexi Lalas MLS blog: How the USA fell under the spell of Klinsmania!
Welcome to MirrorFootball's new MLS blog, brought to you in conjunction with ESPN. Every Wednesday USA legend Alexi Lalas will be on hand to bring you the latest news from the States, and you'll also be able to watch the week's best goals and highlights...
Greetings people of the United Kingdom! Here's your weekly shot of 100-proof Major League Soccer. Quick, smooth and potent.
This week, America is abuzz with Klinsmania.
Yes, Jurgen Klinsmann, the legendary World Cup winner, the onetime Bayern, Inter and Spurs star, the jump-on-the-sidelines manager of Germany at the 2006 World Cup, is now the head coach of the US national team.
His arrival sure feels like a coronation. The only thing missing is a diamond-encrusted umlaut over the "u" in Jurgen; he evidently has given up on umlauts in the new America.
In his introductory press conference, Klinsmann stated that part of his optimism regarding US soccer is the progress and success of Major League Soccer. Well, wunderbar ! Because it is from the ranks of MLS that I believe he will find the tools that will ultimately dictate his success.
Klinsmann needs to surround himself with quality. He needs strong, experienced voices and personalities that are comfortable challenging him without undermining him; he admitted as much during the presser. Hopefully, he'll find a group of guys who can help him navigate the political minefields of American youth soccer, identify untapped quality that exists in MLS and provide context as he looks to define exactly what the "American style of play" is going to be.
I'd actually like to see Klinsmann hire some of the same MLS guys talked about as national team head coach candidates. Guys like Houston's Dominic Kinnear, Seattle's Sigi Schmid and Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis, to name a few. But Klinsmann has to make it worth their while because they're not going to leave unless you do: that means head coach salaries for assistant coach titles.
And if you're the MLS club robbed of your coach by the charismatic European guy who wears sneakers with his suits and says things like "I'm not coming in here to be the European guy," fear not. There's an obvious replacement waiting in the wings, and he's got a pretty decent CV, to say the least: Bob Bradley.
Regardless of how his US national team tenure ended - and regardless of the fact that he and I have butted heads more than once - the truth is he's a damn good coach, and one who can win any MLS club some silverware.
But for most, Bradley's fate is of no concern right now. Klinsmania has taken over and everywhere bier steins are being raised to the promise of tomorrow. A promise, I believe, that can be realized with the help of MLS.
Alexi Lalas is a lead football analyst for ESPN - the live and exclusive broadcaster of Major League Soccer in the UK. ESPN and ESPN America are the home of major sports from the US, including NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL Monday Night Football, and NCAA US college sports. For details visit www.espn.co.uk/tv