Jurgen Klinsmann and Esteban Sabella were the big coaching hires of the summer in international football, and now that both have gotten that first game behind them, a more in-depth analysis of the decisions can be made:
Jurgen Klinsmann: Not that Bob Bradley did a bad job, not at all, but it was definitely time for a change. The U.S. had reached its peak in 2010- 2009 really- which is what you want from any World Cup cycle, and was leveling out if not going downhill, by the 2011 Gold Cup. Indeed, for any country in the world, harsh as it sounds, may be to not renew any coaches contract after the World Cup.
The U.S. was predictable, both in terms of tactics and line-ups, during all of Bradley’s reign.
The U.S. Soccer Federation waited a long time to make the decision, but that wasn’t a sign of weakness. They simply thought about the decision long and hard, and made sure they got Klinsmann on board, before announcing anything. It was harsh on Bradley, though, whose time was always numbered.
The hiring itself, though, was anti-climatic.
Many big names were bounced around and judging Klinsmann by either his time at Germany or Bayern isn’t smart.
The bottom line is Klinsmann has three years to shape his squad as he wants it- he has lots of work to do- with the U.S. almost surely 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Esteban Sabella: Looks like a brilliant hiring for Argentinian soccer. His time at Estudiantes was highly successful, and the difference between his results, and those of his successor, tell their own story. He proved his worth as a tactician, often packing men behind the ball, and should adapt to make full use of Argentina’s attacking resources.
I’m still against the firing of Batista, but getting Sabella is a good reason to say otherwise.