As we get set for the MLS Cup championship rounds, Jurgen Klinsmann is preparing to thrown a wrench into the plans of Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers, Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City by calling their players up for this month’s European friendlies against Scotland and Austria.
Speaking via a Q&A on U.S. Soccer’s website Klinsmann said:
“Because MLS scheduled their playoffs with respect to our FIFA fixture dates, it’s basically working hand-in-hand,” said the German-American boss in his latest expression of approval for the league’s postseason calendar. “We’re going to bring the best players into Scotland and Austria no matter where they play. No matter if they play like Michael Bradley in Italy or the guys in the [English] Premier League, the Bundesliga or the guys in Liga MX in Mexico and MLS.
“Because of MLS creating that window between their playoff games, that helps make our two games really exciting.”
While clubs are required by FIFA statutes to release their players for official international dates, the prospect of RSL or SKC players making transatlantic trips will not impress their coaches, especially when the two games the US are playing are friendlies.
“We are trying to bring in the strongest group possible, so we follow all the games happening right now, if it’s in Europe or especially if it’s here in MLS with the playoff games,” said Klinsmann. “It always helps when they come in every game and train together. We see so many things in training and in games.
“So for us, in the few opportunities we have to see them directly together, we can send out specific messages, and we can discuss with a lot of players – especially players from MLS and Liga MX – what their offseason should look like after the playoffs are done.
“Having everybody on board, getting everybody together and having those meetings are very crucial to us because we build chemistry for the World Cup. We want to see who’s really 1,000 percent dedicated to everything we do.”
I understand that the Klinsmann job is to take his best team to Brazil next summer. But does he really need the likes of Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi to Europe? Zusi almost single handily beat the New England Revolution this week in the playoff and the prospects of him traveling to Europe and potentially playing two international games while the Houston Dynamo are at home resting, could he difference between SKC progressing to the MLS Cup final, or losing to Houston again.
Do you agree with Klinsmann’s decision to include players from teams still involved in MLS Playoffs for these two friendlies?