Jurgen Klinsmann won’t be allowed on the touchline or the technical arena in this afternoon’s Gold Cup final at Soldier Field (4 p.m., FOX). The U.S. National Team coach was ejected in the closing stages of Wednesday’s win over Honduras and a CONCACAF disciplinary board decided to ban him for Sunday’s game with Panama.
Ultimately it’s not the biggest deal in the world. Figure Klinsmann will have some line of communication to assistant Andreas Herzog during the match. Sooner or later all top-tier managers wind up with a touchline ban — many enjoy the time to rip cigarettes and or model high-end fashion, often both. If anything the suspension, coupled with 10 straight wins by the National Team, has only helped further endear the German-born coach to the U.S. fanbase. It’s a far cry from earlier this year when almost everybody openly wondered if he knew what he was doing.
Klinsmann’s ban to be the dominant subplot today since the final lost most of its sizzle without Mexico in the mix. Expect Gus Johnson, Eric Wynalda & Co. to talk Klinsmann or the revival of Landon Donovan. If the U.S. wins it puts itself halfway toward a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup. Today’s winner will play the 2015 Gold Cup winner to determine which nation will represent CONCACAF in Russia a year before it hosts the World Cup.
Panama isn’t a team to sleep on, as it beat Mexico twice in span of two weeks. The Canaleros have clearly looked like the second-best team in the Gold Cup. The U.S. played Panama in the 2005 Gold Cup final, winning in penalty kicks at Giants Stadium. For a bit of symmetry, then-U.S. coach Bruce Arena was suspended from the touchline during the game.
Arena, however, never had a super-catchy mid-90s techno mega mix written about his exploits like Klinsmann did, when he was a scoring machine for Inter Milan and Spurs among other clubs. If he keeps winning games for the U.S., we might need to track down the artist to do an either 2013 or, preferably, a 2014 remix. The lyrics are perfect, as is, including a female voice dubbing in, “you’re so sexy.”