SAO PAULO —
The Americans’ final match, which kicked off at 3 p.m. on a weekday, was seen by 21.6 million on ESPN and Univision, impressively close to the record 24.7 million set for a Sunday evening game against Portugal earlier in the tournament. An average of 1.6 million watched the loss to Belgium on digital streams.
“People now start to care about it. Fans care about it. They comment on social media. They comment everywhere about it, and that’s good,” Klinsmann said.
His most controversial moves coming into the tournament were cutting Landon Donovan, the biggest star in U.S. soccer history, and taking along 18-year-old Julian Green, 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin and 21-year-old John Brooks. Brooks and Green, who turned 19 on June 6, responded with late-game goals when they came in as substitutes, and Yedlin was stellar against Belgium when he replaced injured right back Fabian Johnson.
But Klinsmann’s proclamation that the U.S. would play an attacking game didn’t pan out. The Americans were outshot by a combined 92-41.
“The interesting part is every time we would go down a goal, we’ll shift it up,” he said. “I believe it’s more a mental topic that we have to work on than it is a talent topic.”
Klinsmann took over from Bob Bradley in July 2011. Last December, he was given a contract through the 2018 tournament that added the title of U.S. Soccer Federation technical director. In the next four-year cycle, he has numerous chances to integrate youth: the CONCACAF Gold Cups in 2015 and 2017, the centennial Copa America in 2016 and a possible trip to the Confederations Cup in 2017.
There also is the under-23 team that will try to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics — the 2012 team stumbled and didn’t reach the London Games, slowing the careers of more than a dozen players.