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Lion Links: 11/23/16

Bruce Arena is back with the USMNT, Klinsmann’s excuses did him in, Zlatan, Gerrard, and more in today’s edition.

MLS: Playoffs-Los Angeles Galaxy at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone! If you are traveling today, travel safe and have a great trip!

Bruce Arena Named USMNT’s Head Coach

It is official, not to anyone’s surprise. Bruce Arena has been named the head coach of the United States Men’s National Team. This will be Arena’s second stint in charge of the national team, as he was previously head of the American side from 1998 to 2006. He became the winningest coach in USMNT history during that time, which included winning two Gold Cups in 2002 and 2005 as well as a quarterfinal appearance in the 2002 World Cup.

Since he left his post in 2006, he has been the manager of the New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy. He had been with the Galaxy since 2008, racking up three MLS Cups in that time. As soon as word got out that Jürgen Klinsmann had been sacked, Arena immediately became the No. 1 contender to take charge of the recently struggling USMNT. His biggest priority coming in will, obviously, be to qualify for the World Cup. That will be easier said than done after the last two matches have put them in a bit of a hole.

Klinsmann Makes Too Many Excuses

While certainly the results played a big part in his firing, it was Jürgen Klinsmann’s excuse making that ultimately led to his sacking on Monday. Despite signing the German to a four-year extension in 2013, the United States Soccer Federation and president Sunil Gulati had been considering firing Klinsmann over the last 12 months. Following last Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica, Klinsmann stated the criticism was undeserved and not necessary, as he was “1,000 percent sure” the United States would qualify for the 2018 World Cup. He even went as far as to say that those criticizing him are not knowledgeable about the sport.

Another interesting excuse from Klinsmann came after the U.S. finished fourth in the 2015 Gold Cup. Klinsmann told Gulati that the tournament was fixed so that Mexico would win to set up a playoff with the United States for entry into the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. While there was success under Klinsmann, his mouth and recent results were his demise as the United States’ manager.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Considering Move to America

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be yet another European star to head to MLS to play in America in the latter stages of his career. The Swede is currently on a one-year contract with the English club, with an option to renew for another year. He compared himself to the French Emperor, Napoleon, as someone who has traveled around Europe conquering every country he has played in.

Ibrahimovic has played in the top leagues of Sweden, Holland, Spain, Italy, France, and now England. (It should be noted that while he has won the league title in all of those countries except for England, he has never captured Europe itself, as he has never won the Champions League). But, Napoleon never conquered America and Zlatan says he might want to outdo the Emperor in that area. Zlatan would be a big signing for MLS, as he would bring his incredible skills along with his very popular attitude/persona to the United States.

Gerrard Says No to MK Dons

As we all know, Steven Gerrard is currently looking for a new job after he decided to leave the Galaxy. He was connected with the manager role for MK Dons, an English team playing in League 1, the third tier of English football. However, reports came out saying Gerrard has turn down that role. This probably was a good decision, as MK Dons are currently in the relegation zone in League 1 and have a small fan base since the club, which used to be Wimbledon, moved to Milton Keynes in 2003. It would be a tough job, especially for a first-time managerial role. Gerrard is still considering playing, but he would like to be involved with the Liverpool coaching staff.

That is it for today, hoped you all enjoyed the MLS playoffs last night. And I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading.