U.S. results under Jurgen Klinsmann 'not what we've hoped for' - Gulati
CHICAGO - U.S. soccer president Sunil Gulati said Tuesday that the national team's results since the beginning of 2015 have not been good enough.
"Results are what matter -- everyone understands that," Gulati told a small group of reporters on Tuesday a few hours before the United States match against Costa Rica in its second match of the ongoing Copa America Centenario.
"The results over the last 18 months, overall, have not been what we would've hoped for -- especially in the official competitions."
Jurgen Klinsmann's team has struggled since its second round appearance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, finishing fourth in last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, losing to chief rival Mexico in October's Confederations Cup playoff and dropping a World Cup qualifier in Guatemala in March.
They entered this tournament riding a wave of optimism after winning all three of their pre-Copa friendly games, but were beaten by Colombia -- albeit FIFA's third-ranked team -- in the opening game of the event.
"It's the official competitions that matter the most, and we haven't been up to where we'd like to be," Gulati said. "We'll look at everything at the end of this competition. I don't get too high or too low based on one game, especially when it's a game against a very good team.
"So, we'll wait and see how the next two games go and hopefully some additional games after that before we assess where things are."
A loss in either of their next two games -- the U.S. meets Paraguay in its Group A finale on Saturday in Philadelphia -- would eliminate the Americans from the tournament.
Gulati said that the expectation for Klinsmann and the team was and remains to advance to the knockout stage.
"My expectation is certainly to win tonight and to win on Saturday to get through," he said. "A heartbreaking third place doesn't do the trick."
Klinsmann, who also serves as U.S. Soccer's technical director, is under contract through the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He was hired five years ago this July. Asked if the program had made progress under his watch, Gulati said there had been some.
"There are things, overall, in his role as technical director, we think we've made good advances on," Gulati said. "But we need to win games, and we need to win games in competitive play."
He also said the U.S. remains far behind the world's top teams.
"We haven't broken though to match up well against the world's elite," he said.
When pressed. Gulati stopped short of saying that Klinsmann's job absolutely depends on surviving the first round of the Copa America. But he didn't say the coach was safe, either.
"There's short-term goals and long-term goals. The reality is in the business we're in, and specifically in the business coaches are in, you don't get to see through too many long-term goals if you don't hit the short-term goals," he said.
"I don't want to get into hypotheticals like that. We're a few hours from kickoff. Lets win this game and get to Philadelphia."
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.