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After humiliating World Cup failure, Bruce Arena is out as USA boss but who will replace him?

The team does not have a competitive fixture until 2019 so there’s no need to rush things.

Image: John Dorton/Isiphotos.Com

AFTER THEIR FAILURE to reach next summer’s World Cup in Russia, it always seemed inevitable that USA boss Bruce Arena would have little choice but to walk away.

And to it has transpired.

In a statement released via US Soccer early on Friday, Arena revealed that his second stint in charge of the national team was no more. He admitted that the crucial 2-1 defeat against Trinidad and Tobago and subsequent elimination from qualifying was a ‘major setback’ for the country’s football programme.

“In the end, we came up short,” Arena said.

“No excuses. We didn’t get the job done, and I accept responsibility. This certainly is a major setback for the senior Men’s National Team program, and questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve.”

Arena, who had previously coached the side between 1998 and 2006 and qualified the US for two World Cups during that period, was parachuted in to replace Jurgen Klinsmann last November after some poor results had many believing the team could fall short of making the tournament for the first time since 1986.

Trinidad and Tobago US Wcup Soccer US defender Matt Besler dejected after his side's lost to Trinidad & Tobago. Source: Rebecca Blackwell

As much as he steadied things initially, the US began to struggle as the finish line came into sight. But, they went into their final two qualifiers with their fate in their own hands. They put up an easy win over Panama last Friday and knew that a win or a draw against T&T would see them through.

Inexplicably, they lost and over recent days the entire football landscape in the US has come in for major criticism. Many feel big changes are required, including the resignation of long-term federation president Sunil Gulati.

So, what happens next?

Gulati has indicated in a conference call with media today that he won’t step down, despite taking ‘full responsibility’.

But he hasn’t confirmed whether he’ll seek a new term of office next February.

He’s sure to have challengers. Boston lawyer Steve Gans and businessman Paul Lapointe are certainly throwing their names into the mix while US Soccer board member John Motta and former US striker Eric Wynalda have also admitted to considering running for the top job.

Meanwhile, who replaces Arena as manager? Well, the US don’t have a competitive fixture until 2019 so there’s no reason to rush. And a lot can change in a short space of time.

For the moment, former senior international Tab Ramos – currently the youth technical director and U-20 coach – will likely fill in temporarily.

Many of the preferred prospective replacements are domestic, including Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes, Oscar Pareja from FC Dallas and Toronto FC’s Greg Vanney.

Former Barcelona boss Tata Martino is currently at MLS side Atlanta United while New York City FC’s Patrick Vieira seems an outside bet.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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