According to several sources, the environment around the United States during the past few years could be “toxic” at times, a lingering aftereffect of the inconsistent and culture-degrading management style of Bruce Arena’s predecessor, Jürgen Klinsmann, who had been fired one year before.
Arena attempted to rebuild team chemistry but found it more challenging than he had expected.
While Michael Bradley tried to rally his teammates, he was also one of the team's most polarizing figures. Bradley's high salary in the MLS and overbearing leadership style grated on teammates.
The failure to qualify for the World Cup was the direct result of seven years of mismanagement at the highest levels of U.S. Soccer, which fostered disunion among the team’s players and ultimately doomed them to defeat.
“We put Band-Aids on things all the time and hope that they change and that things turn around,” USMNT defender Brad Evans said. “All of these successes were just Band-Aids for a failure that was going to potentially happen, and it did.”
Klinsmann's methods were laudable in theory but decimated the team's culture.