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“Would we be in the news and capture some interest by doing that?” Mr. Gulati said. “Sure. But we capture far more interest by having a good team, so that’s the critical element.”

He also revealed he met with Fabio Capello three years ago about a possible job before the Italian agreed to become England’s coach. Mr. Gulati said the meeting in London included Bradley and Capello’s son, and the discussion was about a position as director of soccer or working with youth teams.

“He said he was looking forward after being in the cauldron of Real Madrid and other places, to a little bit less pressure, a little bit more privacy,” Mr. Gulati said. “It didn’t quite work out that way, I guess.”

According to Mr. Gulati, talks never progressed.

Bruce Arena has been the only coach to lead the U.S. at consecutive World Cups, taking the Americans to a quarterfinal finish in 2002 before first-round elimination in 2006. Mr. Gulati then made the change.

Mr. Gulati didn’t think the national team necessarily would go stale under a two-term coach.

“I would say the sense was that 12 years would be too long.” he said.

But, he also said: “He may want a different challenge. I don’t know.”

Mr. Gulati took notice that all five U.S. goals at this World Cup were scored by midfielders: three by Landon Donovan, one by Clint Dempsey and one by Michael Bradley. And in 2006, Dempsey was the only American to score.

“We’ve gone two World Cups without a forward scoring a goal,” he said. “That’s not a good thing. And that’s not blaming the guys who have been playing forward for us. It’s just a statement of fact.”

“However we evaluate a coach in a short-term situation like the World Cup, the broader issue is we’ve got to get better development, better players at the other end of it. And that is not something you do in a year or two. And that’s everything else we’re doing in our system or trying to do, whether it’s the development academy, whether it’s MLS having youth teams, whether it’s reaching out further to the Hispanic and African-American communities. …

“I don’t think it takes a lot of watching to know that (Carlos) Tevez and (Lionel) Messi have a different control of the ball than most of our players or most of the players in the world, for that matter. So we’ve got to be better. Players have to be better, sure. And I take responsibility for that that, on where the sport is.”