UPDATED: Monday, 3:29 p.m. ET
Will Jurgen Klinsmann stay or will he go? That was the big question that was finally answered in the wake of the U.S. national team's disastrous start to the hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying when the coach was fired Monday afternoon.
There are already coaches being rumored as potential replacements. As closely as fans watched the drama unfold over the past week, there were also several players following intently. Not only those who could stand to benefit greatly from the coaching change, but those who could soon find themselves out of the national team picture now that Klinsmann has gotten the boot.
Klinsmann had stated for years that while there may be players he doesn't call up often, or at all, that he keeps tabs on all eligible players, and those who he seems to ignore are simply victims of competition, missing out because, as Klinsmann liked to say, "others are ahead of him."
The reality is that another coach will be calling in different players, at least in some cases. It is common for coaches to have personal preferences on players, and Klinsmann was definitely no different.
The list of players who stand to gain with Klinsmann being replaced isn't limited to those players who have been passed over for call-ups.
So who are some of the players who could stand to benefit by seeing their national team opportunities grow now that a coaching change has been made? Here are some players who could benefit from the change, and some who could see themselves missing out with Klinsmann gone.
MICHAEL BRADLEY: Klinsmann and Bradley hadn't seen eye to eye on how best to use the U.S. captain, and that could be a big reason why Bradley's national team form has had its ups and downs in recent years. While Klinsmann might have finally been ready to relent on deploying Bradley in a deeper role, a new coach just might install a system that makes the best use of the Toronto FC star.
DEANDRE YEDLIN: Once one of the young prospects who Klinsmann showed faith in and helped achieve success, Yedlin has transitioned into Klinsmann's doghouse lately and is no longer being seen as the future of the right-back position - despite the fact he has played well at Newcastle United. Klinsmann didn't hide his displeasure with Yedlin's move to the English League Championship, and it may take a new coach to help him climb back into starting consideration.
DARLINGTON NAGBE: Though Klinsmann insisted in a recent interview that Nagbe does still have a future with the national team, there was a certain feeling that he was going to be locked in the Klinsmann doghouse for the foreseeable future after passing on a call-up in October. While it is true he isn't coming off the best year, there's no denying his talent, and a new coach might make better use of that talent.
MATT HEDGES: The newly named MLS Defender of the Year had only received the faintest of looks from Klinsmann, having been into the previous year's January camp, but his continued growth as a player hasn't coincided with more opportunities. A new coach, such as Bruce Arena, just might take a closer look given how well he knows the FC Dallas defender.
JORGE VILLAFANA: For a team that just went through the most recent international window throwing in patchwork left-back options, it was mind-boggling that a player such as Villafana hadn't been able to merit a look in any of the national team's recent camps. A new coach looking for natural options at the position would probably want to start with the Santos Laguna defender.
ERIC LICHAJ: It had become a bit of an open secret that Klinsmann had little to no respect for the English League Championship, as evidenced by Yedlin's demotion to backup after his move to Newcastle United. Lichaj has been a consistent starter at fullback for Nottingham Forest for years, and was consistently overlooked by Klinsmann. A new boss could definitely be interested in a versatile fullback capable of playing on the left or right.
DANNY WILLIAMS: Another League Championship castoff, Williams wasn't even called in for the November qualifiers after Kyle Beckerman was ruled out with an injury. Williams has enjoyed success at Reading since making the move there, but had seen his opportunities diminish in the meantime. The reality is he's one of the best defensive-midfield options in the pool and deserves a longer look.
SEBASTIAN LLETGET: The national team pool's lack of young attacking midfield options has helped open the door for the 31-year-old Sacha Kljestan to jump back into the picture, but if Arena takes over, you have to think he'll consider his LA Galaxy midfielder, the 24-year-old Lletget, for a look. His move to more of a central role this season paid major dividends, and he has the very type of qualities the U.S. midfield needs.
DAX MCCARTY: Though he's 29 years old now and not a young prospect anymore, McCarty has continued to be one of the best defensive midfielders in MLS, and a player who could help provide some depth at a position light on options in their 20s.
JOSE TORRES: Remember the Tigres midfielder and member of the U.S. 2010 World Cup team? Klinsmann didn't. He and Torres apparently didn't see eye to eye about where Torres stands in the pecking order, which led to Torres falling out of the picture for the past three years. Could the 29-year-old earn a reprieve under a new coach? Don't rule it out.
JERMAINE JONES: From the moment Klinsmann took over as U.S. coach he had the unflinching support of Jones, who has been a lineup fixture in the five years since. Now 35, Jones still has some gas left in the tank, but a new coach may be ready to build a team without the veteran German-American. He isn't the easiest player to fit in a midfield given his freelancing ways, and at his age, a new coach looking to the 2018 World Cup might see it as time to play younger options.
TIMMY CHANDLER: Fair or not, Chandler has long been dogged about his commitment to the national team, and his penchant for playing much worse for the U.S. than for Eintracht Frankfurt has been a consistent source of angst. A new coach might ignore his past national team struggles and put him in a better position to succeed than Klinsmann, but any coach who comes aboard knowing his track record might deem it time to look at other options.
MICHAEL OROZCO: Another Klinsmann favorite, Orozco does start for the top team in Liga MX at the moment, but even when he has been glued to the bench on the club level he has still managed to earn consistent calls from Klinsmann. The reality is he's been largely underwhelming, and there are other more enticing fullback options in the pool.
CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI: Only injury kept Wondolowski from being a part of the November qualifiers, a fact that has to infuriate U.S. fans who simply don't see him as a viable national team option at this point. Yes, he's still a productive MLS striker, and there's no arguing he is a good locker room presence, but there are too many enticing forward options in the pool to keep spending a roster spot on a soon-to-be 34-year old who has never really made an impact on the international level.
JULIAN GREEN: The Bayern Munich forward has clearly improved and matured physically, but the reality is he's still not playing many first-team minutes, and a new coaching staff taking over would very likely choose to let him stay at Bayern in favor of attacking options actually playing first-team games. In fairness to Klinsmann, he has had his faith in struggling younger players rewarded in the past (see Bobby Wood), but a new coach stepping in with the clear mandate of salvaging the World Cup qualifying campaign would probably limit the number of youth projects they would have on their rosters.