Former national team managers Bob Bradley, Bruce Arena and Bora Milutinovic all brought the USA just as far as Klinsmann did in World Cup play.
What Klinsmann didn't account for was the fact several players would not only fail to play as well as they did Friday, but would play much worse. The midfield was a mess, perhaps in part because of a still-not-fully-fit Jermaine Jones alongside Michael Bradley. He felt there was no flow in the game, and also believes that post-match it is Klinsmann's future, which will be most talked about. "Obviously, it's not a good start to the Hex, and today, in particular, was not a good performance". They struggled to clear the ball out of the air, to deal with crosses and balls over the top, and even to play the ball out of the back. Both were cautioned by Mexican referee for fouls against Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz, Chandler in the 11th minute and Jones in the 37th. We had a better second half.
The United States, which had not lost a home qualifier in 15 years before last week, figures it will win its four remaining home games and pick up points on the road.
"We won't make any decisions right after games", US Soccer chief Sunil Gulati said following the Costa Rica drubbing.
And if it isn't, it should be.
Is the axe ready to drop on Jurgen Klinsmann?
But after losing to Mexico - the US team's first home qualifying loss to Mexico in 44 years - and after suffering the worst qualifying defeat to Costa Rica in its history, Gualti can't feel too confident about the coach he hired five years ago. The U.S. never really threatened offensively, and appeared to have little in the way of an organized plan.
"On a night like this there is no point in trying to look at it any other way". The last week wasn't the first time Klinsmann's unusual lineup choices, odd formations and tactical shortcomings have ended in failure and now it seems many on the team are no longer responding to their coach.
If there's been one constant in Jurgen Klinsmann's five-year reign atop the US national soccer team, it's inconsistency, with every invigorating high followed by a devastating low. "So anybody who thinks that is sorely mistaken".
"What was indefensible was how the team played - disorganized on defence and apprehensive in attack". We have to look in the mirror real hard at ourselves and understand it's not going to be a good start.
Nonetheless, a 4-0 loss is a sign of a bigger problem.
(Less than) Honorable mentions: 4-0 loss to Argentina in the 2016 Copa America semifinal; 3-2 loss to Mexico in the Confederations Cup playoff in October 2015; 2-0 loss to Jamaica in an away World Cup qualifier in 2012.
There's a lot of work to be done before the Honduras match in March when World Cup qualifying resumes. That's a stretch considering they just played their two toughest opponents. When El Tri lost a few days later in the United States, Tena was replaced within 48 hours by Victor Manuel Vucetich.
Will Klinsmann still be around to choose their replacements?
He insisted he is the right person to lead the team.