Landon Donovan: Jurgen Klinsmann should go if U.S. loses to Mexico

United States legend Landon Donovan has suggested to ESPN FC that coach Jurgen Klinsmann should be fired if the team loses to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup playoff on Saturday.

The rival nations meet in Pasadena, California, for the right to represent the region at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in the summer of 2017.

But the United States has suffered a difficult few months, failing to reach the final of the Gold Cup after losing to Jamaica in the semifinals, and then missing out on third place after being beaten on penalties by Panama.

Although it won its first friendly of this season 2-1 against Peru in Washington, D.C., that was followed by a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Brazil in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

It means the United States has won just two of its last six matches, and Donovan -- who scored 57 goals in 157 caps for his country -- believes Klinsmann has to be held accountable.

"Around the world, if a player plays poorly and a player has a bad string of results, they get dropped from the team," he told ESPN FC. "Jurgen said many times he wants our players to feel pressure -- so if they lose a game they can't go to the grocery store the next day. If they lose a game, they are getting hammered in the press.

"Well, the same holds true for the coach, and so we had a very poor summer with bad results in the Gold Cup. The last game against Brazil was probably the worst game I've seen them play under Jurgen.

"The reality is that now, anywhere else in the world, if this coach had those results, and they lose this game against Mexico, they'd be fired.

"I think if Jurgen wants to hold all the players to that standard, then he has to be held to that standard too."

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said following the Gold Cup in July that Klinsmann's job was safe for the time being.

Donovan was controversially left off the United States' roster for the 2014 World Cup by Klinsmann, and three months later announced he would retire from football at the end of the year.

He made his final appearance for the United States in a friendly against Ecuador in October.

Later on Tuesday, Donovan defended his comments on Twitter.

U.S. captain Michel Bradley said Klinsmann would not be the only one under pressure on Saturday.

"There's pressure for everybody," he said. "There's the pressure that you put on yourself to play well, to compete, to win.

"We don't spend too much time worrying about what goes on on the outside.

"It's a huge game. The way that everything has been built up, Mexico winning the Gold Cup this summer, us winning the Gold Cup two years ago, it all comes together in a great way.

"A great way for players because these are the types of days that you want to play on and certainly for the fans because I think it's something that everyone's been waiting for."