TSG Writers Chat Bob Bradley

TSG will be doing quite a bit of “Bob Bradley review” in the coming days and weeks. As a publication, we’re not quite ready to issue our “New York Times editorial” on what the verdict on Bob Bradley’s current tenure is or who should be coaching the Yanks in a few months.

We kick off our Bob Bradley review coverage with a TSG chat among our frequent writers: Shaun, Tuesday and Brian.

I’ll play moderator and this is just the beginning of sussing out expectations and evaluation of Coach Sweatpants. Drop your comments below and we’ll issue more as we continue to review the past four years of “The Life of Bob.”

Bob Bradley (2006-?): Victorious? (photo courtesy of Matt Mathai)

Matthew: Okay — for those reading on TSG, the writers of TSG wanted to appropriately discuss the “Bob Bradley situation.”

How did he do? Did the team meet expectations? What does the future hold?

Matthew: First question, did Bob Bradley do a good job? Explain and offer data points.

Brian: When you look at Bob Bradley’s performance over the course of this cycle, the man did a good job. The results speak for themselves: when using the full USMNT, the team won the 2007 Gold Cup, beat Spain and narrowly lost the 2009 Confederations Cup, won CONCACAF World Cup qualification, and won their group in the World Cup.

Bob Bradley embraces Ricardo Clark after "The Substitution."

Mister Tuesday: By Saturday, Bob Bradley almost had me convinced. Then he did what was obviously total madness in all eyes but his. After two very solid Edu performances that seemed to earn him a starting spot, he went back to Clark.

Shaun: I thought he did a good job. I think he got the most out of a squad and made them a team. The exact opposite of what Capello did. Individually, England’s players could be rated better but they couldn’t play together as a team, where as the US masked their faults to a degree with good team work and unity.

The positives….

• He picked the right 23

• He installed a flexible system so that the USMNT could change shape and formation pretty effortlessly without exposing themselves.

• He recognized when he made mistakes and changed them as quickly as possible. So many mangers keep trying when they fail and end up making things worse.

The negatives….

• Poor tactical choices cost him important sub options late in game from having to rectify mistakes.

• Not tough enough. I don’t much about him but he seems to play favorites, hence Clark starting etc…

Brian: Bradley had to do a lot of revamping of the squad he inherited in 2006. The entire spine of the team, forwards, center midfielders, center halves, and goalie all needed to be replaced. Bradley wasn’t afraid to go with more risky players: a nepotism-inducing pick of his son, using an 18-year old Jozy Altidore and unheralded Charlie Davies. The U.S. did not get an influx of talent these last four years, they became a better organized and grittier team.

Matthew: Brian, Sweats nearly had to be talked into Altidore. He admonished him after his first camp.

Mister Tuesday: If this was a “one-time mistake” sort of situation that would be one thing, however it was yet another of his impenetrable decisions. Bob has gotten very good at finding solutions within games, but he struggles to see how things will play out beforehand.

Shaun: 100% agree Tuesday.

Mister Tuesday: That said, he was a win away from being widely seen as the most successful USMNT manager ever.

Landon moving to left wing set the tone (courtesy, Matt Mathai)

Matthew: Did Bob Bradley do a good job? Yes. He did. A few data points stick out in my head. First, keeping a team together after the first two losses and reaching a Confederation Cup final. Following that up with a title run in Gold Cup 2009 with “B” or “C” level players again. Solid. Beyond this Bradley–like a true American ethos coach–had the team buy in. Landon Donovan moving to left wing set the tone. If you get the leaders to buy-in and make sacrifices, the rest of the team follows.

That said Bradley showed a “limited” technical ability and made the same mistakes multiple times. You don’t see that with Jose Mourinho, for example.

And the big “However.” The Yanks were done in this World Cup by not finishing their chances up top less the tactical decisions from limited quality.

Shaun: (to Tuesday)…but a couple of minutes away from being seen as a failure. It’s a brutal job and thankless.

Mister Tuesday: Let’s just look at Bob’s accomplishments: 2007 Gold Cup Champions to qualify for the Confederation’s Cup. Blooded a new group of players in going 3 and out at that year’s Copa America (and evoked the ire of CONMEBOL). 2009 Confederation’s Cup and Gold Cup finalists with 2 completely different player pools.

Bradley did well with the players he had at his disposal but he also made some mistakes in handling things. A lot of time that could’ve been used to give potential first-team combinations potential time together was devoted to selecting players at the fringes that played little to no role in South Africa.

_______________

Gulati: Backing BB still?

Matthew: Sunil Gulati stated that the Yanks failed to meet expectations. He made a veiled comment that Bradley would be reviewed without a vote of confidence while saying that the players were not off the highest caliber. Who bears the brunt of the failure to advance in the World Cup? The coach or the players?

Shaun: I think it depends on the situation. It’s never 100% players or coach. In this case I would have to say its a 65% BB and the rest the players. They made mistakes on the field that they should have done better with. It’s not the coach’s fault that a lot of them have poor ball control. But it is up to him set up the team so those errors are few and far between. Edu is more confident, more experienced and more comfortable on the ball. Clark should never have been involved.

Brian: I put about 70% of the blame on the players. There was a clinical lack of finishing from the entire team and some fundamental errors in marking from the center-halves. Bradley did make a couple of line-up mistakes, but you could also say he reacted better to fix a team mid-game than any other manager this World Cup.

Matthew: Tough one here. I have to put more of the blame on Bradley. It was Bradley’s choice to get Onyewu ready through the friendlies and not develop chemistry between DeMerit and Boca or DeMerit and whomever. That was a miscalculation.

It was Bradley’s choice to rotate central midfielders which is always a challenge to developing chemistry and continuity.

And it was Bradley’s choice to bring Buddle at forward and not play the hottest net-finding striker, especially when the Yanks couldn’t finish. That decision is still mind-boggling to me.

On the field, Bradley beat an Algerian side that should have been beaten. He drew a Slovenia side that should have been beaten and in retrospect a draw was probably fair against England. I have through an asterisk because with some correct calls Bradley likely beats Slovenia and has an easier time with Algeria–so noted.

And….if the US has strikers that can finish a shot. We’re discussing Uruguay right now, not Bob Bradley–so maybe I’m off on the blame game. But I did mention that Buddle seems to know how to finish.

Shaun: Bradley was not responsible for the US missing the goals (though his choices did help create them by utilizing Dempsey and Donovan wide etc…) but his tactics, player selection etc… were partly responsible for all the goals that were given up.

Buddle, a missed opportunity of itself? (courtesy, Matt Mathai)

Mister Tuesday: The USA were one of the brighter attacking teams at the World Cup, but were also one of the worst defensive teams. Across the back four Bob Bradley was limited by the players he had at his disposal. We could second guess his inclusion of Beasley over a young player like Bedoya, but the reality our central defensive pairing consisted of a defender plays for a mid-table Championship side.

Our best striker played last season for a relegated Premiership side and managed 1 league goal. Altidore wasn’t any more threatening for the national team.

Mister Tuesday: Findley, Buddle and Gomez all had their own opportunities. I think Bob made a mistake replacing Altidore with Gomez rather than Buddle, but Ghana’s winning goal came so quickly that it hardly mattered.

Brian: The only thing I can criticize Bradley for roster-wise is not giving more of a shot to America’s young defenders. You have to think that Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj might have made an impact for team so thin at the back.

Shaun: The USA are a counter attacking team as they don’t have the skill to hold the ball up and pass it amongst each other back and forth waiting for an opportunity.

When they counter and it is successful it is always the same 3-4 players who are involved versus 7-8 who can starts, orchestrate or finish those moves.

Bradley deserves credit for setting up the USMNT to work that counter.

(Defensive team interlude)

Shaun: Brian – so much of defense though is knowledge and experience. I don’t think younger players wouldn’t have helped the back line.

Brian: Shaun, all I know is that when you look at what Jonathan did to the USA against Ghana, a young, hungry, athletic defender can make an impact.

Shaun: yes but one who has been part of the side the whole time…its not about age but about experience.

_______________

Matthew: Okay, so what’s next for the States and Bob Bradley? Exit stage right, re-uppance, wait and see? Play Sunil Gulati.

Go forth and prosper, Mr. Bradley...

Mister Tuesday: Bob will be manager for the next two friendlies, but should be looking for a new challenge. Perhaps he’ll be the first American manager to go to Europe.

If I’m Sunil, I’m looking hard at our approach to player development. The “skim the best talent” approach has taken us as far as it is going to and if USA soccer needs to take the next step, the quality of coaching must improve in the important developmental age groups – 12-17 year olds. We also must cast a wider net for talent. If we’re looking to possibly win the next World Cup we host – 2018 or 2022 we need to start now.

Shaun: The States must play as many competitive games or tournaments as possible. The Confed Cup was a big step based on the competition. Sending an “a” “b” or “c” to Copa America was stupid and not participating in the 2011 is asinine.

Going to these tourneys where you play high level is a great way to for young players to gain experience. Imagine what Gonzales, Bornstein etc… get from having to deal with Messi, Miacon, Sanchez etc…

Mister Tuesday: If I’m Sunil, I encourage Bob to take a break from this gig. Junior’s performance has ranged from poor to immense this World Cup but a manager with less vested interest in his success might feel more flexibility in constructing the side. Michael also has a surprising lazy streak where he over-runs the play and instead of a lung-busting run to get back in position, he gives up.

Sunil should be examining other options, but Bob will remain on speed dial.

Shaun: Go and get experience for 10 years or so managing in Holland, Germany, England and then come triumphantly to lead the USMNT. Go out on a high and then come back on one too.

Mister Tuesday: Exactly, Bob is a good manager and has a chance to become a great one if he grows in his job. He should be looking for that opportunity.

Brian: I think to start, the job is Bob Bradley’s if he wants it. The man’s performance and deep knowledge of the American talent base earns him the right to remain the manager.

If he leaves, then it starts to get interesting. Jurgen Klinsmann is the obvious choice and I would be a fan, but I have concerns of his ability to identify the hidden gems of the system ala Charlie Davies, and also integrate younger talent. There are some other decent options out of MLS in Sigi Schmid and Dom Kinnear, but names always seem to come out of the woodwork for these things.

We could also always follow the model of Germany and Argentina and hire a 90’s national hero to manage the squad.

Hiring a hero only works sometimes...like when you have Messi...

Shaun: Hiring a hero is only good when you have a team of very good players (Argentina this year)

I think the US need to get a coach of the Hiddink variety. Spend the money. Klinsman is okay and has mixed reviews but I think you need someone who not only can get the best out of players but also can spot talent at all levels.

Mister Tuesday: Bob has done well, but scratch the surface, it’s not as good as it appears. We were supremely lucky to get out of our group with only 3 points at the Confederation’s Cup to even get a chance to face Spain.

We won the group at the World Cup, but due largely to a pretty poor performance by England.

Shaun: yeah… he’s good but not sure if he’s what you need. You want someone with international football experience

Matthew: While Bob Bradley did more an admirable job in getting the Yanks to the second round, I think the program screams for a coach whose methods are already tested–if only because–like Jose Mourinho or Phil Jackson–the players and perhaps more importantly the management and fans have no excuse but to buy-in and accept a method that has borne a championship before.

I also agree with Tuesday. The father-son issue–which also reared it’s head for Slovakia with Vladamir Weiss’s benching of his son–exacerbated by his son’s important role in central midfield, is extremely unfortunately a distraction. No nepotism, but an unnecessary distraction.

The States, I think at this point, need a coach with the pedigree of winning at the highest level to drive the program for four years.

That said, I would also say that the US developed a style of play more in this four years than in any before.

Mister Tuesday: Between 2009 and 2010, we simply traded fantastic first half performances for fantastic second half performances.

_______________

Matthew: Okay, before we go on to possible successors. Will Bob Bradley stay? And if not, who’s doing will it be?

Mister Tuesday: I don’t think we need a Klinsmann though – his methods worked fine with technically proficient German team but will “go out and enjoy your football” do very well with our side?

Shaun: I say no and he will choose to move on. (this is what he should do)

Brian: I think Bradley goes on his own accord. I think he realizes that he’s better off trying to strike a club job while the iron’s hot than let his stock simmer for the next four years. If this were a European side I would say he stays for another two years and tries to win a European Championship, but there’s likely no outs for him if he extends that aren’t caused by poor performance.

Mister Tuesday: I don’t think Bob will stay. I think it’ll be a mutual agreement. Bob has a positive legacy and has generated a great deal of good will in US and international soccer.

Shaun: Sunil threw Bradley under the bus. Bradley should move on to somewhere where he will be treated better.

Mister Tuesday: The decisions made in the wake of this World Cup will determine whether we become a legit contender in our lifetimes or stay at about the same level.

Shaun: I think changes have to start with the MLS. Having them ignore international friendly dates etc.. is just preposterous. It’s not going to make anyone take it seriously.

Having it grow in quality will help the younger US players gain experience at club level at home. Sure the best players will play abroad but they face better competition from younger players at home.

Matthew: I think Bob–who lamented some of the player pool he had to select from–will likely depart believing he maximized the talent and his disposal. He *nearly did.

No reason to say here when the next true evaluation point for your work is 4 years away. It doesn’t make sense for Bradley.

I think Gulati–who never really wanted Bradley in the full-time role–wants to go in another direction and make a splash. Like he did in 2006. That said. It’s a dangerous way to go because if a coach like Guus Hiddink (employed) or Luis Scolari — kidding — can’t get more out of the team then what does it’s say about the US talent level?

So highly pressured next few steps for Gulati. And perhaps a little bit of “the devil you don’t know.” Is the United States ready for the top-of-the-line, cream-of-the-crop Coach? Is soccer growth?

_______________

Matthew: Who should the next coach of the States be?

Shaun: TSG – all 4 of us :)

Mister Tuesday: I’ll probably be looking for a new job after this World Cup.

Shaun: Someone with International experience but not just a mercenary. Some who has an interest in the US not just doing it for money. Klinsmann is the only one who seems to fit the bill though.

Mister Tuesday: I’m terrified of Klinsmann.

Shaun: Me too

Shaun says Houllier can help the Yanks get at least near some silverware...

Shaun: Someone who would be really good might be Gerard Houllier.

He developed the French team of 98.

His managing skill are well suited as he is strict but friendly.

Tactically though…he’s ok but no Mourinho.

Mister Tuesday: In a few years once Mourinho gets tired of Madrid, I’m sure Sunil could sell him on the chance to go down as the chance to prove himself the greatest manager in history by leading us to World Cup glory. Jose likes to prove himself a genius with a relatively sure thing though.

Shaun: His training skills and methods are well talked about.

Shaun: Yeah Jose likes for his job to be easy but take all the credit

Brian: To me there’s two clear men in the lead: Jurgen Klinsmann and Dominic Kinnear. Klinsmann would obviously add the international experience and prestige. Kinnear has done a fantastic job in MLS. He knows the domestic structure and is a former USMNT’er himself. When you look at his role in developing the likes of Holden, Clark, and Ching, his quality speaks for itself.

Mister Tuesday: From MLS, how about Steve Nicol? He’s gotten more out of less talent than any other MLS manager.

Shaun: A tough Scot! I like it.

Brian: I prefer Kinnear, because he’s done such a superior job in identifying and developing talent. Really doesn’t seem like the Revs have produced any great players since Deuce left.

Matthew: Here’s the challenge. Who can the States get? I’m not certain.

While there are many quality coaches in MLS–their overall exposure to players and tactics is limited by the league they are in. So to me, an MLS coach is out….for now.

If the States want an American coach, I see no better than Bob Bradley. Perhaps Bruce Arena, but obviously the history. (By the way, what does it say that no less than four players from the Galaxy could be in consideration spots in 2014 – Donovan, Franklin, Gonzalez, Bowen).

I need to take some time for coaches. A manager like Hiddink would have been ideal.

Perhaps in a year or two someone like a Louis Van Gaal who will be sick of club travel and the frequency of club dates and is not too egotistical to demand everything from the Federation.

Mister Tuesday: We need a tactician and someone that can stop us from conceding and has the reputation to interest the best of the young dual-nats. I could live with Houllier.

Shaun: He’s French though. Do you think the US can handle that? seriously?

Brian: Here’s what I would love to see: the two-man combination of Claudio Reyna and Klinsmann take over the system. Reyna can completely revamp the youth system and coaching, while Jurgen can focus more on the senior players. I think any foreign coach taking complete control of the system could be disastrous, but with an experienced US Soccer veteran like Reyna steering the ship, it could be a great development for the team.

Matthew: I’m completely unconvinced about Reyna with player development. Brian, what makes you a fan of Reyna’s player development? He has zero experience….

Mister Tuesday: Maybe Klinsy could teach Jozy how to make a near-post run. Maybe he can get the team to stop playing “scared to lose”. Maybe I can be tactical advisor. Or at least a technical guy that films matches from way above.

Always end on a positive: The legend that is Johnny O

Shaun: Klinsy can certainly teach the players to dive more convincingly!

Brian: Having listened to interview with Reyna on his hiring, I got the feeling that he’s actively looking to increase the emphasis on skill in the youth system. Saying how he’s probably the most skilled player in our history, that means a lot.

Brian: Throwing this out there semi legitimately: John O’Brien for USMNT manager.

Mister Tuesday: Seconded. His blogs are pure genius.

Matthew: John O’Brien would definitely make a good coach with some work. Not a consideration for US coach at this time, but–and no stain on him–a better assistant “ready-today” than a Jesse Marsch I would think.

Brian: How about Alexi Lalas?

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66 responses to this post.

  1. Kind of off topic, but I think Jason Kreis is the coach of the future. He is young, played the game, knows the American player, and IMO doing a great job at RSL. Look out for him in like 2022

    Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/06/30 at 12:20 PM

      I really don’t see how rsl is doing well they honestly were on a hot streak when the playoff started and that’s the only reason they won it all. I wouldn’t be surprised if RSL doesn’t make it to the playoffs.

      Reply

  2. Good stuff guys. I’m on board with the thought that BB is on his way out, quite possibly by personal choice. I think given what he’s been dealt he’s done fairly well, it’s just time for fresh blood.

    I love the idea of Hiddink as the man has simply had success everywhere he’s gone, but as a Dynamo fan I both love and hate the idea of Kinnear. I think he’d do well, he’s a tactician and has a great eye and talent for developing players. I hate to lose him though, I think he’s far and away the best coach in MLS.

    Also Matt, I think your Arena observation could easily be applied to Kinnear were Ching a year or two younger: Ching, Holden, Clark, Cameron, maybe even Chabala or Cruz.

    Reply

    • Posted by Randy on 2010/06/28 at 10:49 PM

      I’ve been trying to plant that Kinnear seed for a year now and hope it takes hold. This manager to me simply fixes the issues that were weaknesses for Bradley. He is not going to make those tactical mistakes in starting line ups and will have enough flexibility to utilize the best 11 vs. constraining the pitch with a 4-4-2 when the talent doesn’t justify it.

      He will get as much or more out of a team through sheer will than BB did.

      Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/06/30 at 1:35 PM

      Chabala’s too old now. Well not now, but consider that he’s older than Bornstein. Chabala has the offensive skill set and defensive covering, in my opinion, but he missed his chance. He could always try to be the 2014 Demerit.

      Cruz is very good and will run you to death. I’ve actually been waiting till after the World Cup to bring up his name. Depending on his progression, he could be a factor in 2014. Right now Cruz is just raw talent. Consider this, in 2006, Holden was just raw talent.

      Kinnear can mold players into what his image of them is. Many times he has proven himself right. No one saw anything in Holden untill 2009 except Kinnear. In 2009, people thought Cameron was a nobody. Kinnear saw an All-star defender. Everyone thought Cameron was just a defender going into 2010, including myself, and when he got hurt I was buying him as that midfielder.

      As a Houston fan, I’ll say the same thing about him as I said about Holden leaving.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/30 at 1:49 PM

        Kevin:

        Chabala is just not international quality. He’s a talented MLS player. I do like Cruz though.

        Unfortunately your Kinnear comments on player development are off (admittedly I’m a fan of Kinnear, but I don’t believe he’s an MLS version of Jose Mourinho).

        Holden never would have been available for MLS and the Dynamo if he didn’t have an unfortunate incident when he was supposed to be coming up at Sunderland.

        Likewise, Cameron was nationally recognized midfielder of the year in 2007 in college who frequently played both defense and midfield.

        (You know my opinion on Cameron is that with his lack of movement and speed, it will be hard for him to become a star in midfield. I think Kinnear is just using him there because he’s got no one else and has a little backline depth. I think Cameron in central midfield is still a terrible move. :>)

        Reply

  3. Posted by FlyinHawaiian on 2010/06/28 at 10:36 PM

    I personally would prefer to see an American coach. Even though the coach might be inferior to the likes of Klinsmann or Hiddink, I always like pulling for a good ol American. Another reason to have an American coach would be their knowledge of the player pool and development system. The only problem is….there isn’t an American good enough to coach the Yanks.

    Going off on a contradictory tangent, how about Fabio Capello? He will certainly be looking for work soon.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/06/30 at 1:41 PM

      Given time a coach that goes and scouts the players will get familiarized with the player pool. The only difference is an American can pick up the squad and immediately have knowledge. It’s like new map packs on call of duty vs old maps. On a new map you’ll have to familiarize yourself, on a new map, you already know where to go.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/28 at 10:37 PM

    I disagree with Shaun on the US being a solely counterattacking swaud. Yes, we are the Masters of the Counter at heart, but when we have the right personel, we can do something with possession. For example, there were times in each game where we successfully linked possession and created chances with quick passing and movement, and some passing across the backline as well. with that said, i think our best lineup(if we were playing against uruguay) would be as follows

    4-2-2-2 Jozy-Demps. Benny-Lando. Bradley-Edu. Bornstein-Boca-Gooch-Dolo

    Unfortunately, pride is what did in Bob the most. He insisted on leacing in Boca when what we really needed was our best and most cohesive CD pairing as well as ability and willingness from both outside backs to get forward. He had too much pride to leave out Clark, which was a mind boggling decision in itself so I wont go further. He had too much prode to NOT star Clint up top, when that clearly would have given us more creativity up top and more possession-oriented players in the midfield.

    I think a big reason why Stu played a whole 10 minutes was Bob’s reaction to starting Paco. I’m assuming he though(well if this kid came out nervous against Slovenia, then Stu probably wont do muchbetter since they have the same amount of world cup experience)

    In the end though, I’d love to see Bob back for the next cycle, although it’d be hard to pass up Jurgy for another 4 years :>

    Reply

    • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 10:45 PM

      Possession depends on the strength of the (technically) *weakest* attacker. For us, that’s still not great.

      Counterattack depends on the strength of the few attackers who are working in space, and since our top guys are really good (oh if Davies had been there!), that works.

      National teams need new management each world cup. Look at Arena or Lippi.

      Reply

      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/28 at 11:03 PM

        It’s not great but it still gets the job done.

        This world cup was host to some of the best attacking football I’ve seen by an American side, ever.(I didn’t follow the 2002 cup but I’m still sure of my statement)

        Reply

        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/29 at 7:18 AM

          I agree with you Antonio that there was some of the best attacking football by the USMNT in this cup but it was always quick and from the back. It was deliberate and worked back and forth with lots of passes and runs like Spain, Argentina or Brazil do.

          All their goals and most dangerous moves (with the exception of Dempsey/Green’s goal) came in a blink of an eye from a counter through a long ball from the back or midfield or a sprint down the wing. They caught their opponents defense unawares. When they worked it up slowly they could rarely muster any real challenge to the goal (I’m sure there is the odd exception)

          Reply

        • Posted by T-Muck on 2010/06/29 at 7:21 AM

          I think this is the biggest reason why we lost the Ghana game. They just got back so quickly we never had an opportunity to counter, and we never really unlocked their defense through possession.

          Reply

  5. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 10:39 PM

    I hope you guys were joking with all the ex-player suggestions. No US vet is anywhere near national coach material. (Kreis, maybe in the future, but he was an also-ran internationally.) Alexi shouldn’t even be on TV.

    Houllier is a foundation-layer, but tactical genius he isn’t. Look at what happened with France and Liverpool *after* he left! I think he’d drive us far more crazy than Bradley.

    The question is, what general development do we want the next US coach to oversee?

    Reply

    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/28 at 10:45 PM

      correction-Alexi shouldn’t be on TV unless he’s bashing England with passion, that was classic stuff right there

      Reply

    • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 11:18 PM

      To answer my own question, I’d like the next US coach to teach the team, over time, to switch between fast and slow play and still remain effective. To suck the energy from a game as well as crank it up — and transition effortlessly (and dangerously) between the two, preferably with the exact same personnel. Bradley’s team — defense as well as offense — only played well when going full-speed: we did do really well this way, and I’d like to keep that weapon, but it took too much energy over a tournament and there were too many breakdowns while warming up and in defending a lead (that is, before and after full-speed was in effect).

      Donovan won’t run for 400+ minutes at age 32 anyway.

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      • +1 s44 on your full speed comments. Ghana, perfect example.

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      • Playing “slow” really means having the ability to absorb some pressure defensively when out of possession without conceding. In possession it means if the counter-attack isn’t on, having the option of biding your time and stroking it around a bit.

        The reality is that the US side had a fair tournament possession wise and with the exception of the second half against England, where rarely outclassed in terms of keeping possession. Because the attack is so fluid and we get numbers forward – key reasons why we’re a very good attacking team – we struggle severely with the transitions between attack and defense.

        We conceded two goals to a team in possession that broke us down with their passing – Gerrard against England and Birsa against Slovenia. Both were because of poor defending of the danger area by the CBs and CMs. We conceded three counter-attacking goals – 2 on turnovers at midfield and one on a Route 1 ball that was allowed to bounce.

        The fact is that just like England, our central defense lacked mobility and speed and this was what was exposed on all the goals we conceded. Interesting that going into the World Cup we saw central defense as the strength and outside defense as the weakness. Pretty much the opposite ended up being the case.

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      • Posted by dbex on 2010/06/29 at 7:08 AM

        s44 — spot on comments. We were far and away most dangerous when playing full-speed, desperate, balls-to-the-wall soccer, but you can’t sustain that over 90+ minutes, much less a tournament. I think Bradley TRIED to use a more methodical, possession-based approach to start games, and our personnel either weren’t used to it, or simply weren’t skilled enough to make it work. What does that lead to? Conceding early goals. Consistently.

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    • Alexi was a joke… We assure you.

      Reply

    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/29 at 7:26 AM

      Houiller set up both Liverpool and France to achieve what they did in the following years. He also won 6 trophies in 6 years with Liverpool as well as 4 in 2 years with Lyon. He’s not Mourinho but he will certainly shore up the defense as well as train his players better ball control etc… His training techniques are great for teaching fundamentals in passing, ball control etc… all things that the USMNT need right now.

      Reply

      • Shaun – you have an excellent point about the USMNT needing fundamentals right now, but I’m wondering if the Houllier appointment would work better at a younger NT level for us…

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        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/29 at 7:56 AM

          I think he can do both. He needs to set up a camp like they have in France, Germany, Spain etc… for promising youngsters, but I think he could do a good job of getting the USMNT to the next level or two. Not the highest possible level but you don’t need that sort of coach now cause they wouldn’t have the type of players they need.

          When he was at Liverpool. He rebuilt them and got them to be the consistent team they were until last year. Benitez was brought in to take them to the highest level which he couldn’t but the foundation was set by Houiller.

          I see Houiller advising others to set the foundations for training the younger promising players but leaving that up to promising US coaches as well. This way US coaching also improves and maybe there will be more coaching European teams and gaining valuable experience so that their could be more options for the USMNT to chose from.

          The US don’t need to rebuild from scratch but they are at capacity right now. They need to prepare and structure a system where winning the world cup or at the very least being a certain quarters team is a must. Right now that isn’t set up.

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      • Yeah, look what’s happened to Stevie G in the years since he left. ;>

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        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/29 at 8:01 AM

          Actually that is very true. Gerrard grew as a player under Houiller’s tutelage. He actually had a good world cup and minus poor shooting, did a lot of things he didn’t at Liverpool this past year.

          Gerrard is the sort of player who needs a manager to put an arm around him and outwardly show him confidence. Capello and Houiller did that but Benitez did not this past year and it showed.

          Sure after Houiller left Gerrard was at his best 05-09 but it was the frenchman bringing him along in the academy that helped.

          Also Liverpool’s defense back then, made up players he picked from lower leagues etc… was excellent.

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    • Posted by B-Mac on 2010/06/29 at 7:32 AM

      Uh, Dominic Kinnear has 54 caps as a USMNT’er. Definitely not joking about him being an ex-player who could take over the squad.

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  6. Posted by Shane_K83 on 2010/06/28 at 10:41 PM

    I think BB did well.. Much higher paid managers did alot worst in regards to building a team. A Foreign coach might struggle with our player pool and might not be able to embody the American spirit.

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  7. Posted by Gino on 2010/06/28 at 10:48 PM

    I think Bob is a pretty smart guy and sees the writing on the wall. Do we really think he’ll try to stick around for another WC cycle? I think Bob would be better suited coaching an English lower division side, or maybe even one from Germany. The question is, what European club will be the first to hire an American? Bradley would be a better sell to a European team if he was presented as an opportunistic coach looking to make his name overseas rather than a recently sacked Yank .

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    • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 11:23 PM

      I sort of think he should coach another national team. He didn’t have huge long-term club success in MLS.

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  8. Posted by BW on 2010/06/29 at 12:09 AM

    i know this conversation isn’t over, but it’s kind of interesting/sad that no names are popping up as clear answers to a potential successor. Klinsmann seems to be as close as it gets, but does he have a track record other than Germany 06?

    One element I’d like to add is the managers role in team chemistry. Our current players seem like a tight knit, humble, TEAM and that is something I admire about our squad. I don’t know if it’s just these guys, or if Bradley played a part, but it’s something I hope is a trademark of the USMNT for generations to come.

    I think this strength of our the team is being overlooked and/or overshadowed by cries for players with more technical ability and minutes at big name clubs, but look at England/France/Italy – they have those players and failed to materialize a TEAM. Whoever comes in hopefully would be ready to facilitate and capitalize on the bond of the guys and move forward with a similar team nature and mentality.

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    • Posted by Rick on 2010/06/29 at 7:20 PM

      In response to the second part of your post, I’d say that it’s both. We need to have good team spirit and chemistry, but we also need more technically skilled players. This has been my mantra along: it’s just going to take time. US Soccer needs to take more of a leadership role, in whatever capacity it can muster, to more positively influence youth development, and hopefully on a much greater scale than it has up to now. That’s not something that’s going to happen in a year, even with fantastic leadership.

      At the same time, we need the right coach for our national player pool’s state of development. I believe that so far US Soccer has mostly made the right choices. Arena was good for us, and Bradley was the right man at the time. (Well, maybe Klinsmann would have been right…but that’s in the past, so we’ll never know–even if he comes in now.)

      I don’t think it would be the worst thing for Bradley to stay, but I agree with what others have said here, that Gulati didn’t really want him in the first place, and he’s sending out a vibe that he’s already made up his mind that we’ll be going in a different direction.

      Whatever the case, I don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference one way or the other. I’m a huge USMNT fan (hardly missed a game in 14 years), but I still don’t see us making a big splash on the international stage by the next World Cup. I hope I’m wrong there, but thinking otherwise makes little sense. We need our domestic league to continue to develop, and that’s happening. We need our player pool to expand and deepen, and that’s also happening, albeit slowly. We need a coach who will be open-minded about all available talent, and really make an effort to integrate the best new faces into the player pool. And we need a coach who can a) mold our players both technically and b) guide and train the players about thinking better from a tactical perspective.

      I’m not qualified in any way to know what names to suggest, though.

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  9. First, I think BB did a good job on balance. Second, I think he should move on. Third, I don’t trust Klinsmann at all. Fourth, of the floated candidates Kinnear would be my choice.

    The thing that is so attractive about Hiddink is that he goes into completely different football cultures and finds a way to succeed. USA is way different than Europe. I have very little belief that a euro coach can get the job done state-side. Kinnear? Maybe.

    And to completely contradict myself, thoughts on Otto Rehhagel? Available and seems like his ability to get the most from the available player pool is pretty evident from his work in Greece. He is Hiddink-esque in this way. Seems like at the very least he would be an extremely strong candidate. Hmm…

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    • Posted by Jared on 2010/06/29 at 6:38 AM

      Please not Rehhagel. He deserves a lot of credit for what he’s done with Greece but his style with them was horrible. I couldn’t handle the US playing such a boring, defensive style.

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    • Posted by Soccernst on 2010/06/29 at 10:14 AM

      Has Rehhagel coached “negative, boring, defensive” through his career with the best bundesliga teams, or was it truely “the best way to win with the Greek players he had” ? I don’t know enough about him. Even if he did ask us to firmly park the bus, if he could teach our defense to do it, we could be a scary force. no?

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      • Posted by Soccernst on 2010/06/29 at 10:27 AM

        On the other hand: assuming we did adopt a Greek style, he would be a risky choice for a nation trying to expand their soccer fanbase. He’s a national hero in Greece, so we would get over it if he won the cup… BUT :-)

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  10. Posted by Bob on 2010/06/29 at 1:14 AM

    I think that it is a little surprising that we have seen no talk of Sigi Schmid. He has plenty of experience with the college and youth system. He obviously knows MLS. He is good at spotting young talent being the first to bring in Gomez and Ching as well as Califf to MLS while at the Galaxy, and bringing in Rogers and Lenhart for the Crew as well as helping to develop Marshall. He also has international experience with the U20 team and as an assistant to the 1994 WC team. Most importantly, he has won silverware with every team his has coached, including last year’s U.S. Open Cup with Seattle. He seems to be one of the obvious names that is being overlooked at the moment.

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  11. Posted by Rich B on 2010/06/29 at 3:33 AM

    I know he only recently accepted the job as Technical Director at AZ Alkmaar and doesn’t have much, if any, coaching experience but could Ernie Stewart possibly have a future within US Soccer, whether as a coach or some other high ranking official? At only 41 years old he’s doing a lot already with his post-playing career.

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    • Posted by Brian Mech on 2010/06/29 at 7:35 AM

      I think Earnie Stewart is a very intriguing possibility for the future. I also hope he shows a little favoritism and brings some Yanks over to Eredivisie.

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  12. Posted by T-Muck on 2010/06/29 at 6:41 AM

    Tuesday has a really really good point about developing players 12-17 years old. This is the key to the future of soccer in America. It’s key to developing better players and keeping better athletes in the sport as opposed to playing football, basketball, etc. If we get better coaching at those ages and players have more success they are going to want to stay with the sport.

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  13. Posted by Jared on 2010/06/29 at 6:42 AM

    I think the best solution would be Hiddink who unfortunately is unavailable (maybe put in a temporary coach and hire Hiddink after the next Euros).

    Other than that I like the idea of Klinsmann as the head coach as long as he has an American version of Jogi Low with him. Clearly that run in 06 had as much to do with Low as it did with Klinsmann at least understands both the international game and the American mindset (that was the biggest change he provided for the Germans was a more American style to everything off the field).

    Either way, I think that the US needs to hire someone as technical director to oversee everything. It’s great that Reyna will be in charge of player development but someone needs to be in control from the lowest levels to the national team. That is where a Houllier would have some merit. Clearly, Gulati is open to the idea since he spoke with Capello about that before he took the England job.

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  14. Posted by philsoc8 on 2010/06/29 at 7:15 AM

    There will be a new coach, and it will be someone foreign, and it’s for a reason that nobody seems to be talking about.

    This WC showed that the stakes for the US National Team are higher than every before. More people care; more money is at stake. ESPN and other sponsors don’t want to wait decades for Project 2050 to succeed. Yet everyone acknowledges that the talent pool is not sufficient to do much better.

    So this means that in the coming years, there will be an emphasis like never before on recruiting non-obvious, “foreign” players to play for the US. At the same time, many of our best US-based players with an ethnic background will be the subject of similar recruiting from other countries. The US National Team needs someone as a coach that knows how to play this game and will identify and attract talent. I don’t see a true blue, USofA type like Bob Bradley being very good at this.

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    • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/29 at 8:44 AM

      Rongen, for all his faults, has done a really good job of unearthing unknown Americans from foreign situations for the U-20 team.

      Of course, he crucially blew it with a dual-national from our U-17 program, but that wasn’t an identification issue.

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      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/29 at 8:51 AM

        Rongen completely blew the tournament last year–absolutely no confidence him with players or tactically, beyond Subotic.

        He’s not the right guy now, but I really, really like Wilmer Cabrera — he’s going to be a star.

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    • Posted by jsz on 2010/06/29 at 7:35 PM

      Agreed philsoc8. The stakes are higher now. Gulati expressed disappointment with the US team not moving beyond Ghana. Staying they “didn’t get to play another 90 minutes.” It seems the advertising / money is becoming more and more important.

      ut I question a lot of the negative talk about the state of soccer for the USMNT. There are not quick fixes or methods to “develop a Messi”, there is just progress. And I think despite the hard loss to Ghana, we have shown that. We all have to consider that:

      1. Every WC is a struggle. The goals mean so much. I don’t care where the goals come from (midfield, fwds, Tim Howard for that matter) but as long as they come. There were many chances that we didn’t finish.

      We were the talk of the nation after Algeria. The media buzz after Landon’s goal. But everything came crashing down because of maybe three simple things:

      – Ricardo Clark giving up the ball in midfield; not the end of the world, but the defenders didn’t close it down (should never have been a goal). Dempsey did the same thing in qualifying.

      – Altidore not finishing his toe poke late in the 2nd half (not that he should have but how close it was)

      – Demerit / Boca not being able to clear a simple ball.

      – Anyone finishing a chance in the final 20 minutes (there were plenty)

      That’s it. Any of those things changing and it was so close.So did everything come crashing down? Yet there’s all this talk about how things need to move in 180 degrees for us to progress. I don’t think it needs to be that drastic.

      1. Bradley did all he could with the injuries that plagued the team in the run up to the WC (Davies, Demerit, Gooch, Holden).

      2. This was a more successful WC than ’06 – so there is progress with US soccer: struggling in ’06 send off series against weaker opponents, blown out vs. Czechs, tying on an own goal vs. Italy, but 1 shining light with Dempsey vs. Ghana in ’06. I was there and that was an embarrassment.

      3. We played far better talent at the Confed Cup last year yet we couldn’t perform this year. If we would have played like we did in that tourney in the WC, we would have gone much further. Of course #1 – Injuries became a major problem for the team. There was so much more confidence with the team back then, remember, (we could play defense because we totally shut down Spain, Ricardo Clark started the “counterattack heard around the world”) so what changed? Chemistry perhaps?

      4. A new coach is probably due. Not because of what Bradley did or didn’t do, but because we need to get out of an MLS / American mindset if we are to play an international game. All this talk about talent recognition, well any coach will recognize talent if he sees it. Just with any coach I ask that it NOT BE FROM THE MLS no matter how successful. Take the best man available outside the US and hire him.

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  15. With regards to giving Klinsmann complete control over player development – it’s very likely he’d try to implement something along the lines of the German system which is really the model for best practices. Regardless of the backgrounds of their players, they’ve all come out of the German player development machine. If that’s what he intends to do, I say let him do it.

    Gulati’s resistance is likely based on the economics. It’s a big risk to spend a lot more money putting such a player development system in place for uncertain and longer-term reward when the current Project-40 system brings a reasonable comparative return for a fairly minimal investment. It’s definitely a many-fronted battle, but there’s just too much focus on winning below the age of 17 when that’s really not important and does nothing but inhibit future player development.

    US Soccer must take on the high school/college system. Perhaps usurp the states by creating an “US Soccer High School” certification program which ensures coaches maintain a certain level of qualification and only allow these schools to participate in an Elite US Soccer sponsored state/regional championship programs. The best players absolutely must be getting high level professional coaching in the college age range so create high-level “soccer colleges” in partnership with MLS teams where players also get a start on college education from a partnered university if they choose. The regions MLS teams are allowed to “sponsor” local students and get first rights to them in the draft. Oh, and the full restoration of the MLS reserve league must happen ASAP.

    One thing to note about the teams which perform at the highest levels during the World Cup – they all manage to integrate players out of their youth sides into the full national team with a minimal gaps. The teams that have less success have largely not accomplished that feat and the US hasn’t managed anything like this since 2002. In the US, our players tend to have a long way to go when it comes to integrating with the National Side and they tend to peak far later than European players, often despite declining physical traits.

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    • Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/29 at 9:06 AM

      THIS

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      • Posted by uncledude on 2010/06/29 at 9:59 AM

        “US Soccer must take on the high school/college system. ”

        This is THE issue with player development in this country and this will take DECADES to fix.

        It cannot and will not be done with the hiring of a Klinsmann. This process will take years of time and pressure from a host of entities to accomplish. It can happen…it’s just not gonna happen with the “right” hire of the National team coach.

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        • Posted by Idaho Vandal on 2010/06/29 at 10:13 AM

          I’m new to this…….What is the issue with High School and College soccer. Is it the quality of coaching?

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        • Posted by BW on 2010/06/29 at 11:02 AM

          maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think it’s the soccer coaching at HS and college as much as it is a focus on education and higher education in general. Europeans approach this much differently, not only with athletes, but vocational areas/tracks as well. In the US, basically every student is expected to go to college, no matter their future ambitions or career. In other countries, people get on a specific track earlier in life and focus on that to become the best. Only certain folks go to university for additional studies, and these certainly aren’t the athletes.

          For soccer, this means that US players come out of college at 22 and hit the professional ranks. In Europe, players hit the professional ranks in their teens if not earlier in the club’s youth systems. Basically, for US players, by the time they have fulfilled their educational responsibilities they are too far behind the curve to catch up on the pitch.

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        • Posted by T-Muck on 2010/06/29 at 11:19 AM

          So the solution is to elect an extremely conservative government that eliminates public education. Which would create a variety of schools several of which would be sports schools. So we would have dedicated schools to development of soccer players, which would have to have the quality coaches or the schools would go out of business. Which I believe is similar to what Europe has.

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        • Apparently Klinnsy wanted total control in order to reshape player development. That’s why he wasn’t our manager these last four years.

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  16. Posted by bmill2 on 2010/06/29 at 8:16 AM

    I don’t get what you guys are talking about between Michael and Bob. They both go out of the way to not let the father-son relationship supercede the coach-player relationship. Furthermore, Michael had a phenomenal world cup, not only statistically according to FIFA but he also had the most consistent performance of any player throughout the 4 games of this Cup. I think further proof of his rapidly developing maturity and leadership is the fact that he did not earn one yellow card.

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    • I totally agree that Michael had a great World Cup and is one of our best players and is probably a future captain.

      But… Sometimes I think Michael’s performances sometimes come at the expense of the best team performance. He’s not a holder and not an organizer or attacking midfielder but a box-to-box guy who will run all day, win the ball, and join the attack. This presents a quandary in selection which Bob never solved. He chose to persist with a 2-man central midfield which meant he always had to pair Jr with a DM and sacrifice coherence in possession or an organizer and sacrifice defensive cover. If we had a Xabi Alonso-type player this would’ve been fine but Edu was as close as we have. However, as things were, this was one source of our defensive struggles.

      A manager without a vested interest might be better able to deploy all of our players to the best of their abilities. I think the “laziness” i highlighted comes from being absolutely assured of selection. You can bet that Roy Hodson would’ve taken him to task for the couple of times he over-ran the play and gave up instead of getting back into shape. I’m well aware he’s done more running than any other player in this World Cup to this point and he’s definitely maturing as a player and ready to make the next step up.

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      • Posted by Jared on 2010/06/29 at 10:13 AM

        I agree that Bob didn’t get the midfield right but I don’t think it had anything to do with Michael being his son. I think it had to do with Bradley being stubborn in trying to maintain the 4-4-2. If you look at what he did in the second half of some of these games, he brought in Feilhaber and essentially was playing a 4-3-3/4-5-1 with Dempsey and Donovan in support of Jozy. I think and I think most people would agree that the best formation for the US was some form of 4-5-1 considering the depth we have in central midfield. For me, the best midfield lineup would be Edu, Bradley and Torres/Feilhaber because then you have the holding mid (Edu), the box to box (Bradley) and the distributor (Torres).

        There was only one time that I thought they let the father-son relationship affect them. It was a couple of years ago (I think) and Michael responded like a spoiled brat when people were questioning Bob’s tactics and ability as coach. If I remember correctly he said that people didn’t have the right to question the team.

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        • That was last summer after the Egypt match in the Confed Cup.

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        • Let’s just be straight that I think Michael is one of our top players but let’s not pretend he’s always at his very best but somehow his substitution is never even an option. I’m not decrying nepotism – i don’t think it’s that at all. It’s something more like Maradonna’s formulation: “Mikey +10″. Please let’s be serious – as a human being, Bob has a vested interest in his son’s performance and career and that concern certainly has some affect on his decision-making.

          Anyways, we’re in complete agreement about what our best midfield looks like – I think that’s exactly what I described in another comment somewhere around here. But another option that wasn’t explored was pairing Holden and Bradley in CM.

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          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/30 at 12:36 PM

            Tuesday:

            I don’t think you are offbase here at all, but I think the motivations for Bradley Senior are not necessarily predicated on aiding his son’s development.

            Largely I think it is a little bit of a Bradley Senior control freak scenario–I’m putting together an opus for next week so I won’t go too far into it–but in Bradley Jr. (who has rightfully earned his spot), Bradley Sr. has someone that he knows has the exact same instilled characteristics that he values on the pitch.

            I think it’s odd–or apropos–that the two spots on the pitch that perhaps demand the most reps together, coordination and communication together–central midfield and central defense, the States were never really “settled.”

            If you want to talk about giving up early goals, that’s certainly a contributing factor.

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        • Right, we’re looking forward too it. Anything to help us get through the long dark days without soccer!

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  17. Posted by John on 2010/06/29 at 10:21 AM

    While Bob Bradley had quite a few issues to fix over his tenure, the one that kept popping up over qualifying, and then the world cup was giving up the early goal/soft defense. Over and over and over again this plagued us during these games, and yet somehow it was never fixed.

    You can look at the players, and you can look at the coach they both should accept the blame. Either way, this issue more than anything, more than even our dismal forwards, our lack of flair or skill, our lack of touch, our lack of a youth system put us out of the world cup.

    El Salvador
    Costa Rica
    Honduras
    El Salvador – again
    Honduras – again
    England
    Slovenia
    Ghana

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    • Posted by Rick on 2010/06/29 at 7:56 PM

      You know, my first reaction to your post was, “Super comment.” However, on further reflection: while I don’t disagree with the statement, I feel like I’ve really got to lump in the topic of “giving up early goals” with the overarching themes of a lack of overall soccer maturity and a lack of overall talent.

      I say that because most of the other things you mention here (attacking prowess, flair, and touch) come after the system has had time to become more mature and sophisticated. Having a better youth system in place is one great way to address that, having a stronger league in place is another, and having more players competing in better overseas leagues is still another.

      Perhaps a different coach could have better drilled the team on how to be a more stalwart defensive side, but that’s not easy when you make the decision to be a team committed to energy and attacking, and that relies on spirit and fitness more than world-class experience and skill.

      A coach can only do so much, once he makes his best personnel decisions (which I haven’t always agreed with, in Bradley’s case, but I had more gripes with Arena…).

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  18. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/29 at 10:46 AM

    I’m not knowledgeable enough to have anything to add about potential coaches, but do question what qualifications Klinsmann really has. His team made it to the semifinals of a home tournament… was it that great of an accomplishment? And Hiddink seems like too much of a journeyman for my tastes. I think his strength are best suited to making a mediocre team decent, and I’d like to think we’re beyond that.
    I do however, think a foreigner would be a good next step for US Soccer. I’m not sure why Houllier, for example, would be any less acceptable than Klinsmann, based purely on nationality. I think a lot of european FA’s have found inspiration in the French youth system, if not their team spirit. Regardkess, I think the best next coach would be a combination of Bradley’s thorough understanding of the american talent pool and system and knowledge of a foreign coach with superior tactical understanding. I don’t really know if Klinsmann possesses the latter.
    Absolutely agree with Tuesday re: focussing on youth coaching. Would it really be that expensive? How about starting even younger? USSF could make coaching more uniform by putting together step by step videos starting with the K divisions (as in kindergarten) and with the internet so ubiquitous now, offer paid subscriptions that most kiddie coaches who know little about soccer would be happy to pay for. Subsidize subscriptions for teams in disadvantaged areas, etc etc. They could use the Bradenton Brats for free to film techniques and make money to subsidize uniform standards for the 12-17 certifications.

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  19. Posted by anthony on 2010/06/30 at 9:25 AM

    (I dont think people understand that its not tactics or youth system, we have one of the best youth soccer systems in the world-I know Italian teens and Colombian teens that come to our camps in Florida, and getting rid of public education, are you bonkers ? we live in a democratic country that serves everyone, not just the elite and rich, you can not oversee that we are not European, and we have choices and opportunities because of our system)

    Like the U.S.’s population, we are becoming less “Euro” and more Latin, and I think we need to realize this and not be obstinate in thinking that the Euro system is the best, because hello, typical European soccer powerhouses totally bombed out in this tournament (Italy, France, and England)

    and South American teams really shined through-out besides Brazil and Argentina (Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay) and Mexico played with a lot of heart and pace too

    needed more pace in central defense (though cherundulo did well, and Bornstein actually did pretty well too)
    Why Goodson wasn’t given some time is beyond me

    I think we relied so much on Landon, we did not have enough good possession and service on the wings when Landon was tasked to score goals)

    Holden should have played more, sending service to Dempsey going forward

    (look at how the whole team’s tactics and player position’s had to change because we were without Davies)

    Holden and Beasely both are good on the ball, so I think Bradley got that one wrong

    if you look back at the qualification, Donovan was used as a playmaker with dempsey on the right, so we should at least applaud some guts that the team had to switch positions like that

    I think we need to develop a tandem of Donovan and Holden as creative play-makers and use Dempsey as a forward for a while, because he is a knock-around finisher when he has good distribution, but Holden is better on the ball and has speed with ability to make crosses and corner kicks

    I also think that Torres should be given more chance to play for the team (he is good on the ball and is creative), I just think that Bradley made a tactical mistake starting him against Slovenia , instead of second half sub

    Bottom line: flexibility and willingness to use creativity and taking risks to use speed and youth over strength and veteran status, I think we saw that England got bossed because they were outpaced and uncreative vs many teams especially the Germans, I think we should model our team play more on South American (Brazil’s hybrid style or Argentina’s finishing third) or Spanish League style with possession and flow, rather than a rigid EPL style (ironically the team that has utilized the EPL style the best is Ghana)
    Key word: dribbling (Brazil, Argentina, and Spain do it well, why can’t we) of course Holden did not have much of a chance and Beasely, well his time is done, Bradley could have thrown him a bone I think because of his possession and crossing abilities, we’ll never know
    Bradley did do a good job in his tenure and no one can deny this (his record speaks for itself), but I do believe that the “philosophy” of the team has to evolve (if you think about it you could see the USMNT almost evovling in-front of your eyes at this tournament from defensive/counter-attacking to possession/offensive style, unfortunately we made some possession and defensive mistakes because of lack of pace and a poor choice by Clark )

    I would back Klinsmann as a fine replacement because he brought a more offensive style to the Germans in 2006 and he knows our system living in California and speaks English very well, he is very familiar with Donovan, plus he is an ex-striker, so I think he’ll focus on developing attacking and finishing

    I think Sunil should be a bit more tactful when describing the team’s WC accomplishments and failures, he sometimes sounds like a cutthroat business man than anything, and the last thing we need is to turn into the English Premier League where it’s this cutthroat bickering and ego driven coaching and managing,

    Message to Sunil Gulati:
    we showed a lot of class at the Cup and we need to keep it that way, so choose your words with care

    Another thing, if the US does hire a foreign coach, Gulati has to be careful in picking someone who understands the system and can clearly communicate with the team, I think Capello was a shrewed businessman who ultimately did not understand the English spirit and was too stubborn with his tactics ,also he probably had trouble communicating with the team (his English was very poor). In this case, I cannot see hiring some foreign and famous coach to think the heavens will open up for us
    I will say this, if not Klinsmann, I would not have a problem with Bradley continuing as long as he develops Landon as a play-maker with Holden and does something about the finishing, I do think we need to usher in Goodson and some other young and promising defenders with pace, Boca does not have the pace anymore and DeMerit and Cherundulo will not make it to the next WC

    Final Note: Charlie Davies, why the hell did you have to go out partying that night? I hope you still have legs for 2014.

    Final, Final Note: I am proud of our accomplishments as far as the USMNT and it’s American fans. Also, I am very happy that we seem to be appreciated more around the globe because of our never-back-down spirit and sportsmanship. This has to be seen as our “thing.” We are not big name players or coaches, but there is something special in the American spirit to come together and keep going when the times get tough. ( I really hope Donovan does not make a stupid move to Man City and ride the bench like so many before him, Everton is perfect for him, he was so supported by the fans and Howard is there, though Im not sure for how long) Maybe there should be an “American in the EPL support squad.” That being said if or when Donovan makes a move, I hope to heck he keeps from getting seriously hurt in the EPL, I still think he has a part to play in 2014, though we need to develop Holden and Bradley and other guys to take ownership of the team as well if and when Donovan’s time is out)

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  20. “I dont think people understand that its not tactics or youth system, we have one of the best youth soccer systems in the world-I know Italian teens and Colombian teens that come to our camps in Florida.”

    This is so anecdotal. No to mention laughable. Camps? How long do those last? A few weeks, a month? I would guess kids that attend those are not top tier prospects who are generally in the club system in Europe from young ages. I mean, clubs are often reluctant to release their top prospects even for YNT duty, why would they be sending them to camps?

    A camp is one thing but what is the quality of coaching consistently available to players outside the residency program in this country? In a country like Spain, young players are getting year-round attention from the very high level UEFA certified coaches. Our player development is not of the standard we need to become a consistent 2nd round/QF nation. Period. And I would imagine abolishing public education is a joke.

    I vehemently disagree with the idea that there aren’t huge strides to be made in player development and tactical sophistication. Other than this bit of almost delusional complacency, I agree with a lot of what you say.

    I’ve definitely been supportive of the idea of pairing Holden and Mikey Bradley in the CM – in fact I would probably have chosen that combination against Slovenia. That’s probably a relationship Bob should’ve tried to develop but he gave Holden 15 minutes with Klejstan against Czech Republic. Far far too many “try-outs” for the marginal spots are ultimately what came back to bite Bob. In the end he had 1 CM pairing that had played together regularly and went with that, to the side’s detriment. Holden clearly should’ve played a far far bigger role in this World Cup, unless there were fitness questions we don’t know about. Look for him to have a break-out year at Bolton, anyways.

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